Shavuot Retreat: Remembering Reb Zalman’s Torah of the Future

May 22, 2015 - May 26, 2015

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

register now


Shavuot is the time when the community gathers around the mountain, and makes pilgrimage to a holy place, for the ultimate transformative experience. 
—Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi זצ׳ל

This year, we Remember the Torah of the Future – the legacy of Reb Zalman זצ׳ל for all of us to discover. Join us for an immersive holiday experience unlike any other.

presented by Elat Chayyim in partnership with ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rimon Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality, Beacon Hebrew Alliance, and Kol Hai: Hudson Valley Jewish Renewal

ALEPH_logo textRimon_logo_new2013 72dpi  BHA LOGO - White Background  Kol-Ḥai-Dancer-Stack-410  ECpurple



  • Parade for first-fruits/Bikkurim with Adamah Farm & Fellowship
  • Eco-Kosher farm-to-table feasts & cheesemaking
  • All night vigil with chanting, meditation, text study and more
  • Daybreak outdoor musical Torah service
  • Celebrate & learn with leading lights of Jewish Renewal
  • Outdoor creative children’s program with Camp Teva
  • Featuring Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen and many students of Reb Zalman
  • All-inclusive prices start as low as $127.50 per night – and need-based financial aid is available.
  • Early registration discount available
  • Enjoy the beauty of spring at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
  • AdamahFoods “First Fruits” Farm-to-Feast Kiddush – taste the season’s first harvest from our farm!
  • Midnight Hike to the top of the mountain
  • Kosher Artisanal Cheese tasting and cheesemaking workshop
  • Daily Meditation and Torah Yoga
  • Camp Teva Children’s Program – Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Fun!

Eve Ilsen

Rebbetzin Eve Ilsen is a psychotherapist, teacher, storyteller and singer. She has studied closely with mythologist Joseph Campbell, Eutonia bodywork founder Gerda Alexander, and trained for years in Jerusalem in waking dream and the therapeutic use of imagery with Mme. Colette Aboulker-Muscat. Since returning to the United states in 1986, Ms. Ilsen has also worked in tandem with her husband of blessed memory, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi זצ׳ל, co-creating the Wisdom School, co-leading workshops and partnering at holy day retreats. In 2008, she was ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor. These days, Eve is invoking transformative states by performing in concert, as a singer and a storyteller.

Rabbi Shir Yaakov is a teacher, singer, composer, designer, producer, and “aba” (Dad). He is the leader of an emerging spiritual community in the Hudson Valley, Kol Hai. In addition, he is a lead teacher in DLTI, and he serves both Romemu and ALEPH as Creative Director and is well known as a stage artist and liturgist performing with The Epichorus and Darshan. Working in both Jewish and multi-faith contexts, Shir Yaakov weaves a tapestry of Kabbalistic wisdom, contemporary songwriting and deep personal spirituality to offer a spiritual cultural Judaism that is contemporary, alive, and innovative. He has recorded and released four albums of original music. shiryaakov.com

Aviva Chernick
Aviva Chernick is a singer, award winning composer, teacher and shlichat tzibur, stirring audiences’ and congregations’ hearts and voices in song and prayer. She writes, records and tours internationally, performing original devotional songs in Hebrew, Ladino and English with her Canadian Folk Music Award Nominated ensemble AVIVA and as the lead singer with two-time Juno Award-nominated world music band Jaffa Road. Aviva also facilitates prayer in several congregations in and around Toronto as well as travelling to communities across North America as a guest leader, teacher and facilitator of workshops on freeing the voice and exploring personal and communal relationships to prayer and the Divine. She is the Artistic Director of Tehilah, the newly annual symposium and celebration of prayer and the music of prayer in Toronto. Aviva brings her background in dance and yoga, her practice of mindfulness meditation as well as a love of improvisation to all of her offerings, engaging passionately in an embodied exploration of the voice in song and prayer. avivachernick.com

Brent Spodek
Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek is the rabbi at Beacon Hebrew Alliance. Before that, he served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, and by Newsweek/The Daily Beast as “a rabbi to watch.” Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children, Noa and Abraham. A selection of Brent’s teachings are available here.

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD is an author, educator, midrashist, myth-weaver and ritualist. She is the co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic Jewish seminary. Rabbi Hammer is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, and the co-author of The Hebrew Priestess and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Rabbi Hammer conducts workshops on ancient and contemporary midrash, bibliodrama, creative ritual, kabbalah, Jewish dreamwork, and Jewish cycles of time. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Shoshana Jedwab is a prize-winning Jewish educator and the Jewish Studies Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel Middle School in New York City. She is the founding facilitator of the Makom Drum Circle at the JCC in Manhattan and is a percussionist and performance artist who has trained in bibliodrama and psychodrama. Shoshana has provided empowering drum circles to singles, student, training and bereavement groups. Shoshana has performed with Storahtelling, Chana Rothman, Debbie Friedman, Akiva Wharton, A Song of Solomon, Hebrew Mystical Chant with the Kirtan Rabbi Andrew Hahn, and seasonal events. She is Kohenet’s ritual drummer and also serves on the Kohenet faculty.

Rabbi Or Rose
Rabbi Or Rose is the founding Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College (HC). He also serves as Co-Director of CIRCLE: The Center for Inter-Religious & Communal Leadership Education, a joint venture of HC and Andover Newton Theological School. Rabbi Rose is the author or editor of several articles and books on Jewish spirituality, social justice, and interfaith cooperation. He recently co-edited Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (Jewish Lights, 2011), and My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Inter-Religious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis, 2012). Rabbi Rose is editor of “On Scripture – The Torah,” a weekly Jewish commentary appearing on the Huffington Post, and a member of the advisory committee of Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Ideas. He is currently completing his doctorate at Brandeis University with a thesis on the famed Hasidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev.

Rachel Dewan
 Rachel Dewan, Anusara-Inspired E-RYT, is a graduate of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training.  and in addition to a full schedule of yoga classes, has been teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings, Prenatal Yoga Teacher Trainings, Yoga Therapeutics, and a wide variety of workshops since 2004. She has studied many different yoga styles and regularly immerses herself in a range of both Jewish and yogic texts and practices.  It is Rachel’s ultimate goal as a teacher to cultivate a sense of community in her classes, bring a sense of fullness and joy to her students by inspiring them to expand to their highest possible potential both on and off the mat, and helping them to strengthen their connection to their own unique and divine nature.   Her classes infuse dynamic asana and skillful pranayama (breathwork) and meditation,  interwoven with deep teachings of the heart and spirit, designed to awaken the deepest longing of the soul to connect with it’s Source. Read Rachel’s thoughts on yoga and life here: shreeyogathemes.blogspot.com.


Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman
Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman, MSW is the founder and Executive Director of Rimon: Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality, where she teaches classes in Jewish mysticism, offers compelling, spiritually-based interfaith programs, soulful and contemplative Shabbat/holiday programs and runs a community wide Hevra Kadisha. Rabba Kaya has taught at synagogues throughout the Northeast, Simon’s Rock College of Bard, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and Limmud Boston. Her central focus is the reclaiming of ancient Jewish spiritual wisdom and its transmission for contemporary sensibilities and practical application. Prior to work in the Jewish community, Rabba Kaya worked as a Clinical Social Worker and as a Professional Feng Shui Consultant, having trained with several Feng Shui Masters. Her senior thesis re-envisions synagogue space based on an understanding of ancient universal principles of sacred space applied to the design of the wilderness Tabernacle. Rabba Kaya was ordained at The Academy for Jewish Religion- a non-denominational, pluralistic seminary- and holds an MSW from New York University.

Jewish Renewal practices at Shavuot: Context and Details

We are thrilled to welcome leading renewers of Judaism today to Isabella Freedman for Shavuot. Reb Zalman z”l and his students worked tirelessly for decades to build a Jewish Renewal movement that:

  • infuses ancient Jewish wisdom with a modern socially progressive consciousness;
  • is joyous, participatory, spiritually substantial, profound and engaging;
  • re-imagines practices such as meditation, sacred chant, embodied prayer, healing services, eco-kashrut, transformative ritual, music, and the renewed study of traditional texts;
  • is fiercely and lovingly egalitarian, vigilant in devotion to righteousness in social and political causes, passionate about learning, and holistic in our understanding of the interconnectedness of mind and body, earth ecosystems and human welfare, and the contribution of all religious traditions to gobal well-being;
  • embraces the use of instrumental music as a spiritual tool on Shabbat and Holidays;
  • employs consistent electronic amplification in order to increase access to prayer for all participants during all services; and
  • is committed to holding space for an egalitarian prayer community that includes all genders and often inspiration from the spiritual paths of the rest of our human family while remaining rooted in Jewish tradition and practice.

register now

Register 8 or more weeks in advance and use discount code EARLY15 to receive a 15% discount.
Register 4 – 7 weeks in advance and use discount code EARLY10 to receive a 10% discount.

All-inclusive rates start at $550 per person. Click the “register now” button above for information, room rates, and to register online. Online registration is for full credit card payments only. If you would like to pay in installments, pay by check, or apply approved financial aid, please call 860.24.5991 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 860.24.5991 x0.

We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone.

Click here for information about Financial Aid. »
Hazon is committed to making our Transformative Experiences financially accessible to as many people as possible. We believe that participation in these kinds of events are a core feature of a healthy and sustainable Jewish community in the 21st century. Please note that in our efforts to provide access to our events, we must balance our ability to meet individual requests with our ability to spread our resources among as many participants as possible. You can help support us in this endeavor by considering your request carefully. Financial aid is awarded on a rolling basis. Applications must be received at least two weeks prior to the start date of the event. Please submit your financial aid application prior to registering. If you have any questions, please contact the Registrar at registrar@hazon.org or (860) 824-5991 x0.


apply for financial aid

If you’re new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions for information about where we’re located, arrival and departure times, what to bring, etc.

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

Ahhhh…Shavuot. The Jewish holiday that commemorates when Jews received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The holiday that celebrates the first fruits of the season. And the (only?) Jewish holiday where vegetarians don’t feel marginalized by a table crammed with meat-heavy dishes.

Shavuot also coincides with the annual wheat harvest in Israel, and in the days of the Temple, ancient Jews would bring their first fruits as sacrifices to God. In this time of bounty we are encouraged to give of ourselves and reflect on the gifts that the earth provides.

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

shavuot resources