10648281_10152797284104784_1378286983619350130_o
10714532_10152797286424784_5016556060321692866_o
10688186_10152797267879784_579885082599375996_o
10620105_10152797266754784_4756536672558450867_o
1799869_10152797262804784_7985361700139832715_o
10694459_10152775271539784_3058758725226882956_o
1836810_10152794511279784_1985589630137586976_o
10379994_10152794509454784_4200213360967898849_o

Sukkahfest

Sep 23, 2018 - Oct 3, 2018

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Sukkahfest is Isabella Freedman’s annual celebration of the harvest festival in a stunning outdoor setting that promotes a deep connection with nature. Sukkahfest celebrates the diversity of Jewish possibility and will manifest several of those beautiful paths throughout the retreat.

We hope you’ll join us in 5779!

view photos from Sukkahfest 5778


Retreat Highlights:

  • Three minyanim a day: Renewal, Traditional Egalitarian and Orthodox
  • Daily yoga, meditation, chassidut classes, guided hikes, farm tours, etc.
  • Nightly fargbrengens in the Sukkah: songs, Torah, merriment
  • Farm to table feasts featuring Adamah Farm, Grow and Behold Meat, homemade challah, & fine wine
  • Simchat Beit HaShoeivah ritual
  • Awesome “Camp Teva” kids program for ages 5-12

What is Sukkahfest?

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.

The many become one as we all come together in our harvest-adorned lakeside and poolside Sukkahs, seating over 200 revelers, singing together and eating amazing farm-to-table feasts featuring our own Adamah Farm veggies and pickled products, Grow & Behold meats, as well as delicious vegetarian offerings, fine kosher wine, and delicious homemade challah.

While we are essentially one, there are so very many beautiful perspectives to learn from. The Sukkahfest program features learning in various modalities from an incredible range of teachers. Text based learning from Talmudic and Hasidic sources, embodied learning through dance and yoga, experiential learning on the farm and in the forest, interactive group discussions, and more. Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education (JOFEE) is at the core of our programming, along with engaging our spiritual practices and traditions.

What about kids?

Families, singles, friends, and larger groups all attend Sukkahfest. **We are enthusiastic about supporting families on retreat with our signature Camp Teva kid’s program for ages 5-12, which will run throughout the entire Sukkahfest between breakfast and lunch, and then again between lunch and dinner. Younger children are warmly invited to participate with an accompanying parent/guardian.**

What is “AllStream”?

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.

AllStream—beyond pluralism—is a focus on the unity-in-diversity that is the sign of ecological, social, and spiritual wellness. We are proud of the range of teachings and practice this Sukkot, and we hope the connection to people and planet expands in our communal celebrations.

First Days: Sukkot

2017:

Featuring Rabbi David Ingber, Rabbi-Chazan Matti Brown, Rabbi Jill Hammer, Rabbi Shmuel Braun, Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Rebbetzin Bailey Newman Braun, Shoshana Jedwab, Aryeh Bernstein, Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, the ‘First Nights’ segment of the Sukkahfest retreat starts by bringing in holiday of Sukkot on Wednesday evening, October 4. Arrival and check in is from 2-5pm on Wednesday. We begin with a group orientation, lighting candles in the Sukkah, and a festive holiday feast. Evening programming includes a farbrengen/tisch in the Sukkah.

Thursday begins our full holiday programming including our three prayer options: a Ḥasidic-style Orthodox Minyan, a Traditional-Egalitarian Minyan, and a Renewal davennen’ service, all interweaving at various times as appropriate for Hoshannot, Hallel, and Torah readings.  A holiday lunch follows a morning of prayer, song, and ritual, followed by afternoon learning options, outdoor activites, mincha prayers, and candle lighting for day two of the Sukkot Chag. A holiday dinner feast follows and another round of evening programs into Friday, day two of the chag, which will follow a similar pattern – with different teachers, activities, and outdoor experiences – as day one. Our renowned renewal of Simchat Beit HaShoevah – the water-drawing ceremony – will be a feature of day two, along with the other conventional observances of the holiday.

Saturday night we transition from the sacred days of the Sukkot holiday into the ‘intermediate’ days of Chol HaMoed. Those only staying for the first four nights will depart on Sunday after lunch.

