the Jewish Spirituality Center of Western New York
the jewish spirituality center of western new york
The Jewish Center for Spirituality of Western New York has been created to spark, enrich, and deepen spiritual and personal development through creative Jewish learning and practice. The Center offers an array of opportunities to creatively engage the spiritual needs of the community. Ongoing courses in mindfulness, and embodied practice (think yoga) are complimented with contemplative text study, Musar learning, monthly prayer services, and opportunities for personal spiritual direction.
Who We Are
Rabbi Adam Scheldt, Founder
"Every day, I am grateful for the opportunity to cultivate my soul. My practice engages meditation, prayer, and physical activity, and is like oxygen to me—giving me the breath and openness to live life with greater fullness and better serve those in my care." --Rabbi Scheldt
Rabbi Scheldt was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in New York, where he holds masters degrees in religious education and Hebrew literature. He is a certified Spiritual Director through B'khol L'vavkha, holds a multicultural bachelors degree in International Relations from Knox College, and has engaged in mindfulness practice for over 2 decades.
Rabbi Scheldt created the Spirituality Center in 2014 and has since moved on (in 2018) to direct a pastoral care program in Western New York.
Sara Schultz, Assistant Director
"I am so excited to be part of the new WNY Center for Jewish Spirituality! My own Jewish journey has led me to desire a personal relationship with G-d. This means experiencing G-d through soul work, meditation, mindfulness and other physical practices along with traditional worship and study." --Sara Schultz
After receiving a Masters Degree from NYU in Music Therapy, Sara went on to receive certifications in Jewish mindfulness teacher training, Clinical Pastoral Education, and Hatha yoga. She hopes to share these tools and practices that give access to that sacred space within. Blessed with a rich Jewish education from Hebrew Union College’s Sheliach Kehillah program, years of being a Jewish educator, and a Chaplain at the Weinberg Campus and Roswell Cancer Center, Sara joins the faculty with the sincere belief that Judaism is a living, breathing and relevant path to understanding our purpose.
Jean DuBow, Faculty
"I was drawn to yoga after a severe back injury 10 years ago and have been practicing ever since. My practice of yoga began like many others--attracted to the poses--when I practiced I felt good--stretched out--a little stronger--a little more flexible. I wanted to feel this way forever. I didn't realize that what I gained from my physical practice would invade all the areas of my life.
The process of being on my mat and focusing on breath and movement allows me to stay present-minded, putting the past where it belongs--in the past--and not trying to hurry up the future. It allows me to just be
As we slowly begin to remove the obstacles from our physical practice we find on the mat, we are better able to remove the mental obstacles from our minds and hearts as well. Compassion for ourselves and our bodies radiates to compassion for others.
The benefits of my yoga practice have been so positive, that I want everyone to feel as good as I do, healthy and peaceful."
Jean recently retired from Hadley Exhibits after 28 years in the exhibit industry. Currently(as a retiree) she is the Project Manager for the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor.
Susan Schwartz, Faculty
"Mussar has provided me with the tools to look deeply within to find holiness in my every day encounters. Through Jewish texts, daily reminders and ongoing practice, Mussar offers individuals a way to cultivate personal spiritual growth and strengthen one’s relationship with God”
–Susan G Schwartz
Susan Goldberg Schwartz has been the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Beth Zion since 2001. Susan has been an active member in ARJE (Association for Reform Jewish Educators, formally NATE) and is completing her 6th year in an ARJE leadership position. She completed the Manchim training for Group Facilitators from The Mussar Institute in June 2013, and has been leading Mussar groups ever since.
Evie Weinstein, Faculty
"I strive to wake every morning with deep gratitude and joy for the multitude of gifts that I have in my life. I go through the day learning and searching how to be a better person and how to make the world a better place. And as I go to sleep at night I reflect and look forward to a new day with great anticipation.” --Evie Weinstein
Evie Weinstein holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University at Buffalo. She became involved in the Jewish Community when hired to work at Camp Lakeland and became the Director of Children’s and Youth Services at the JCC. Evie worked at the BJE in various roles and retired as Executive Director of the Bureau in 2014. Evie is certified as a Mussar Facilitator by The Mussar Institute and has lead several Mussar groups. She also is on The Mussar Institute’s Coordinator’s Council as Coordinator of Community Leadership programs. Evie now is employed by The Jewish Federation of Buffalo as Coordinator of Talent and Leadership Development. Evie is married to Barry E. Weinstein they have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.
The Center was born during the High Holy Days of 5776 (2015). Come and explore your sense of spirituality and help create our history with us!