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Isabella Freedman Update and Summer Getaways

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 47th day of the omer, hod she’b’malchut

Dear All,

Normally at this time of year we share updates on our plans for a vibrant summer at Isabella Freedman. As we all know, this year is a different kind of year, and this announcement is a different kind of announcement.

Covid-19 has changed how we will be able to gather for the foreseeable future.

It has become increasingly clear that retreats are unlikely to be able to run with the same participation numbers and pricing that they have in the past, even as Covid cases have begun to fall. As a result, we will be cancelling all retreats through the end of 2020. But even as we cancel retreats, we are hard at work trying to ensure that other programs can still take place at Isabella Freedman.

Our campus is beautifully located. We exist to serve our clients, to offer rest and renewal outside the city, and to do so in a way that nourishes and inspires people. We can’t do that, this year, with our traditional retreats. It may not be possible to do anything at all. But we are exploring whether we can enable at least some people safely to come up to Freedman. If we can do so it will be good for those who are able to come to Freedman, and good also for the institution and for our staff in this time of transition.

So with the understanding that there are many factors that may make it impossible or inadvisable to have guests at Isabella Freedman, we are sending this email to gauge your interest in a socially-distanced option that we are exploring. Please read below and then reply to me or email simone.stallman@hazon.org to let us know if you’d be interested.

First: public health is a primary concern. Currently, CT state guidelines require a minimum stay of 32 days; and they also require the maintenance of social distancing, including no gatherings of more than 5 people for non-essential activities unless those 5+ people constitute one household. Within those parameters, we have begun to explore the concept of Isabella Freedman Getaways – stays in our guest rooms for 32 days or more, which would include meals eaten open-air in our dining tent.

Each family / group would get a suite of two rooms that would include a living and sleeping space and would sleep 4 comfortably. There will be no official programming, and no access to the main building. We expect to offer an optional outdoor “Avodat Lev” service in the morning, and yoga in the late afternoon, in both cases done outdoors and at appropriate distance. Other than that, and some Shabbat programming, this is simply an opportunity to ‘Getaway’ and enjoy the grounds, trails, and lake at Isabella Freedman (we are not currently allowed to open the pool until at least June 20, if at all), as well as the local area – while eating our farm-to-table kosher cuisine. Weekly linen service and light housekeeping will be included, as well as three meals per day, seven days per week, in an open-air tent, with take-away options for lunch. If you are interested, please let us know by June 1st, as we need to gauge the amount of serious interest in this potential offering. On the one hand, capacity will be capped at 18 couples or families; and on the other, this will only be viable if at least 12 couples or families sign up. We have no idea what the demand is and we need to establish that in order to know whether we can proceed.

If you have questions, please email simone.stallman@hazon.org.

We are asking people who would like to come to put down an $1,800 deposit. If for any reason we decide not to proceed, we will return 100% of this to you (and we want to make absolutely clear that we will return that money immediately; there is and will be no request that any part of it be donated.) If we receive at least 12 deposits then we plan to proceed, and housing will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, up to a maximum of 18 bookings.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with questions.

With all best wishes,

Nigel