Rabbi David Ingber
Rabbi David Ingber was named by Newsweek as one of 2013’s top 50 most influential rabbis in the United States as well as by The Forward as one of the 50 most newsworthy and notable Jews in America. He promotes a renewed Jewish mysticism that integrates meditative mindfulness and physical awareness into mainstream, post-modern Judaism. A major 21st Century Jewish thinker and educator, his rich perspective, open heart and mind, and full-bodied approach to Jewish learning has brought him to speak throughout the United States and worldwide throughout Canada, Europe and Israel.

Rabbi David’s distinct approach to Torah, rabbinical teaching, and ritualistic practice is informed by his own personal seeking and learning from a wide cross-section of sacred traditions and faiths. He is enlightened by Jewish mysticism and Chassidut, fusing these beliefs with those of other ancient philosophies and world views. Particular influences include 18th Century Kabbalist and Founder of Chassidut, Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov; the great 19th Century Ishbitzer Rebbe, R. Mordechai Leiner; and leading 20th Century thinkers from Kabbalist, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook to psychologist, Carl Jung.

Rabbi Ingber has taught at such eminent institutions as the Academy for Jewish Religion, Columbia University, CUNY, Jewish Theological Seminary, Limmud LA, New York University, the 92nd Street Y, Pardes, The Skirball Center at Temple Emmanuel, and Yeshivat HADAR. He sits on the Board of Directors of Aleph and Synagogue 3000 Next Dor’s Working Group of Sacred Emergent Communities where he continues to teach.

Raised Modern Orthodox in New York, Rabbi David studied at several distinguished yeshivot in Jerusalem and New York including Yeshiva University, Beit Midrash L’Torah, Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, and Yeshivat Chovovei Torah Rabbinical School. He also studied philosophy, psychology and religion at New York University. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of Renewal Judaism, ordained Rabbi David in 2004. Prior to founding Romemu, Rabbi David was Rabbi-in-Residence at Elat Chayyim Retreat Center.

 

Rabbi Matti
Before jumping with both feet into the streams of Jewish joy, Rabbi-Chazan Matti Brown passionately sought for an experience of the oneness underlying the world’s wisdom traditions. A mentorship with Rav DovBer Pinson helped him focus and resolve this search, which in turn led him to Jerusalem to study for rabbinic ordination with posek Rav David Fink and educator Reb Sholom Brodt. As a certified life coach and somatics practitioner, Matti loves to turn spiritual teachings of the Torah into penetrating questions for self-investigation, insight and embodiment. As a baal tefillah and songwriter, Matti has helped fill the prayers of hundreds of people with song. He is also an editor of Jewish books, and currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife, the singer and storyteller Rachel Ravitz, and their twin daughters.

 

jill-hammer

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD is an author, educator, midrashist, myth-weaver and ritualist. She is the co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic Jewish seminary. Rabbi Hammer is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, and the co-author of The Hebrew Priestess and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Rabbi Hammer conducts workshops on ancient and contemporary midrash, bibliodrama, creative ritual, kabbalah, Jewish dreamwork, and Jewish cycles of time. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut.

 

image1

Rabbi Shmuel Braun is a teacher, mentor and lecturer, especially known for his ability to take the loftiest concepts in Jewish mysticism and connect them to everyday life in a way that students from any background and level of knowledge can appreciate. Having grown up Modern Orthodox in Woodmere, L.I., Rabbi Braun then spent many years studying at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, in the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem by Reb Meir Soloveitchik, and also in institutions affiliated with Yeshiva University, Munkatch, and Chabad. All this together with his devotion and passion for the humanities facilitated his developing a unique, progressive and inclusive style that engages all people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Besides continuing to lecture and teach, Rabbi Braun is researching and writing his forthcoming book on Kierkegaard’s Existentialism and Chassidic philosophy.

 

shoshanaShoshana Jedwab is a prize-winning Jewish educator and the A.J. Heschel Middle School Jewish Life Coordinator. Shoshana is also a drum circle leader, singer, percussion player and ritualist. Shoshana Jedwab has performed with Kirtan Rabbi, Romemu, Kohenet, Storahtelling/LabShul, Chana Rothman, Debbie Friedman, Rabbi Shefa Gold, Shir Yaakov and Akiva Wharton. Shoshana made a promise to get out from behind her drum and sing. Shoshana Jedwab is currently nearing completion of “I Remember”, her original collection of sacred chants and songs.  You can hear Shoshana Jedwab singing on her unmastered title track, “I Remember”, here: http://shoshanajedwab.bandcamp.com/. Click here for more information and a video about Shoshana Jedwab’s “I Remember” sacred music project: http://www.gofundme.com/irjjuk

