Nehirim East 2012
Nehirim East is June 15‚ÄĒ17, 2012!
The Nehirim East Spiritual Retreat is Nehirim’s flagship retreat weekend, bringing together over one hundred LGBT Jews from around the country to the beautiful Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Connecticut. This year is our eighth annual retreat, taking place June 15‚ÄĒ17, 2012, and is an opportunity to:
EXPLORE your connection to Judaism with spirited¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Shabbat services, workshops, and community-led programming.
RELAX and enjoy nature and a beautiful 100-acre site¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†in the Berkshires, and
CONNECT with an inclusive and diverse community¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†of LGBT Jews, partners, and allies. We are Orthodox¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Jews to atheists, students and seniors, men, women,¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†and the rest of us. Whoever you are, there are people¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†like you at Nehirim!
- Registration Costs and Financial Aid
- Transportation and other Logistics
- Tentative Schedule
- Halachic Information
- This Year’s Teachers and Presenters
- Testimonials from Nehirim Retreat Participants
- Is Nehirim for You?
Registration Fee and Financial Aid Information
Registration Fee. We have several room types available. Prices shown below are per person and include all room & board for two nights, and all your program expenses.
Deluxe Double (Weinberg building):¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†$500
Deluxe Single (Weinberg building):¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†$625
Standard Single (private bath): $500
Standard Double (private bath): $425
Economy Single (shared bath with one other room):¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†$450
Economy Double (shared bath with one other room):¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†$350
Dorm (bathroom down the hall):¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†$275
Child in room: $175
As of May 23, all our financial aid has been used. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†We encourage you to apply early for future Nehirim retreats!
- Transportation. For directions and transportation information, please visit http://www.nehirim.org/isabella-freedman-retreat-center-information. To offer or request a ride to the retreat, visit our¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Ride Board. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬† The retreat center is available by MetroNorth to Wassaic, and a shuttle is available for $15 (non-refundable) from the¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Wassaic train station ¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ please email¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†info[at]nehirim.org by 5pm on Monday, June 11.¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†to reserve a spot on the shuttle. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬† The shuttle will pick up at the train leaving Grand Central at 1:48pm and arriving Wassaic at 4:03 on Friday, June 15. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†The shuttle will drop you off in time for the 2:24pm train on Sunday, arriving Grand Central at 4:41pm.
- For other pickup times or locations,¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Lakeville Taxi, (860) 435-8000, is available. Please note that Lakeville Taxi is a reservation service–voicemails for the purpose of reserving rides must be left before 5pm and at least 24 hours in advance. If you plan to arrive by plane, you must either find a ride via the ride board or pay for a taxi through lakeville (around $100). Because Hartford (Bradley) Airport is over an hour away from the retreat center, Isabella Freedman typically cannot provide a shuttle to/from the airport.
- Time. The weekend lasts from 4pm on Friday until 2pm on Sunday. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†In order to maintain the community dynamic, we do ask that retreatants stay for the entire weekend. That said, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you will be arriving early or leaving late so we can plan ahead.
For more information, please¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†email us at info[at]nehirim.org.
