Neshama Center

The Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning, a collaborative project of B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom and the Mandell Jewish Community Center, offers multi-week courses as well as single session programs and workshops. The Hebrew word “neshama” means “soul” and is related to the word “neshima,” meaning “breath.”  At Neshama, we invite people of all backgrounds to take a breather from the fast-paced world in which we live, and join us for inspiring, creative, joyful Jewish learning.

Register now for courses by emailing: or by calling: 860-243-3576. Classes meet at BTS (180 Still Road on the West Hfd/Blmfld line) or at The Mandell JCC (335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hfd).

For updates, please visit the Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning Facebook page!

Please take the opportunity to… 

Challenge your mind ~ Feed your soul ~ Express yourself ~ Connect with others

Mussar Yoga

Thursday evenings Dec. 20, 6:00-7:00 pm at BTS
Fee: $15/session, $12/session JCC/BTS members
Instructor: Terry Wolfisch Cole

Mussar Yoga links the Jewish spiritual practice of self-study, and the cultivation and discipline of ethical behavior known as Mussar with Yoga, the ancient Indian path for creating union between mind, body and spirit. Join Terry for a special mid-summer Mussar Yoga class focusing on the middah (virtue) of shtikah (silence) and the yogic concept of matrika shakti (the power of words and thoughts) through poses, breath work, and relaxation. Our classes are gentle and appropriate for beginners, accessible to anyone who can get down to the floor and back up again.

PARTNERS IN CREATION- our hands-on Jewish art workshop series

“Otiyot: The Power of Hebrew Letters”
Sunday, January 6th, 10:30 am-12:30 pm at BTS
Instructor: Rabbi Debra Cantor
$10; free for Neshama patrons

According to the Book of Genesis, God “spoke” and the world came into being. Later, rabbis and Jewish mystics extended the idea of the power of words to the individual letters that form them. We’ll look at some
teachings about the Hebrew alphabet and then use the basic shapes of Hebrew letters to build some beautiful designs. No knowledge of Hebrew required!

Tangling with Talmud

Wednesdays at 10:30-11:30 am; beginning January 9th at the Mandell JCC
Free. Donations welcome.
Instructor: Rabbi Cantor

The Talmud is a rich and lively conversation among many generations. Passionate arguments about law and justice are intertwined with wild stories and musings about the meaning of life. Come participate and add your own voice. No experience necessary! Drop-ins welcome.

Friends of Yiddish

2nd Sunday of each month @ 10:30 am at the Mandell JCC
Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March 10, April 14, July 7
Coordinator: Barbara Katzman
Free. Donations welcome.

An informal, mostly English bi-lingual drop-in social group which meets to hear a guest speaker, have a discussion and maybe absorb a Yiddish word or two. Plus, a nosh. Open to all.

Two Friends Reflect on Making a Pilgrimage to Montgomery: MLK Shabbat Lunch & Learn

Saturday, January 19th at 11:30 am at BTS
Free. Please call BTS office to reserve. Donations before or after the day of the event welcome.

Rev. Stephen W. Camp, Senior Minister of Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, and Rabbi Debra Cantor are old friends. They’ve spoken and taught at one another’s places of worship, traveled together to Israel and
Palestine, and served on boards together. Recently, each of them visited the newly-opened National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL, which is dedicated to showing the history of slavery and the lynching of African-Americans and how that legacy continues to the present day. Please join us as they reflect on their powerful experiences.

PARTNERS IN CREATION- our hands-on Jewish art workshop series

“Atzei Hayyim: Trees of Life”
February 3rd 10:30 am-12:30 pm at the JCC
Instructors: Harriet Winograd, Art Therapist and Rabbi Debra Cantor
$10; free for Neshama patrons

The Tree of Life is both a universal symbol and a particularly Jewish one. The Hebrew Bible calls the Torah an “etz hayyim/tree of life” and the tree is one of the primary motifs used in Jewish art. Together, we’ll explore the symbolism of the tree of life, look at many examples, and then, using
simple collage techniques, create one of our own. No art experience needed!

Breath & Blessing: Beginning a Jewish Mindfulness Journey

Thursdays from 10:30 am to noon; February 7th , 14th and 21st at the Mandell JCC
Instructors: Jeryl Brown, MSW and Rabbi Debra Cantor
$60; free for Neshama patrons

What happens when a rabbi and a therapist bring together classic mindfulness techniques with ancient Jewish practices and spiritual texts? Together, we’ll explore divergent and overlapping pathways to knowledge, gratitude and insight. Come join us on this journey!

Mussar & Mindfulness Shabbat Lunch & Learn

Saturday, February 9 th at 11:30 am at BTS
Free. Please call BTS office to reserve. Donations before or after the day of the event welcome.

Ever feel like the world is too crazy?
Wish you could access some timeless wisdom? Go deep or go home! Rabbi Marc J. Margolius of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality has developed a program for “applying mindfulness practice to daily life in our particularly challenging times, through the lens of the weekly Torah portion.” Each week, he presents a teaching based upon a middah (core spiritual/ethical quality) drawn from the parasha/weekly portion, combined with suggestions for practice of this middah. Rabbi Cantor has been studying with Rabbi Margolius this year and she will share this approach with us. No
experience needed!

Neshama goes to the movies!
Watch for Neshama programs @ the Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival (3/7-3/17)

Partners in Creation presents “Midrash and Monoprints” (March 31st )

Is Social Justice Jewish? The Roots & Development of Tikkun Olam
(5-session course starting March 25th; Co-sponsored by Neshama and the Jewish Graduate Study Program)

Neshama classes are held at:
B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield
(on the West Hartford/Bloomfield line, at the corner of Mountain Road)
and the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.
To register for classes/workshops, call (860)-243-3576 or email
The Neshama website page is at
Find us on Facebook at Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning
or B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom BTS: The Learning Place

Neshama is growing – we invite you to grow with us!

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