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Pesach 2022

Apr 15, 2022 - Apr 24, 2022

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Head to the Berkshires for a beautiful, engaging Pesach retreat.

Experience freedom – celebrate Passover surrounded by the beautiful foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Enjoy classes from our best teachers and delicious Kosher-for-Pesach fare. Our schedule is packed with activities for the whole family. Nourish your mind, body, and soul on one of the best Passover vacations you’ll ever have!

We are improving our systems! Please use this temporary phone number during our transition to a better telecommunication system: 212.644.2332 then press 3.

Retreat Overview

Pesach at Isabella Freedman will feature programs and activities for adults and kids, farm-to-table kosher-for-Passover meals (featuring chalov Yisrael dairy products, ethically-sourced Glatt kosher meat; vegan, vegetarian, and non-gebrochts options available), communal Seders (semi-private options available) and daily soulful orthodox davening.

Pricing

We are SOLD OUT for all of Pesach. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email registrar@hazon.org or call 212-644-2332 ext 305.

Programming Highlights

Seders: There are two options for each Seder. You can join a communal seder in our Dining Room led by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein with help from other rabbinic staff, or choose to hold your own semi-private Seder as a family unit in our Library.
Classes: Throughout the week, we will have many Torah classes and text study opportunities on a variety of topics presented by renowned teachers and scholars. We will also offer experiential classes with themes of the environment and the natural world.
Other Activities: We will offer pickling, cheese making, boating, a concert, a silent film with live musical accompaniment, an improv class, a gallery talk, personal writing workshops, tours of our organic farm and barnyard, guided hikes on our trails, extended hiking options, daily gentle yoga, and more. We will have an Earth-Day themed Shabbat dinner during the last days of Pesach.

Davening: We will have three daily minyans and Torah reading with soulful traditional orthodox davening, including traditional leadership roles. Our davening space will have a vertical mechitza down the middle. During Chol HaMoed, we will offer daily musical Hallel. Attendance of all guests to our minyanim is welcome!

Teachers

Rabbi Isaiah Joseph Rothstein
Lead Rabbi

Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor at The Jewish Federations of North America

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Isaiah Rothstein serves as Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor at Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and leads the JEDI (Jewish equity, diversity and inclusion) and racial justice initiatives.  Growing up in a multi-racial Chabad family in Monsey, NY he sees himself as a human bridge, connecting disparate parts of the Jewish community and America. He received his rabbinic ordination (semicha) and masters of social work from Yeshiva University. Isaiah also served as rabbi-in-residence at Hazon, Spiritual Leader at Carmel Academy, youth director at the Young Israel of Stamford and teacher at Camp Yavneh.  Isaiah is a member of the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI Fellowship and was listed as one of the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36.

Yoetzet Halakah Zissy Turner
Scholar in Residence

Judaic studies faculty at SAR High School and Yoetzet Halakha

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Zissy Turner serves on the Judaic studies faculty at Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) High School in Riverdale, NY, teaching Tanakh and Gemara. She is certified as a Yoetzet Halakha through Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center. Zissy has previously served as Community Educator at Lincoln Square Synagogue, where she facilitated programs and initiatives to engage and teach the vibrant Upper West Side community. Zissy is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmud Study (GPATS) where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow/ Davidson Scholar.  Zissy has taught in diverse communities across the United States and Great Britain, sharing her love for Torah and Mitzvot with Jews in all stages of life.

Rabbi Yehuda Witt
Ritual Coordinator and Youth Rabbi

Faculty, Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rabbi in Residence, Beth Israel Congregation

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Rabbi Yehuda Witt is an inclusive, committed Israeli orthodox rabbi and passionate educator dedicated to supporting and inspiring Jews of all ages and backgrounds through learner-centered and community-focused programming. Yehuda is a Montessori trained Educator and received rabbinic ordination (semicha) from Rabbi Riskin at The Straus Rabbinical Seminary in Israel, in addition to receiving an additional certificate in Diaspora Leadership. Yehuda is currently a Head Teacher and Rebbi at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and a Rabbi in residence at Congregation Beth Israel in Schenectady, NY. Yehuda served as the Orthodox Rabbi at Boston University Hillel, the Co-director of the JLIC program at Boston University, and was on the faculty of the Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo semicha program. Yehuda has taught extensively throughout Israel and the US, Yehuda is passionate about sharing Judaism, both the traditional canon as well the richness of its cultural traditions.

