Wounds Into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Trauma

Jun 17, 2019 - Jun 21, 2019

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

It is with deep regret that, in light of the current state of the world, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel this 2020 retreat.

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center is currently closed and this retreat has been cancelled.
Click here for more information.

A retreat with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D.

The past does not simply disappear. The rich cultural wisdom of our ancestors, as well as their wounds, intertwine within us to form the patterns of who we are and who we are becoming. When family members suffer traumas—such as war, terror, discrimination, displacement, mental illness, or early death—painful patterns can get frozen in time, passing to members of the next generations. Such patterns can act like magnets, profoundly influencing our lives and the lives of future generations. However, it is in our power to transform our families’ traumas into blessings! Ritual, meditation, time in nature, and ceremonial family constellation work compose the elements of this restorative and healing weekend.

This retreat also serves as a prerequisite for the upcoming practitioner training for ancestral healing to commence in the fall of 2020.

The soul comes to this world from a very high place but in this world it is clothed in several garments. 2,500 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel said: The fathers ate sour grapes, and the children’s teeth were set on edge. So, the Jewish culture and religion has understood that children bear the burden of their parents’ legacy. Fair or unfair, it’s a fact. It’s a cultural fact. It’s a biological fact. Everyone is born with a unique set of genes. The task is to refine from these traits the best self that we can have and not get distracted by the traits that are weaker; build up the traits that are stronger. We all have the same job to do.
—Dr. Rachel Yehuda

Extended context on the work

The field of intergenerational trauma healing, also called ancestral healing, is both very new and extremely ancient. It applies to all groups and ethnicities who have suffered grave challenges such as war, discrimination, poverty, or displacement. Intergenerational Trauma Healing is based on the understanding that the past does not simply disappear. We can learn to release the patterns and behaviors that have come down to us and strengthen and energize the legacies that are positive and life-giving.

The more awareness we have about what our ancestors and families went through in the past, and the patterns that grew out of what they endured, the more compassion we naturally have for those who came before us and for ourselves. The more compassion we have for our people and for ourselves, the less reactive and fearful we become, and the more freedom we have to choose how we want to live our lives and what we want to pass down to our children.

What is Jewish Ancestral Healing?

Our venerable Jewish lineage has accrued much wisdom over the past 3,000 years and many wounds too, due to generations of relentless historical trauma. We know now that traumatic wounds don’t simply disappear over time. The difficult circumstances that our ancestors endured over generations ripple across time, often cascading downward, causing painful patterns that become stuck in the unconscious field of our families, affecting us and our children.

The Jewish Ancestral Healing work is designed to help alleviate these traumas and dissolve their negative influences. We do this by facing and honoring our ancestors and deceased family members. When we restore our avot v’imahot to their rightful roles as ancestors—those who are meant to bless and guide our lives from beyond—our family body is healed and energy can begin to flow again.

Jewish Ancestral Healing Retreats are for anyone interested in the healing of their legacies as well as those interested in personal transformation.

Objectives of Jewish Ancestral Healing

1. To identify trauma patterns and other psychological tracks that have been laid down by earlier family members and ancestors, and understand their effect upon our lives.

2. To find keys that open doors and set us and future generations free of unconscious compulsions caused by earlier traumas, injustices, or separations between family members.

3. To create and experience the power of an intentional healing vessel, kli kodesh, and through it, to constellate resonant family fields by which to unlock persistent patterns so that order and joy might be restored.

4. To add our energies to the ongoing healing and repair of the Jewish people, as well as the larger world. Tirzah teaches with stories and didactic material, but the days are largely in a ritual format, composed of guided meditation, chants, and ceremonial family constellation work.

About the instructor

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD, is an author, Jungian psychotherapist, and founding rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado. She is a leader in the international Jewish Renewal Movement and a renowned Jewish scholar and teacher. Now Rabbi Emerita of her congregation, Tirzah maintains a private practice in depth psychology, and teaches nationally about ancestral healing and other modern applications of ancient wisdom. In 2019, upon the release of Wounds into Wisdom, Tirzah began touring the US and facilitating workshops on intergenerational trauma healing nationally. www.tirzahfirestone.com @tirzahfire




Testimonials for Reb Tirzah’s ancestral healing retreats:

Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend. I learned so much. The partner work speaking to—and asking for a blessing from—a recent ancestor gave me a new loving father. It changed everything.

You embody such beautiful balanced leadership—generous, loving, clear, kind, wise—I am so grateful to learn from your presence.

The ancestor portrait exercise felt like a powerful ritual. For the first time I was able to actively look back in my family history to seek out the queer and trans ancestors in my lineage. I know they are there even if I don’t know them by name.

Thank you so much for this weekend. Being seen and witnessed in such a way was humbling and profound. I’m still struggling to find the words for being a part of an event so enlightening, connective, and universal and yet so deeply raw, exposing, and personal. I feel like you commanded the room so adeptly, along with all of the intense emotions in it.


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