Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
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 is open to lovers of Jewish song, new and old. Whether you have an abundance of songs in your back pocket you’re excited to share, are longing to expand your repertoire, or are new to Jewish songs altogether, we welcome you to join us! We see the array of Jewish”o songs as expansive, including but not limited to songs based on liturgical text, niggunim (wordless melodies), piyyutim, Jewish folk songs, Hebrew chanting, Jewish labor songs, songs in Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic, Jewish gospel, songs written by Jews, sung by Jews, etc.
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.
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
Aviva Chernick is an award-winning musician who has brought her voice and presence in performance and prayer to audiences and congregations in North America and across the globe for over a dozen years. She garnered critical acclaim and a devoted following as the lead singer of the twice JUNO-nominated group Jaffa Road and was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for her solo music project, a collection of original songs for prayer entitled Eili: When I Arrived You Were Already There. Inspired by her work as a Ba’alat Tefilah (prayer leader), and by her study of the Balkan Judeo-Spanish tradition under the tutelage of the legendary Flory Jagoda, Aviva has crafted a unique new sound defined by her distinctive vocal presence.
Aviva brings her meditation practice and training in the teaching of this practice to all of her work.
It is in her teaching where Aviva integrates all of her learning, facilitating adventures for freeing the voice and studies of the relationship between song and silence in both secular and faith-based contexts.
Koach Baruch Frazier, a BlackQueerTransJew is a healer and musician who is working towards the day everyone experiences liberation. He spends his days helping people reconnect with the world around them through better hearing and providing love and support through revolutionary listening. Koach’s heart beats to the rhythm of tikvah, t’shuvah and tzedek.
Yosef Goldman is a spiritual artist, musician, pastoral caregiver, and activist passionate about building sacred community. Yosef was ordained as a rabbi in 2013 by the Jewish Theological Seminary with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling and holds a Masters in Sacred Music from JTS and a BA from Yeshiva University.
Raised Orthodox in NYC, Yosef has since taught and facilitated sacred prayer space in communities throughout the Jewish denominational spectrum, including B’nai Jeshurun, Romemu, The Carlebach Shul, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. As a singer and percussionist, Yosef has performed and recorded with a wide range of Jewish artists, including Basya Schechter of Pharaoh’s Daughter, Shir Yaakov, Kirtan Rabbi and The Miami Boys Choir, and has curated showcases for the Sephardic Music Festival.
He currently performs as a vocalist with Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, and with the Middle Eastern Jewish music ensemble the Epichorus. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Jewish music collective the Shir Singing Circle, and Creative Advisor to Mechon Hadar’s Rising Song Institute.
Yosef is a rabbi at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia where he lives with his wife, Rabbi Annie Lewis, and their daughter, Zohar.
Ramón Tasat was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, the Manuel de Falla Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a Doctorate degree in Voice Performance. Ramón has toured Europe with world-renowned Dr. Robert Shaw, and he has participated in international festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to television and radio appearances, Ramón has been the recipient of numerous awards including First Place at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center’s Recital Competition and a National Endowment of the Arts Grant.
Here is a sample schedule to give you an idea of the flow of the retreat. This schedule is subject to change.
Thursday, August 3rd
2-5 pm – Check-in
5-5:30 pm Camp Teva Orientation
5-6 pm – Community Sing
6-7 pm – Dinner
7:30-9:30 pm – Community Jam
Friday, August 4th
8-9 am – Avodah Lev / Yoga
9-10 am – Breakfast
10:15 am-12 pm – Song Intensive Part 1
12-1 pm – Lunch
1-2 pm – JOFEE Activity
2-4 pm – Song Intensive Part 2
5-6 pm Camp Teva Kids’ Dinner
5:30-6 pm – Candle Lighting
6-6:45 pm – Let my People Sing!
6:45-8:15 pm – Kabbalat Shabbat
8:30-10 pm – Dinner
10 pm – Community Sing / Tisch
Saturday, August 5th
7-8 am – Yoga
8-9:30 am – Breakfast
8:30 am-12 pm – Shabbat Services
12-1 pm – Lunch
1-2 pm – Community Sing / Hike / Break
2:15-3:15 pm – Song Session Slot 1
3:30-4:30 pm – Song Session Slot 2
4:45-5:45 pm – Free time / Nap Time / Farm Tour / Mincha
5:45-6:45 pm – Song Session Slot 3
6:45-7:45 pm – Dinner
7:45-8:45 pm – Community Sing Back / Ma’ariv
8:45 pm – Havdallah
9:30 pm – Participatory Concert
Sunday, August 6th
7-8 am – Yoga / Avodah Lev / Traditional Schacharit
7:30-9 am – Breakfast
9-10:15 am – Songs of Praise
10:30-11:30 am – Song Session Slot 4
11:45 am-12:30 pm – Closing Circle & Sing
12:30-1 pm – Lunch
Mónica Gomery was honored to receive rabbinical ordination from Hebrew College in June 2017, and is the new Associate Director of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. Her interests include poetry, niggunim, Talmud study, social justice, and pastoral care. She believes that music is at the heart of building spiritual and political community, and loves nothing more than singing with others. She is thrilled to learn and to teach at Let My People Sing!
