Breathe deep and relax

Meditation is so powerful, says Shalom Shore, a Jewish meditation practitioner, that he wants everyone to try

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Put on some headphones, close your eyes, and listen to Shalom Shore. He wants you to meditate. Anywhere.

“Everyone would benefit from five minutes of meditation on a daily basis,” said Shore.

To prove his point, Shore, who is also a rabbi and creative consultant, went with two colleagues to the Western Wall, and convinced 10 people to meditate with him for five minutes. Well, seven.

“A lot of people thought it was weird that I was asking them, and I probably had four rejections for each success,” said Shore. “Tourists seemed the most interested, probably because they’re already at the Kotel for a new experience.”

It also took some time for Shore, himself, to be convinced of the efficacy of the ancient practice. Growing up in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, he went through an “angry, closed” period as a teenager, and it was his mother who ultimately convinced him to try meditation.

He got hooked, and eventually trained with Rabbi Efim Svirsky, whose book he’d read as a teen, in conjunction with some formal training in psychology.

Now he lives in French Hill with his family, but works in the Old City, and runs meditation workshops for a variety of organizations, including Birthright, Hebrew University, and local Jewish learning institutions.

He calls it street meditation, because it can be done anywhere, although his workshops generally last about an hour.

“It really bothers me that something so powerful and that has made a huge impact on my life is still considered so alternative,” said Shore. “I would really love to see meditation become more acceptable and the norm, especially with the fast-paced lifestyle people lead.”

Meditation can be hard to latch on to, said Shore, requiring one to maintain slow, steady breathing without letting the mind wander. That’s why he speaks to his participants throughout, guiding them and keeping them grounded.

And while he does connect the practice to spirituality, particularly at the Western Wall, where he talks about the wall in ancient times, meditation can be done anywhere.

“Maybe we need to do a rebranding and call it something else,” he said, laughing. “But it helps, and it’s incredibly easy.”

Want to try? Put on headphones, click play, and close your eyes. Shore will guide you.

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