New England Retreat

NHC Winter Retreat, Dec 16-18,2016

Central Mass. Location, Great Spirit!    

National Havurah Committee's  

New England Winter Retreat

Camp Ramah, Palmer, MA

NHC New England Winter Retreat at Camp Ramah

Studying Torah and celebrating a musical Carlebach-style Kabbalat Shabbat service begin our weekend together.  Friday evening continues with dinner, singing, and study sessions.  On Saturday and Sunday, take time for spirited prayer, or walk at the lake, study accessible texts, learn and sing new songs, stretch your body and your mind.

There will also be a supervised program for children, with time for learning and entertainment as well as play - both inside and outdoors.

Camp Ramah in New England is located just outside of Palmer, MA, a few miles north of exit 8 off the Mass turnpike.  It is about an hour from either Boston or Hartford, CT, 90 minutes from Albany, NY or Providence, RI., and about 3 hours from New York City.

The site includes an indoor recreation facility, lakefront, and wooded walking paths. There are covered and open outdoor assembly areas, informal lounges, seminar rooms, a state-of-the-art beit midrash complex, a well-stocked Judaic library, and a synagogue.

Accommodations are simple, uncrowded, comfortable, and fully winterized.  Single rooms and "hotel-style" rooms are available.

Meals are kosher, with vegetarian options.

Courses are scheduled on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. A Saturday night talent show and musical programs with singer/song writer Rahel Limor complete the weekend. A final schedule will be available when you arrive.  The retreat ends after lunch on Sunday.

Do Our Pets Have Souls? (David Seidenberg)

Do animals have souls and minds? Descartes and the civilization that followed him emphatically say, no! Today we are waking up from that sour dream and seeing things more as they are. Looking at the Torah, the early midrash, and early Christians of the Antiochean school, we will see that the rabbis of the classical period guided Jewish theology toward a position that insisted on the embodiment of the human soul, the acceptance of the idea that animals had souls, and the rejection of a radical dualism between human and animal souls. We will explore how this affects our love the non-human and for Nature itself.

David Seidenberg is a Rabbi and author of “Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World” and creator of neohasid.org. He lives in Northampton MA.

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An Eye for an Eye: Justice in Cases of Personal Injury (Miriam-Simma Walfish)

Leviticus 24 claims that those who inflict physical injury on another should be punished "an eye for an eye." We will explore one rabbinic response to this text. This response will serve as an example of one way in which the Rabbis deal with texts in the Torah they find difficult.

Miriam-Simma Walfish is a doctoral student in Talmud at Harvard, director of Boston's Teen Beit Midrash program, and long-time havurahnik.

A Psalm for all Occasions: "Adonai is my Shepherd".(Aliza Arzt)

Psalm 23 is recited on the wildly disparate occasions of funerals and Shabbat.  We will look at Ps, 23 as a piece of religious poetry and address these questions:  What is this Psalm really about? How do specific words reflect the meaning of the psalm? How does one psalm serve two such different occasions?

Aliza Arzt is a member of Havurat Shalom, and a long-time teacher at NHC retreats.

Torah for "Flesh and Blood" (Miriam -Simma Walfish)

This workshop will explore instances where the rabbis describe Torah as having effects on the physical bodies of those who engage with it.

Miriam-Simma Walfish is a doctoral student in Talmud at Harvard, director of Boston's Teen Beit Midrash program, and long-time havurahnik.

The Art of Spiritual Eating (Cherina Eisenberg)

Why does the type of food we eat matter? Beyond kashrut, this workshop examines the practical and spiritual implications of cooking and eating. Through hevruta study and personal reflection, discover a new sense of empowerment around the spiritual nature of eating that will nourish you everyday.

Cherina Eisenberg is a veteran teacher at NHC.  She received her Rabbinical ordination through ALEPH, and currently serves as Cantorial Soloist and Adult Educator at Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA. She is an avid cook, farmer's market enthusiast, and certified energy healer.   Her website is www.cherinaeisenberg.com

Rebbe Nachman on Faith and Music  (Carl Woolf)

Rebbe Nachman teaches about transcending words and concepts, and embracing melody, in order to alleviate crises of faith, and to experience the Void in a holy way rather than in existential anguish. Come encounter original texts (including some unique words and concepts), along with translation.

