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!
- 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
2018 teachers coming soon
Featuring Rabbi David Ingber, Rabbi-Chazan Matti Brown, Rabbi Jill Hammer, Rabbi Shmuel Braun, Shoshana Jedwab, Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Rebbetzin Bailey Newman Braun, and Aryeh Bernstein, 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.
Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Isru Chag
2018 teachers coming soon
Featuring Rabbi Shmuel Braun, Kohenet Shamirah Bechirah, Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Aryeh Bernstein, 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.
Full Stay Option:
|register for all of Sukkahfest||Sun, Sep 23 – Wed, Oct 3 | ten nights|
|Child 5-12||$500||Child Under 5||$0|
Partial Stay Options:
Select one of the options below to register for any part of the holiday.
Extend your stay for Chol HaMoed! New this year, if you are planning on coming for the first days or Shabbat, you can choose to extend your stay by 1-2 nights to include Chol HaMoed. You can add Wednesday or Thursday nights of Chol HaMoed on your registration form.
Sukkot First Days
Shabbat Chol HaMoed
Shabbat Chol HaMoed & Simchat Torah
|Child under 5||$0||$0||$0||$0|
Prices above are for multiple-occupancy rooms; single-occupancy upgrades are available for Basic and Standard lodging.
Children’s rates apply to children in a room with two adults.
Prices are per person and include all programming and buffet meals featuring ethically sourced and farm-fresh ingredients, healthy snacks, challah, and wine. All options except camping and commuting include accommodations.,
Through our online registration system, you will be able to choose your lodging, sign up for transportation shuttles and other amenities, and indicate special needs. Before completing your reservation, you will have an opportunity to register additional guests on the same credit card.
You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and made a payment online or by phone. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, please contact us at email@example.com or (860) 824-5991 x0.
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.
- Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis and are awarded exclusively for dormitory lodging, camping, and commuting (pending availability).
- Applications must be received at least three weeks in advance of the retreat for which you are applying. Please only register after receiving a response; the scholarship will not be applied retroactively.
- We will respond to Tamar Fund scholarship applications within seven business days of receipt.
- If you are awarded a scholarship, you will have one week to register for the retreat at the reduced rate, after which time the offer will expire.
- A scholarship does not guarantee availability at the time of registration; due to the inherent turnaround time of the application process, we recommend applying as early as possible to secure a spot at the retreat.
- If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 824-5991 x0.