These courses are scheduled to be held at the Winter Retreat. The times and locations will be announced at the Retreat. When you register, please indicate your course preferences by number to aid us in planning.
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1 Dreams in Torah
In Torah, dreams are a sacred window into the unfolding future. We will explore ways in which the text depicts dreams in the lives of individuals, families and communities.Also, we will seek to better understand the teachings of Torah for our own spiritual lives.
Alan Ullman travels around New England teaching Torah as a spiritual path at synagogues, churches, businesses, private study groups and retreats to people who share in the desire to study Torah as a way to guide and inform the spiritual journey that is our lives today. He also leads adult hiking/study trips to Israel, the Alps, the Canadian Rockies and St. John.
2 Judaism and Silence?
Our Talmudic sages sat together in silence for an hour before beginning their prayers and study. Why? What do we "do" in silence? We'll study the Torah and liturgy selections for teachings of why and how to meditate. Beginners and experienced meditators welcome.
Yoheved Sheila Katz teaches contemplative practice and Middle East history at the Berklee College of Music and teaches Jewish Meditation at Nishmat Hayyim and around the country.
3 The Creative Process through Jewish Eyes
What can we learn from the Torah about Jewish creativity? By exploring the creation narrative of Genesis, we will discover four steps in the Jewish creative process and learn how we can incorporate them into our daily lives. Regardless of how you express your creativity, this workshop will leave you with new ways to approach the unknown, innovation, and the concept of holiness.
Cherina Eisenberg, a recent NHC Everett Fellow, is a rabbinical student at ALEPH with a background in the creative and healing arts, from song writing and choreography to healthy Jewish cooking and energy healing.
4 Can Halachah make a Mensch out of you?
Can following a list of rules make you into a decent human being? There are five rabbinical concepts that seem to argue that it can't. If so, what more do you need? What accounts for the current interest in our community in more traditional observance? Is it a revival of halachah as traditionally understood or something else?
Solomon Mowshowitz(Mosh) is a past NHC Chair who teaches Immunology at Columbia and is a provocative and stimulating NHC teacher!
5 Bible Stories You Didn't Learn in Hebrew School
Rape. Murder. Incest. Even child sacrifice. We will read biblical stories that our religious teachers somehow never got around to teaching. English translations will be used.
Ronnie Levin is a long time member of the Havurah community, whose doctoral studies at Brandeis focused on Bible texts. She is a popular teacher throughout the Havurah movement.
6 Thou Shalt Not Covet
What does our tradition say about the tenth commandment? What exactly does it forbid? Is it possible to fulfill this expectation? May one covet another's covetlessness?
Joe Rosenstein is a former NHC Chair and author of Siddur and Mahzor Eit Ratzon.
7 We're not Farmers, but our Ancestors Were
The laws and stories of the Torah reflect an ancient agrarian sensibility - an intuition we no longer automatically bring to the study of the "p'shat' - the simple literal meaning of our texts. We will explore how our ancestors' vital connection to the land and their agrarian wisdom can give us better insights into reading and living our holy texts in the 21st century.
Knowledge of Hebrew not required. (This course is one of a two part series. Participants may attend either or both sessions.)
Andrea Cohen Kiener is a rabbi, story teller and teacher from West Hartford CT. She led the InterReligious Eco-Justice Network, a faith-based initiative in environmental theology and practice for ten years, and is the spiritual leader of Congregation Pnai Or of Central Connecticut.
8 Spiritual Journeying -- the "magic number" 42?
In the Torah portion of our retreat weekend, Yosef and others undergo significant journeys and transitions. The Hasidic master Baal Shem Tov taught that everyone undergoes 42 spiritual journeys as life unfolds, just as the Israelites traversed 42 'stations' in the desert. We will examine some original texts in translation, and consider how they relate to our own spiritual journeys.
Carl Woolf, with a PhD in Philosophy, is a long-time NHC teacher and spiritual leader, teaches mystic meditation, and is currently an ALEPH rabbinical student.