Dr. Jon Greenberg
Botanist in Residence

Faculty, Abraham Joshua Heschel High School and Founder of Torah Flora

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Jon Greenberg has been presenting his Torah Flora Biblical and Talmudic botany programs since 2005. Drawing on his doctorate in agronomy from Cornell and his Torah scholarship, his programs demonstrate how honest, intelligent inquiry can resolve many apparent conflicts between science and Torah and enable us to use science to enrich our understanding and appreciation of Torah. In 2021, he published Fruits of Freedom, the Torah Flora Haggadah. Dr. Greenberg teaches science at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in New York.

Dr. Miriam Jaffe
Writer In Residence (Chol Hamoed)

Professor, Rutgers University

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Miriam Jaffe, PhD (English), MSW, is Associate Teaching Professor at Rutgers University. Author, editor, and writing coach for over twenty years, Miriam hopes to inspire people everywhere to write.

Leah Gottfried
Dramaturgist in Residence

Producer, Director, Actress, and founder of  Dignity Entertainment

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Leah Gottfried is an award-winning director, writer, producer and actor, and founder of the production company Dignity Entertainment. She is the creator of the hit web series “Soon By You” which follows young Orthodox Jews living and dating in NYC. Leah graduated with a Film Studies degree from Yeshiva University where she studied drama, screenwriting and TV writing as well as cinematography at NYU. Leah also studied at The Actors Circle in Los Angeles and has taught acting for theater and film for over 10 years.

Rabbi Sam Berkovitz
Torah Teacher

Judaic studies faculty at SAR High School

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Rabbi Sam Berkovitz teaches Tanakh and Machshevet Yisrael at SAR High School in Riverdale, NY. He received semicha at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University and is completing a Master’s Degree in Ancient Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate school of Jewish Studies. He has worked with Dr. Lawrence Schiffman of NYU in editing a new volume on The Temple Scroll, the largest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rabbi Berkovitz has served as Rabbinic Intern at Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City. He has taught in diverse communities across the United States and Great Britain, sharing his unique synthesis of the academy and the Beit Midrash.

Esther Fink
Teacher

Life Coach, Organizational Psychologist and Breslov Teacher

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Esther Fink studies Breslov teachings daily which has transformed her life, and she is committed to passing this learning on. She is a Marketing Strategist who digests difficult and complex theories and principles, helping clients convert their goals into clear and actionable results quickly. She has a Masters in Organizational Psychology from The University of Hartford. She led addiction and recovery groups at Eva’s Village in Paterson, NJ and coaches individuals and business executives on self-development and marketing strategies. Her writing has won awards and appears on blogs, websites and news sites. She has 3 children and lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

Rabbi Joe Wolfson
Torah Teacher (Last Days)

OU-JLIC Rabbi and Co-Director at New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, National Chesed Coordinator OU-JLIC

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Rabbi Joe Wolfson is the OU-JLIC Rabbi at New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Life. He grew up in London and spent ten years studying, working, and loving life in Israel. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Bet Morasha, through which he received hissemikha from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. He thought he was going into politics and did degrees at Cambridge, where he was president of the Jewish Society and UCL. He decided to go into Jewish education and has taught texts on four continents primarily as a faculty member of London School of Jewish Studies. Beyond music, good books, cycling and HBO, Rabbi Joe is passionate about the way in which texts link up to larger issues of Jewish identity. He has worked in areas as diverse as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, religious-secular relations in Israel, and European Jewish communities.

Corinne Shmuel
Torah Teacher (Last Days)

OU-JLIC Educator and Co-Director at New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Life

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Corinne Shmuel comes from Leicester, England, where she grew up in an extremely multi-ethnic society. She studied History of Art at the University of Leeds and the Courtauld Institute of Art. After making Aliyah she decided to take her love of food up a level and trained as a professional chef. She worked in various restaurants and catering companies for a few years, and then took a second ‘gap year’ to immerse herself in the study of Talmud and Tanakh at Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Studies. Corinne’s interests include social justice projects, capoeira, drawing, travel (especially India!), and of course food.

Eli Weinbach
Educator

Rabbinical and Environmental Studies Graduate Student

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Eli Weinbach is an experiential educator for the Jewish people, and strives to manifest his love of the environment and Jewish tradition in a deeply connected world. He worked for Hazon for three years, including as JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming, and Environmental Education) Fellow before transitioning to graduate-level rabbinical and environmental studies. He enjoys pickling and cooking with fake-meat substitutes. Anywhere that people are trying to free themselves from the constraints of conflicting truths, you will find Eli cheering them on.

