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Nehirim Winter Gathering

January 10-12, 2014 

Easton Mountain, Greenwich, NY



The Nehirim Winter Gathering is an intimate Shabbat experience and a favorite event of many long time retreat goers. Its aim is to deepen the community bonds that only begin to form at the larger events. The past Gatherings have been sweet and heartful weekends with peer-led learning, davenning and ritual. This year, participants will revel in a¬†Saturday night dance party,¬†connect to the energy of Tu‚ÄôB‚ÄôShvat‚ÄĒgeneral intention plus specific ritual to ‚Äėget our juices flowing‚Äô as we look ahead from winter to spring and attendworkshops, services, opening and closing sessions led by Nehirim regulars and new Executive Director Deb Kolodny. Deb wants¬†hear from you about what makes Nehirim important in your life and what you‚Äôd like to see more of.

The Winter Gathering takes place at Easton Mountain Retreat Center in upstate New York. Easton has miles of hiking trails, sauna, hot tub, a gorgeous lakeside setting, and hotel-style accommodations.

Registration and Pricing

Register Here

Pricing is kept at a minimum for the Community Gathering, and unfortunately financial aid is not available due to the small size of the retreat.­­­  Pricing:

$240 (quad),

$325 (double),

$445 (single).

Getting There

Easton Mountain is about three and a half hours from New York and Boston. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†The best way to come is by car ‚ÄĒ we encourage carpooling, and suggest you post to the Gathering¬†Facebook Page¬†if you can offer a ride or need a ride.

For those taking mass transit, Easton will arrange pickups. You must register in advance for the pickup when you register for the Gathering by calling Easton at (518) 692-8023. Please note that there is a $30 charge, per person each way.


2014 Schedule 

Friday, January 10

1:00-3:00 pm­­­ Arrival & Check-in
2:30 pm­­­ Pre-Shabbat Preparation:
‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúShake off the Travel Dust‚ÄĚ Shmooze
‚ÄĒ Individual Silent Mikveh
3:00 pm­­­ Men’s Mikveh
3:30 pm­­­ Women’s Mikveh
4:15 pm Candle Lighting and Opening Program (Halachic time: 4:29 pm)

5:00 pm Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’­­ariv
6:15 pm­­­ Shabbat Dinner
7:30 pm­­­ Heart Circle: What are we yearning to set free? (in honor of Torah portion B’Shellach)
9:00 pm Tisch: Stories, Zmirot/Singing, Show Tunes

Saturday, January 12

8:45 am Breakfast (until 9:45 am)
10:00 am­­­ Shabbat morning service and spiritual practice
‚ÄĒ Shabbat services with Debra
‚ÄĒ Winter hike, yoga or meditation
12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Workshop 1
‚ÄĒ5 Rhythms Torah Dance Study with Deb

_Free time, nap time, rest time
2:45 pm Workshop 2
‚ÄĒSpiritual Wisdom from Hassidic Literature with Neal

_Free time, nap time, rest time
4:00 pm Workshop 3
‚ÄĒTheatre Improv with David
‚ÄĒ Free time, nap time, rest time
5:00 pm Spiritual Practice
‚ÄĒ Contemplative Mincha Meditation
‚ÄĒ Bread available for¬†seudah shlishit
5:45 pm Havdalah and Ritual of Release-letting our inspiration flow, based on the Tu B’shvat Seder

8:00 pm Heart Circle: What is waiting for expression? What do we need to let it flow?
9:00 pm Dancing, socializing, fun!


8:00 am Optional yoga
9:00 am Breakfast (until 9:45 am)
10:00 am Workshop 4

Text study with Penina
–Free time, rest time

11:15 am Heart Circle: Rewrapping and Closing Program

12:45 pm Lunch





Register Here


Easton Mountain Information

Please note:Easton

  • The Easton Mountain kitchen is not kosher. We will enjoy vegetarian (and fish) food. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†Salad and bread for sandwiches will be available at all meals. ¬≠¬≠¬≠¬†If you require more strictly kosher food, you are warmly invited to bring it and store it in refrigerators that will be provided.
  • Our current plan is to offer one set of services in the Renewal style. Please see our halachic information page for more detail about Nehirim’¬≠¬≠s halachic practice.
  • Easton Mountain does not have an eruv.
  • Massage and other healing services will be
    available for an additional fee.
  • We will be sharing space with Easton’¬≠¬≠s residential community, consisting of 15-20 residents, all of whom are men who love other men.


Retreat Directors

Debra Kolodny, Executive Director

Rabbi Debra Kolodny,¬†(Rabbah D‚Äôvorah) joined Nehirim as Executive Director in March of 2013. She brings over thirty years of leadership in LGBTQ organizations, including five as National Coordinator for BiNet USA and six facilitating NGLTF’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable. She published Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith in 2000 as well as dozens of articles on religion and sexuality. She has taught in hundreds of venues on the topic of Judaism, sexual orientation and gender identity. Active in interfaith social justice work she is a frequent speaker, ritualist, and teacher. Prior to joining Nehirim Rabbah D‚Äôvorah served as the rabbi for P‚Äônai Or of Portland and the Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She practices taiji meditates and is passionate about ecstatic dance. Debra and Brio will celebrate their marriage under the chuppah in August.


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’liakh K’hilah 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’ah 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 David Dunn Bauer

Rabbi David Dunn Bauer serves on the Board of Directors ¬†for Nehirim and is the Director of Social Justice Programming for Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST) in NYC.¬† David brings to his work over 20 years of professional theater experience, nine years in the congregational rabbinate, and 20 years of yoga practice, as well as academic study on sexuality and spirituality and many years of work as a touch healer and sacred intimate. David earned his B.A. in Theatre Studies and English Literature at Yale University, studied Talmud at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinical ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In 2011, he became the first Jew to earn the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, writing on “Blessings for the Erotic Body” and “Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics.” Along with Michael Cohen, he created Body Electric’s first ever Jewish retreat (“Celebrating the Body Judaic”) in 2006. David interned at CBST in 2000-2001 and from 2003 to 2010 he served as the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Amherst, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Based until recently in San Francisco, he maintains a private practice in Queer Spiritual Counseling. Sought after as a scholar-in-residence, has taught about Queer Theology around the United States and Canada.


Penina Weinberg

Penina Weinberg is an independent biblical scholar who is President Emeritus of Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cambridge, MA, and on the board of Organic Torah. She recently directed her first Boston retreat for Ruach HaYam. Her Master’s Degree 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.


Rabbi Neal Kaunfer

Rabbi Neal Kaunfer is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative Movement) and former Director of Congregational High School Education, Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York.  He is a teacher of Jewish spirituality, and is a member of Kehilat Romemu, a Jewish renewal congregation in New York City.  He has led his Jewish Prayer Dance and Jewish Music Movements programs as well as study workshops at Nehirim since his first retreat in 2004.


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.