Chesapeake Retreat 2012 Courses
Session א (Friday night)
Beyond the Half Shekel: Some Seldom Examined Ideas on Money and Spirituality from Our Tradition (Steve Siegel)
Rabbi Yishmael said, "One who wishes to gain wisdom should devote himself to studying the laws of financial matters for they are like an ever-flowing spring." (Bava Batra 175b) Through a close reading of texts we will explore and discuss a few lesser known sources from Tanakh, Midrash and Kabbalah about the relationship between spirituality and finances, success or failure. What subtle hints can we find about cause and effect that might lead Rabbi Yishmael to make such a statement?
Steve Siegel, Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Investment Fiduciary, has been a student of Jewish Spirituality and Kabbalah since 1979, applying the tradition to his socially responsible investment advisory practice.
A Taste of Sephardic Passover Traditions and Songs (Judith Geller)
Adults and kids
Join us to learn some interesting and fun Sephardic Passover rituals. Learn the origin and meaning of customs from various regions of the Sephardic world, and sing Sephardic Passover songs, some in Ladino. Which of these new customs/songs will you share with your friends and family during this spring's Festival of Freedom?
Judith Geller is mother of Jakob and Rebekah, lead singer for Charm City Klezmer, member of East Bank Havurah and a full-time psychotherapist.
If You're Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich? (Ari Weisbard)
How much of egalitarian justice is about rules that define the structure of society or how much is a matter of personal attitude and choice? How much redistribution, if any, is truly "just"? We will study the Torah passages on taxation and lending that frame this year's retreat alongside a few short passages of modern philosophy on these topics (including G.A. Cohen's book on the topic, from which this workshop borrows its name).
Ari Weisbard is a long-term havurahnik who has organized campaigns for higher progressive income taxes and campaigns for better workplace protections for low-income workers as Advocacy Manager at the D.C. Employment Justice Center.
Session ב (Saturday afternoon)
The Price of Jewish Community (Miriam Steinberg-Egeth)
With the "millennial generation" being offered with free trips to Israel and subsidized High Holiday tickets, what messages are young Jews receiving and transmitting about the costs of Jewish community? Does a "free ride" now create future unwillingness to invest? Come discuss these questions and what, if anything, to do to address them, guided by both modern data and ancient texts.
Miriam Steinberg-Egeth is the director of the Jewish Graduate Student Network of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, a founding member of Minyan Tikvah, a sometimes blogger and book reviewer, an often Shabbat meal host, and a full-time mom.
Lessons I Learned from Writing a Siddur and a Machzor (Joe Rosenstein)
Over the course of the past ten years, I have published Siddur Eit Ratzon and Machzor Eit Ratzon, prayerbooks that are both traditional and unconventional (newsiddur.org) and that try to address many of people's obstacles to participating meaningfully in prayer services. In doing so, I have looked closely at prayers that I had recited thousands of times, and often found in them spiritual messages that I had not heard before. In this workshop, I will share what I have learned.
Joe Rosenstein is a member of the Highland Park (NJ) Minyan and a founder and chair of both the NHC and its summer Institute; he and his wife are blessed with five daughters, four sons-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Are Basic Necessities Enough? (David Waskow)
Should we be concerned foremost with whether the poor have enough to survive or do we also need to tackle issues of relative wealth and income inequality? Do differences in income and wealth (and relatedly, power) matter to how we should build our societies, economic and public policies? We'll look at texts from Jewish tradition (Tenakh and rabbinic) and also at contemporary, non-Jewish sources on the issue of absolute versus relative well-being, including differing ways of thinking about and measuring inequality.
David Waskow leads Oxfam America’s work on addressing the unequal impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable internationally and participates in Oxfam’s broader efforts to tackle globally hunger, poverty and social injustice.
Purim, Today! (Benjamin Maron)
Purim is just around the corner! Many of us are familiar with the story of Esther, Haman, and the King, but what if Shushan was here in Maryland? What if the story took place today? Together, we'll look at the big issues raised in Megillas Esther, discuss possible updates to the story, and act them out together to see how they feel as new shpiels!
