Passover at Isabella Freedman

Apr 10, 2017 - Apr 19, 2017

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Once we were slaves in Egypt… and now we are free to celebrate Passover surrounded by the beautiful foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Celebrate your freedom by bringing your whole family to an enriching, relaxing, and fun-filled Kosher-for-Passover program in a beautiful country setting.

On Passover we gather around our tables, either with families or friends – and in this case, at a communal seder table – for the annual retelling of our people’s exodus to freedom in the promised land. At this retreat, we began as strangers, coming together for the week. Our journey to Connecticut was not perilous, as was the journey of our ancestors through the Sinai desert hoping only for manna and to reach their destination. Our togetherness at the Isabella Freedman Passover Retreat gave us pause; it gave us hope for the future of the world and for redemption.
—Sandy Wasserman, Passover 2016

Click here to read Sandy’s full blog post: RETREAT! On Passover you can ‘Retreat,’ and then ‘Return!’


Check back in the fall to register for our 2017 Passover Retreat!

Prices are per person and include accommodations, all programming, and AdamahFoods buffet meals featuring ethically sourced and farm-fresh ingredients, healthy snacks, matzo, and Shabbat wine.

Through our online registration system, you will be able to choose your lodging, sign up for transportation shuttles and other amenities, and indicate special needs. Before completing your reservation, you will have an opportunity to register additional guests on the same credit card.

Our online registration is for full credit card payments only. If you would like to pay by check or pay in installments, please call (860) 824-5991 x0. Please review our lodging options and rates prior to calling.

You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and made a payment online or by phone. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, please call us at (860) 824-5991 x0.


View the 2016 Schedule.

  • Delicious holiday feasts featuring the highest quality Kosher for Passover foods from our AdamahFoods kitchen that are sourced as locally as possible; including delicious OU glatt kosher pastured meats raised on small-family farms from Grow & Behold
  • Organic, local, handmade shmurah matzah grown and produced by Yiddish Farm, now certified by Kof-K, served at the seders
  • Engaging seders led by our rabbi in residence
  • Dynamic divrei Torah and shiurim led by amazing teachers
  • Wildly popular environmental program for kids, Camp Teva, featuring engaging activities for the young ones every day of the retreat
  • Daily schedule packed with morning yoga, compelling lectures, interactive workshops, and a campfire and kumzits (singing) night – something for everyone!
  • Tours of the Adamah Farm greenhouses, gardens, and orchard; opportunities to spend time with the baby goats, usually born during the Passover retreat!
  • Guided early spring hikes through our 400 acre Berkshire forest and nature walks that explore the local flora and fauna
  • Daily traditional with mechitza prayer services in our beautiful synagogue featuring uplifting and spirited chazzanut

View the 2016 Schedule.

Our Passover 2016 Retreat included an amazing line-up of teachers:

Rabbi Shmuel Braun, Bailey Newman, Rabbi Asher Crispe, Sara Esther Crispe, Cantor Benjamin Houben, Gavriel Porten, Dr. Jon Greenberg, Yoga Instructor Rebecca Bloomfield, Cantor Mordechai Schram, Rabbi Jeff Fox, Elizabeth Yaari, Educator Laura Evonne Steinman,  Educator Donna Rudolph, and more!


Rabbi Shmuel Braun is a teacher, mentor, and lecturer, especially known for his ability to take the loftiest concepts in Jewish mysticism and connect them to everyday life in a way that students from any background and level of knowledge will appreciate. Having grown up Modern Orthodox in Woodmere, Long Island, Rabbi Braun then spent many years studying at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, in the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem by Reb Meir Soloveitchik, and also in institutions affiliated with Yeshiva University, Munkatch, and Chabad. This together with his devotion and passion for the humanities facilitated his developing a unique, progressive and inclusive style that engages all people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Rabbi Braun has been teaching for over twenty years in various synagogues, yeshivas, and seminaries, and has traveled the globe lecturing on topics of Jewish Philosophy, Law, and Mysticism for thousands of people. Today he is also actively engaged in building bridges between different faiths through his organization S.O.U.L (Seekers Of Unity & Love). When he is not lecturing and teaching at Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere and other venues, Rabbi Braun is researching and writing his forthcoming book on Kierkegaard’s Existentialism and Chassidic philosophy.

Rabbi Asher Crispe is the Co-Director of Interinclusion.org, a social mosaic which perpetuates the arts, sciences, literature, and music through Jewish tradition. He is a highly knowledgeable technology expert and futurist as well as a media aficionado with a thorough and intimate knowledge of emerging developments in science and the digital universe. With over 20 years of experience as an educator, Rabbi Crispe regularly travels the world as a speaker / lecturer teaching in Jewish centers and academic institutions. He specializes in illuminating the arts and sciences through the lens of the Torah. His lectures have focused on: music, film, architecture, gender theory, psychology, education, economics, regenerative medicine and physics. He has also served as a consultant for financial, medical, and technological projects all relating to future trends.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion.org, a social mosaic which perpetuates the arts, sciences, literature, and music through Jewish tradition. She has traveled the world as a sought out motivational speaker and educator, presenting on interpersonal relationships and the Kabbalistic approach to self-development. Sara Esther was also the creator of TheJewishWoman.org where she served as its editor for eight years, served as Director of Communications for the Chabad on Campus International Foundation and has worked with Part2Pictures as a consultant on Judaism for shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network and HARPO Productions. A prolific writer, her pieces can be found, amongst other places, on The Huffington Post, Times of Israel and Chabad.org. She is currently working on a book about parenthood titled, “I Used to be the Perfect Mother, Then I Had Kids.” She lives with her family in Danby, Vermont where they run Jewish experiential retreats.

