Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality
and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Shavuot: This Year's Revelation
May 14 – 17, 2013
A special note from Reb Zalman
"I thank G-d that I am recovering well from an unexpected surgery which I underwent just a few days ago. The time needed for healing falls now, when I otherwise would be with you at Elat Chayyim. So I will not be able to join you in person for Shavuot. I WILL, HOWEVER, BE WITH YOU FOR SESSIONS ON SKYPE. Your presence at Elat Chayyim will nourish you, surround you with the gift of strong community, and assist in my healing as well…
Click here to read the whole letter.
My very dear friends and students, may G-d's blessings rest upon you,
Shavuot is a very special holiday for me personally. As a person who has dedicated my teaching to renewing Judaism by asking "What revelation is coming to us today? What is the Torah of our times?", the process and miracle of our receiving Torah is central to my life-work. Shavuot is also the time when the community gathers around the mountain, makes pilgrimage to a holy place, for the ultimate transformative experience.
That is why I've been coming to Elat Chayyim's Shavuot Retreat at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center for the past several years. It is the perfect place to receive revelation as one community—away from the day-to-day world, in such a beautiful setting, with inspiring teachers such as my wife Eve Ilsen, my beloved students Rabbi Marcia Prager and Chazzan Jack Kessler, and the sweet promise of the next generation of rabbis represented by Ezra Weinberg and Hannah Dresner. When we learn together through body, heart, mind, and spirit all through the night, and then davven together at sunrise; when we parade with the goats to celebrate our first fruits; and when we gather together to hear each other's stories—that's the best of what this holiday can be. That's where I want to be: with you.
So it is with sadness that I have to tell you that I cannot make the pilgrimage to Isabella Freedman this year. I've just undergone an unexpected surgery, and although it went well, the process of recovering won't allow me to travel now.
The Shechinah is Her most enchanting in the springtime, as blossoms are coming into their full fragrance and new beings are born. It is during this season, with its promise of abundance, that we receive the gift of the Torah meant for us. What a blessing to share the fullness of these holy days together with holy community! We are so sorry that Eve and I will not be with you in person.
While I will be at some physical distance from you, that will not constitute a spiritual distance. I will be able to imagine you gathering at the lake, at the mountain, celebrating and holding that energy strongly, bringing us in. I WILL BE TEACHING BY SKYPE DAILY, so I will be virtually together with those of you who gather at the Shavuot retreat.
Elat Chayyim and ALEPH are partners in producing this retreat, and both organizations are dear to me and make my life's work available to you. I want you to support them, and to come together and keep me in your hearts and prayers throughout the holiday.
Every person who registers for Shavuot will be entered into a lottery for a private Skype session with me after Shavuot. Ten names will be drawn after the conclusion of the holiday.
This is the time to make the pilgrimage, to gather together as a people, to receive revelation. I'll be with you in cyberspace and in heart; I hope you'll be there too.
- All Night Learning - Tikkun Leil Shavuot
- Sunrise Shacharit - Ecstatic Prayer
- AdamahFoods First Fruits Farm-to-Feast Kiddush
- Deep teachings that renew Jewish spirituality today
- Midnight Hike to the top of the mountain
- Pilgrimage Parade with costumes and goats to "the Temple"
- Kosher Artisanal Cheeses & Cheesecake
- One-on-One Spiritual Direction opportunities
- Camp Teva - Torah & Outdoor Fun for Kids!
Receive the Torah on Shavuot. Then taste it!
Join us the weekend after Shavuot at The Torah of Food & The Food of Torah, a Hazon program that will fill up your senses with the first fruits of the season, and the finest fruits of Torah learning. With guest chefs, rabbis, and educators to guide us, we'll delve into the world of food in the Torah, and the Torah of food in the world. Programming will include text study, farm tours, cooking demos, permaculture workshops, and lively Shabbat services. If you'd like to register for both and SAVE $50 on your combined registration fee, please call 800.398.2630 x4 to register by phone.
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, was ordained at the Lubavitcher Yeshiva, and received his PhD at Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion. Reb Zalman remains active in the educating and training of rabbis, cantors and rabbinic pastors in his role as founding rebbe of the ALEPH Ordination Programs. He is the founder of the Spiritual Eldering Institute and was "Holder of the Chair of World Wisdom" at Naropa University.
Eve Ilsen is a psychotherapist, teacher, storyteller and singer. She has studied closely with mythologist Joseph Campbell, Eutonia bodywork founder Gerda Alexander, and trained for years in Jerusalem in waking dream and the therapeutic use of imagery with Mme. Colette Aboulker-Muscat. Since returning to the United states in 1986, Ms. Ilsen has also worked in tandem with her husband, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, co-creating the Wisdom School, co-leading workshops and partnering at holy day retreats. In 2008, she was ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor. These days, Eve is invoking transformative states by performing in concert, as a singer and a storyteller.
