references & resources
Circle Building + Facilitation
Volume 7, Section 1
Lean In Kickoff Guide
Lean In Circles are part of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization. Lean In Circles are small groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together. This Kickoff Meeting Guide is a specific strategic document focused solely on producing and executing a group’s first meeting, in which the groundwork is laid for building a strong community, and founders have their best and first chance to get group buy-in.
The Millionth Circle
The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and the World - The Essential Guide to Women’s Circles by Jean Shinoda Bolen. Conari Press, 1999.
Bolen’s text asserts that women’s circles with a spiritual center can accelerate humanity’s shift into a post-patriarchal era. It offers reflection and instruction. The Millionth Circle website offers additional resources on starting a Circle.
Centre for Justice & Reconciliation
Prison Fellowship International was founded in 1979 to serve prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families outside the United States. Its Centre for Justice & Reconciliation serves as its knowledge center on justice and reconciliation. We highly recommend their lesson on Circles, which is part of their introduction to the concept of Restorative Justice.
Healing Democracy Action Circles Guide
The Center for Courage & Renewal aims to nurture personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. Their Healing Democracy Action Circles Guide seeks to challenge participants to think more deeply about their own role as a citizen and create a shared vision for a better world through six months of monthly Circle meetings.
The Human Side of Human Beings
Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) is practiced in pairs (also called co-counseling), by people listening to each other and assisting each other to release painful emotions. The book, The Human Side of Human Beings, is a thorough introduction to this theory of human behavior.
How We Gather
Casper ter Kuile and Angela Thurston generated the How We Gather report — the story of America’s changing religious landscape in which millennials are less religiously affiliated than ever before, but are flocking to organizations that deepen community in ways that are powerful, surprising, and perhaps even religious. We especially recommend these parts of the report: How We Gather, Something More, and Ask Three Questions Circle Guide.
Kevah Core Principles and Resources
Kevah empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities by creating Kevah Groups matched to a trained Kevah educator. Their Core Principles for educators is a useful introduction to how Kevah prioritizes source accessibility and principled pluralism within their Group experience.
Non Violent Communication
BayNVC is home to a number of projects and groups working under the same umbrella to apply and promote the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication. Their website features free journaling guides and other worksheets that are useful for the wellness, growth, and reflection that our Well Circles encourage.
North American Students for Cooperation (NASCO)
North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) is a coalition of organization that organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement. They produced several resources we found useful in approaching community building and troubleshooting: Consensus Headaches, Community Agreements, and The Group Decision Making Handbook.
Sacred Circles: A Guide to Creating Your Own Women’s Spirituality Group by Robin Deen Carnes and Sally Craig.
This guide celebrates the rich diversity of women’s spiritual lives and offers practical, step-by-step advice for those who want to create and sustain a spirituality group of their own.
SWARM Model for Decentralized Leadership
The Ayni Institute’s Swarm Training teaches how to structure a social movement so that it maximizes the autonomy and creativity of its members while preparing for the challenges that come with decentralized leadership. Momentum — a training institute and movement incubator — hosts videos of these trainings on their Resource page.
The Tree of Contemplative Practices
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind) transforms higher education by supporting and encouraging the use of contemplative/introspective practices and perspectives to create active learning and research environments that look deeply into experience and meaning for all in service of a more just and compassionate society. The Tree of Contemplative Practices is an interactive map of contemplative practices used in secular organizational and academic settings.
WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) is a feminist educational center and network of justice-seekers, helping create and sustain inclusive communities in society and religion. Their Liturgy, Ritual, and Ceremony Planning materials are available for sale on their website.
Jewish Content + Ritual
Volume 7, Section 2
Brooklyn Rosh Chodesh
This 2015 document, Rosh Chodesh - Group Norms/Structure/Goals, offers an extensive example of structures, practices, and rituals used by a Brooklyn Rosh Chodesh group. Thank you to the BRCG collective for writing down and sharing this document!
Building Singing Communities
Building Singing Communities by Joey Weisenberg. Mechon Hadar, 2011.
Joey Weisenberg is the author of several books on music and Judaism. This book is an easy-to-read how-to guide to making music a lasting and joy-filled force in shul and Jewish life. We also love his YouTube niggunim.
Celebrating the New Moon
Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology by Susan Berrin. Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996.
Celebrating the New Moon is an anthology conceived as a means to offer writings about Rosh Chodesh that are educational, inspirational, scholarly, programmatic, entertaining, and insightful; these are writings that teach tradition while inspiring innovation from a variety of women and men representing many writing styles, relationships to Judaism, and levels of observance.
Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar by Alan Morinis. Trumpeter, 2008.
Morinis offers a daily sacred practice based on living a full, ethical, and spiritually-connected life. It’s a cool way to think about how to integrate Jewish Time into your life.
The Hebrew Priestess
The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership by Jill Hammer and Taya Shere. Ben Yehuda Press, 2015.