Nina Embiricos
Yoga Teacher (First Half)

Certified Yoga Teacher

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Nina is a French native who moved to the US a decade ago. Nina trained at the original YogaWorks studio in Santa Monica, CA as well as the Prenatal Yoga Center in NYC, and l’Institut de Gasquet in Paris. She has a gentle approach to the practice, creating a safe space for people to explore their body and breath. Her sequencing is approachable and gives people of all levels a framework to explore within. She loves a slower practice with restorative elements. Nina lives in Litchfield County, CT with her husband and baby.

Zaro Bates Silverwolff
Yoga Teacher and Educator (Second Half)

Certified Yoga Teacher and Social Impact Entrepreneur

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Zaro is a certified yoga teacher and a social impact entrepreneur. In 2016 she co-founded Empress Green – a farming, sustainability, and personal wellness company dedicated to helping people heal and grow through connecting with the beauty in nature and the peace within ourselves. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, she has lived at Isabella Freedman with her husband Asher and son Sahar since January 2021. It is her absolute pleasure to bring a gentle yoga practice to the Pesach retreat.

Dr. Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh
Managing Director of Education, Isabella Freedman

 

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Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh is the Managing Director of Education at Isabella Freedman. He is the co-founder and former director of Adamah, and prior to that he worked as the Director of Teva, and now he leads our efforts to educate all Isabella Freedman guests. He teaches Judaism and ecology, turns the compost piles, maintains the orchards, and supervises and mentors staff and Adamah Fellows.

Janna Siller
Farm Director and Advocacy Coordinator

 

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As the Adamah Farm Director, Janna leads apprentices, residential fellows, and volunteers in growing organic vegetables for the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, local customers, and food banks while maintaining the fields as a resonant learning space. She teaches about growing food, climate change, policy, food systems, and Jewish tradition. As Hazon’s advocacy coordinator, Janna leads grassroots efforts to raise Jewish voices on behalf of a more just and regenerative food system. Janna has been farming since 2005 and has been at Adamah since 2011. Physical work with the community and in the soil informs and inspires her approach as an advocate and educator.

Carly Sugar
Adamah Program Manager

 

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As Adamah Program Manager, Carly is the point of contact for all things Adamah Fellowship. A Summer 2015 Alum, Carly is grateful to return to Falls Village to organize and facilitate dynamic, immersive programming for fellows and alumni.

Carly most recently served as Founding Director of Giving Gardens at Yad Ezra– an educational garden and greenhouse at a kosher food pantry in Detroit’s suburbs. Through her life and work in the city of Detroit, on Anishinaabe land, she has explored the intersection of food skills, Jewish ritual, and social change work, driven by the wisdom of Detroit’s food system workers and activists. Carly enjoys long, often unfruitful, foraging walks in the woods. Carly will be using her expertise from running the admah fellowship to teach guests new skills such as pickling and cheese making.

Bruce Spierer
Public Education Manager, Hazon

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Bruce is the Public Education Manager at Hazon, overseeing and directing the development of public education programs that challenge and support Jewish institutions to develop and integrate commitments to addressing the climate crisis. Bruce brings ten years of experience working in urban agriculture, community composting, and public horticulture. Additionally, Bruce has worked in nonprofit strategic planning and leadership development. He holds a Masters degree from New York University in Environmental Conservation Education focusing on Nonprofit Management. Bruce is an amateur naturalist, lover of composting, and an avid fermenter of food and drink.

 

Camp Teva/ Gan Adamah

Ruthie Hollander
Rosh Gan Adamah

Educator and Jewish Communal Professional

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Ruthie Hollander was born in Germany, grew up in Michigan, and has spent the last six years in the tri-state area. She has worked in Jewish school settings for the last five years and is very passionate about educational accessibility and equality. Ruthie loves inventing new recipes, doing yoga late at night, and finding old bookstores to explore. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Max, her dog Momo, and lots of plants.

Max Hollander
Rosh Camp Teva

Yeshiva University RIETS Semikha Student

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Max Hollander is a New Jersey-based semikha student and Jewish non-profit marketing professional. Max is driven by a love of Torah and a desire to share ideas that he finds powerful and meaningful with others, as well as a passion for learning and knowledge. Max lives in Passaic with his wife Ruthie and his puppy Momo, and attends classes at RIETS and Bernard Revel Graduate School of Judaic Studies.

