Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality
Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality

Elat Chayyim Advanced Meditation Program (ECAMP II)

Facilitated by Norman Fischer and Rabbis Joanna Katz, Alan Lew and Jeff Roth

You can still join this program for the remaining three retreats!

For almost 10 years the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality (ECCJS) has been the home for Jewish silent meditation training programs.

The Program

The ECCJS is delighted to announce the next cycle of its popular two-year meditation training program, which began June 10, 2007.  You can still join this program for the remaining three retreats! The two-year comprehensive curriculum includes four seven-day retreats and has built-in mechanisms for sustaining practice in day-to-day life.

Between retreats each participant will have two to three scheduled phone communications with a teacher and be paired up with another student (chevruta) to discuss suggested topics, learn from a reading list and receive community support in the practice. Throughout the two years, ideas and questions are also communicated on our secure online website.

Alumni of past two-year meditation programs (MLT, JMAT, & ECAMP) are welcome to attend any of the ECAMP retreats for a $300 program fee plus room and board.

The ECAMP Practice

Contemplative practice is a powerful method for awakening spiritually in one’s life. Our minds can be preoccupied with spiraling thoughts and stories about identity, memories of our past, and hopes or fears for the future; the Jewish sages called this mochin de’katnut, or small mind.  From the place of small mind, we get caught up in our selfish needs; act unwisely and unkindly to ourselves and to those around us. 

Mindfulness practices taught in the ECAMP program help you to navigate small mind reality and to gain access to an expanded awareness or mochin de’gadlut (big mind). From this mind state, which is a natural capacity for all human beings, one can experience the holy interconnected reality that underlies all of being. This experience, called devekut by Jewish mystics, brings with it profound wisdom and opens the heart of compassion, providing us with the motivation to make a real difference in the world (tikkun olam). The program aims to apply and integrate teachings into the everyday aspects of our lives.

Retreat Curriculum

The four retreats are all seven days in length. The first retreat of the cycle focused on developing a deep concentration practice. We stay in communal silence except for prayer and teaching. Basic practices include sitting, walking and eating meditation. There is contemplative davening (prayer) every morning using a combination of kavvanot (intentions), chants and silence. Walking practice is both a group activity and a solitary practice to intensify your experience. 

The themes of the next three retreats reflect a threefold set of life practices: the contemplative study of Torah and sacred texts; the deepening of our connection to prayer and for opening the heart of compassion; and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness), the ways in which these practices impact our conduct in all aspects of our lives, whether as parents, partners, workers, activists, etc. Each retreat will introduce small group discussions and study focusing on the theme of that particular retreat.

Program Requirements

The program is open to anyone who has already sat at least one weeklong retreat in silence. Others will need to apply and receive the consent of the instructors. Please contact Rabbi Jeff Roth with any questions you might have about participation in the program.


Norman FischerNorman Fischer is a Zen priest, teacher, poet and former co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He is also the co-founder of Makor Or, a Jewish meditation center in San Francisco.  He leads Jewish meditation sessions around the country. He is an author and the founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation.

Rabbi Joanna KatzRabbi Joanna Katz, co-founder of Elat Chayyim, has been teaching meditation for the past seven years.  She is a graduate of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program and a longtime student of Sylvia Boorstein. She is the Jewish Chaplain at Taconic Correctional Facility and a student of the 50/50 work, a spiritual helpership modality. Her current spiritual work is focused on the Practice of Freedom in daily householder life.

Rabbi Alan LewRabbi Alan Lew is the founder and director of Makor Or, a center for Jewish Meditation. He is the author of One God Clapping; The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi and This Is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation.

Rabbi Jeff RothRabbi Jeff Roth is co-founder of Elat Chayyim where he served as Executive Director and Spiritual Director for 13 years. He is an experienced meditation teacher and the facilitator of over 60 Jewish meditation retreats.  He has led six two-year training programs in meditation.

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Registration Information

Single Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed


w/ private bath


w/ shared bath


w/ hall bath

Double Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed


w/ private bath


w/ shared bath


w/ hall bath

Triple Room

w/ private bath


w/ hall bath


Training Institute Tuition

The tuition for the remaining three weeks of this institute is $1,275 ($1,050 deposit) and does not include the cost of Room and Board (see table on the right). Alumni of past two-year meditation programs (MLT, JMAT, & ECAMP) are welcome to attend any of the ECAMP retreats for a $300 program fee plus room and board. Listed room and board fees are per week.

Room and board includes housing, meals, Shabbat services, evening activities, hot tub, yoga, meditation, and full use of our facility. All rooms are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

Financial assistance for graduate students in rabbinic, cantorial, or Jewish education are eligible for aid through a generous grant provided by The Lasko Family Foundation of Philadelphia. Click here to apply.

Limited financial aid is also available through the Elat Chayyim scholarship fund.

Arrival and Departure

Please arrive between 2pm and 5pm on the day your retreat begins. Retreats end with brunch at 11:30am on the last day of the retreat.

Room and Board Cancellation Policy

The Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. In this event, you will be given a complete refund.

For transportation: A full refund of transportation fees is available if you cancel at least three days (72 hours) in advance. No refund is available if less than three days notice is given. For more information on getting here, please visit our Travel & Transportation page.

Tuition Cancellation Policy

In case of cancellation of the entire Institute, Elat Chayyim retains a $200 enrollment deposit, plus tuition for any weeks attended or partially attended. Any tuition paid in excess of these amounts is refunded.

Register now!

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