Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning

Providing innovative Jewish learning experiences to open up Jewish tradition to people from a variety of backgrounds

With the belief that there is no single path toward Torah, Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning opens up a variety of portals to Jewish wisdom through meditation, music, art, writing, and yoga. Its classes, programs, training, and retreats provide opportunities for cultivating transformative habits of body, heart, and mind that lead to greater life wisdom, meaning, and compassion. Orot was born from a need for the Chicago area to have a progressive center for reflective, integrated learning that brought Jewish wisdom into people’s lives through various disciplines. It opened in 2014 with a day of learning to prepare for the High Holidays and expanded to offer weekly classes that integrate text with art, poetry, and reflective practices, weekly Jewish mindfulness meditation sits, and immersive Sunday learning events.

Americans are increasingly seeking out secular mind-and-body practices to satisfy their spiritual needs (see: everyone you know enrolled in a yoga class). Orot incorporates multiple modalities and approaches that provide everyone with the opportunity to bring those passions and interests with them when they engage Jewishly, without having to choose. At Orot, every class and program is unique. There are no boilerplate lessons or repeat programs. Participants can expect weekly ongoing class in Torah study, Hasidic texts, and Jewish mindfulness meditation, and one-off classes such as a Purim yoga workshop, a song workshop for Passover, and an Artists’ Beit Midrash workshop about the spirituality of color. Orot’s weekly high school program incorporates rigorous text study with reflective practices, the arts, and a social-emotional curriculum to support Jewish teenagers as they construct their own Jewish identities and manage the stresses of modern living—including meditation as a part of the practice. Orot’s pluralistic and nondenominational nature has fueled its growth. Now, in its fifth year, it’s expanded programming, developed a learning series for women, increased its mindfulness offerings, and created a training initiative with local Jewish social services agencies. Orot’s emphasis on the personalized quest to compose one’s Jewish identity stands at the center of its approach, and it’s an approach that is guiding Chicago-area Jews to feel centered in their Judaism.

  • Region

  • Population Served

    Adults Baby Boomers College Students Interfaith Women & Girls
  • Program Area(s)

    Arts & Culture Community Building Jewish Education Spirituality Social Justice
  • Life Cycle Stage

  • Contact

    Rebecca Minkus-Lieberman
  • Email

  • Phone

  • Website

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Address

    PO Box 1471 Skokie, IL 60076
  • Founded

  • Board Chair

    David Bardach
  • 2017 expenses


  • '18 Chicago Edition

  • '17

  • '16 Chicago Edition