Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center

A Weekend of Jewish Song Singing and Sharing

August 3 - 6, 2017  /  Falls Village, CT

Join us in the age old tradition of coming together through song!  Together, we will sing and share an array of Jewish song traditions, inclusive of a wide range of Jewish ancestry and religious practices. The retreat will be structured around Shabbat, hour-long song sharing and teaching sessions, and community sings – with plenty of time to explore the farm, swim in the lake, sit by the pool, or go on a hike.

The retreat is open to lovers of Jewish song, new and old. Whether you have an abundance of songs in your back pocket you’re excited to share, are longing to expand your repertoire, or are new to Jewish songs altogether, we welcome you to join us! We see the array of Jewish songs as expansive, including but not limited to songs based on liturgical text, niggunim (wordless melodies), piyyutim, Jewish folk songs, Hebrew chanting, Jewish labor songs, songs in Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic, Jewish gospel, songs written by Jews, sung by Jews, etc.

Song Sessions

Sessions will be led by a wide array of song leaders using a variety of formats.  Some will include histories and stories, others will just be about singing the songs themselves.  No instruments will be used on Shabbat unless otherwise noted.

Shabbat Services

Shabbat services will be offered Friday night and Saturday morning. There will be multiple davenning options.

Community Sings

Time to sing all together!

Jewish Outdoor, Food & Environmental Fun!

Make pickles, explore the woods, and take a tour of the farm alongside our Adamah fellows.


Sample Schedule

Here is a sample schedule to give you an idea of the flow of the retreat. This schedule is subject to change.

Thursday, August 3rd

2-5 pm – Check-in
5-5:30 pm Camp Teva Orientation
5-6 pm – Community Sing
6-7 pm – Dinner
7:30-9:30 pm – Community Jam

Friday, August 4th

8-9 am – Avodah Lev / Yoga
9-10 am – Breakfast
10:15 am-12 pm – Song Intensive Part 1
12-1 pm – Lunch
1-2 pm – JOFEE Activity
2-4 pm – Song Intensive Part 2
5-6 pm Camp Teva Kids’ Dinner
5:30-6 pm – Candle Lighting
6-6:45 pm – Let my People Sing!
6:45-8:15 pm – Kabbalat Shabbat
8:30-10 pm – Dinner
10 pm – Community Sing / Tisch

Saturday, August 5th

7-8 am – Yoga
8-9:30 am – Breakfast
8:30 am-12 pm – Shabbat Services
12-1 pm – Lunch
1-2 pm – Community Sing / Hike / Break
2:15-3:15 pm – Song Session Slot 1
3:30-4:30 pm – Song Session Slot 2
4:45-5:45 pm – Free time / Nap Time / Farm Tour / Mincha
5:45-6:45 pm – Song Session Slot 3
6:45-7:45 pm – Dinner
7:45-8:45 pm – Community Sing Back / Ma’ariv
8:45 pm – Havdallah
9:30 pm – Participatory Concert

Sunday, August 6th

7-8 am – Yoga / Avodah Lev / Traditional Schacharit
7:30-9 am – Breakfast
9-10:15 am –  Songs of Praise
10:30-11:30 am – Song Session Slot 4
11:45 am-12:30 pm – Closing Circle & Sing
12:30-1 pm – Lunch

Lead Teachers

Aviva Chernick is an award-winning musician who has brought her voice and presence in performance and prayer to audiences and congregations in North America and across the globe for over a dozen years. She garnered critical acclaim and a devoted following as the lead singer of the twice JUNO-nominated group Jaffa Road and was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for her solo music project, a collection of original songs for prayer entitled Eili: When I Arrived You Were Already There. Inspired by her work as a Ba’alat Tefilah (prayer leader), and by her study of the Balkan Judeo-Spanish tradition under the tutelage of the legendary Flory Jagoda, Aviva has crafted a unique new sound defined by her distinctive vocal presence.  Aviva brings her meditation practice and training in the teaching of this practice to all of her work.  It is in her teaching where Aviva integrates all of her learning, facilitating adventures for freeing the voice and studies of the relationship between song and silence in both secular and faith-based contexts.

Koach Baruch Frazier, a BlackQueerTransJew is a healer and musician who is working towards the day everyone experiences liberation. He spends his days helping people reconnect with the world around them through better hearing and providing love and support through revolutionary listening. Koach’s heart beats to the rhythm of tikvah, t’shuvah and tzedek.

Yosef Goldman is a spiritual artist, musician, pastoral caregiver, and activist passionate about building sacred community. Yosef was ordained as a rabbi in 2013 by the Jewish Theological Seminary with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling and hold a Masters in Sacred Music for JTS and a BA from Yeshiva University.  Raised Orthodox in NYC, Yosef has since taught and facilitated sacred prayer space in communities throughout the Jewish denominational spectrum, including B’nai Jeshurun, Romemu, The Carlebach Shul, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. As a singer and percussionist, Yosef has performed and recorded with a wide range of Jewish artists, including Basya Schechter of Pharaoh’s Daughter, Shir Yaakov, Kirtan Rabbi and The Miami Boys Choir, and has curated showcases for the Sephardic Music Festival. He currently performs as a vocalist with Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, and with the Middle Eastern Jewish music ensemble the Epichorus. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Jewish music collective the Shir Singing Circle, and Creative Advisor to Mechon Hadar’s Rising Song Institute. Yosef is a rabbi at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia where he lives with his wife, Rabbi Annie Lewis, and their daughter, Zohar.

Ramón Tasat was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, the Manuel de Falla Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a Doctorate degree in Voice Performance. Ramón has toured Europe with world-renowned Dr. Robert Shaw, and he has participated in international festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to television and radio appearances, Ramón has been the recipient of numerous awards including First Place at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center’s Recital Competition and a National Endowment of the Arts Grant.


Watch Clips from Past Retreats