Carl Woolf teaches mystic meditation and is a long-time NHC teacher. His interests include music-making, davening, movement and text-study.

Eternal vs. Ephemeral (Aliza Arzt)

Our Shabbat morning liturgy asks this question 3 times: "How can we ephemeral humans hope to have any relationship with the eternal God?"  The liturgy answers the question in a different way each time.  We will explore the 3 texts and discuss what the answers do for us as individuals and as a people.

Aliza Arzt is a member of Havurat Shalom, and a long-time teacher at NHC retreats.

Bible Stories You Didn't Learn in Hebrew School (Ronnie Levin)

Blood, sex, murder, incest, and risque’ Jewish texts. We will read several totally compromising texts from the Torah and the Prophets. English versions will be provided, and Hebrew knowledge is not required.

Ronnie Levin holds a graduate degree in Bible and Tefilah, and has been a popular Havurah teacher for years.

Respecting the Sources of Life (David Seidenberg)

A common theme unites some of the puzzling mitzvot and verses: respect for the sources of life. Studying both Torah verses and commentary we will see that there is a grand plan uniting the ethical mitzvot with the cultic mitzvot like prohibitions on mixing milk and meat, not eating blood, the way of sacrifice, and the Torah's strange statement, "Is the tree of the field a man?" that is the source of "bal tashchit", the prohibition against needlessly destroying. We will also see what's missing from halakhah that is implicit in these verses, and look toward a renewed ethos of sustainability.

David Seidenberg is a Rabbi and author of “Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More-Than-Human World” and creator of neohasid.org. He lives in Northampton MA.

 

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Thankful before You (Rachel Barenblat)

We'll study and daven prayers of praise and thanksgiving, and then write our own. This writing workshop is open to all (whether or not you consider yourself a poet or a liturgist) and will be geared toward opening and cultivating creativity.

Rachel Barenblat, who has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi since 2003, is author of 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia, 2011) and Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016), among others. She serves as Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA, and with David Evan Markus as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Find her online at velveteenrabbi.com.

Four Worlds and Ten Sfirot: An Introduction (Susan Gulack)

Hesed, G'vurah, Netzach, Hod: Have you heard these words and have no clue what people are talking about? Come and learn how the ten Divine Emanations are not only the way that God relates to the world and the world relates to God, but how they are also a lens through which we can get helpful insights into our relationships and the way we walk through life.

Susan Gulack is a Rabbi and chaplain from Albany, NY. She is an explorer of the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical worlds through prayer and study, art and music for a long time. It is her joy to have others join her in these adventures.

 

Obstacles to believing in God (Joe Rosenstein)

Talking About God, part 1 -- Obstacles to believing in God -- We rarely talk about our views of God. In this session, we will discuss our obstacles to believing in God, and will talk about the characterizations of God in which we find it difficult to believe. (Those who want to attend the second session are encouraged to attend the first session.)

Joseph Rosenstein is a former chair of the National Havurah Committee. He is the author of Siddur Eit Ratzon and Machzor Eit Ratzon (see newsiddur.org)

Reasons for believing in God (Joe Rosenstein)

Talking About God 2 - Reasons for believing in God - We rarely talk about our views of God.  In this session, we will discuss our reasons for believing in God, and will talk about the characterizations of God in which we find it possible to believe. (Those who attended the first session are encouraged to attend the second session.)

 Joseph Rosenstein is a former chair of the National Havurah Committee.  He is the author of Siddur Eit Ratzon and Machzor Eit Ratzon (see newsiddur.org)

Acoustic Breezes (Rahel)

Our Saturday evening musical entertainment will feature original songs as well as popular English and Hebrew sing-alongs (dancing optional) led by Rahel and joined by our musical attendees in an open-ended jam session.

