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.
Sukkahfest is a singular event – perhaps the most joyous, and almost certainly the most diverse celebration of the holiday of Sukkot on planet Earth. Includes Camp Teva for kids!
Along with the connections that naturally develop among men who meet at our retreats, many men have used the JMR as an occasion to deepen their relationships with their fathers, sons, or brothers, friends, and congregants by inviting them to join them for the weekend.
A week of silence, awareness, and insight with Rabbi Jay Michaelson, Beth Resnick, Miriam Eisenberger, and Shir Yaakov Feit.
Join participants from across the country – including people who are already members of intentional communities as well as folks who are just curious and excited by the idea – as we learn from and share with each other, vision together, and plant seeds for communities to come.
The Hazon Rabbis’ Retreat focuses on giving back to rabbis – the people who give so much to our community every day. Not only is the retreat radically financially accessible, the structure of the retreat is designed to promote deep rest and rejuvenation.
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.
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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