Rabbi Marcia Prager is Director and Dean of Ordination Programs for ALEPH and rabbi of Pínai Or, the Jewish Renewal Congregation of Philadelphia. She is the author of The Path of Blessing and creator of the unique Pínai Or Siddurim for Shabbat and other innovative approaches to prayer and liturgy. marciaprager.com
Hazzan Jack Kesslerwas ordained as a Cantor at JTS, and had a twenty-year congregational career. He earned a Masterís degree in voice from Boston Conservatory and studied composition at Brandeis University. He directs the ALEPH Cantorial Program and two touring ensembles: AtzilutóConcerts for Peace and Klingon Klezmer. atzilutmusic.com>
Rabbi Ezra Weinberg is primarily identified through his work as a rabbi, teacher, song leader, spiritual peace-builder, and an environmental activist. He is also a musician and skilled leader of prayer in a variety of denominational settings. Ezra was ordained three years ago at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Upon graduating rabbinical school, Ezra served as the Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at Bnai Jeshurun on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Prior to his rabbinic training he received his MA in Conflict Transformation from the School for International Training in Vermont. Ezra lived in Israel for five years and has worked with several different NGO's who work to transform conflict through non-violence. rebezraweinberg.com
Hannah Dresner is an ALEPH rabbinical student from Berkeley. Hannah comes to the rabbinate with an exhibition and teaching record in visual arts, including a long tenure at Northwestern University. In addition, she has served as Curator of Education for the Spertus Musem of Judaica. Hannah is a founding member of Chicago's post denominational minyan, Lomdim, and of Or Zarua, the Reconstructionist Chavurah of the East Bay. For several years she has facilitated a High Holiday service at Netivot Shalom, a Conservative congregation in Berkeley, and this past year she offered Torah teaching for Rosh Hashana at P'nai Or of Philadelphia.
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is the headquarters organization for the Jewish Renewal Movement. Combining ancient and modern Jewish wisdom, integrating our devotional and mystical traditions with a progressive, egalitarian consciousness, Jewish renewal creates a deeply meaningful Jewish way to connect with the Divine through meditation, prayer, music, chant, dance, study and spiritually rooted social action. To support this movement, ALEPH trains, ordains and sustains the professional and lay leaders, scholars and activists of 21st century Judaism, supports 45 affiliated communities around the world, and is home to a seminary with over 85 rabbinic, cantorial, rabbinic pastor and spiritual director students. ALEPH produces the largest Jewish Renewal retreats in the world-the biennial Kallah and Ruach HaAretz. It is home to several two-year training programs including CDEEP's Kol Zimra, Sageing and the Wisdom School. ALEPH publishes siddurim, CDs, DVDs, books and tracts by Jewish Renewal greats like ALEPH's founder, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as well as offering newsletters, email discussion lists and distance learning programs. Finally, ALEPH pursues justice through long term projects and coalitions that promote eco-kashrut, peace in Israel and Palestine, human rights, GLBT rights, interfaith dialogue and celebration and more.
Jewish Renewal at Shavuot: Context and Details
We are thrilled to welcome leading renewers of Judaism today to Isabella Freedman for Shavuot. Reb Zalman and Rabbi Marcia Prager have worked tirelessly for decades to build a Jewish Renewal movement that:
- infuses ancient Jewish wisdom with a modern socially progressive consciousness;
- is joyous, participatory, spiritually substantial, profound and engaging;
- re-imagines practices such as meditation, sacred chant, embodied prayer, healing services, eco-kashrut, transformative ritual, music, and the renewed study of traditional texts;
- is fiercely and lovingly egalitarian, vigilant in devotion to righteousness in social and political causes, passionate about learning, and holistic in our understanding of the interconnectedness of mind and body, earth ecosystems and human welfare, and the contribution of all religious traditions to gobal well-being;
- embraces the use of instrumental music as a spiritual tool on Shabbat and Holidays;
- employs consistent electronic amplification in order to increase access to prayer for all participants during all services; and
- is committed to holding space for an egalitarian prayer community that includes all genders and often inspiration from the spiritual paths of the rest of our human family while remaining rooted in Jewish tradition and practice.
As always, all meals are strictly kosher and supervised, and our eruv allows for enjoyment of our entire facility in respect for all streams/levels of Jewish observance during Shabbat and Holidays.
If you're new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions for information about where we're located, arrival and departure times, what to bring, etc.
Register by April 19th and save 10%.
All-inclusive adult rates start at $620 per person for double-occupancy and include all programming, farm-to-table meals, and your choice of accommodations. Click the purple button to the right for information, rates, and to register online. Online registration is for full credit card payments only. If you would like to pay in installments, pay by check, or apply approved financial aid, please call 800.398.2630 x4. Please click the purple button to review our lodging options and rates prior to calling.
We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone.
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