Jewish Wisdom and Wellness Week Taps Ancient Tradition, Modern Practices to Improve Health

Released: 4/18/2013 3:50 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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Newswise — LOS ANGELES (April 18, 2013) – Jewish leaders and members of the public will explore the connections between Jewish wisdom and wellness during a community-wide “week of learning” devoted to a variety of notable subjects, including the influence of Jewish tradition on end-of-life decisions, yoga as a healing art and the Jewish perspective on organ transplantation.

The Jewish Wisdom & Wellness week, April 21-27, is co-hosted by Cedars-Sinai and the Kalsman Institute on Judaism & Health, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbis, physicians, scholars, musicians and others will take part in more than 60 lectures, classes, musical performances and art exhibits across a broad stream of Jewish thought and practice. The events -- highlighting important themes around wisdom, prayer, family and community -- will be held at Cedars-Sinai, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, synagogues, college campuses and other locations throughout the Los Angeles region.

“We want to tap into the deep well of Jewish wisdom and use it as a lens to show how it can inform and help heal our bodies and spirits,” said Joel L. Kushner, PsyD, interim director of the Kalsman Institute.

The week kicks off Sunday evening with a panel discussion at Cedars-Sinai by four prominent Los Angeles rabbis, some of whom have endured personal health crises, about the ways Judaism can help people weather difficult medical and spiritual situations. Other presentations or events include:

Sacred Conversations about End-of-Life Decisions at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills
Yoga as a Healing Art at BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute in Los Angeles
Rabbi Levi Meier Memorial Lecture on Jewish Values in Patient Care at Cedars-Sinai
A Spiritual Guide to Autism at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino
Addiction, Prevention and Spirituality discussion at Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles
Sexual Health and Judaism panel discussion at Congregation Kol Ami in Los Angeles

The week will conclude on Saturday, April 27, with a tribute concert to the late composer and musician Debbie Friedman at Leo Baeck Temple in the Sepulveda Pass. Friedman was widely respected for her innovative use of music as a tool for healing. Her songs are played in synagogues, camps and homes throughout the Jewish world.

“Our goal is to jump-start the conversation that Judaism is a resource for people who are addressing health needs and personal crises,” said Jonathan Schreiber, Cedars-Sinai’s director of Community Engagement. “The message is quite simple: Looking at our personal connections to faith and tradition can give a tremendous lift to many aspects of our health.”

To hear about the week’s themes, click on the following videos: wisdom, healing, prayer and community.

Additional information is available at www.jewishwisdomandwellness.org.

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