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My work with congregations, communities and campuses

In my own life I have discovered connections between spiritual exploration, creativity, a sense of wonder in the everyday, social justice work, passion for Jewish life, and making the family a true source of nourishment. It is these passions and concerns that I bring to others in my teaching.

I enjoy using a variety of presentational modes as described here. Visiting a community for a single program, I prefer to offer a reading of my poetry – that’s a sort of one-woman show not unlike a concert and is a powerful way to introduce me and my work. Should you opt to host me for a weekend or several days, you’ll have an opportunity to savor various sessions spanning a fuller range of genres.

1-Poetry Readings
~The Journey of a Spiritual Life
~Holy Moments Every Day
~Our Families, Ourselves

2-Interactive Text Study/Poetry Beit Midrash Workshops
(I guide participants as they study and discuss a few selected poems in pairs or small groups and then come together for plenary conversation.)

Merle Feld's poetry lifts up the subtle beauty and stark challenges of family, the complexities of adult friendships, the struggle to center a life on what is meaningful and nourishing, and the holiness in everyday moments. In the intimacy of the beit midrash—participants studying selected texts together in pairs or small groups—we will explore these themes as we share Merle's poetry and better come to know ourselves and one another.

Beit Midrash Topics
~Where Are the Holy Moments in Our Lives?
~The Life of the Family
~Faith and Doubt: How We Talk with God
~Community: A Place for Dreams to Grow
~Tikkun Olam: Becoming an Activist
~Making Shabbos, the Ancient Tradition of Jewish Performance Art

3-Writing Workshops
A writing experience which is nourishing and authentic begins when we let go of the busyness of the day, all the noises that clamor for attention. We dive deep to listen carefully - what is the inner voice longing to say. In this workshop, Merle guides participants through simple yet powerful writing exercises, revisiting experiences and feelings of the past, encouraging curiosity, and enjoying the unique gift of quiet time to explore our spiritual selves. No previous writing workshop experience needed - come with a pen and an open heart!

Writing Workshop Topics
~Writing as a Spiritual Practice
~Beginning to Create Spiritual Autobiography
~Preparing for Awe: High Holiday Warm-Ups and Stretching
~Writing Our Way to the Seder Table
~Writing in the Paradigm of Prayer
~Rabbinic Self-Care
(Writing workshops can be designed for the particular needs of a group, conference or event.)

Some of the venues at which I’ve taught
Temple Judea, Tarzana, CA
The Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, Sag Harbor, NY
Temple Bnai Shalom, Fairfax, VA
Temple Sinai, North Miami Beach, FL
Westchester Reform Temple, NY
Jewish Community of Amherst, MA
Temple Beth El, Tacoma, WA
Congregation Beth El of Sudbury Valley, MA

National and Communal Institutions
Solomon Schechter Day School Professionals’ Conference
Mayyim Chayyim
URJ Kallah
Kolot, the Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies
Project Kesher’s Voyage on the Volga
Rabbis for Human Rights Mission to Israel and the West Bank
Rabbinic Training Institute for the Jewish Theological Seminary
Jewish Women’s Archive/Hadassah Boston
Elat Chayyim Retreat Center
National Havurah Institute
Brandeis Collegiate Institute, CA
Rabbinical Assembly Convention

Institutions of Higher Learning
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Hebrew College Rabbinical School
Jewish Theological Seminary
Fairfield University
University of Florida at Gainesville
Brandeis University
Yale University