Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
Sukkahfest: Harvest Festival Celebration at Isabella Freedman
Please Note: Unfortunately, we are unable to run a Simchat Torah retreat this year.
Welcoming guests to Isabella Freedman! (In a thoughtful, socially-distancing manner.) Highlights include:
- Daily yoga, classes, guided hikes, farm tours, etc.
- Nightly fargbrengens in the Sukkah: songs, Torah, merriment
- Farm to table feasts with Adamah Farm and Grow and Behold products
- Simchat Beit HaShoeivah ritual
- “Camp Teva” kids program for ages 5-12
* See below for Registration Options • Retreat Programming • FAQs *
Registration rates are the same for both parts of the holiday. Please register under each event to join us for both.
Each lodging type has various room set ups to accommodate solo guests, couples, friends, and families.
- Standard lodging:
- Standard rooms all have private room entrances and private bathrooms.
- $1040 per adult 16+
- $1660 for single occupancy
- Basic lodging:
- Basic rooms are set up as two-room suites which share an entrance and bathroom.
- $990 for single occupancy
- Dormitory lodging:
- Dormitory buildings have shared bathrooms down an internal hallway.
- Children under the age of 16 registered at the reduced price are housed in the same room as their parents. For children to have a separate room, they must be registered as adults.
- $215 (ages 5-15)
Classes and Activities
Our various educators lead a series of outdoor classes throughout the holiday, as well as yoga, tours of our organic farm, and guided hikes on our trails. While many of our activities are family friendly, there will also be some dedicated programs for kids. These will make use of our farm and the natural environment of the retreat center.
We provide dinner on your arrival day, three meals each full day of your stay, and breakfast on your departure day. Our kitchen and dining room are glatt kosher under supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission. Please share any dietary needs upon registering. We can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or dairy free, and will do our best to accommodate other allergies or dietary needs. Each guest room / suite has a mini-fridge: We ask to limit the amount of food eaten in your rooms and to be mindful of trash, given the wildlife in our location.
We are still solidifying our line up, stay tuned! We will be offering two prayer options. Our prayer options will take place under tents outdoors.
• Orthodox Minyan led by Rabbi Avram Mlotek and Hody Nemes, with mehitza separating men and women.
• Traditional Egalitarian Minyan led by Rabbi Ezra Weinberg and Kohenet Shamirah Chandler
mixed seating, no instruments or amplification.
Leaders and Teachers:
More bios coming soon!
Kohenet Shamirah AKA Sarah Chandler is a Jewish experiential educator, community activist, and earth-based spiritual leader. Her ritual craft and prayer leadership is well-known from the Isabella Freedman Shavuot Goat Parade and Sukkot Water Drawing celebration. She holds a M.A. in Jewish Experiential Education and a M.A. in Hebrew Bible from the JTS, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Jewish Communal Leadership from Columbia University. She teaches, writes and consults on a national level on issues related to Judaism, earth-based spiritual practice, the environment, mindfulness, food values, and farming.
Laynie Soloman (they/them) is a passionate teacher of Jewish text and thought who believes deeply in the power of talmud Torah (learning and expressing ourselves through Torah) as a healing and liberatory spiritual practice. They serve as the Associate Rosh Yeshiva & Director of Transformative Leadership at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, where they direct SVARA’s Teaching Kollel and co-founded the Trans Halakha Project. Their work seeks to uplift the piously irreverent, queer, and subversive spirit of rabbinic text and theology, and they have taught in a wide range of communal spaces, including at Yeshivat Hadar, Romemu Yeshiva, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Laynie is an Ashkenazi third generation Philadelphian, and when they’re not learning Talmud, you can find Laynie reading about liberation theology, collecting comic books, and singing nigunim.
Rabbi Ezra Weinberg is a wearer of many hats. He’s a community builder, camp professional, teacher of multi-faith education, and innovator of Jewish ritual. Ezra recently moved to Philadelphia. Ordained through the Reconstructionist movement, Ezra is at home in a variety of Jewish settings, from traditional to secular. The highlight of his year is Hazon’s Sukkahfest holiday retreat, nicknamed “All Streams, One Source,” where he serves as a retreat and ritual leader.
Excited? Us too! Have questions? Email email@example.com!
Sukkahfest is a singular event – perhaps the most joyous, and almost certainly the most diverse celebration of the holiday of Sukkot on planet Earth. It takes the full spectrum of the community to manifest the joy of Sukkahfest at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Everyone is welcome – all ages, all streams: Ḥasidic, Renewal, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Secular, ‘Just Jewish’ – all colors, all identities – we strive to include all ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations – and people from all financial backgrounds as well.
All Streams of Judaism flow from One Source! “AllStream” is our name for the gathering of diverse Jewish communities at Sukkahfest. AllStream (rather than “Mainstream”) Judaism seeks to validate all streams of Jewish spiritual expression, recognizing that All of the ways of being Jewish flow from and return to One Source.
Guest Conduct: Each guest will be required to be either a) fully vaccinated as of September 6th, or b) have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your arrival with the expectation that you will self isolate until you arrive on campus. If you arrive without meeting either requirement 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 when indoors, and abiding by posted signage regarding masks.
Meals: Each group or family will have their own designated table to use in our Dining Tent. Food will be served from a buffet inside – depending on the COVID guidance at the time, we may ask that all guests wear masks while on the buffet line.
Prayer and Program Spaces: Our indoor synagogue space will be used for yoga and will have a max capacity based on COVID guidelines at the time. Our other indoor spaces will not be used for programming, but are available to lounge in.
Each prayer option will convene under a tent, which will also be used for classes and other outdoor activities as needed. We also will have our fire pit area set up with benches for gathering outside and the lake will be available for boating.
We are committed to obeying the current rules of the Connecticut reopening plan 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. We have been operating in various limited capacities since the summer of 2020 with no confirmed COVID cases or spread. We have strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in place.
All rooms will have been thoroughly cleaned before your arrival, and will have been vacant for at least 48 hours in between guests.
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.
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.
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.
Given the short nature of the program, we do not provide housekeeping. If something small is needed, upon request we can arrange a time that works so that there is a gap between staff in your room.
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.
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 on our site. Being near your primary care doctor is best.
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 Sept 5 without penalty. If you cancel within 14 days of Sukkot the fee is non-refundable. If you have to leave early or arrive late, there are no refunds.