We invite you to submit a proposal for the 2020 National Havurah Committee Summer Institute, to be held Monday, July 27–Sunday, August 2, at The University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. Applicants are encouraged to consider how they will draw on this year’s theme in their application: קֽוּמִי צְאִי מִתּוֹךְ הַהֲפֵכָה (Kumi tze’i mi’toch ha’hafecha) – Get up, go out from amidst the upheaval.
The National Havurah Committee is a community of people of all ages dedicated to deeply rooted, vibrantly creative Jewish living and learning, community building, and tikkun olam (repairing the world). Our volunteer-led community is egalitarian, pluralistic, multi-generational, and highly participatory.
Each year, we hold a week-long Summer Institute plus several weekend retreats. At these gatherings, we live our motto that “every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student” with a wide array of opportunities to learn from each other in different settings and different ways. Courses, which meet daily beginning on the first full day of the Summer Institute, are the backbone of the Institute schedule. Teachers can expect to engage with enthusiastic and passionate students in exploring their chosen subject matter, while also participating fully in all other Institute programming.
Topics: Courses can be on any Jewish subject or theme: text study, religious life, spirituality, contemporary issues, history, literature, art, music, personal growth, meditation, or whatever someone dreams up. Last year’s roster of courses can be found HERE. The Course Committee aims for a balance of topics and styles of courses. Teachers may not restrict their courses by gender, age, religious practice, or ideology, but may require specific background (such as Hebrew reading skills, experience studying Jewish texts, or the ability to read music); please describe the expectations in your application. Proposals focused on topics generally available in the broader Jewish community, such as teaching liturgical skills like reading from the Torah, are not generally accepted.
Please note that during this week’s Institute, Thursday (the second-to-last day of classes) will be Tisha b’Av, a day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple and other tragedies. Courses will meet normally on that day, although the schedule may be modified. Some community members will be fasting for the day. Course proposals should specify whether the third day’s programming will be suitable for members of our community who refrain from Torah study, listening to music, and other joyous activities on Tisha b’Av (this is not a mandatory criterion for acceptance).
Teachers and Students: Teachers of Institute courses reflect our community’s wide range of ages, professions, backgrounds, and home communities. We are particularly eager to learn from and with people with identities and Jewish experiences that have been under-represented among our teaching ranks in the past, in recognition of the missed opportunities for rich learning in which our community could have participated with a more diverse set of teachers. Our goal is to recruit and support a teaching team (including course teachers and the array of residencies) that includes a critical mass of Jews of color, Sephardi, Mizrahi [JOCSM], disabled, and/or otherwise under-represented folks. We encourage everyone who is interested in teaching to apply, as the Course Committee aims to assemble a course roster that is diverse along many axes, from teacher background to experience teaching at Summer Institute to course topics and approach. All teachers should expect students with differing viewpoints, and should be open to lively discussion in an environment that promotes openness and mutual respect. If you have any questions about equity and inclusion, please contact Rebecca Ennen or the Course Committee.
Format: Most courses meet for 1.5 hours each day, Tuesday through Friday, either in the morning or the afternoon. In some limited cases, the Course Committee will also consider proposals for 4 extended sessions of 2.5-hours, if a strong case can be made for needing the extra time. Course enrollment is generally capped at twenty to make sure everyone has the chance to participate.
Financial Arrangements: To recognize the work teachers put into their courses and to ensure anyone invited to teach is able to afford to do so, NHC reduces the bottom end of the sliding scale for registration to $0 for teachers. In other words, we are asking teachers to contribute financially according to a broader sliding scale, from $0-$1400* toward the site (including room and board), staff, and other costs of running Institute. Teachers can decide for themselves how much they want to contribute toward the costs of participation. We encourage teachers to contribute financially to the extent they feel appropriate given their circumstances, with any amount teachers contribute as tuition to be considered a tax-deductible donation. (As background, most adult NHC attendees will be asked to contribute between $725-$1400* (with a “sticker” price of $1095*) as part of their registration.) Teachers will need to cover costs of travel to and from Hartford, plus any single-room supplements, extra fees for special services, etc. However, we prioritize making the Summer Institute financially accessible to all, including teachers, and teachers are eligible to apply for the available travel grants. Teachers must pay NHC membership dues of $40 per adult or $80 per family.
Course proposals, to be submitted ONLINE and are due by January 2. We will notify you regarding the status of your application by February 18. You may submit up to two course proposals; please complete the online form for each course. To encourage a mix of new and long-time teachers, those who taught at all of the last 3 consecutive Institutes are not eligible to apply this year.
*As of 11/25/2019, pending Board approval.