Dr. Greenberg received his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his Master’s and Doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel’s Yeshivat Hamivtar and conducted research on corn, alfalfa, and soybeans at Cornell, the US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cancer Research. Since 1989, he has been a science teacher and educational consultant. Dr. Greenberg was Senior Editor of science textbooks at Prentice Hall Publishing Co. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef, the School of Education at Indiana University, and the University of Phoenix, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools, and botanical gardens. Dr. Greenberg can be contacted at jon@torahflora.org.

Elizabeth Yaari is an artist and co-founder of Explora-Torah. For the last 11 years has used Bibliodrama and art to engage workshop participants in authentic storytelling, self expression, co creativity and deep mutual understanding of themselves, the Bible and nature. She is a graduate of The Institute for Circlework.

Do we serve kitniyot?
No. We do serve quinoa, which has been certified by the Orthodox Union as Kosher for Passover and is NOT kitniyot.
Do we serve gerbrokhs?
Yes. We do serve matzah products as gerbrokhs. If you require non-gerbrokhs meals, please mention this when you register. Non-gebrokhs options are available upon request.
Are your facilities kosher?
Our kitchen and dining hall are under strict kosher supervision, certified by the Hartford Kashrut Commission.
I can’t stay for the whole retreat. Am I able to stay for only part of the retreat?
Partial stays are allowed in three-night increments on a limited basis, pending availability. Please call our office at (860) 824-5991 x0 for more information.
What is the cost of the retreat?
Check back in the fall for the 2017 rates.
Is transportation to and from the retreat provided?
We provide a round-trip bus from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Round-trip bus fare is $80. You will have the opportunity to sign up and pay for the bus ride when you register. Guests who do not take this bus must arrange their own transportation to and from the retreat. Upon registering, guests will receive a link to a rideshare board for the retreat. Click here for more information on how to get here.
What time is check-in and check-out? Check-in is from 2 to 5 pm on Monday, April 10, 2017.  If you are arriving on a different day, you may arrive anytime after 2 pm and check in to your room after 4 pm. You must be checked out of your room by 10 am on the day your retreat ends. The retreat will come to an end after brunch on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
What is the seder like?
We offer a traditional communal seder on the first and second night of Passover led by our rabbi in residence. Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy a semi-private seder with their friends and family in our second dining room on one or both nights.

Please also refer to our general FAQs for questions about our retreat center. If you can’t find the answer to your question, give us a call at (860) 824-5991 x0 and we’d be happy to answer it for you.

You may want to bring:

  • Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Sun protection (sunblock, sunglasses, a hat)
  • Rain gear (a jacket and/or umbrella)
  • Ritual wear
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for yoga
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Hiking boots to enjoy our many trails
  • Warm clothing and layers

We provide:

  • Toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste for sale in the bookstore
  • Extra kippot and tallitot, in addition to siddurim and haggadot
  • Yoga mats, blankets, and blocks
  • Heat and A/C in all guest rooms
  • Linens and towels in all guest rooms
  • Alarm clocks in all guest rooms

Camp Teva is for kids ages 5 – 12, and runs simultaneously with retreats geared toward adults. Camp Teva combines the best of Teva’s signature Jewish environmental education with all of the opportunities provided by the Adamah Farm to create a distinctive and creative way for kids to have a fun and safe Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education experience while their parents are enjoying Hazon’s many retreats, conferences, holidays, and workshops at Isabella Freedman. A transformative experience for the whole family

When you register kids during your event registration process, they are automatically enrolled in Camp Teva! All-inclusive kids’ rates include Camp Teva programming.

more information about camp teva

Passover is the Jewish tradition’s “eat seasonal” poster child. Also known as “Chag Ha-Matzot” (possibly a holiday celebrating the new barley harvest) and Chag Ha-Aviv (“holiday of spring”), Passover is a time to notice and celebrate the coming of spring. The seder plate abounds with seasonal symbols: the roasted lamb bone celebrates lambs born in spring; karpas (dipped green vegetables) symbolizes the first green sprouts peaking out of the thawed ground; and a roasted egg recalls fertility and rebirth.

Passover offers a perfect opportunity to combine the wisdom of a traditional Jewish holiday with our contemporary desire to live with our health and sustainability in mind. For example, some families put an orange or olive on their seder plate to recognize women’s rights and solidarity with Middle East peace.

Click the button below for Passover resources including ideas for activities and rituals, recipes, and sustainability tips

passover resources

Any cancellation will incur a processing fee of $100 per person. There is an additional $275 fee per person for cancellations after February 10, 2017. You will lose 50% of the total fee if you cancel after February 24, 2017. There will be no refunds for cancellations after March 31, 2017, late arrivals, or early departures. This policy applies even if the cancellations are for medical reasons.

Isabella Freedman reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. In the event of such a cancellation, you will receive a complete refund.

Inclement Weather: Isabella Freedman reserves the right to cancel a retreat due to inclement weather if, in its judgment, it will be unable to operate safely. In the event of such a cancellation, a full refund will be made to all registrants. In the event that the retreat proceeds as scheduled, no refund or credit will be available.

If you have any further questions, please call the Registration Office at (860) 824-5991 x0.