Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
It is with deep regret that, in light of the current state of the world, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel this 2020 retreat.
Mónica Gomery is the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors and was raised by her Venezuelan Ashkenazi family in Boston and Caracas. She was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in June 2017, and currently builds queer Jewish community as the Associate Director of National Learning at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, and builds the songful Jewish left as the Music Director of Kol Tzedek Synagogue in Philadelphia. Mónica is passionate about supporting people who have been denied access to, disconnected from, and marginalized by ancient and ancestral spiritual traditions to gain access to these traditions as a resource for empowerment and transformation in their lives, so that they can become vessels for healing and justice in the world. She is deeply grateful to the vibrant singing community at Let My People Sing! which has enlivened in her the lost voices of her ancestors.
Ilana Lerman loves to interweave song throughout her political meetings and actions, her spiritual practice as well as her moped rides throughout Brooklyn, NY where she currently lives. Ilana is the Spiritual & Cultural Life Organizer at Jewish Voice for Peace where she feels blessed to work with visionary rabbis and ritual leaders fighting and praying for a more free and just world. Growing up surrounded by music and song, and as a graduate from Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra program for chant leaders, Ilana is humbled by the power singing can bring to healing the brokenness in our bodies and in our world. Leading and learning through song is a gift!
Noam Lerman grew up in Milwaukee, WI announcing songs for their father’s weekly Jewish radio show, and deeply connecting to music from Jewish communities around the world. They play drum, fingerstyle guitar, mandolin, and jawharp, and they are in love with nigunim, Yiddish folk songs, and laments. Noam started Der Yiddish Tekhines Proyekt, a project where new melodies are pared with excerpts of old Yiddish women’s prayers so we can learn and chant them today. Noam is passionate about cultivating singing as a spiritual, radical, and meditative practice – one that can be a non-hierarchical collective experience for people to create intentional sacred space with their voices. They are currently a Rabbinical student at Hebrew College, and are training to be a chaplain for incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals fighting for healing and liberation.
Batya Levine is a Jewish educator, ritual leader, facilitator, and musician. She leads spirited prayer and song in a variety of communities, including Isabella Freedman, Linke Fligl, SVARA, and Kavod Boston. She enjoys playing guitar, mandolin, and table-drumming, though voice is her primary instrument. Batya writes original music and her songs have traveled across prayer spaces and street protests, connecting people to themselves, each other, and spirit. Coming from a lineage of Jewish musicians, she has learned to use music as a powerful tool for healing and transformation. Batya is dedicated to carrying this practice forward, building resilience and interconnection on individual and communal levels. She is also an avid lover of pond swims, dance parties, and puns.
Margot Seigle is an organizer, community builder & radical dreamer who co-runs a queer Jewish chicken farm called Linke Fligl (left wing in yiddish). Margot hails from the midwest, currently lives in the Hudson Valley, and calls the queer Jewish diaspora home. Margot’s musical endeavors began at age 4 when they started learning violin by ear, and have since evolved to include song singing and leading. Since doing ADAMAH in 2012, singing has become a central tool for personal work, spiritual connection, community building, and ritual holding. Through this, Margot has witnessed the liberatory potential of song and is so grateful for the opportunity to co-create a space that holds that vision.
Our scholarship for Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sefardi & Mizrahi Jews
Thanks to community fundraising efforts, Let My People Sing! is now able to offer financial support specifically for Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sefardi, and Mizrahi Jews to come to our retreat.
One of LMPS’ primary goals is to expand the body of Jewish song that is uplifted in our communal spaces. We want our music to reflect our multiracial and diverse communities, and to reimagine who is at the center of Jewish life. We see this as necessary, given the ways that Ashkenazi heritage and whiteness have been dominant within Jewish communities particularly in the United States. Our project includes restoring lost, broken, or marginalized lineages of cultural and ancestral transmission, and simultaneously elevating and celebrating the incredible new music being created right now. We seek to lift up teachers and transmitters of traditional Mizrahi and Sefardi music, as well as Jews of Color and Indigenous Jews who are teaching and creating both old and new lineages of song. We’re excited to make it financially possible for more JOCISM to attend LMPS this year, and to support the cultural organizing and community-building that JOCISM folks are doing right now across the United States and around the world.
Every summer our lead teacher team has included lead JOCISM musicians teaching their musical lineages, and this summer we are thrilled to have incredible JOCISM teachers bringing their wisdom to the retreat!
If you identify as JOCISM and would like to apply for financial aid, please fill out this questionnaire.
Note: We *also* love to sing Ashkenazi music, and music created by Ashkenazi and/or white Jews at LMPS. Additionally, we recognize that JOCISM may identify with Ashkenazi ritual, music, and/or culture. This retreat is for everyone, and you’re welcome to come exactly as who you are! If this paradigm is new for you, LMPS will be an amazing opportunity to learn more about racial justice and Jewish diversity through song.
*** Scholarships are also available through the Tamar Fund at Isabella Freedman (see below), and we strongly encourage people with identities often marginalized in Jewish communities, including disabled people, trans, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people, and working class and poor people to apply. LMPS is reshaping Jewish culture, community, and practice, and we really want YOU there! ***
Tamar Fund Scholarship
We strive to make our retreats affordable to everyone.
We believe retreats are important experiences to be shared. Inclusiveness is one of our core values. We strive to ensure that our retreats are as financially accessible as possible. The Tamar fund makes that aspiration possible. The Tamar Fund is in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.
Please be sure to read the application guidelines in the form below
Parents, you can relax into the retreat, knowing that your children are playing and learning with exceptional Jewish experiential educators.
We have an engaging, thoughtful, and fun Camp Teva program planned for children ages 5-12.
Gan Adamah is for children ages 2-4. Parents/Guardians can choose to drop off their children or stay with them. Gan Adamah provides a safe and engaging space for toddlers to play, explore, sing, and move. Programming is from 9am – 12pm each morning of the retreat, except arrival and departure days.
When you register kids during your event registration process, they are automatically enrolled in Camp Teva! All-inclusive kids’ rates include Camp Teva programming.