Atonement on Yom Kippur can be deepened through imagination, community-building, and sacred play. Alongside Shoshana Jedwab (and once with her partner Jill Hammer), I have developed and facilitated several creative breakout sessions preceding the final prayer service, Neilah. Dramatic strategies have helped me create unique spaces for engaging, immersive prayer at Romemu. Informed by expressive arts therapy practices, we adapt and interweave text, liturgical imagery, and ritual group activities that diverge from–yet complement–the sanctuary process. Over the years, we have found best practices and concepts to safely structure embodied teshuva (meaning “return”) experiences that ignite participants’ whole self to connect with each other and Source.


Teshuva Labyrinth

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Andrew Gaines, Rabbi Jill Hammer, and Shoshana Jedwab

A labyrinth is an ancient technology for meditation and transformation through walking a sacred pattern or circuit. On Yom Kippur during biblical times, the high priest would also walk a labyrinthine journey through the Temple, to the Holy of Holies and the Divine Presence, and then slowly recede. We will offer texts, visualizations, and a labyrinth path to help you frame your experience and prepare for the coming year, but the Teshuva journey itself is co-created by you and your Source.

Between the Cherubs: Embodied Teshuva

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Andrew Gaines and Shoshana Jedwab

The High Priest was only permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. Inside lived the ark, adorned only by two cherubs facing each other, with an empty space between them. Inspired by liturgical text and imagery, and informed by creative arts therapy practices, we will collectively invoke a playful safe space to embody the practices of the High Priest. Together we will co-create a spiritual journey towards teshuvah, making conscious preparations for the concluding Neilah service, encountering the gateway to mystery.

Enacting Forgiveness

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Andrew Gaines and Shoshana Jedwab

Deepen your renewal through the support of your imagination, our community, and stories from our sacred texts. Shoshana and Andrew will safely guide us to dramatize the teshuva journey with techniques adapted from Bibliodrama and Drama Therapy. To create this magical experience, please arrive on time as latecomers cannot be admitted. No acting experience is necessary; participants must be at least 14 years old.