9 God the Beloved: a New Liturgical Poem
The Bible has a greater variety of images of God than you'd expect. By juxtaposing verses that are explicitly about God with those that traditions tells us are references to God, we can expand the ways we perceive God. The verses will be presented initially as quotes and then in a poetic form which weaves the images into a single experience of one person's search to understand God. Texts will be provided in Hebrew and English.
Aliza Arzt is a long-time member of Havurat Shalom in Somerville, and long-time teacher at the NHC.
10 Perspectives on the Shoah
Workshop #1: Where was God during the Shoah?
Workshop #2: How have perceptions of the Shoah influenced the Arab-Israeli conflict?
These are participant-interactive seminars, with Raphael guiding and eliciting participant exploration of the issues. Attend one or both.
Raphael Colb is a graduate of the International Seminar for Holocaust Educators at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. An Israeli citizen, he served in the Israel Defence Forces and taught English as a Foreign Language at Hebrew University.
11 Chanting with Sound and Silence
One need not have a fine tuned singing voice to raise ones voice in prayerful repetition of a sacred phrase. All that's required is a desire to experience prayer as a path to an emotional and embodied connection with/to the Divine. We will talk about this practice and how the pace of such a practice (namely the interplay of sound and silence) can lead to a profound sense of self as it relates to ones practice of Judaism as well as ones participation in the larger community. We will have time for practice as well as discussion. No previous experience chanting is necessary.
Rayzl Feuer was ordained in 2003 by the ALEPH community as a Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Counselor) and a Jewish Reverend. She leads the PNAI shORe Havurah on the shoreline of Connecticut. She is a free lance teacher within the Jewish community and is also called upon to introduce Judaism to interfaith communities. She studies ongoingly with Rabbi Shefa Gold to continue to deepen her practice of chant.
12 Prayers for a Good Night's Sleep: "Kriyat Shema Al Ha-Mita"
How did our ancestors "wind down" at the end of a stressful day? Using both Hebrew and English texts, we will examine the traditional prayers before going to sleep. We will look at themes of faith, forgiveness and protection, and sing some songs that go with the prayers. Learn natural techniques that can help you feel safe, fight insomnia and avoid/nullify bad dreams!
Miriam Diamond is a published author on religio-spirituality, and a poet in both Hebrew and English.
13 Song of the Soul
When we crossed the Reed Sea and realized we were free of Egyptian bondage, we sang. Songs, whether musical or spoken, can express the deepest yearnings of our soul. Our Sages describe the many ways in which song can reveal our inner soul and link us to Divine knowledge. We will explore the teachings of Maimonides, Rav Kook and others to uncover new meanings to the song of the soul. Our study will serve as the foundation for a meditation that follows.
You are invited to join in on the study and the meditation or either one alone.
Louis Rieser is Rabbi Emeritus of Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry, NH and founder of Nishmat Torah: Jewish Learning and Meditation in Boynton Beach, Fl. He is the author of The Hillel Narratives. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications. He studies meditation through the Jewish Meditation Institute Jerusalem with Rabbi Natan Ophir. He is a long-time teacher for the Havurah Winter retreat and the NHC Summer Institute.
14 A Woman's Voice is Indecent, Shameful, Lustful, Lewd, Seductive, and Generally Distracting!
The Talmud says that “The voice of a woman is ervah. (indecent, shameful, lustful, lewd, or distracting.) Torah stresses the affirmation of life, joy and creativity. Could it be true that the sages came up with a halachic ruling that seems to support the suppression of women? Is there really a halachic ban on women speaking, praying or singing?
This workshop will explore issues and texts associated with Kol Isha, and share a video showing how a group of Orthodox women in Israel have found new freedom within the framework of ""Kol B'Isha Erva"".
Rahel is a musical and spiritual path-paver; an award-winning singer-songwriter, educator, and music practitioner. She lived in Israel from 1976-1998 where she was a co-founder, and the only secular member of Tofa'ah, the inspiring and phenomenal all-woman band performing for women only according to the halachic ruling of “kol b’isha erva”. Rahel's numerous recordings are available at: www.rahelmusic.net
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