Benjamin Maron is the Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Zebrina), nomad of North America but currently residing in Brookline, MA. Editor, educator, community outreacher. Chef, Scrabble player, baby whisperer.
Session ג (Saturday afternoon)
What's Jewish about Meditation? (Marcia Glass-Siegel and Steve Siegel)
You can breathe in the peace and blessing of Shabbat anytime you want through Jewish meditation. This workshop will include a brief teaching on what is Jewish about meditation, and then provide an opportunity to experience Jewish meditation and chanting. If you’ve done meditation through other traditions, or are new to meditation, come “home” to meditation within a Jewish context.
Marcia Glass-Siegel has been involved with havurot since the 1970’s, initially with the Germantown Minyan, and for the last 29 years with East Bank Havurah, where she serves as sheliach for Chanting / Meditation services. Steve Siegel has been a meditation practitioner and teacher since 1975, trained in both the Himalayan and Jewish meditation traditions. He is a graduate of the Jewish Meditation Advanced Training program and an initiate in the Himalayan Yoga tradition.
From Shylock to Payday Lenders: What's a Fair Price for a Small Loan? (Rob Levy)
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, more people than ever are relying on small loans (like payday loans) to make ends meet, but these products can be incredibly expensive and often lead to a cycle of debt. Jews have a long history in the role of moneylender (some real, some imagined), but what does Judaism have to say about ethical lending, and how do these laws hold up in today’s difficult economic situation?
Rob Levy is the Innovation and Research Manager at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, a non-profit think tank and consulting firm focused on financial services for underbanked consumers, where he just finished a major research project on small dollar loans. This is his 5th Chesapeake Retreat.
A Few Good Niggunim (Doug Wissoker)
Adults and kids
In this workshop, we will sing a handful of niggunim (melodies), with a focus on getting to know a few rather than covering a broad range. The melodies (plus a couple of psalms) will include several learned from the late R. Michael Rosen at Yakar in Jerusalem and traditionally sung on late shabbas afternoon.
Doug Wissoker learned a number of niggunim (and worked at the Central Bureau of Statistics) while living in Jerusalem from 2001-2003.
The Havurah City-Builders : Choose Your Own Adventure (Elana Brochin)
A new planet has been discovered and it is our job to decide how the capital city should be built! Through role-playing and acting, we will experience the challenges of finding a fair way to build a place where all participants would want to live. We will then get a chance to build our city!
Elana Brochin is a baker, basketball player, and scrabble enthusiast who loves creating cities with people of all ages and from all planets.
Session ד (Sunday morning)
Counting the Omer: The Jewish Answer to the Advent Calendar (Debby Mowshowitz)
Adults and kids
Counting the omer is a great way to add meaning to the days between Pesach and Shavuot. We'll briefly discuss what the omer is and why it's worth counting, followed by an opportunity to make a simple bead counter to put on your fridge to make the counting easy and fun. We'll provide basic supplies for making the counters, but anyone who has beads and string of their own is welcome to bring them.
Debby Mowshowitz is a long time havurahnik who teaches biology for a living, and Judaica for a hobby.
Move Your Money Minyanim Project(Miriam Joffe-Block)
In this workshop, we will examine how economic justice in the Tanakh is approached through both preventative and restorative measures and discuss the relevance to our present times of significant inequality. In the second part of the workshop, we will discuss the Move Your Money movement in which individuals and organizations are choosing to end their relationships with big banks and switch to credit unions. We will share steps we can each take with our own banking to move to financial institutions that are in line with our Jewish values of social justice and strong communities.
Miriam Joffe-Block spent a decade in the labor movement before starting an MBA program at Georgetown. She is passionate about community wealth building and loves being a part of Tikkun Leil Shabbat in DC.
Experience Kayam Farm(Kayam Farm staff)
Adults and kids
Help prepare for the spring planting in Kayam Farm’s greenhouse. Practice Jewish agricultural laws directly, with your hands in the dirt. Be prepared to work, get dirty, and have fun!
Kayam Farm is an organic farm that provides fresh produce to the communities that gather at Pearlstone and serves as a resource for Jewish environmental education.
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