Women’s Retreat 2013
Join us for a weekend of rejuvenation, community, and fun, including:
Community: The Nehirim Women’ÂÂs Retreat brings together 50â€”100 queer Jewish women (self-identified) of a wide variety of ages, religious affiliations (Orthodox, atheist, and everyone in between), family situations (singles, couples, families) and backgrounds. Children & non-Jewish partners are welcome. Ours is a warm, diverse, inclusive community.
Program: Our program features inspiring workshops, spiritual Shabbat services, and plenty of social activities and free time. We celebrate LGBTQ Jewish culture, spirituality, personal growth, and making new connections. There is something for everybody at Nehirim!ÂÂÂÂ This year we will explore the theme of “The Gray Area” or the ways in which we live in “The Places In Between” not necessarily fitting into a specific box. Laura Evonne Steinman will again be leading the children’s program
Accommodation: Our site is a gorgeous, comfortable, fully winterized, and fully kosher facility 3 hours from Boston, 2 hours from New York, and 1 hour from Hartford. Single rooms and amenities are available.
Here is a video shot at last year’s women’s retreat which gives you a good sense of the community we build:
Registration & Pricing
Prices shown below are per person and include all room & board for two nights.
Dorm triple/quad (bathroom down the hall): $225.
Economy (shared bath): Double $325, Single $450.
Standard (private bath): Double $425, Single $525
Deluxe: Double: $500, Single: $625
Child: $150, Children 2 and under are free
To apply for financial aid, click here first before completing your registration!
Location and Transportation
The retreat will be held at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. For directions and transportation information, please visit theÂÂÂÂ Isabella Freedman website.
Isabella Freedman is easily accessible by train from New York, and is close to the Bradley International Airport in Hartford. To offer or request a ride to the retreat, visit ourÂÂÂÂ Ride Board. Isabella Freedman is also accessible by train from NYC. If you need to be dropped off at the Wassaic train station (for MetroNorth service from New York City), a shuttle will be made available for a $15 charge per person each way. One shuttle will run on March 8, picking up passengers on the train that departs Grand Central at 1:48 pm and arrives at Wassaic 4:03 pm.ÂÂÂÂ You must reserve in advance by emailing info[at]nehirim.org by February 15. Registration for pickups on March 8 is now closed.
For other pickup times or locations, Lakeville Taxi, (860) 435-8000, is available for the train station and Best Cab, (860) 623-0200, for the airport. Lakeville Taxi is a reservation service; 24-hour advance notice required and reservations are nonrefundable within 24 hours.
To offer or request a ride to the retreat, visit ourÂÂÂÂ Ride Board.
Friday, March 8
2:00â€”4:00 Arrival, snacks, and registration
4:00â€”4:30 Opening Program
4:45â€”5:15 Optional Mikvas
ÂÂÂâ€” Mikva in the Lake
ÂÂÂâ€” “Meditation Mikva” with Sigal
ÂÂÂâ€” Mikva movement for kids
5:30â€”6:00 Early dinner for kids
5:30â€”6:45ÂÂÂÂ Candlelighting & Shabbat Services (Halachic Shabbat: 5:34 pm)
7:00â€”8:15 Shabbat Dinner (Puzzle Fun! for kids)
8:30â€”9:30 Mishpacha Groups
9:45â€”10:45 The Other 50 Shades of Gray
11:00â€”12:00 Late Night Program
ÂÂÂâ€” Tisch: Singing, Stories
ÂÂÂâ€” 12-Step Meeting
Shabbat, March 9
8:00â€”9:00 Morning meditation with Sigal
9:30â€”11:45 Shabbat Morning Services
ÂÂÂâ€” Traditional Davvening
ÂÂÂâ€” Kohenet/Renewal Service
ÂÂÂâ€” Personal Prayer Space
ÂÂÂâ€” Schmooze: Why I am not at services
ÂÂÂâ€” Shabbat Yoga & Movement for kids
1:30â€”2:30 Afternoon Session 1
ÂÂÂâ€” In the Doorway: Ritual for Liminal Space (Jill Hammer)
ÂÂÂâ€” Thriving in the Places In Between (Marla Brettschneider)
ÂÂÂâ€” Jewish Identity and Media (Laura Yaros)
ÂÂÂâ€” Magical Music & Sound
2:45â€”3:45 Afternoon Session 2
ÂÂÂâ€” Living by the Heart (Sabrina Sojourner)
ÂÂÂâ€” Laughing Yoga (Alyssa/AJ Finn)
ÂÂÂâ€” The 5 Women Who Gave Moses His Life (Penina Weinberg)
ÂÂÂâ€” Nature/Nurture: Visit to the Animals & Nature Walk
4:00â€”5:00 Afternoon Session 3
ÂÂÂâ€” Hike to the Overlook
ÂÂÂâ€” Naptime, Free time, Rest time
ÂÂÂâ€” Rainbow Circle Storytelling
5:15â€”6:15ÂÂÂÂ Mishpacha Groups
6:15â€”7:30 Seudah Shlishit (Third meal/Dinner)
8:00â€”8:30 Havdalah & Dancing
9:00â€”10:00 Talent Show
10:15â€”11:30 Night Program
ÂÂÂâ€” Cozy Time around the Fireplace
ÂÂÂâ€” Film: The Dark Side of Chocolate
ÂÂÂâ€” Energetic Sheltering with Ellie Barbarash
Sunday, March 10
8:00â€”9:00 Morning Spiritual Practice
ÂÂÂâ€” 12 Step Meeting (ends at 8:30)
9:45â€”10:45 Morning Session
ÂÂÂâ€” Gratitude: What’s in it for me? (Jacqui)
ÂÂÂâ€” What are your values? Are they Jewish? (Beth Blackmore)
ÂÂÂâ€” Reflecting through art for adults and kids (Mimi Yasgur)
11:00â€”12:15 Closing Circle & Final Mishpacha group
2:00 Tzeitchem L’ÂÂShalom (Adieu)
Chani Getter, Nehirim’s Director of Women’s Programming, is a Motivational Speaker, Certified Holistic Life Coach, and Ritual Creator. She leads informational and support groups in parenting, single-motherhood, domestic violence, cross cultural integration, issues of sexuality, and identity. She coaches individuals and offers workshops in the areas of life-balance, self-acceptance, transition, spirituality, and living your dreams. In addition to creating spiriutal and creative ceremonies, Chani follows an eclectic spiritual path that allows her to connect to the source of life within.
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).
Holly Taya Shere
Holly Taya Shere is a folklorist, ritual artist and educator on women’s spirituality and Renewal Judaism. Holly received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. She spent several years priestessing in earth-based spiritual communities and working as a healer before returning to Judaism and becoming a student, teacher, and organizer in Jewish spiritual communities. Holly is co-founder and co-director of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, an organization and training program devoted to reclaiming and innovating models of embodied Jewish spiritual leadership, creativity, and community from an earth-honoring, feminist perspective.
Since 2006, Holly has held the rabbinic pulpit at Olney Kehila Jewish Congregation. She serves as Education Director of Yavneh on the Hill and teaches Judaism and facilitates life-cycle ritual in many Washington, D.C. area Jewish communities.
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.
Laura Evonne Steinman
Laura Evonne Steinman colorfully weaves together art, spiritually, justice, and community action. Laura Evonne’s spiritual journey is informed by her mixed-faith background. She’s the Religious Educator and Artist in Residence at Arlington Street Church (Unitarian
Universalist) in Boston, and teaches art at The Gifford School in Weston, a school for kids with emotional, learning, and behavioral challenges, and other institutions. She lives in a co-op in Somerville, Mass., with 3 amazing housemates, her cat Krowka, and dog Jenna Belle. Laura received her BFA in Sculpture from The Rhode Island School of Design and her Master’s in Art Education (with a focus in Community Arts) from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sabrina Sojourner was the first open lesbian to be elected to Congress, in the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“shadowĂ˘â‚¬Âť seat representing the District of Columbia. Today, with two decades of experience in management and public policy, she works as an independent consultant.Ă‚Â She was recently the cantor at Temple Beth Emet in Washington, D.C.
Kohenet Ellie Barbarash, MS, CPEA, is an ordained Kohenet from the first graduating cohort of the Kohenet Priestess Institute. She studies about Chevrah Kaddishah practices of Taharah and Shmirah with the Gamliel institute. Ellie has an MS degree in occupational and environmental safety and health, and has worked to advocate, support and promote occupational safety for blue collar and high-risk workers for more than twenty-five years. Her writing has been published in Bridges and Jewish Book World. Ellie davvens, drums, and flutes in Philadelphia.
Marla Brettschneider is Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire with a joint appointment in Political Science and Women’s Studies. She has just stepped down from her post for many years as Coordinator of Queer Studies to take on the Coordinatorship of Women’s Studies. Marla has written widely on Jewish politics, queer and other diversity matters; er most recent book The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives (SUNY 2006) won an IPPY (Independent Book Publishers Award) in the GLBT category.
Mimi Yasgur received her MasterĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s degree from Lesley University in Expressive Arts Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. She enjoys leading expressive arts groups is a variety of settings, with a particular interest in working with the elderly. In her own time, she does collage, creative writing, yoga, and dance. She looks forward to integrating the arts therapeutically in the mental health field and utilizing artistic expression within Jewish communities and other creative environments.
Penina Weinberg is an independent biblical scholar who serves as president of Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge, MA, and on the Boston Keshet community events committee. Her masters studies at Hebrew College concentrated on women-centered readings of biblical texts. Her studying and teaching focus a queer lens on the intersection of power and politics in the Hebrew Bible.Ă‚Â Penina teaches at her synagogue, at other Boston area shuls, and at Nehirim, and Keshet. She can hardly wait to share her love of biblical texts with you.
Ariel Vegosen is proud to be a Jewish queer gender-outlaw. Ariel is a professional dialogue facilitator, Jewish educator, ropes course instructor, community organizer, media consultant, event coordinator, writer, performer, activist, and world traveler. Ariel has facilitated programs for Nehirim, Shomer Shalom, Teva Learning Alliance, Jewish Funds for Justice, Wilderness Torah, and American Jewish World Service. Ariel serves on the board of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Community of Living Traditions and is the founder of the Gender Blender Collective, a group designed to address how gender impacts and affects our lives.
Beth Blackmore has been a social worker for over 25 years, with an MSW degree from Carleton University in Ottawa. During the week, she works with people with mood and impulsivity disorders, using Dialectical-Behavioral and Motivational Interviewing approaches, at a large mental health institute in Montreal. Beth and her partner have been members of Montreal’s Reconstructionist shul, Congregation Dorshei Emet, for 7 years, and were the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the synagogue. They were members and organizers of Nice Jewish Girls, one of Montreal’s Jewish Lesbian groups and Beth is a past vice president of Ga’ava, Montreal’s LGBTQQ organization.
Laura Yaros is a long-time activist and lives with her partner in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she works as a Certified Translator. For the past 32 years, she has been volunteering at her local multi-ethnic, multilingual community radio station (CINQ, Radio Centre-ville, 102.3 FM), where she hosts a weekly 60-minute English-language feminist/progressive magazine show by, for and about women. She and her partner are members of Congregation Dorshei EmetĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthe Reconstructionist Synagogue of Montreal.
Alyssa (AJ) Finn has been involved with Nehirim since the first WomenĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Retreat in 2009. At that retreat, Alyssa realized that Nehirim was exactly the community she needed to combine her Jewish, queer, and spiritual identities in a safe and affirming space. Alyssa has a BA in Religion from Middlebury College and is in her last year at UMass Medical School training to be a Family Physician with special interests lie in the areas of Geriatrics, Palliative Care, and spirituality in medicine.
Sigal Ben Shmuel
Sigal Ben Shmuel’s experience focuses mainly in yoga; while living as a disciple in a hindu ashram for years, she studied and practiced its different aspects including karma yoga (service), bhakti (devotion), raja yoga (study of mind), hatha yoga (posture & breath) and meditation. She regularly led hatha yoga classes first in Israel and later in New York. Sigal received her BA in Landscape Architecture from the Technion in Israel, and currently lives and works in New York.
If you would like more information, if you would like to volunteer to teach or lead services, ÂÂÂÂ you can always email us at info[at]nehirim.org. Thanks!