• 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.

Summer Institute 2023

Summer Institute 2023

Arrival and Departure

Friday August 4th
12:00 PM:You may arrive as early as noon to relax in the main building or explore the grounds. No lunch will be served.
3:30 PM: Earliest check-in to guest rooms
5:45 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat service
7:00 PM: Dinner

Tuesday August 8th
8:00 AM: Breakfast is the last meal served
10:00 AM: Latest time to check out of guest rooms
11:00 AM: Goodbye gathering
12:00 PM: departure
Click here for map and driving directions

 

Updated Schedule

Click here to add an updated schedule to your Google Calendar.

What to Bring

All guest rooms are air conditioned and have bed linens and towels. Here’s Pearlstone’s suggested list of what to pack. And we want to remind you to bring masks, covid tests, musical instruments, and warm weather supplies like a hat, water bottle, sunscreen, and bugspray.

 

NHC Office Hours

Saturday 9:15 PM- 9:45 PM in the  Tree of Life Lobby

Sunday & Monday

8:45 AM- 11:45 AM in the tent

3:30 PM-5:00 PM in the  Tree of Life Lobby

Pool Hours

Friday  1:00 PM -7:00 PM

 Sat and Sun  Noon- 7:00 PM

Monday  1:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Classroom Assignments

Click here 

Liturgist-in-Residence

Weaving Water: Recreating Jewish Water-based Rituals. In sessions with this year’s Liturgist in Residence Sarah Chandler aka Kohenet Shamirah, we will investigate prayers for rain and dew, drawing up an understanding for their relevance (or lack thereof) to the water access of where we live. Participants will wade in the waters of the pilgrimage festivals during our workshop sessions, then in our community-wide program, design a unique ritual for their current climate or water protection activism.

Overview of Liturgist in Residence Sessions: 

  • Workshop 1 on Sunday morning will be a general introduction to ritual weaving with focus on the origins and practices of Jewish spiritual practices with water. 
  • Workshops 2, 3, and 4 will each illuminate a sample ritual for a specific Jewish holiday.
  • The community-wide program will also include a brief introduction to ritual weaving, but will primarily be a workshop on how to design a ritual for a specific setting or target audience that takes place during the month of Elul and addresses climate or water protection activism. All institute participants will have access to the ritual we weave in this session.

Click here for more about Sarah, workshop handouts and complete schedule and details.  These sessions are open to all attendees and you do not need to pre-register.

Covid Policy

As a community that values each member, we want everyone to feel safe, supported and respected.  Therefore, the NHC Board and Core Team, with community feedback and the advice of the Covid Committee, determined to require self administered testing before arrival on Friday, August 4, and a second test, self-administered at Pearlstone on Sunday morning. We require masks while inside public spaces. We encourage people to wear N95 masks, which offer the best protection possible. Cloth masks are not allowed except for medical exemptions.

1.  If you have a question about testing and what to do if you test positive, contact Janet Hollander

2.    If you have a question about masking, including requests for mask exemptions, contact Darius Sivin

3.    If you have a question about  non-Covid medical issues that occur while we are at Pearlstone, Jeremy Golding is available to help.

There will be a small supply of masks available for adult participants, and a small supply of tests; we are expected to bring our own supplies.

 

SUMMER INSTITUTE 2023

Info for Registered Attendees

Are you registered for Institute? Click here for things you need to know and  an updated schedule once we’re on site.

Click here to read the course descriptions

Click here for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about Summer Institute 2023 

 

Friday August 4 – Tuesday August 8
Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisertown, Maryland

 

Our theme for this year is ve-asafta וְאָסַפְתָּ “and you shall gather” which can refer to both gathering the community and to gathering in your “new grain, wine and oil” from Parshat Eikev (Deut 11:14). After a few years of being mostly apart, we want to think about all the ways in which we can “gather in.”

Summer Institute provides a unique opportunity for serious study, moving prayer, spirited conversation, late-night jam sessions, singing, dancing, and meditation – all in the company of people from a wide range of backgrounds. Each year, participants leave the Institute reinvigorated and excited to return to their home communities to share new ideas, skills, and experiences.

Community

At the Summer Institute, every teacher is also a student and every student is a teacher. People who are usually called “rabbi” or “professor” throughout the year go by their first names here. And people who rarely take active leadership roles in their communities discover that they, too, can teach and contribute to the community.