Ilana Lerman is a community organizer, artist, and herbalist in Boston, MA and loves to interweave song throughout her days, political meetings and actions, and spiritual practice. Ilana is currently a student of Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra program for chant leaders.
Nom Lerman grew up in Milwaukee, WI announcing songs for their father’s weekly Jewish radio show, and deeply connecting to Jewish music from around the world. They play drums, fingerstyle guitar, and jawharp, and they appreciate experimenting with nigunim and Yiddish folk songs. Nom 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. Nom is currently a Rabbinical student at Hebrew College.
Batya Levine is currently a preschool teacher in Boston, and was once a Teva Educator turned Transformational Experience Fellow at Isabella Freedman. She plays a variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, and saxophone, though voice is her primary instrument. Coming from the Jewish lineage of the tribe of Levi, who were the musicians in the Holy Temple, she is dedicated to music for the sake of healing and growth on the individual and communal levels.
Margot Seigle is a community organizer, movement builder, healer, and ritual leader in practice who co-runs a queer Jewish chicken farm called Linke Fligl (left wing in yiddish). She hails from the midwest and currently lives in the Hudson Valley, but calls the Jewish diaspora home. Margot deeply believes in the liberatory potential of song and is so grateful for the opportunity to co-create a space that holds that vision.
Rates and Registration
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. With this belief in mind, the rates for this retreat have been highly discounted.
Please check back for more information.
We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone. Limited scholarships are available, please see the scholarships tab for details.
Tamar Fund Scholarships
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. Read about more about the Tamar Fund, in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.
Please check back for the application.
Guest Pre-Arrival Information
Arrival and Departure
Check-in is from 2 to 5 pm on Thursday, August 3, 2017. Check-in is located in the Main Building — the big red building in the middle of campus. You must be checked out of your room by 10 am on Sunday, August 6, 2017. The retreat will come to an end after lunch on Sunday.
There are two parking lots: one next to the tennis court by the main entrance, and one by the barnyard on the other end of campus. There is also accessible parking located across from the Main Building. Please do not park on the grass anywhere on campus.
For those coming from the New York City area, we are conveniently located just half an hour from Wassaic Train Station, the last stop on the Harlem Line of the Metro North. We offer a shuttle service at the following times:
- 2:03 pm on Thursday from Wassaic Train Station to IF (train departing from Grand Central at 11:47 am)
- 4:03 pm on Thursday from Wassaic Train Station to IF (train departing from Grand Central at 1:47 pm)
- 1:30 pm on Sunday from IF to Wassaic Train Station (train departing from Grant Central at 2:27 pm)
If you have not already reserved shuttle service during registration, please call (860) 824-5991 ext. 0 at least a week before the start date of the retreat to reserve your spot.
For more information on getting here, click here.
Help to reduce the environmental impact of car trips to and from Isabella Freedman by checking out our carpool initiative! Upon registering, you will receive access to a unique rideshare board to help connect you with fellow retreat participants. Offering a ride in your car will help reduce carbon emissions, cut down gas costs and make new friends! If you are looking for a ride, adding yourself to the wait list (on the right hand side of the page) is the best way to be notified when movements occur.
Lead a Song Session
Want to lead an hour-long song singing and/or sharing session during the Let My People Sing Shabbaton? If you submitted your song session proposal when you registered, thank you! We will be in touch with you soon. If you did not submit a song session proposal when you registered, but you’d like to now, please click here to submit your proposal.
One of our mashgichim (kosher supervisors) must pre-approve all food items that enter the designated dining spaces. If you plan to supplement our delicious, healthy, farm-to-feast meals, your items must be completely sealed in original packaging. Unapproved food and drinks may be enjoyed anywhere on campus besides our dining spaces.
You may want to bring:
- Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
- 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
- Camping equipment, including a tent, sleeping bag, and towel if you are camping
- Toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste for sale in the bookstore
- Extra kippot and tallitot, in addition to siddurim
- 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
Keep in mind that you can find all of this information and more on our website. If there are details of your stay or arrival that you still need to share with us here at the retreat center, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Together, we will create an island in time for learning, re-connecting with nature and ourselves, creating new relationships, and for cultivating leadership that is renewing what it means to practice Judaism today. We look forward to seeing you soon!
If you’re new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
Camp Teva for Kids
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.
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! Submit your proposal here, and we will get back to you soon. Please note that session leaders are expected to register as paying participants.