New England Retreat 2017

 

Central Mass. Location, Great Spirit!    
Catch the candle's glow at 

National Havurah Committee's  

New England Winter Retreat

Camp Ramah, Palmer, MA

Dec 15-17,2017  (Shabbat Chanukah)

NHC New England Winter Retreat at Camp Ramah

Studying Torah and a vibrant, musical 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.

COURSES and HIGHLIGHTS

Light in the Darkness (Josh Schreiber Shalem)

Using the unique process of of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, we'll explore our own experience of light as it comes into our eyes, and relate it to Jewish texts and concepts about light and vision, both literal and metaphorical.  

Josh is an active member of Havurat Shalom in Somerville, MA, a certified teacher of the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education, and performing musician. He loves combining all these interests in the experience of Jewish prayer both privately and as a shaliach tzibur.

 

Jewish Coping Techniques (Steven Cohen)

We all benefit from coping skills for life stressors.  In this workshop on Judaism and mental health (session 1 of 2), we will discuss and share Jewish resources that are available to us as we navigate life’s difficulties, and each of us will take away new ideas to try as individuals and in our communities.
Steven Cohen is a licensed graduate social worker interested in trauma, school-based social work, and incorporating art into therapy, among other topics. He enjoys reading, writing, and forging connections via good-natured humor.

Unique Mental Health Challenges Facing Jews and Members of Jewish Communities (Steven Cohen)

In this workshop on Judaism and mental health (session 2 of 2), we will name and discuss some unique mental health challenges facing Jews and members of Jewish communities, with the goal of raising awareness and lessening the sense of isolation that so often accompanies such challenges.
Steven Cohen is a licensed graduate social worker interested in trauma, school-based social work, and incorporating art into therapy, among other topics. He enjoys reading, writing, and forging connections via good-natured humor.

A Taste of Zohar (Carl Woolf)

The Zohar is the great medieval compendium of mysticism, myth and esoteric teachings. We will study several especially gorgeous texts from this work, covering, among other topics, Shabbat and Creation.

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

Leaving the Tent Open: Immigration and the Jewish Community (Cindy Rowe)

Our ancestors understood the importance of welcoming those who needed comfort and protection.  Why do the stories of today’s immigrants touch us so deeply? How is the Jewish community acting today to defend these values?   We will explore our own stories during this workshop and learn how to connect to current faith-based immigration efforts.

Cindy Rowe is the Executive Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social  Action (JALSA), and also is the Social Justice Chair  at Temple Israel/Boston. 

 

Memorable Verses in the Torah (Joe Rosenstein)

What Torah verses are most memorable for you? We will read together a suggested list of "memorable” Torah verses, after which we will discuss what makes verses memorable for us, and what verses should be added to (or subtracted from) the list.

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)

Beit Aharon and Beit Miriam (Aliza Arzt)

In the Hallel psalms, recited on holidays, the term “beit Aharon” (House of Aaron) is used several times.  As part of the ongoing work to make the liturgy more egalitarian, the question arises whether “beit Miryam” (House of Miriam) is a legitimate substitution.  Learn about the results of the investigation with a surprising midrashic punchline.  All texts will be provided in Hebrew and English.

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

Songs, Rhythms and Meditations for Spiritual Vitality (Carl Woolf)

Some chants can enhance our psycho-spiritual fitness, especially when shared whole-heartedly in a group, and especially if they use traditional texts or tunes. They can be calming, inspirational and vitalizing. See if this works for you! We will explore some such chants, guided meditations and rhythmic tapping practices, as vehicles for spiritual fitness.

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

The Surprising Message of Hallel (Joe Rosenstein)

We recite the Hallel prayer daily on all the festivals, including Chanukah.  In this session, we will review Hallel closely and examine its major themes.  Caution:  You may be surprised. 

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), and is a frequent NHC teacher.

