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New This Year: Intensive, Pre-Conference Workshops

This year, we're offering a unique opportunity to participate in extended workshop sessions with some of our top presenters on Friday morning of the conference.

Workshop registration will open at 10:00am and workshop sessions will begin promptly at 10:30am, and end between 12:30pm and 2:00pm. Join us for one of these FREE pre-conference sessions, available only to registered conference participants. $10 lunch will be available for purchase and must be pre-ordered by 2/13. Pre-registration required.

Topics include:

Gratitude Workshop: How to Be Happy with Everything (or without Anything!)

Sara Yoheved Rigler

Most of us complain too much! The opposite of complaining is to have a sense of gratitude for everything. Gratitude leads to happiness, peace of mind, successful relationships, and more. This practical, interactive workshop employs role-playing and innovative exercises so that the participant actually acquires the skill of gratitude. In the first half, we will learn to notice and be grateful for the small things that we usually are oblivious to and to the human beings who usually escape our radar screen. In the second half, we will tackle becoming grateful for minor annoyances and major debacles.

Important notes for participants: This workshop is based on the Kabbalistic tenet that God micromanages the world. There will not be time during the workshop to discuss or debate this concept. The Gratitude Workshop is based on several profound concepts that we will not have time to explore during the Workshop itself. Therefore, you will get more out of the interactive exercises of the Workshop if you prepare ahead by reading: Yes....a bit of homework, but worth it!  This workshop is 3.5 hours long with a short lunch break! Lunch must be pre-ordered by participants for an extra fee.

Sara Yoheved Rigler is the author of three best-sellers: Holy Woman, Lights from Jerusalem, and Battle Plans: How to Fight the Yetzer Hara (with Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller). She is a popular international lecturer on subjects of Jewish spirituality. She has given lectures and workshops in Israel, England, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, and over thirty American cities. She is one of the most popular authors on A graduate of Brandeis University, after fifteen years of practicing and teaching meditation and Eastern philosophy, she discovered "the world's most hidden religion: Torah Judaism." She presents a highly-acclaimed Marriage Workshop for women as well as a Gratitude Workshop.


From Story to Stage: A Creative Writing Workshop

Ronda Spinak

This instructive two-hour workshop will give you the tools to write your story (or the story of others) for the stage. Learn to ask meaningful questions to draw out stories that touch the heart. Learn to construct material in a format that is stage-worthy. We will spend a portion of our time together writing from prompts and sharing our work with each other. All are welcome--from professional to first-timer. You don't even need a story, just a willingness to find one. Bring pad or notebook and pen, and get ready to write and participate. (Lunch will be available after this workshop for those who pre-order it.)

Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Jewish Women's Theatre, creates themed shows for JWT's innovative Salon Theatre Series. Through JWT, she's commissioned and edited dozens of short monologues, plays, poems and stand-up comedy pieces with Jewish themes for presentation in JWT's Salons and elsewhere. Spinak co-authored the ground-breaking play, Stories From the Fringe, revealing for the first-time ever the personal stories of women rabbis. She is honored and thrilled that this play will be performed with its original cast on Sunday during the Conference.


Hip-Hop Holidays


Looking for ways to spice up your Holidays? Try an infusion of Orthodoxy and Hip-hop. Join Revolutionary hip-hop artist Y-Love for some updated flavored takes on Passover, Chanukah, Tisha b'Av and Purim. Workshop includes discussion and hands on participation in design of holiday festivities. Bring ideas, an open mind and open heart for this experiential Holiday make-over.

Yitz Jordan (Y-Love) is an award-winning, inspirational hip-hop artist whose compelling personality and multilingual musical talents have received worldwide acclaim from New York to Ukraine. An Orthodox Jew for nine years, Yitz's unique perspectives on Jewish identity and cross-cultural relations have captivated minds at schools, theatres, and various houses of worship worldwide. His unique musical style, blending holy tongues such as ancient Aramaic and Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish and Latin over ethnic and futuristic urban beats, was called the "soundtrack to social progression" by URB Magazine, and XXL Magazine said that Y-Love "is making hip-hop kosher."


Case Files From the Beit Din

Michael Broyde

Many Jewish people adhere to the mandate in Jewish law that requires bringing certain types of disputes before a rabbinical court, called a "beit din", rather than a secular court. (Generally these courts arrange their process as binding arbitration, enforceable in secular courts.)  This workshop will expose people to the types of cases and the process of dispute resolution used by rabbinical courts in the United States, and will focus on five different types — family law, financial law, communal disputes, the obligation to obey secular law, and synagogue disputes. Attendees will learn about the procedures used in the Beit Din of America, the largest rabbinical court in the United States, through the presentation of real cases that came before the beit din, with facilitated discussion about each case and what outcomes people anticipate and based on what principles, followed by explanation of the court's decision and rationale. Be prepared for a lively, participatory session that will hone the legal and analytical skills needed to navigate the intricacies of "Jewish justice".

Michael J. Broyde is professor of law at Emory Law and his primary areas of interest are law and religion. Broyde is ordained as a rabbi by Yeshiva University, and is a member (dayan) of the Beth Din of America, the largest Jewish law court in America, and was the director of that court during the 1997-1998 academic year. Broyde is the founding rabbi of the Young Israel synagogue in Atlanta, and a founder of the Atlanta Torah MiTzion kollel study program. With more than 75 articles and book chapters on law and religion and Jewish law, including "A Jewish Law View of World Law" and Human Rights in Judaism, Broyde explores topics such as military ethics, the impeachment process, marriage and divorce, and family law.