One of the NHC Summer Institute’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its participants. We are musicians, doctors, students, furniture makers, retirees, Jewish professionals, homemakers, teachers, activists, and just about everything else:

  • Intergenerational: At a previous Summer Institute, the youngest participant was a month and a half old, while we had 9 folks in our midst with the wisdom of over 80 years. Participants from all age groups shared meals, stories, teachings, songs, and talents.
  • Pluralistic and Inclusive: The NHC Summer Institute includes people committed to various forms of traditional and non-traditional Jewish practice, Jews from birth, Jews by choice, Jews with multiple religious heritages, non-Jews, and people exploring Judaism.
  • Diverse backgrounds and lives: NHC Summer Institute participants hold a variety of identities including LGBTQ and straight; people of color, Sephardi, Mizrachi and Ashkenazi; urban, rural, and suburban; Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, Renewal, secular, and Jewish without labels.
  • Learning for Everyone: NHC Summer Institute participants also have a variety of Jewish learning backgrounds, from those with no formal Jewish education to those with Ph.D.s in Talmud.The dynamic process of exploring together what Judaism and Jewishness means in our lives is a highlight of the Summer Institute.

What to expect at Summer Institute

Minyanim

At previous Summer Institutes, participants have led each other in a different menu of spirited prayer options in many styles, including traditional egalitarian with full Hebrew liturgy, plus meditative, movement, and musical services, with and without instruments, both indoors and outdoors. All minyanim organized and sponsored by the NHC are fully egalitarian, with equal participation regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Workshops

One way in which we share ourselves with each other at the Summer Institute is through short (approximately 45 minutes- an hour) workshops. Anyone can propose a workshop, and it’s a great place to try out a new idea or experiment with teaching and leading. This is a great way to share something with our community. Workshops can be presented in any format that the teacher/facilitator can imagine, from discussion to hevruta/paired learning to lecture to shared activity (e.g., group run).

At a prior Summer Institute, a toddler co-led a workshop on appreciating ants, concurrently with others’ workshop discussions of The Best (and Worst) of Big Biblical Epics, a trip to Budapest, Warsaw, and Krakow to study the legacies of the Jewish life, antisemitism, and resistance in these cities, Shabbat Menus for Busy People, Bhakti: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lord, and Admission to Olam Haba: A Post-Temple Rabbinic Power Grab? Other options included Yiddish Dancing to Live Music and a Birth/Parenting Story Slam. And that was just one of 8 workshop slots during the week!

Classes

Courses are a central part of the Institute experience. This year, courses will meet in the morning and afternoon on Sunday and Monday. You can choose to take one 4-session course or two 2-session courses. Each course has a maximum of 20 students and is led by a teacher who is also an Institute participant, presenting material that they love in an inclusive style that encourages everyone to participate.

Evening Programs

Each evening after dinner, the community gathers for programming as a large group. Some of these programs may be led by the Timbrel ‎Artists in Residence, or the Liturgist in Residence. Some may be serious discussions of issues we want to engage with as a community. Some will be lighter-hearted ways to connect.

Kid’s Camp

NHC is an intergenerational community NHC Kids Camp is a thriving and central part of our gathering. Kid’s Camp at this year’s institute will provide a place for children to have fun and build relationships with each other and the rest of the NHC community.

And whatever else you want to make happen!

In previous years, people have organized large group evening programs like talent shows and dance parties. Folks have coordinated a shuk where participants can display and sell their creations. And in the evening after the large-group program, there have been late-night programming which offer structured opportunities to enjoy each others’ company: making music (American folk singing, sharing niggunim, instrument jam session), playing games (board, card, improv), dancing (cardio, Israeli folk), singing along to movie musicals, additional studying, and other sorts of merry-making. All participants can volunteer to lead a program in their registration.
Looking to make contact with folks from your home geography? Are you an early riser who wants to circumnavigate campus with others before breakfast? Seeking support for building your crochet or Torah reading skills? Need a haircut? Put up a notice about your interest and where and when others can meet up with you. We are the ones who build our community! We are the ones who decide what that looks like!

 

REGISTER HERE: https://cvent.me/0gWm4e

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