Friday, June 15
3:00 ‚ÄĒ 5:00″‚ÄĻ Arrival, snacks, registration, bookstore shopping”‚ÄĻ
5:00 ‚ÄĒ 5:30″‚ÄĻ Welcome and opening program “‚ÄĻ(Rabbi Joel Alter)”‚ÄĻ
5:45 ‚ÄĒ 6:15 “‚ÄĻOptional mikvas (bring a towel to opening program!)”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Women’s mikva (Jill Hammer)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Men’s mikva (Jay Michaelson)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
6:15 ‚ÄĒ 6:45″‚ÄĻ Get ready for shabbat / more mikvas
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Pan-gender mikva (Randall Furash)”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Alternative to Mikva (Corey Friedlander)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
7:00″‚ÄĻ Candlelighting and Shabbat services
“‚ÄĻ(Jill Hammer & Shoshana Jedwab) (temporal shabbat 8:12)
8:15-9:45″‚ÄĻ Shabbos Dinner”‚ÄĻ
10:00-10:55 “‚ÄĻMishpacha groups”‚ÄĻ
11:00-12:00 “‚ÄĻNight session”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻTisch (Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
“‚ÄĻ¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ 12-Step Meeting (participant-led)”‚ÄĻ
Shabbat, June 16
8:00-9:00″‚ÄĻ Morning yoga (Rick Frank)”‚ÄĻ
9:45-12:00″‚ÄĻ Shabbat Morning Davening (Services)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻTraditional davenning (Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻRenewal services (Jill Hammer & Shoshana Jedwab)”‚ÄĻ
12:15-1:30 “‚ÄĻKiddush and Lunch”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
1:45-2:45 “‚ÄĻAfternoon Session 1 (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻJay Michaelson, The New Testament & Homosexuality”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Randy Furash, Connecting with Our Bodies, Connecting with the Divine
3:00‚ÄĒ4:00 “‚ÄĻAfternoon Session 2 (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻMichael Getty & Brian Vetruba, Jews by Choice
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻBarbara Simonivich-Blok, Self Defense”‚ÄĻ
4:15-5:15 Afternoon Session 3 (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Traditional Mincha (until 4:45) (Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
5:30-6:30″‚ÄĻ Afternoon Session 4 (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Yoga (Rick Frank)”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻPenina Weinberg, Full Spectrum Gender in the Bible: “‚ÄĻThe Story of our Foreparent Rebecca
6:40-7:45″‚ÄĻ Seudah Shlishit (Dinner/Third meal)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
8:00-9:00 “‚ÄĻMishpacha groups”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
9:15-9:30 “‚ÄĻTraditional Maariv (Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
9:45-10:15 “‚ÄĻHavdalah & Dancing (Rabbi Joel Alter)”‚ÄĻ
10:30-11:45 “‚ÄĻEvening Program (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻDream Circle (Rabbi Jill Hammer)
“‚ÄĻ¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ Film: Antarctica”‚ÄĻ
Sunday, June 17
8:00-8:30″‚ÄĻ Shacharit (Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg)”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻNote: Please be out of your rooms by 9:30 AM
9:45-10:45 “‚ÄĻSunday session (choose one)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻArts Workshop (Mimi Yasgor)
¬≠¬≠¬≠‚ÄĒ “‚ÄĻWriting Workshop (Jonathan Vatner)
11:00-12:00 “‚ÄĻClosing session & final mishpacha group”‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻ
“‚ÄĻ”‚ÄĻBookstore will be open
Rabbi Joel Alter, Board Secretary
Rabbi Joel Alter serves as the Nehirim Board of Directors Secretary.¬†He ¬†is Director of Admissions for JTS‚Äô Rabbinical and Cantorial schools.¬† He took up this role after sixteen years of service in pluralistic Jewish day schools as a teacher, rabbinic leader, and administrator.¬† His commitments to advancing institutions organized around Torah study and Jewish living inform his past and present roles. ¬†Having been a closeted rabbinical student at JTS in the ‚Äė90‚Äôs, Joel is particularly proud to be the first out director of admissions for the now inclusive Rabbinical and Cantorial programs at JTS. Joel earned his BA in Jewish History at Columbia University; his rabbinic ordination and an MA in Jewish Education are from JTS.¬† He received additional training at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.¬† Shabbat, Torah, Hebrew, hiking, good friends, and good food are among the things that bring him joy.
Dr. Barbara Siminovich-Blok is a Naturopathic Doctor and a Licensed Acupuncturist board certified in CT and NY. She has two Master degrees in Biochemistry and a BS in Chemical Engineering. She completed her medical residency at Yale. Born in Argentina and fluent in several languages, she is an active practitioner of Martial Arts like Qi Gung, and Kuhapdo. Her professional interests include integrative and sports medicine, research and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Barbara has a private practice in New York and directs a clinical laboratory in Connecticut.
Rick Frank is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher,√ā¬†licensed Occupational Therapist, and Life Coach in training.√ā¬†He has varied experience helping clients in both physical rehabilitation and mental health settings.√ā¬†Rick’s teaching emphasizes compassionate self awareness and conscious use of breath.
