• Click Here to Register for NHC's Summer Institute 2024

    See the Course Listings

    Registration deadline: June 18th

    This year’s theme of עִיר מִקְלָט “Ir Miklat: City of Refuge” can be found in a small corner of parshat Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2 - 36:13). It epitomizes how we want this year’s institute to feel: a space where both the individual and the community at the heart of the Havurah ethos can come together in a safe space to create something meaningful, where our connections are welcoming and inclusive, fun and exciting, relaxing and energizing, and insightful and spiritually significant for our diverse community of participants.

    The Core Team envisions Institute as our City of Refuge--a place that’s safe--this year more than ever. What is it YOU need refuge from? We welcome you to join us at Pearlstone Center for sanctuary and refuge, to renew and refresh, and to play, rest, create and learn with us! Summer Institute will take place july 29-August 4, 2024.

Course Proposal FAQs

How does proposing to teach a course related to all of these other opportunities in the email from NHC?


Course Teacher Timbrel Artist-in-Residence Liturgist-in-Residence Hollander Social Justice Fellow
Teach a 4-session course Yes Yes No No
Develop community programming outside the Institute course structure No Yes Yes Yes


Can I play more than one of these roles at a single Institute?



Does this mean that I have to choose between proposing a course to the Course Committee and applying to teach a course as a Timbrel Artist-in-Residence (TAIR)?

No! Applicants for the Timbrel Artist-in-Residence positions can indicate on their application that they wish to be considered by the Course Committee if not selected as a TAIR for the 2020 Summer Institute. 


Am I eligible to apply to teach a course?

Most likely, yes! We believe and practice that everyone is both a teacher and a student. You don’t need to be a rabbi, or a professor, or have any specific background to teach – you need to show strong planning and depth of knowledge in your proposal. On the course proposal form, you’ll have space to provide details of what you plan to cover during the four sessions.

Many NHC community members come to Institute for the first time as a teacher. The Course Committee aims to select courses taught by a diverse group of teachers, including a mix of those who have taught at NHC events in the past and those who are new (or relatively new) to the NHC. To support such a mix, those who have taught courses at the last 3 consecutive Institutes are not eligible to apply this year.

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. If you have any questions about equity and inclusion, please contact Rebecca Ennen  or the Course Committee.


What makes a good course proposal?

Propose a course you’re passionate about; make it something unique that you’re likely not going find anywhere else. We encourage you to propose topics that you have found to be of special interest in your local havurot, minyanim, or other learning contexts. Please provide details of what you plan to cover during the four sessions, including how the students will be engaged in the course. Tell us about your vision – What are you doing? What are the students doing? At Summer Institute, every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student, and we want to know about the structure you will build for that shared learning.

As a guide, you may wish to view these proposals, accepted in 2018 or 2019, from Yavni Bar-Yam, Sarah Beller, and Sherry Israel, to get a sense of the depth and detail that the Course Committee expects. You may also wish to view the descriptions of courses offered at last year’s Institute. To request a conversation with a member of the course committee before submitting your application, contact us at courses@havurah.org, with the understanding that we can only comment on whether your ideas are clear and specific enough to produce a strong proposal, not on its chances of acceptance. Until we have a group of proposals to work with, we can’t predict how we will make choices to produce a diverse and balanced roster.


What is the basic structure for Summer Institute courses?

Most courses will meet for a 1½ -hour session each day from Tuesday, July 28 – Friday, July 31, either in the morning or the afternoon. The Course Committee will consider proposals for courses that will meet in an extended format of four 2½-hour sessions, occupying the adjacent morning or afternoon workshop time slot. This format may be appropriate for courses that involve intensive individual or group work. If you wish your proposal to be considered for extended format, please indicate this and explain why when you complete the course submission form; we also need to know whether and how you would teach the course in the regular format.

Teachers should expect a diverse group of students with differing viewpoints, and should be open to lively discussion in an environment that promotes openness and mutual respect. Course enrollment is generally capped at twenty to ensure a participatory atmosphere. Participants select their courses when they register for the Institute. Teachers receive a class roster in advance of Summer Institute, though roster changes are likely to occur once on-site.


