Spiritual Wellness Workshop fine-tunes inner, emotional self

Rabbi Diane Tracht will help J members look for their spiritual health through the new Spiritual Wellness Workshop she is leading. (Community photo by Jessica Budnick)

Rabbi Diane Tracht of Jewish Family & Career Services will host a Spiritual Wellness Workshop at The J on [time, date, location].
A counseling rabbi and chaplain with experience working in hospital settings, Tracht is now bringing her knowledge to J members for free.
“Instead of becoming a pulpit rabbi, what I love most is helping people when they’re having a hard time,” Tracht said. “Emotionally, spiritually, for me it kind of all goes together.”
Tracht had been working with J management, looking for a way to help by bringing her expertise to the mix for members. They came up with this one-time workshop to bring members more insight into their own spiritual health.
“There’s this emphasis on wellness and fitness, but it’s not just the body,” she said. “It’s always intertwined. I definitely know this from the hospital. There’s all this research about social isolation being one of the biggest risk factors of poor health and dying sooner. So let’s explore how to take care of our inner world and take care of our spiritual selves.”
A study by the American Cancer Society in the November 2018 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that social isolation is linked to a higher risk of death from all causes, and heart disease for all races studied. It’s also associated with increased cancer mortality in white people and leads to decreased physical activity, smoking and other health risks.
Though Tracht is a rabbi, she emphasized that this workshop is not just for Jews.
“Hopefully, everyone will come,” she said, “because this is humanity. This is humanness.”
Tracht will use the workshop to discuss ways of finding spiritual wellness – connecting with others, and mindfulness, gratitude practices – as well as having participants take a spiritual wellness assessment to gauge where they need help.
“I’ve adopted this model for several reasons,” Tracht said. “First, it provides an opportunity for a mindful check-in with different aspects of our spiritual lives. The practices of mindfulness support our inner well-being and so the assessment is, in itself, a healing tool.
“Second, the tool automatically highlights our strengths just as it highlights the areas that could use strengthening. Third, over time, I hope that we’ll be able to see our own growth.”
Tracht said participants get a “basic lesson” in spiritual wellness “though I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a lesson. I’m not the person on high depositing all the knowledge on them, but I’m presenting a tool.”
Instead she asks questions such as “Who else feels lonely?” or tries a one-minute guided meditation: “I am loved – disagree.”
The Spiritual Wellness Workshop is open to all J members, and it’s free. What types of people should attend?
“If you’re human, you’re welcome,” Tracht said. “If you come, we’ll tend to your inner life. ‘Spiritual’ can be a weird word, but basically to me it’s like the opportunity to connect to something larger than ourselves to feel a cosmic wholeness.”

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