February 7-9, 2020

Courage of Care

The Garrison Institute, NY

About the Workshop

We are committed to supporting all who care about our world–educators, parents, social workers, medical professionals, human rights activists, eco-justice activists, caring citizens and so on–find the strength and hope to sustain in their work in life-giving ways.

It takes extraordinary courage to stay open, connected and hopeful in dark times. War, violence, poverty, growing economic inequity, rising corporate greed, grave social injustices, and an impending massive ecological crisis threaten the well-being and survival of all. It is critical that we find ways of coming together collaboratively to address these issues, and to do so in ways that promote care, justice and equity, and protect against burnout. 

At Courage, we help people on the front lines of caring and social service professions and organizations sustain in the work by providing training in our relational compassion approach. We need caring, resilient and resourced people who can guide us forward in these challenging times. While we need more folks who can do the truth-seeing and truth-telling in our service professions and our social justice movements, we must work to counterbalance our awareness of pain, stress and suffering in the world with our capacity to celebrate and center life-giving qualities of joy and pleasure. This is not a call to put on rose-colored glasses, but to help us remember there is always more than suffering here. There is love and beauty all around. 

Our work at Courage is oriented around this seeming paradox. We are committed to helping people stay in touch with the fact of suffering while also not losing sight of the truth of beauty, love and deep ‘okayness’ in this world. We see this as the core of spiritual practice, service work and social activism. 

Through contemplative and somatic practice, reflection, journaling, movement and play, we will explore practices that help us learn to:

1) LOVE in more nurturing, joyful ways;

3) SEE the profound interconnectedness of all things and develop a greater appreciation of our agency and potential to effect change; 

3) HEAL from burnout, secondary trauma, hopelessness and despair and reconnect to fundamental sources of joy; 

4) ENVISION the beautiful world we know is possible by reclaiming our capacity for hope, imagination and creativity; and

5) ACT in responsive, life-giving ways that affirm the beauty and sacredness in and around all of us.


Rabbi Sheila Weinberg has served in multiple capacities in the Jewish community – including Hillel director, day school teacher and community relations professional. She is a 1986 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and has served as a congregational rabbi for seventeen years, including thirteen years at the Jewish Community of Amherst.

In the last twenty- four years Rabbi Weinberg has studied mindfulness. She has introduced meditation into the Jewish world as a form that can enliven and illuminate Jewish practice, ideas and community. She teaches mindfulness meditation and yoga in a Jewish idiom to lay persons, rabbis, cantors and other Jewish professionals and was a founder and senior and teacher for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a retreat based program for Jewish leaders ((jewishspirituality.org). She also serves as a spiritual director to rabbis, cantors and educators across the USA. She is a developer and teacher of the Jewish Mindfulness Teachers’ Training.

Weinberg has written extensively on a variety of subjects including Jewish spirituality, social justice, feminism and parenting. She is a major contributor to the Kol Haneshamah prayer book series. Her CD, Preparing the Heart: Meditation for Jewish Spiritual Practice integrates Jewish sacred text and meditation. Her first book, Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Religious Memoir was published in 2010.

Brooke D. Lavelle, Ph.D. is the Co-Founder and President of the Courage of Care Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating the co-creation of a more just, compassionate world. Courage’s diverse, interdisciplinary, multi-generational team provides training and consultation in relational compassion practices, anti-oppressive pedagogies, restorative healing methods and systems tools to social service and caring professionals, as well as to educational, spiritual and human rights organisations. 

Brooke holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies and Cognitive Science from Emory University, an M.A. in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from Columbia University and a B.A. in Religion and Psychology from Barnard College. Her academic work focuses on the diversity of contemplative models for cultivating compassion and mindfulness.

She is a consultant to the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies AMA Project in Potsdam, Germany and is co-developing curricula and pedagogy to support sustainable systemic transformation. She served as a lecturer at San Francisco State University for several years where she taught a contemplative-based course on compassion and social justice. She also served as a consultant to Teacher’s College, Columbia University’s new initiative on Spirituality and Education and was the Senior Education Consultant to Mind & Life’s Ethics, Education, and Human Development Initiative.  Brooke founded a compassion and equity learning community in the Bay Area and was a member of the Initiative for Contemplation, Equity and Action (ICEA). She previously consulted for the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University and the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley.

Brooke now splits her time between Berlin, Brooklyn and the Bay Area and travels regularly to lead Courage workshops and retreats in the US and abroad.

Location and Dates

The retreat will be held at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY. The retreat will begin on Friday, February 7th at 7pm and conclude by noon on Sunday, February 9th.


There is a two-step registration process for this program.

Step One: Determine your sliding scale program fee below. The sliding scale program fee is to be paid directly to Courage of Care via paypal (brooke@courageofcare.org). Please note the name of the event in your payment.

Supporter: $295

We ask those with class privilege (eg raised in middle-upper class homes and/or making over $62,000 per year), access to financial resources and/or access to organizational professional development funds to please consider paying the full course fee. This practice of solidarity giving enables us to continue to create content and to provide scholarship support to others with less financial resources, thereby building and strengthening our community.

Sustainer: $195

We invite those with less class privilege (eg making less than $62,000 per year and/or raised in working class homes) or with limited financial resources or recent financial hardships to consider paying our supporter fee. This enables us to cover basic course development and to provide ongoing community support.

Student/Scholar: $95

We invite those with less class privilege (eg making less than $24,000 per year), extreme financial hardship and/or those representing traditionally marginalized identities to register at our scholarship fee.

***Should you need more support, please do not hesitate to ask! We do believe it is important for everyone to contribute to our community, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Let us know what you need to make the event possible. 

Step Two: Complete your room and board registration directly through Garrison at the following link: https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/event/courage-of-care-reclaiming-the-joy-in-service-maintaining-love-hope-in-dark-times/