On what topic should I propose a course?

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. Again, last year’s course descriptions can be found HERE. However, many long-time Institute attendees will tell you that it’s not really the topic that makes a good course; it’s the teacher’s ability to engage the students in the exploration of a topic that the teacher finds compelling and exciting. 

Courses may not be not restricted by gender, age, religious practice, or ideology. Some courses may require specific background (such as Hebrew reading skills, previous experience studying Jewish texts, or the ability to read music); please describe the expectations clearly in your application. Proposals for courses largely available in the broader Jewish community, such as teaching specific liturgical skills like reading from the Torah, are not generally accepted.


What level of text study background can I assume for a text-based course?

Text-study courses can be divided into three categories:

Advanced Text courses usually require experience with traditional text study and ability to read texts in their original language (usually Hebrew and/or Aramaic), and they may presume familiarity with other source material.

Intermediate Text courses assume some familiarity with traditional text study but don’t require participants to work independently in Hebrew/Aramaic. These courses generally provide texts in translation but may also refer to the original languages.

Text for Everyone courses provide all sources in translation and do not assume any previous experience with text study.

Do I have to pay to attend Institute if I am a course teacher?

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 are asked to contribute between $725-$1400* (with a “sticker” price of $1095*) as part of their registration.) 

All registrants, including teachers, must pay NHC membership dues of $40 per adult or $80 per family. Teachers will also 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 available grants. 

NOTE: Financial arrangements are different for Timbrel Artists-in-Residence.

* As of 11/25/2019, pending Board approval.

Can I co-teach a course with someone else?

Sure! If you and another person are proposing to co-teach a course, please submit a single online course proposal with the information for both teachers. Just note that if you are co-teaching a course with another person, the sliding scale for each of you will be $362.50-$1400.


Can I get financial support for art supplies?

For courses in which the teacher must purchase art supplies, you may request a nominal materials fee from your students. The fee you anticipate requesting and the materials for which it will be used must be noted in your course proposal submission.


What is the policy on photocopies?

Teachers are responsible for providing their own photocopies of course materials. You are welcome to email the course participants in advance so that they can either print their own materials or use digital devices, but you should still provide at least some copies. There is a print shop on the University of Hartford campus that teachers may be able to use, at their own cost.


How do I submit a course proposal?

Please submit your course proposal online: https://tinyurl.com/NHC2020Courses

If it’s easier for you, you can enter your information in a separate document and then copy or paste the text into the appropriate text entry area on the online form. Here is a pdf of the form, for those for whom it would be helpful in preparing a proposal. NOTE: after submitting, you should receive an email acknowledging that your application was received and including a copy of the application.

Please contact us by email at courses@havurah.org if you have questions about submitting your proposal online. Thanks for submitting your course proposal as soon as you can. 


How many course proposals can I submit? 

You may submit up to two course proposals for consideration. Please complete the online form in its entirety for each course you are submitting. 


When will I be notified if my course was accepted?

The Course Committee will notify you of the status of your proposal by February 18, 2020. Teachers of accepted courses will be asked at that time to commit to teach at the 2020 Institute.

The Course Committee generally accepts 24 courses and 4 alternates, just in case we need to replace a course because, when asked to confirm, a selected teacher is not able to commit to attending the Institute. We receive many course proposals, and we regret that we cannot accept them all. Should your class not fit into this year’s mix, we may suggest that you resubmit the course for a future Institute, and/or offer a scaled-down version as a workshop at this year’s Institute. We appreciate your understanding that not all proposed courses can fit into a given year’s program.


What are other ways that I can teach at Institute?

Anyone attending the Summer Institute is welcome to teach a one-hour workshop on any relevant topic. You can lead a late-night activity, such as teaching your favorite dance form or how to play a great new board game. (Signup is available during registration.) Once in West Hartford, you can post a notice to let people know that you have something to share and when and where you will do so. On a smaller scale, you can teach a folk song or niggun (wordless melody) during group singing experiences or share your relevant knowledge during a class discussion. Opportunities to teach are abundant, if you are looking for them. 

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