Kohenet’s Hebrew Priestess Institute is a training program in spiritual leadership for women. It aims for an earth-based, embodied, feminist Judaism. They offer trainings and host resources on their website. In this book, Kohenet’s founders reexamine the history of female leadership in Jewish history, often revealing the tacit or erased messages from between the lines of the Torah and Talmud.
Inventing Jewish Ritual
Inventing Jewish Ritual by Vanessa Ochs. The Jewish Publication Society, 2007.
This book will help you figure out how to mark time in meaningful ways. Rituals are important to practice and even more meaningful when you’ve made your own.
The Jewish Book of Days
The Jewish Book of Days by Rabbi Jill Hammer. The Jewish Publication Society, 2006.
The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature’s rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year.
Jewish Women’s Archive
The Jewish Women’s Archive documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change. On this website, you’ll find a history of all the strong women in the history of Judaism. And guess what? There are a lot.
Kabbalah Month by Month
Kabbalah Month by Month: A Year of Spiritual Practice and Personal Transformation by Melinda Ribner. Jossey-Bass, 2002.
Through Jewish soul stories, Kabbalistic teachings, inspiring case examples, meditations, spiritual and psychological guidelines, and practical recommendations, the easy-to-follow format of Kabbalah Month by Month makes this ancient wisdom accessible for people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Mechon Hadar is an educational institution whose mission is to empower Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service. Navigating the website, you’ll find a range of helpful Torah and Jewish learning resources.
Miriam’s Well: Rituals for Jewish Women Around the Year by Penina Adelman. Biblio Press, 1990.
This is a year-long guide to women’s groups’ celebration of Rosh Chodesh, including new and traditional ritual, song, prayer, meditation, and Midrash for each month.
Moishe Kavod House
Moishe Kavod House is a vibrant, home-based Jewish community for people in their 20s and 30s dedicated to tikkun olam (repairing the world), part of the international Moishe House Network. They posted their Instructions for Facilitating Rosh Chodesh Circle. Thank you also to the larger organization of Moishe House for supporting At The Well’s work. Visit their houses all over the world to experience their programming.
Moonbeams: A Hadassah Rosh Hodesh Guide by Leora Tanenbaum and Claudia R. Chernov. Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000.
Produced by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and edited by its Jewish Education Director Carol Diament, this is an interactive book that guides readers through nine months of study and contemplation commencing on the new moon. It can be used for personal or group spiritual exploration.
Post-Election Jewish Ritual Guide
The Matriarchy is a self-described pluralistic group of Jews compelled to create “spaces for other Jews to engage with their feelings and then begin to mobilize and organize.” They created a ritual event and have shared this Post-Election Jewish Ritual Guide for others to learn from.
Ritualwell is housed at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA. It was originally a project of Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies of RRC and was created in partnership with Ma’ayan, the Jewish Women’s Project. Their article about Starting and Growing A Rosh Chodesh Group is a strong resource.
This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared
This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation by Alan Lew. Little, Brown and Company, 2003.
This is one of At The Well’s favorite books. Lew offers an incredible way to start thinking about Jewish time, the Hebrew calendar, and living in alignment with calendar cycles.
Volume 7, Section 3
God In Your Body
God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice by Jay Michaelson. Jewish Lights, 2006.
This book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand their connection to God through their body. Michaelson offers a helpful tool to somatically understand Jewish wisdom for those interested in or already practicing at the intersection of any mind, body, movement, and spirit.
The Hormone Cure
The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol by Dr. Sara Gottfried. Scribner, 2014.
Dr. Sara Gottfried, a physician and gynecologist, refuses to accept that being a woman means feeling overwhelmed or that popping pills is the new normal. This book helps you create an individualized wellness plan by combining natural therapies with scientific testing, and a questionnaire that identifies the common causes of hormonal imbalance.
Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy by Julie Holland. Penguin Books, 2016.
A groundbreaking guide for women of all ages that shows their natural moodiness is a strength, not a weakness. Psychiatrist Dr. Holland shares insider information about the drugs we’re being offered and the direct link between food and mood. She also offers practical advice on sex, exercise, and sleep strategies.
Our Bodies, Ourselves
Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) is a nonprofit, public interest organization that develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality. Their landmark publication, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” first published in 1971, was deemed by the Library of Congress as one of 88 Books That Shaped America.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler. William Morrow & Company, 2015.
This is the bible of the female body. In addition to the book, Weschler maintains a companion website.
Wrestling with Menstruation
Wrestling with Menstruation by At The Well. At the Well, 2017.
Yes, this is OUR BOOK!! You’ll learn about cycles, tracking your menstrual cycle for mental health, and making a spiritual connection with your body. Buy your copy on our website.
You made it to the end of volume 7.
Download Volume 7:
This resource list is incomplete, and growing. We’re always excited to learn about the resources you love. If there’s something missing, tell us! Working together and pooling our knowledge, we’re going to change the conversation about health, wellness, Judaism, and sacred wisdom.