Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
Save the date! More info about 2020 coming soon.
A Weekend of Jewish Song Singing and Sharing
Let My People Sing! believes in the liberatory potential of song and the importance of a vibrant Jewish singing culture.
The retreat will be structured around Shabbat, singing intensives, hour-long song sharing and teaching sessions, and community sings – with plenty of time to explore the farm, swim in the lake, or go on a hike.
Let My People Sing! brings together singing traditions across Jewish time and space– from ancient to contemporary music, and everything in between. We sing in Ladino, Hebrew, Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Aramaic, and in languages from around the world— wherever Jews dwelled in diaspora, they sang, and we are still singing! Our project includes restoring lost or broken lineages of cultural and ancestral transmission, and simultaneously elevating, celebrating, learning and teaching the incredible new music coming out of our communities. Through this work we connect to our spiritual, familial and chosen ancestors, we heal trauma, and we deepen our human interconnectedness.
At Let My People Sing! everyone can be a leader and a learner of song. Our retreats are a place to practice and develop leadership and new skills with the support, mentorship, and love of the core team, the teachers, and the entire community. Our vision is for more kinds of people to learn how to embody and lead Jewish music and tradition, transforming us individually and transforming Judaism as a whole. This is a project of spreading seeds of song that go out into the world to sprout new singing communities and a justice-based singing culture far and wide. We create retreats where people can experience the potential of liberation by connecting closely in communal spaces.
Sessions will be led by a wide array of song leaders using a variety of formats. Some will include histories and stories, others will just be about singing the songs themselves. No instruments will be used on Shabbat unless otherwise noted.
Shabbat services will be offered Friday night and Saturday morning. There will be multiple davenning options:
Creative Minyan: This prayer option will include creative interpretations of traditional Jewish prayer structure using a variety of spiritual practices. The services
will combine singing, exploration of specific verses, instruments, and meditation. There is no Jewish prayer experience needed: this is a service that is open and
accessible to all. It is an experimental prayer space that values heart and spirit-based experience.
Traditional Egalitarian: Our traditional egalitarian services will be siddur (prayer book) based, and include a full liturgy. Services welcome people of all genders and will be songful, spirited, and participatory. We are open to anyone and everyone, regardless of background or prior experience with this kind of prayer.
Orthodox: Join us for a soul-stirring, song-infused traditional tefillah (prayer). There will be a tri-chitza, a partition separating a men’s, women’s, and all genders section.
Time to sing all together!
Jewish Outdoor, Food & Environmental Fun!
Make pickles, explore the woods, and take a tour of the farm alongside our Adamah fellows
Submit a Session Proposal
This summer’s Let My People Sing! song sessions will be entirely led by participants. We welcome all participants to submit a proposal to lead an hour-long song singing and/or sharing session. Upon registering you will have the opportunity to submit a proposal.
2019 Lead Teachers
Rahel Musleah, through the vivid prism of her family’s story, introduces audiences to the distinctive heritage of the Jews of India and Iraq. The seventh generation of a Calcutta family, she traces her roots to seventeenth-century Baghdad. Her multi-media visual, song, and story presentations and Shabbat programming featuring Baghdadi-Indian tropes and melodies offer a rare and intimate view of a rich culture little-known to most.
Rahel is an award-winning journalist, author, singer, speaker, and educator. She also leads tours of Jewish India informed by her distinctive “insider’s” perspective. Her next tours are scheduled for Nov. 7-20, 2019 and Feb. 13-26, 2020.
Rahel is a graduate of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She sings with New York’s Zamir Chorale and enjoys Israeli dancing. She lives in Roslyn Heights, NY, and is passing down the legacy of the Indian Jewish community to her two children, Shira and Shoshana. Visit her websites: www.rahelsjewishindia.com, and www.explorejewishindia.com.
Anat Halevy Hochberg is a Brooklyn-based musician, teacher, and ritual leader. Anat grounds her practice as a ba’al tefila (prayer leader) in her study of traditional Jewish text and connection with the Earth and the Divine. She is influenced by her training as a classical musician, earth-based experiential Jewish ritual and education, and family and community traditions (from Israel, Poland, Hungary, Yemen, Boston, and beyond). Anat has a passion for leading song and seeks to empower and back others in raising their voices. Anat performs as a solo artist and with collaborators, and has recently recorded with artists such as Joey Weisenberg, Miriam Marges, and George Mordecai. She recently completed two years of study at Yeshivat Hadar and was a Fellow in the Rising Song Institute. Learn more about her work at anathalevyhochberg.com.
Naftali Ejdelman, a native Yiddish speaker and lifelong teacher, uses Yiddish education as a way to connect people to each other and to their roots. He currently teaches Yiddish and runs a Yiddish Havura in Northampton, MA and teaches middle school math at the Lubavicher Yeshiva Academy in Longmeadow, MA. Naftali will be sharing Yiddish songs from his great-aunt and great grandmother, both of whom were renowned Yiddish singers.
2019 Featured Teacher
Arielle Korman played violin for Simchat Torah for the first time in the second grade (those hakafot don’t feel any less endless now that she is an adult.) Jewish music has always been a part of the air she breathes. She remembers standing in the middle of her living room as a child discovering that she could belt out the niggun-inspired parts of Fiddler on the Roof most successfully when in character, adopting an over-the-top cantorial-ness. She has since changed her singing vibe quite a bit, but after a l’chaim or two, who knows what might come out? For the past few years, Arielle has been writing her own Jewish melodies and songs, sharing several at Kehilat Romemu where she is a periodic davening leader. A violinist, singer-songwriter, and visual artist, Arielle finds home as a cultural organizer at JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice). She is also a co-founder of the JOC (Jews of Color) Torah Academy and an active member of Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change. She has taught at the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute, tutors b’nai mitzvah students, and recently has begun facilitating trainings to combat antisemitism. Arielle is currently pursuing a PhD. in Religion (Jewish Studies) at Columbia University.
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.
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.