 

Kohenet Shamirah

Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, also known as 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. In recent years, she lead high holiday services at Bnai Or in St. Croix USVI, as well as West End Synagogue and Altshul Minyan in New York City. Currently, she is the CCO (Chief Compassion Officer) and team leader at JIFA (Jewish Initiative for Animals) where she works to support Jewish institutions to establish meaningful food policies rooted in Jewish ethics and animal welfare. She previously served as the Director of Earth Based Spiritual Practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm, responsible for Food, Farm and Forest Jewish Educational Programming. She holds a M.A. in Jewish Experiential Education and a M.A. in Hebrew Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary, 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.

 

Rabbi Ezra Weinberg

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 lives and works in Washington Heights with his wife and two children, and is looking to transform the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood where he works as the Jewish program director. His mutual interests in Israel and conflict resolution led him to act as a facilitator and convener for Resetting the Table. 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.

Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Isru Chag

2017:

Featuring Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Aryeh Bernstein, Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, Rabbi Shmuel Braun, Rebbetzin Bailey Newman Braun, and Rabbi-Chazan Matti Brown, the final segment of our Sukkahfest retreat begins with arrival and check in from 2-5pm on Wednesday, October 11. Wednesday night begins the holiday of Shemini Atzeret – both the 8th day of Sukkot, and a holiday in its own right. We will maintain the basic Sukkahfest structure throughout the ‘Last Nights” section from Wednesday through Sunday, October 15: three prayer options (Orthodox, Traditional-Egalitarian, and Renewal), festive meals, diverse learning sessions, and outdoor activities. Among the other fascinating and subtle observances of this holiday, we will take time to ‘tarry’ in the Sukkah, eating our last halachically-mandated meals in this special space.

Thursday night we welcome the most joyous holiday of this season of our joy – Simchat Torah. According to tradition, Monday night we will read the Torah scrolls – the only time of the year when we read Torah at night. Multiple styles of celebration will commence throughout the night and into the next day – from raucous dancing and singing and l’chaims, to contemplative space for finding your own new beginning as the Torah itself begins again.

Friday night we bid farewell to this entire holiday cycle that began with the start of Sukkot over a week ago. Isru Chag is the name of this time, the day after the festival, when we bathe in the afterglow, and extend our joy just a little while longer. We will have a special musical performance, a bonfire, and perhaps just sit in the Sukkah one last time… basking in the glow.

Sunday morning, October 15, Sukkahfest comes to a close. Those who joined for just this segment, or even the entire ten nights, will gather after morning prayers for a closing circle and then we wend our merry ways home, to tell tales of the 11th annual Sukkahfest to our friends and family for the rest of the year… until next time.

 

image1

Rabbi Shmuel Braun is a teacher, mentor and lecturer, especially known for his ability to take the loftiest concepts in Jewish mysticism and connect them to everyday life in a way that students from any background and level of knowledge can appreciate. Having grown up Modern Orthodox in Woodmere, L.I., Rabbi Braun then spent many years studying at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, in the Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem by Reb Meir Soloveitchik, and also in institutions affiliated with Yeshiva University, Munkatch, and Chabad. All this together with his devotion and passion for the humanities facilitated his developing a unique, progressive and inclusive style that engages all people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Besides continuing to lecture and teach, Rabbi Braun is researching and writing his forthcoming book on Kierkegaard’s Existentialism and Chassidic philosophy.

 

Kohenet Shamirah

Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, also known as 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. In recent years, she lead high holiday services at Bnai Or in St. Croix USVI, as well as West End Synagogue and Altshul Minyan in New York City. Currently, she is the CCO (Chief Compassion Officer) and team leader at JIFA (Jewish Initiative for Animals) where she works to support Jewish institutions to establish meaningful food policies rooted in Jewish ethics and animal welfare. She previously served as the Director of Earth Based Spiritual Practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm, responsible for Food, Farm and Forest Jewish Educational Programming. She holds a M.A. in Jewish Experiential Education and a M.A. in Hebrew Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary, 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.

 

Rabbi Ezra Weinberg

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 lives and works in Washington Heights with his wife and two children, and is looking to transform the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood where he works as the Jewish program director. His mutual interests in Israel and conflict resolution led him to act as a facilitator and convener for Resetting the Table. 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.

Please check back for registration information for 5779.


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 more information.