Asher Dov Landes Silverwolff
Nature-Based Program Director (First Days and Chol Hamoed)

Children’s Outdoor Educator and Social Impact Entrepreneur

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Asher loves nothing more than roaming around the forest hunting for wild berries and aromatic evergreens, and building fire to warm the hearts of those he takes along with him. Asher hails from Melbourne, Australia. His childhood trips in the bush featured fishing for Yabbies, cooking over the fire, and whitewater rafting on blow-up mattresses. By some divine miracle, he managed to survive the deadly snakes and spiders and now happily resides in the Northeast with his wife, Zaro, and son, Sahar. After more than a decade as a chef and many seasons of farming, he has returned to his roots and first love—guiding and empowering young people to experience their best selves in harmony with nature.

Arielle Aronoff
Nature Based Program Specialist and Program Consultant (Second Days) 

Nature Based Children’s Educator

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Arielle Aronoff is the former Director of Teva, the outdoor education program of Hazon at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. A graduate of Kibbutz Lotan’s Green Apprenticeship Program, Arielle brings knowledge of the intersections of Judaism and ecology in education and seeks to create a learning environment in which children’s natural inclination for play, exploration, and curiosity can be engaged while they develop a meaningful relationship to Jewish tradition and the land.  

Ally Cooper
Lead Educator, Camp Teva/Gan Adamah

Teacher at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva

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Ally Cooper is a teacher who has worked in the education field for the last 12 years. She earned her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College and her Montessori Certification from Princeton Center for Teacher’s Education. Ally currently teaches English and Math at a yeshiva day school in Edison, NJ. She is passionate about working with children and exploring their curiosity and wonder about the world around them. Ally and her two daughters, Leora and Natalie, live in Highland Park, NJ.

Chana Reingold
Camp Teva Specialist

Independent Judaics teacher/ Childcare provider

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Chana Reingold is a Crown Height-based educator and personal chef with a passion for mitzves, elevating the mundane, sunlight, esoterica, self-improvement and connecting others. She brings over a decade of experience working with children and 15 years in hospitality with her to this Pesach.

Aidelle Rubin
Gan Adamah Specialist

Childcare Professional 

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Aidelle Rubin is an Adamah Alum and since the pandemic has worked with and taken care of children whether at school, camp, or nannying. She enjoys singing songs, and bringing the joy of creativity into the lives of others.

Matthew Feiler
Camp Teva Specialist

Associate Judaics Teacher at The Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County 

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Matthew (Matt) Feiler lives in River Vale, NJ. He currently works as an Associate Judaics Teacher at The Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, in New Milford, NJ. In this academic setting, he teaches 3rd and 4th graders Humash, Parsha, and Safa. He has been working with younger individuals in different capacities for 9 years now. Throughout these 9 years he has worked as a teacher, camp counselor, and Jewish Youth Advisor. On Sundays, Matt hosts a weekly radio show called The Jewish Music Show with the goal of highlighting songs and musical artists whose work centers around representing Judaism and celebrates its very existence. Matt is super stoked to meet the kids participating in the kids activities this Pesach and helping to provide them with an enjoyable filled chag experience.

Retreat Staff

Sarah Zell Young
Retreat Programming Director (Adult and Kids Programs)

 

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Sarah Zell Young is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Interim Director of Retreats at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Sarah comes to Hazon with over a decade of educational and nonprofit management experience. She most recently was the Director of Finance at a flagship Jewish day school and a co-director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Boston University partnering with Hillel. While living In Israel, she earned a certificate in educational and spiritual leadership at the Claudia Cohen Women’s Educators Institute, was an inaugural art fellow at Pardes, and a Dorot Fellow. Sarah is also a certified Urban Zen Integrative Therapist and an award-winning visual artist and is excited to be bringing her creativity to an organization that shares her values of learning from the wisdom of Jewish tradition to create a sustainable world for all.

Simone Stallman
Retreat Hospitality Director

 

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Simone Stallman is the Managing Director of Hospitality at Isabella Freedman. She comes to Hazon with extensive experience in hospitality management, event planning and catering and has had various roles at Isabella Freedman since 2017. A native New Yorker, Simone spends her time both at Isabella Freedman and in the East Village in New York City. She studied fashion and art at Syracuse University and enjoys going to see live music, snowboarding, cooking and spending time with her pup, Magenta.

