All Jewish, but all quiet, too

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011
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A dozen or so young Jews are about to push their self-restraint to the limit this weekend - by spending it largely in silence.

They will be aiming to enjoy the peace and quiet of a meditation retreat on an organic farm in Cheshire, under the auspices of HaMakom, a new group dedicated to Jewish spirituality.

Their tutors will be Rabbi Eiran Davies, a graduate of the Montefiore kollel, the Sephardi rabbinic training programme, and the Venerable Amaranatho Samanera, a Jewish-born Buddhist monk from south London.

"There will be a lot of sitting meditations, and some walking meditations," said HaMakom's founder, lawyer Danny Newman.

Mr Newman, 37, a former UJS chairman and Oxford University's first graduate in Jewish studies, has been running meditation sessions for independent minyans in London. But this weekend's retreat will be the first outside the capital.

"I met Amaranatho at Limmud," he said, "and I asked him how he felt we could enhance our spiritual practice. What you need, he said, is more silence."

Last updated: 1:42pm, September 15 2011