Rahel is an award-winning singer-songwriter, an educator, and music practitioner; she resides both here and in Israel. More at:  https://www.standingoproject.com/artist/acousticbreezesrahel/

Songs of the Heart, Prayers of the Soul - Rahel

The Psalms represent our very human experience and relationship with G-D. Rahel adds the powerful element of music to perform verses for spiritual reflection, comfort, healing and insight. More: http://hebrewpsalmstikkun.weebly.com/

A gifted, soulful songwriter, Rahel has a lot to say, and she says it well with a beautiful, diverse, collection of songs that are well-crafted, intelligent and musically sophisticated.

Jewish Approaches to Angels (David Evan Markus)

Angels figure prominently in the Jewish canon, Jewish liturgy and theology. We will explore a breadth of authentic approaches to Jewish angelology for harvesting and spiritual deepening.

David Evan Markus received dual rabbinic and spiritual direction ordination from ALEPH, serves as co-Rabbi of Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York, NY), and as co-chair, with Rachel Barenblat, of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.  By day, he presides as judicial referee in New York Supreme Court as part of a parallel career in public service.

Let in the Light: A Hanukah Workshop of Inner Light (Cherina Eisenberg)

Inspired by Rav Kook, this experiential workshop encourages you to look within your body to discover where your inner light is stored. Lighting Hanukah candles illuminates the outer world. It is equally important to learn how to energize your inner light throughout the winter months. Discover a simple routine that showcases the ancient healing modalities of QiGong, Jin Shin Jyutsu, and meditative breathing. No experience necessary.

Cherina Eisenberg is a veteran teacher at NHC. She received her Rabbinical ordination through ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and currently serves as Cantorial Soloist and Adult Educator at Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA. She is a certified energy healer. Her website is www.cherinaeisenberg.com

Be “Tamim” (wholehearted) with your God, vs “V’ahavta” (love) your God (Rayzl Feuer)

Deuteronomy/ Dvarim 18:13 calls on us to “Be wholehearted with your God.”   What does it mean to be "wholehearted?" and how does it compare to the command in Deuteronomy 6:5 to “love” your God.  Come study some text to tease out what this quintessential verse can mean and how we might design our personal practice to fulfill this commandment.

Rayzl Feuer is a Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Counselor) who leads the “PNAI shORe” Havurah on the shoreline of Connecticut.

The Shema and the Mystical Ascent of Isaac the Blind (Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus)

We will study and experience the mystical practice of Isaac the Blind, who used the Shema as a mystical ascent.  This "technology" is an example of Renewal "davvenology" – animating prayer with accessible practices to fuel transformation.

Rachel Barenblat, who has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi since 2003, is author of 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia, 2011) and Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2016), among others. She serves as Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA, and with David Evan Markus as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Find her online at velveteenrabbi.com.

David Evan Markus received dual rabbinic and spiritual direction ordination from ALEPH, serves as co-Rabbi of Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York, NY), and as co-chair, with Rachel Barenblat, of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.  By day, he presides as judicial referee in New York Supreme Court as part of a parallel career in public service.

 

Metaphors of Pregnancy (Carl Woolf)

 Come look at a number of original Hasidic texts, in Hebrew but along with translation, from Imrei Tsadikim (Rabbi Meir Burnstein) and Kedushat Levi (Rebbe Levi Yitschak of Berdichev). These texts develop metaphors of pregnancy in connection with the interaction between humans and God.

 Carl Woolf teaches mystic meditation and is a long-time NHC teacher. His interests include music-making, davening, movement and text-study. 

Needle felted Kippot (Susan Gulack)

Come and make a needle felted Kippah. This workshop does not require crocheting or any other skills. We will be working with already felted base kippot and decorating them with colored wool roving. A $5 materials fee is payable to the instructor at the start of the workshop.

Susan Gulack is a Rabbi and chaplain from Albany, NY, and has been exploring the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical worlds through prayer and study, art and music for a long time. It is her joy to have others join her in these adventures.

 

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