Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
with Diane Bloomfield
Jewish mystics teach that the first light is connected to G-d’s essence. Because the first light is so powerful, G-d hides it… However the hidden light can be found. It can be found everywhere… With the practice of yoga, you can look for, find, and reveal to the world the power and beauty of the mysterious hidden light within you.
Each morning, Diane will lead a yoga practice that is integrated with a Jewish teaching. Each session will focus on a different family of thoughtfully sequenced yoga poses including standing poses, forward bends, back bends, and beginning inversions, so that throughout the week we will cover a wide and balanced range of poses. These yoga sessions are suitable for all levels of experience. Trained Torah Yoga assistants will be available to help individual students adapt the poses as needed.
Each afternoon, students will learn the Torah text from that morning’s practice through classical shiurim (teacher-led Torah), group discussions, traditional Jewish chevruta (study with a partner), chanting, meditation and other mindfulness practices. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary because we will examine original Hebrew texts together with their English translations. At the end of each day, the afternoon Torah study sessions will be integrated back into a series of restorative yoga postures, breath work or other mindfulness practice.
In the early mornings and late afternoons, there will be Torah Yoga classes offered to the whole community by alumni of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality teacher training program. There will also be the opportunity to join the Davennen’ Leadership Training Institute community for prayer services.
In the evenings, we will be treated to experiential learning sessions connected to our theme.
One of the most precious practices in the Jewish tradition is called Torah Lishma, the study of Torah for its own sake, with no other goal in mind. A primary goal of this course is for students to taste the sweetness of Torah Lishma. Adding yoga to Jewish learning adds a new and unique experiential dimension to Torah Lishma.
Whether they come as teachers, healers, rabbis, cantors, artists, therapists, dancers, or curious learners, students often leave a Torah Yoga retreat with a deep desire to share Torah Yoga with others. Those who are already teaching Torah Yoga will find renewed inspiration and sources from the texts and translations brought to this retreat.
No previous Torah study or yoga practice is required for participation in this retreat. All are welcome: newcomers to Torah Yoga, long-time practitioners, and alumni of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training program.
Special guest teacher Arthur Kurzweil will give a Talmud study class on Thursday afternoon.
Diane Bloomfield is the the author of Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish Wisdom through Classic Postures. Diane lives in Jerusalem, where she teaches ongoing Torah and Torah Yoga classes, live and on the web. Diane has learned Torah since the mid-eighties in yeshivas and with private teachers. She is currently studying the works of Sfat Emet, The Maharal of Prague, The Piazetzner Rebbe, and Rav Kook. Diane is a certified Junior level Iyengar Instructor and a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and has helped train new Torah Yoga teachers for the last 8 years.
Nancy Wolfson-Moche, CHHC, RYT has practiced Anusara, Iyengar and Allan Bateman’s Hatha yoga for over 30 years. A certified Yoga Alliance instructor, she is a graduate of Diane Bloomfield and Rabbi Myriam Klotz’s Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher training. Nancy is a nourishment educator, counselor and writer guiding people in improving their health and well-being through making informed diet and lifestyle choices. She has created several Jewish and secular food awareness curricula for children and adults that she teaches in schools, community centers, camps and privately. Prior to this, Nancy was an editor on Style.com, Glamour, Seventeen, Parents, and Redbook, and her articles have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers. Visit her blog atwww.vfbnancy.com.
Arthur Kurzweil‘s own personal quest eventually led him to explore his spiritual identity, which resulted in his seminal book on Jewish genealogical research, the classic best seller From Generation to Generation. Realizing that there were relatively few serious Jewish books available to the English language reader, Arthur Kurzweil developed what has been described as a visionary plan to transform the experience of the Jewish seeker looking for nourishing Jewish books. During his tenure as an editor and publisher, Arthur Kurzweil has commissioned and published over 700 volumes of Jewish interest.
Arthur is the author of On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz: 25 Years of Pre-Dawn Car Trips, Mind-Blowing Encounters and Inspiring Conversations with a Man of Wisdom. The book is Arthur’s spiritual memoir about his experiences as a student and chauffeur for one of the great Jewish leaders of our time, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Arthur is also the author of Pebbles of Wisdom from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (2009), a collection of teachings on a wide range of subjects by Rabbi Steinsaltz.
Arthur was approached by the famous “for Dummies” series, who invited him to write Kabbalah for Dummies, based on his serious private studies with some of the leading authorities in the field of Kabbalah, and because of Arthur’s reputation as a teacher who is able to explain difficult spiritual concepts in down to earth, accessible language. Arthur is also the author of The Torah for Dummies.
Arthur has had a lifelong passion for books. Trained as a professional librarian, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Book Club for 17 years, past president of the Jewish Book Council, Judaica acquisitions editor and literary agent, Arthur Kurzweil came to a personal conclusion that the ultimate book for him is the one often described as the cornerstone of Jewish culture, the Talmud.
With the guidance of his teacher, the renowned Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Arthur Kurzweil has inspired many people across the United States to discover and get entangled with the Talmud. As the Coordinator of the Talmud Circle Project, under the direction of Rabbi Steinsaltz, Arthur Kurzweil’s mission has been to introduce the Talmud to Jewish spiritual seekers. He has been the catalyst for many individuals as well as synagogue groups who now study Talmud regularly.
Arthur Kurzweil is also an accomplished magician. A member of the Society of American Magicians (founded by Harry Houdini) as well as a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Arthur Kurzweil blends his spiritual interests with magical effects, adding his own insights and weaving together an enchanting presentation for his audiences.
|7:00 am||Community Yoga or Morning Tefillah with Davenen Leaders|
|9:30 am||Torah yoga Practice with Iyengar Yoga|
|2:00 pm||Text Study with Restorative Yoga|
|7:30 pm||Evening Program|
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.
We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone.