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Sukkahfest

Oct 9, 2022 - Oct 19, 2022

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Sukkahfest: Harvest Festival Celebration at Isabella Freedman

 

We are able to welcome guests to Isabella Freedman in a thoughtful, socially-distancing manner. Our team of prayer leaders and educators headline our various classes, and we will have various prayer options throughout Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Other highlights include:

  • Guided farm tours, barnyard visits, pickling activities, apple and honey sampling, yoga, and hiking to a tranquil vista
  • Nightly fargbrengens in the Sukkah with songs, Torah, and merriment
  • Farm to table feasts with Adamah Farm and Grow and Behold products in our large sukkot
  • Kids program for ages  2-4 and 5-12
See below for Registration OptionsRetreat ProgrammingFAQs

Registration Options

Registration rates are the same for both parts of the holiday. Please register under each event to join us for both.

Simchat Torah Rates

October 16-19, 3 nights, Sun-Wed

Standard lodging: $1040 per adult 16+ ($1660 for single occupancy)
Basic lodging: $770 per adult ($990 for single occupancy)
Dormitory lodging: $620 per adult
Commuting: $410 per adult
Children: $215 (ages 5-15)

Toddlers: $105 (ages 2-4)

Infants: $0 (ages 0-2)

Register for Simchat Torah

Click here for details about our lodging options

Lodging: Isabella Freedman offers a range of lodging options. Each lodging type has various room set ups to accommodate solo guests, couples, friends, and families.

  • Our Standard rooms all have private room entrances and private bathrooms.
  • Basic rooms are set up as two-room suites which share an entrance and bathroom.
  • Dormitory buildings have shared bathrooms down an internal hallway.

For families, children under the age of 16 who register at the reduced price will be housed in the same room as their parents. If you would like your children to have a separate room, they must be registered as adults. Please indicate your child’s age on their registration.

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. The Tamar Fund is in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.

Please be sure to read the application guidelines in the form below

Retreat Programming

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.

Click here to view our leaders and teachers

Leaders and Teachers

More bios coming soon!

First Days:

Sarah Chandler, aka Kohenet Shamirah, is the founder and CEO of Shamir Collective, which works to renew the Jewish relationship with the earth through creative ritual, mindfulness, and transformative experiential learning. Kohenet Shamirah is a Brooklyn-based Jewish educator, ritualist, artist, activist, and poet. Currently, she serves as the program director of Romemu Yeshiva and a garden educator with Grow Torah. A trainer with Taamod, she supports Jewish nonprofits in harassment prevention, through designing and maintaining respectful workplaces. She teaches, writes, and consults on issues related to Jewish earth-based spiritual practice, farming, and mindfulness. She studies as a shamanic healer apprentice at the Wisdom School of S.O.P.H.I.A., and additionally, studies Kabbalistic imaginal dream work at the School of Images.

 

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.

 

Isaiah Joseph Rothstein serves as Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor at Jewish Federations of North America, is a founder of JFNA’s Initiative for Jewish Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Kamochah, a community for Black Orthodox Jews. Prior to JFNA, Isaiah was rabbi-in-residence at Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Be’chol Lashon, and served as rabbi for youth at Carmel Academy, Young Israel of Stamford and Camp Yavneh.  Isaiah studied at Kushner Yeshiva High School, two years in Israel, Binghamton University and received his ordination and MSW at Yeshiva University. Raised in a multi-racial Chabad family, he sees himself as a human bridge, connecting disparate parts of the Jewish community and America. Isaiah is a part of Schusterman’s ROI Fellowship and was listed as one of Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36. When not working to keep the world safe for democracy, Isaiah is writing a musical about Queen Esther.

 

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, author, scholar, ritualist, poet, dreamworker and midrashist, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion (www.ajrsem.org), and co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute (www.kohenet.org). She is the author of Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreaming, Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah, The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (with Taya Shere), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries. She is the translator of The Romemu Siddur and of Siddur haKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook.  She lives in Manhattan with her family.

 

Shoshana Jedwab is a percussionist, singer-songwriter, worship leader, prize-winning Jewish educator and the Jewish Life Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel Middle School. Shoshana Jedwab’s original, hip-shaking, prayer music grounds body and spirit, and brings the ancestral past into joyous contemporary practice. The original songs of Shoshana’s 2016 debut album, “I Remember,” and her 2018 zipper song single, “Where You Go,” emerged from ceremonies Shoshana was leading, and are now being sung, and danced to, in churches, synagogues, weddings and protest marches around the world. Shoshana Jedwab is one of Jewish Rock Radio’s Jewish Women Who Rock the Worship World. www.shoshanajedwab.com.

Pinny Huberman led lively and musical minyanim in Toronto for several years before moving to Connecticut in 2020. With a passion for nusach and nigunim, he seeks to bring a traditional Hasidic tone into diverse davening spaces. Pinny is currently a doctoral student at Yale Law School, writing his dissertation in constitutional theory.

 

Annie Cohen is a third year PhD Student in Modern Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Her research focuses on the Jewish left in the 1930s and specifically Jewish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. She also researches Jewish women’s religiosity in Eastern Europe, and publishes her translations of Yiddish texts on the topic on a blog www.pullingatthreads.com. Annie is originally from London and has been teaching Yiddish with the London based language school Babel’s Blessing since 2019. She has also taught for Yiddish Summer Weimar, and more recently on the KlezKanada digital intensive as one of their 2022 Freed Fellows.  She was also selected this year to be one of the Yiddish Book Center’s Yiddish Pedagogy Fellows.

 

Simchat Torah:

Sarah Chandler, aka Kohenet Shamirah, is the founder and CEO of Shamir Collective, which works to renew the Jewish relationship with the earth through creative ritual, mindfulness, and transformative experiential learning. Kohenet Shamirah is a Brooklyn-based Jewish educator, ritualist, artist, activist, and poet. Currently, she serves as the program director of Romemu Yeshiva and a garden educator with Grow Torah. A trainer with Taamod, she supports Jewish nonprofits in harassment prevention, through designing and maintaining respectful workplaces. She teaches, writes, and consults on issues related to Jewish earth-based spiritual practice, farming, and mindfulness. She studies as a shamanic healer apprentice at the Wisdom School of S.O.P.H.I.A., and additionally, studies Kabbalistic imaginal dream work at the School of Images.

 

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.

 

Batya Levine (they/them) uses song as a tool for cultivating healing and resilience in their work as a communal song leader, musician, cultural organizer, and shaliach tzibur (Jewish prayer leader). They believe in the liberatory power of song to untie what is bound within us and to sustain us as we build a more just and beautiful world. Batya is a founding core team member of Let My People Sing! and a Cultural Organizer with Linke Fligl. They offer song, ritual, and workshops in a variety of communities, and compose original music made of Ashkenazi yearning, queer heart-medicine, and emunah (faith/trust). Batya released their first album, Karov, with Rising Song Records in 2020. Learn more at www.batyalevine.com.

 

Isaiah Joseph Rothstein serves as Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor at Jewish Federations of North America, is a founder of JFNA’s Initiative for Jewish Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Kamochah, a community for Black Orthodox Jews. Prior to JFNA, Isaiah was rabbi-in-residence at Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Be’chol Lashon, and served as rabbi for youth at Carmel Academy, Young Israel of Stamford and Camp Yavneh.  Isaiah studied at Kushner Yeshiva High School, two years in Israel, Binghamton University and received his ordination and MSW at Yeshiva University. Raised in a multi-racial Chabad family, he sees himself as a human bridge, connecting disparate parts of the Jewish community and America. Isaiah is a part of Schusterman’s ROI Fellowship and was listed as one of Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36. When not working to keep the world safe for democracy, Isaiah is writing a musical about Queen Esther.

 

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein is a Sukkahfest veteran and devotee of Isabella Freedman. Aryeh is a fifth-generation Chicago South Sider who works as National Jewish Educator for Avodah, Educational Consultant for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and has been an educator for the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA), including at Hazon conferences. Aryeh was a High Holiday davvening leader at NY’s Kehilat Hadar for 18 years and made HH recordings for the Hadar Institute web site that have been used by countless davvening leaders. Aryeh is a Senior Editor of Jewschool.com, a member of the Tzedek Lab, and authored the 2018 article, “The Torah Case for Reparations”.  Aryeh studied for seven years at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa and also at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and has rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes’s Yashrut Institute.

 

Rabbi Aviva Richman is a Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar Institute in Manhattan, and has been on the faculty there since 2010. A graduate of Oberlin College, she studied at Pardes and Drisha, and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Danny Landes in Jerusalem.  She also received a doctorate in Talmud at New York University. Interests include Talmud, Hasidut, Midrash and gender, and also a healthy dose of niggunim.  She has enjoyed participating in the spirited services at Isabella Freedman, on Sukkot and Rosh HaShanah, for over a decade.

 

Rabbi Eliezer Lawrence is a passionate Jewish educator and certified Mohel who uses his various platforms to enrich identity and instill meaning to Jewish texts, language and ritual. An alumnus of Columbia University and the Kollel of Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa, Rabbi Lawrence holds MAs in Bible and Semitic Languages and in Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language. He has taught Gemara, Tankah, Yiddish and Hebrew in both Jewish day school and adult educational settings and has written about language and Jewish identity for various publications. Alongside his community work as a Mohel, he currently serves on the faculty of the Hebrew department at Yeshiva University.

 

Sara Rozner Lawrence is a 5th year Clinical Psychology doctoral candidate whose professional and personal work focus on the intersection between mental health, sexuality, and Jewish identity. In 2016, she founded a project called Monologues from the Makom to provide a platform for Jewish women to share their personal narratives about sexuality, gender, and body image. The project was featured in the 2017 JOFA conference and was published as an anthology in 2020 by Ben Yehudah Press. In her work as a clinician, Sara is grateful to be training at the Brooklyn VA in sexual health and psycho-oncology, military sexual trauma, and couple’s therapy, and is especially passionate about serving LGBTQ veterans. As a researcher, Sara currently studies anti-LGBTQ bias, and her undergraduate research on Orthodox women’s comfort with sexuality was presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine in 2017. Sara believes deeply in the power of presence with all of one’s various identities, and is excited to bring her full self to the joyous celebration of the Torah at Isabella Freedman!

 

Tzemah Yoreh is one of the intellectual leaders of Jewish humanism and the head of the City Congregation in New York city. He attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he obtained his Ph.D. in biblical criticism in 2004. He earned a second Ph.D. in Ancient Wisdom Literature from the University of Toronto for the joy of studying ancient text. Tzemah’s books includes the Humanist Prayer Omnibus, which re-imagines prayer as a catalyst for human-driven change rather than communication with a deity, and his series on the stories of the Bible, Kernel to Canon.  He is perhaps best known for his theories on Why Abraham Killed Isaac.

 

Rabba Yaffa Epstein serves as the Senior Scholar & Educator in Residence at The Jewish Education Project. Previously, she was the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program, at the Wexner Foundation, and served as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Epstein has taught in depth courses on Talmud, Rabbanic Literature, Jewish liturgy, Jewish law, Jewish leadership, and Women in Jewish Law. She has taught at Pardes, Yeshivat Maharat, Drisha, the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, Moishe House, Jewish Federation of North America, the Covenant Foundation, the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship and Repair the World. She has lectured at Limmud events around the globe, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. She has trained Rabbis and Educators from across the spectrum of Jewish denominations. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, earned an additional private Ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes, and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University.

 

Anat Halevy Hochberg (she/her) is a musician, teacher, and ritual leader. Her passions include leading song, empowering others to raise their voices, and working to reclaim the Yemenite melodies of her heritage. She has taught and led ritual at Eden Village Camp, Let My People Sing!, Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive, and Linke Fligl. Anat performs as a solo artist and with collaborators, and has recently recorded with artists including Joey Weisenberg, Batya Levine, and Aly Halpert. She co-produced Tishrei: the end is the beginning & Elul: Songs for Turning, and her debut album How can I keep (from) singing? was released in 2020. Learn more about her work at anathalevyhochberg.com.

 

The Food We Serve

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. Our kitchen and dining room are glatt kosher under supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission. 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. Each Basic and Standard room 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.

Prayer Options

We are still solidifying our line up, stay tuned! We will be offering two prayer options for each part of the holiday. Our prayer options will take place under tents outdoors.

The Oct 9-12 Sukkot retreat will feature a Modern Orthodox service and a Renewal service.

The Oct 16-19 Simchat Torah retreat will feature a Modern Orthodox service and a Traditional Egalitarian Service. On Simchat Torah Morning (Tue. October 18) we will also offer a separate Women’s Tefillah w/ Torah Reading and Aliyot (women being called up to the Torah)

FAQs

Excited? Us too! Have questions? Email registrar@hazon.org!

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.

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.


What are the COVID-19 precautions?

Guest Conduct: Each guest will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your arrival regardless of vaccination status.  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 6′ distance between guests not in your group and being masked indoors, other than when actively eating in our dining spaces.


Is my room safe and clean?

All rooms will have been thoroughly cleaned before your arrival, and will have been vacant for at least 48 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 this retreat?

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?

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.


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 or 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 on our site. Being near your primary care doctor is best.


What's the 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 Sep 25 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.