Covenentalism: A New Understanding of Animal Rights (David Seidenberg)

Animal "rights" are hinted at in the Torah in many ways: from the rights of wild animals to access fields in the Sabbatical year, to special considerations to avoid causing animals pain, to rules about the sacredness of the parent-child relationship among birds and among mammals. But is the framework of "rights" the best one -- especially given that the very idea of rights is arguably outside the worldview of the Torah? Here we will explore a different model, based on covenanting between species, that perhaps offers better guidance for how we should act today.

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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Experience Your Inner Actor (Miriam Diamond)

In 200 years what will be left to show we each were here? Independent artist Yael receives a surprise that compels her to confront the past and reconsider the consequences of her life choices. Join us as we informally read parts from Out of the Loop,  a script exploring work, love, loss, friendship, legacy and faith. No acting experience or special talent required.  A discussion will follow.

Miriam Roslyn Diamond is a previous NHC teacher. Her play, Out of the Loop, has been performed and read in communities across New England and at Limmud UK. 

The Land is Ours: Looking at Rashi's First Comment on the Torah (David Seidenberg)

Rashi, the go-to commentator of the Torah and the Talmud, famously says that the reason the Torah tells us the story of creation is so that the Jews can defend themselves against the accusation that they "stole" the land of Israel from the Canaanites. We will study this controversial commentary, along with some of his other relevant commentaries on the motifs of "conquest" and the "stranger" to understand where Rashi was coming from.

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

I Will Sing! (Susan Gulack)

It is a great mitzvah always to be happy. Azamra (I will Sing!) is Rebbe Nachman's teaching about the way to happiness through finding the good points in ourselves and in others. We will study selections from Rebbe Nachman's Azamra text and discuss how to apply them in our own lives. 

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. It is her joy to have others join her in these adventures.

 

Tzeva'ot - Can This Word Be Saved? (Aliza Arzt)

The Hebrew word "tzeva'ot" (Hebrew for "hosts" or "multitudes"), which occurs frequently throughout our prayers,  has strong militaristic and war-related connotations. Some of us who prefer a "kinder, gentler" liturgy have replaced this word when it occurs in our prayers.  We will explore some of the varied meanings of this word in the Bible to see if it has any redeeming qualities.  We will also discuss the more general theme of word associations and how to deal with them in prayer and conversation.  All texts will be provided in Hebrew and English.

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

What's Jewish about Friendship? Connections and Differences (Miriam Diamond)

Our friendships can influence our emotional well-being, health and longevity, even financial status. Jewish scholars have always been keenly aware of the importance of this relationship. Together we will explore Traditional Jewish and contemporary psychological notions of friends, our own connections, and ways to develop bonds within and across demographics and ideologies.

Miriam Diamond is a popular Jewish educator from Brookline, MA. She has participated at previous NHC winter retreats and has taught at Limmud Boston and Limmud UK. 

Faith-based Community Organizing – Now is Not the Time to Stand Idly By (Cindy Rowe)

Our core beliefs in economic, social, and environmental justice lead us to pursue policies that uphold the dignity of every human being.  When those values are being challenged, how do we stand up together with our interfaith partners?  This workshop will explore how the faith community has adopted community organizing principles, and how you can join in this work.

Cindy Rowe is the Executive Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social  Action (JALSA), and also is the Social Justice Chair  at Temple Israel/Boston. 

 

I Made a Little Draydel - Sue Gulack

Come make a little draydel out of Fimo clay.  Sue Gulack will show you how during this workshop. 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. It is her joy to have others join her in these adventures.

 

Singing in the Round (Lauren Rose)

Lauren will teach some favorite and new rounds. Come and blend your voice in song!

Lauren Rose is a multi-year NHC music leader.  She is a professor of mathematics at Bard College, and she enjoys teaching and singing in spontaneous choirs.

Saturday Night Entertainment

Saturday night's entertainment includes Chanukah songs, a talent show, and informal singing led by Josh and Lauren.  Bring copie of Rise up Singing!

SAVE THE DATE!

Don't forget to save the date for the 2018 NHC Summer Institute, July 23-29 in Hartford, CT.

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