The Food We Serve

Our kitchen and dining room are glatt kosher under supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission. During Pesach, we understand that folks come here with a wide range of observances and traditions, and we strive to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and nourished. Please indicate any special dietary needs when you register. We can provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free options and we will do our best to accommodate all your food allergies or other dietary needs.

Read More: The Food We Serve


Dairy: All of our dairy – milk, cheese, and yogurt – is Cholov Yisroel.

Kitniyot: We do not serve kitniyot during Pesach.

Gebrochts: We do serve gebrochts throughout Pesach, however there are non-gebrochts/gluten-free options at each meal.

Meals: We will serve three meals each full day of your stay. Only dinner will be provided on your arrival day and breakfast on your departure day. Ahead of the late Seders we also serve an earlier light supper. Seders and holiday meals at the start and end will have assigned tables. Your choice of dining will remain the same the entire program.

Each guest room / suite is equipped with a mini-fridge. We ask though that guests limit the amount of food eaten in your rooms and to be mindful of trash, given the area wildlife in our remote location.

COVID-19 Precautions

Prayer and Program Spaces: We will be holding spirited Orthodox services in our indoor synagogue each day. Every indoor space will be sanitized and deep cleaned multiple times throughout the day. Weather permitting, we will utilize our various outdoor locations for programming as much as possible.

Read More: COVID-19 Precautions


Guest Conduct: Each guest will be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test (rapid tests will not be accepted), even if you have been vaccinated, 72 hours prior to your arrival with the expectation that you will self isolate until you arrive on campus. If you arrive without your test results we will not allow you to attend the program. We will also be asking all guests to sign a waiver and questionnaire regarding our COVID-19 practices and your potential exposure or recent symptoms. We ask that everyone acknowledge a set of guidelines, including keeping a distance between guests not in your group and being masked at all times while around other guests (other than when actively eating in our dining spaces).

FAQs

Is it safe for me to come?


We are committed to obeying the local, state, and federal guidelines related to Covid-19 and taking additional precautions. Our goal is not only to open safely, but to create confidence in our entire community of guests, employees, vendors, and contractors. All guests are required to provide a recent negative PCR test ahead of arrival. We have strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in place.

We have held similar style of programming since June 2020, including hosting large retreats for the past holidays with great success and no COVID spread.


Is my room safe and clean?


All rooms will have been thoroughly cleaned before your arrival. If you are coming for a partial stay, our schedule allows for our room to be vacant for 24 hours in between guests.

Do you have a medical personal on staff?


No. For non-COVID-19-related problems you can visit Sharon Hospital Emergency department (24 hr) or Torrington Urgent Care Center (8-8 weekdays / 9-5 weekends).

If you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your primary care provider for medical advice, and please let our lead staff know.


Is Isabella Freedman definitely running Pesach?


We’ve learned that nothing is certain right now. We also know that even though current guidelines allow us to open for this style of retreat, those guidelines may change or there may be other reasons that preclude us from being able to run. See our Cancellation Policy below for more details.

Do you provide transportation / pick up / drop off service?


You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Our local taxi service is Watson Livery, 845-464-8178, which can pick up from the Wassaic Train Station. More information.

Is housekeeping included? Can I request housekeeping service?


Housekeeping is provided upon request. We will arrange a time that works so that there is a gap between staff in your room. Expect a 24 hour window from when you request housekeeping services to when they are completed. Extra sheets and towels will also be provided upon request. There is no laundry on site. If you require laundry services we recommend that you use a local laundromat or bring enough clothes for your time here.

How do I communicate with your staff?


We will provide a phone number upon arrival which you can use to contact our staff on duty.
In the event of a medical emergency, please call 911 from your cell phone, OR 9-911 from any landline phone on campus. After calling 911, please contact a retreat manager as well.

What if I get sick? Do not feel well?


If you or any member of your family / group gets sick, you have to return to your home immediately. We cannot allow guests to be quarantined long-term on our site. Being near your primary care doctor is best.

What's the cancellation policy?

Cancellation Policy

If Hazon cancels for any reason we will refund your money in full. If you get sick and are unable to attend we will refund your money in full.

You are able to cancel your reservation until February 15 without penalty, less a $50 processing fee. Between February 16th and 30 days prior to Pesach 50% of your fee is refundable. If you cancel within 30 days of Pesach the fee is non-refundable but can be transferred to the following year. If you have to leave early or arrive late, there are no refunds.