Corey Friedlander, Board Chair
Corey has been participating in¬†Nehirim¬†retreats from the very first one, drawing strength and spiritual nourishment from the community. Certified as a Sh‚Äôliakh K‚Äôhilah by the Reform Movement in 2005, he serves as Lay Rabbinic Intern at Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, NY, helping to lead services, perform life cycle events, and teach. He has completed the two-year Me‚Äôah program through Hebrew College in Boston and has studied on retreat with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi at Elat Chayyim. He has received a distinguished service award from the Westchester Jewish Conference for his work in the community. Professionally, he does marketing for a company in the hardware industry, has managed two bookstores, and was the Director of Professional Development & Education for the American Booksellers Association.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ph.D.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She is also the director of Tel Shemesh, a website and community celebrating earth-based Jewish traditions, and the co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a training program in women’s spiritual leadership. Rabbi Jill Hammer was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. She also holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Connecticut. She is the author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons (Jewish Publication Society, 2006) and Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (Jewish Publication Society, 2001).
Shoshana Jedwab is a prize winning Jewish educator and the Jewish Studies Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel Middle School in NYC. She is the founding facilitator of the Makom Drum Circle at the JCC in Manhattan and is a percussionist and performance artist who has trained in bibliodrama and psychodrama. Shoshana has provided empowering drum circles to singles, student, training, and bereavement groups. Shoshana has performed with: Storahtelling, Chana Rothman, Debbie Friedman, Akiva Wharton, A Song of Solomon, Hebrew Mystical Chant with the Kirtan Rabbi, Andrew Hahn, and Tel Shemesh seasonal events.
Dr. Jay Michaelson, Founder
Jay Michaelson is the founder of Nehirim. For the last ten years, Jay has been a leading advocate for the inclusion of sexual minorities in religious communities, and his work in this area has been featured on NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. Jay is also a contributing editor to the Forward, Associate Editor of Religion Dispatches magazine, and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. In 2009, he was included on the Forward 50¬Ě list of the top-50 men and women leading the American Jewish community into the 21st century. He is the author of four books, including Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Englightenment and¬†God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality.
Jonathan Vatner is the staff writer for Hue, the alumni magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology. He has written for The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Advocate, and his stories have been published in The Westchester Review and The Rag. One of his stories has been anthologized in the Best Gay Stories 2012. His bachelor’s degree comes from Harvard University, his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.
Brian Vetruba & Michael Getty
Together for almost twenty years, Brian Vetruba and Michael Getty were fortunate to be the twenty-first same-sex couple from the United States to be married in Canada in June of 2003. Their relationship has survived five graduate degrees, multiple career changes, and three cross-country moves. They now reside in St. Louis, where Brian works as an academic librarian and Michael as a technology specialist. Their journey to Judaism began in 2006 with what seemed, at the time, like a series of random events. Michael formally converted in October 2009 and Brian followed suit in June 2010. They have been members of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis for four years. Earlier this year, they became b√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘnei mitzvah together, in what for all they know was a first for two married gay converts.
Penina Weinberg is an independent biblical scholar who serves as president¬†of Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge, MA, and who has recently¬†directed her first Boston retreat for Ruach HaYam. Her masters studies¬†at Hebrew College concentrated on women-centered readings of biblical¬†texts. Current studying and teaching focus a queer lens on the intersection¬†of gender and power in the Hebrew Bible. Penina teaches in Boston area¬†synagogues and often leads workshops for Nehirim and Keshet. By day she is¬†the Operations Manager for Commonwealth Informatics, where she happily¬†creates order out of chaos with old friends. She can hardly wait to share her¬†love of biblical texts with you.
Randy Furash is a lay leader and the co-chair of the Prayer and Practice Committee at Beit Ahavah, the Reform synagogue in Northampton, Mass. Having been raised as a secular Jew in a mixed-faith household, he had his Bar Mitzvah at the age of twenty-five and is still learning more and more about religious Judaism every day. He lives in Northampton with his Muslim partner and two step-sons.
Still have questions? Please feel free to email us at email@example.com
Photos from past Nehirim East retreats: