We are saddened to announce that all retreats at Isabella Freedman through the end of 2020 have been cancelled. However, we are hard at work trying to ensure that other programs can still take place here. Thank you for your loving support, now and always. Read the announcement for more information.
What a wonderful Shabbat we spent at Isabella Freedman! A combination of Judaism, organic food grown on the property, fresh well water, sauerkraut made on the property, a mikvah that is in the pond, yoga in a round yurt overlooking the pond, davening in a shul overlooking the pond and a great talk with people who are integrating their creativity with their holy Torah.
Retreats & Programs
Throughout the year, we offer Jewish holiday experiences, workshops, festivals, farm vacations, retreats, yoga classes, prayer services, and farm-to-table kosher meals. We also have a store stocked with a unique collection of books, music, Judaica, and our own homemade pickles, cheeses, and jams.
Help us plant elderberry, dogwood & willow in a floodplain of the Hollenbeck River.
Be part of our future chestnut orchard! We’ll plant in the field south of 181 Beebe Hill.
Join us for an inclusive celebration of revelation that includes all-night learning, sunrise shacharit, a midnight hike to the top of the mountain, a pilgrimage parade with costumes and goats, outdoor fun for kids, and more. Includes Camp Teva for kids!
Booking Your Own Retreat
Whether you are planning a special celebration, organizational or corporate retreat, family reunion, lifecycle event or community gathering, Isabella Freedman’s beautiful setting, comfortable accommodations, delicious food, onsite activities, and dynamic staff are sure to nourish the hearts and souls of all who attend. We provide each group with a dedicated professional staff member to help coordinate accommodations, program spaces, meals, and offer gracious hospitality.
About Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, located on 400 acres in Falls Village, CT, is a year-round farm-to-table kosher pluralistic retreat center that serves over 6,000 guests of all ages and backgrounds each year. We produce retreats focused on Jewish holidays, food, music, meditation, yoga, and more. We also host dozens of synagogues and professional groups each year, as well as weddings, b’nai mitzvot, and other private events.
During your stay with us, it is our hope that you will find ways to reconnect with yourself and others, unplug from the outside world and enjoy some rare quality time, and perhaps discover your own personal potential for growth. We hope that you will take time to enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings, take a tour of the farm, walk around the lake or on our trails. We hope that you will feel nourished by the meals that we prepare for you with conscientiously grown and sourced ingredients.
Isabella Freedman is the home of Hazon, the Jewish lab for sustainability. Our vision is of a vibrant, healthy Jewish community – in which to be Jewish is necessarily to help create a more sustainable world for all. Our goal is that people who come to Isabella Freedman deepen their Jewish identities; experience the connection between inherited Jewish wisdom, food, climate, and the natural world; and become linked with others who care about creating a more sustainable Jewish community and world.
We hope that as a result of your time at Isabella Freedman you will not only be relaxed and rejuvenated, but that you will be inspired to make changes that help address the global environmental crisis.
The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, now a part of Hazon, was originally incorporated in 1897 as the Jewish Working Girls Vacation Society.
In 1956, the agency moved to its current home in Falls Village, CT, and began serving senior adults within the Jewish community. Camp Freedman has been offering programs for Jewish senior adults every summer since then.
In the early 1990s Isabella Freedman opened its doors year-round, and it became the primary retreat center for the Jewish communities of New York and New England. Each year, over 30 Jewish organizations spanning the denominational spectrum hold retreats at what is now called the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
In 1994, Isabella Freedman partnered with Surprise Lake Camp to develop the Teva Learning Center as an innovative experiential learning program for Jewish elementary school students that integrates ecology, Jewish spirituality, and environmental activism. Every fall, over 900 students from Jewish day schools throughout New England come to Isabella Freedman to attend Teva’s four-day educational programs.
Building on its experience with the Teva Learning Center, in the spring of 2003, Isabella Freedman developed a new program called Adamah. Adamah is a leadership training program for young Jewish adults that teaches the vital connection between Jewish tradition and environmental stewardship. Through a three-month residential program, Adamah Fellows live communally and engage in a hands-on curriculum that integrates organic agriculture and sustainable living skills, Jewish learning and living, leadership development, and community building. The program strengthens participants’ Jewish identities and their commitment to tikkun olam through immersion in an ecologically sustainable, spiritually vibrant, and intergenerationally-connected Jewish community while exposing countless others to a traditionally-rooted yet entirely new way of Jewish living.
In the fall of 2006, the Elat Chayyim Jewish Retreat Center of Accord, New York merged with Isabella Freedman. For fifteen years, Elat Chayyim transformed contemporary Jewish life with retreat programs that integrated Jewish learning, spirituality, and culture. Elat Chayyim’s mission infuses our work here at Isabella Freedman by opening doors to Jewish spiritual practice. The Elat Chayyim spirit in our retreats promotes practices that draw on the wisdom of Jewish tradition and reflect the values and consciousness of the world we live in today. Our Mechon Elat Chayyim offers unique two-year Training Institutes to deepen students’ awareness, spirituality, and leadership in various aspects of Jewish life.
In 2004 Hazon launched its New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride from Isabella Freedman–the first of many of our annual fundraising bike rides to be held at Isabella Freedman. Eight years later Isabella Freedman announced its planned merger with Hazon, and in 2014 the merger was completed. Adamah, Elat Chayyim, and the Teva Learning Center, all based at Isabella Freedman, also merged with Hazon in 2014.
The history of Isabella Freedman is thus a history of evolution and re-imagination. The needs of both the Jewish community and the wider world have evolved and changed since our founding—and so have we. Yet our consistent commitment to and focus on transformative experiences, thought-leadership, and capacity-building form the common threads between Isabella Freedman then and Isabella Freedman now, even if these specific terms may be fairly recent. For over fifty years and counting, Isabella Freedman has been a place of rest, regeneration, and renewal where breathtaking natural scenery and a loving communal spirit create the perfect backdrop for individuals and institutions of all backgrounds to congregate, celebrate, and draw upon the Jewish tradition together.
Everybody knows that the Berkshires are one of America’s natural and cultural treasures. From the glorious hikes of the Appalachian Trail to the leading-edge cultural institutions such as Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Mass MOCA, and the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Berkshires are widely regarded as one of the most desirable places to live, work, and visit. For those of us who have the good fortune to call this region home, we’re intimately familiar with every hidden gem available to our community from the Litchfield hills to the Vermont highlands.
But did you know that just a half-hour south of Great Barrington, a Jewish retreat center, community resource, and educational farm is waiting for you to discover? Hazon’s Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center welcomes thousands of guests from across the country and around the world each year, and it’s also open for our local community to access, enjoy, and grow together.
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