Building Connections: Tu B'Av on the Farm

About the Program

Ancient tales tell of maidens dressed in white dancing in the fields on the full moon of the month of Av, ready to meet their beloved. By some accounts, it is a day as important as Yom Kippur! 
Join Rabbis, Kohenot, and educators from Asiyah, Living Tree Alliance, and Organic Torah as we breathe new life into this tradition; produced with generous support from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the National Center to Encourage Judaism, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies.  

You are warmly invited to join us for a campout Shabbat retreat at Living Tree Alliance in Vermont. Together we will build a temporary village while deepening our respective community bonds, engaging in homesteading practices on a working farm, exploring the ancient wisdom traditions of Jewish life, and immersing in nature with river swims and forest walks. We especially encourage younger adults to join us for this unique experience in the woods. Single or families: all are welcome!

We will: 
- make our own challah and grape juice 
- harvest flowers and food, preparing a farm-raised Shabbat meal together in the hearth 
- engage in restorative Shabbat ritual, including meditation, body centered practice, walks in nature, song and learning 
- draw Shabbat to a close with a Havdalah ecstatic dance party in the barn 
- Make new friends and nurture connections while sitting around the campfire and engaging in community building activities 
- learn new skills, enjoy the natural world, and go home inspired! 

Itinerary Snapshot

Thursday, August 15
Kesher Fellows ONLY should plan on arriving by 3 pm. Kesher Fellows will start their retreat with group building and learning leadership skills as they help prepare the village for the additional participants.

Friday, August 16
Following morning yoga, breakfast, and prayerful singing, we will all get to know one another. We will begin our journey by baking challah and creating our own grape juice, and reward ourselves with lunch. General participants should plan on arriving around 12:30 and 2 pm.

As we build our intentional community throughout the afternoon, we will prepare to welcome Shabbat together. By harvesting for our dinner, making flower arrangements for our tables, and infusing tea with fresh herbs, we will strengthen our community.

We will center ourselves for Shabbat with both gender separated and gender neutral mikveh options down the river, followed by a celebratory Kabbalat Shabbat and localvore Shabbat dinner. After dinner, we will join together in a Tu B'Av seder.

Saturday, August 17
After awakening on Shabbat morning to the beauty of the Vermont countryside, we will offer a meditative, prayerful experience.

A relaxing and peaceful lunch will settle our Shabbat day, followed by more options in the afternoon. More hikes in the woods will be available, as well as studying Torah teachings on love in honor of the holiday. In the early evening we will gather for Seudah Shlishit, Shabbat's third meal, with niggun (meditative Hebrew chant) and teachings.

As the sun begins to set and Havdalah (the conclusion of Shabbat) arrives, we will have an ecstatic dance in the barn, as well as enjoy a havdalah ritual in community with one another.

Sunday, August 18
We will join together in the morning for yoga and embodied prayer practice, followed by breakfast and the opportunity to learn permaculture principles, plant identification, and experiential agricultural Torah teachings. We will conclude our community after lunch and send everyone toward home with blessings and thoughts of new traditions.

More Information

Dates
August 16 - 18, 2019

Location
307 Route 100B
Moretown, Vermont

Who should register?
Registration is open to any interested participants. Members of Asiyah & Organic Torah are highly encouraged to attend. 

Kesher Fellows are also encouraged to attend. The Kesher portion of the program will run for one additional day PRIOR to the start of the event. Kesher Fellows should plan on arriving by 3 pm on August 15th.

Family members of participants are also welcome to attend!

Cost
- General Adult Participants: $275*
(3 day retreat)
- Kesher Fellows: $350*
(4 day retreat for those participating in ALEPH's 2019 Kesher Fellowship Program)
- Family Members: welcome for a 3 or 4 day retreat fee
- Child (age 4 - 12): $100
- Child (0 - 3): Free

*Includes program tuition and meals. Please note that additional registration fees, as well as the 3% T'rumah Financial Aid Fund fee, will be added on at the time of registration. In the spirit of T’rumah (gift or offering), everyone who participates in an ALEPH program contributes to the T’rumah Financial Aid Fund via a 3% registration fee. It enables ALEPH to make programs financially accessible to as many participants as possible -- thank you! 

Please note that this fee DOES NOT include housing. More information about housing can be found below.

Housing
There are four options for housing: 

1) BYOT (bring your own tent)
    - Area to put up your tents and composting toilet systems provided. Sleeping items are not provided.

2) Reservation at a nearby bed and breakfast or inn
    - Local hotel room block information will be announced very shortly! Stay tuned and check back on this page for more info.

3) Reservation at a nearby lodging of your choice
    - There are a number of nearby bed and breakfasts and inns, and you are more than welcome to reserve a room at the one of your choice. Daily transportation to Living Tree Alliance will NOT be provided.

4) Commuting
    - This is an excellent option for participants who live within reasonable driving distance of Living Tree Alliance.

Transportation
To learn more about potential rideshare opportunities, please reach out to Stephanie at stephanie@aleph.org.

Work/Study 
For those in need of financial aid to attend, we are able to offer a work/study program. Capacity for this program is highly limited, and is on a first-come, first-served basis. It is a serious commitment of 4 hours of work per day. If you commit but do not show up for your work/study position, you will be charged the event fee. Applications for the work/study program can be found here.


Ready to register? Click HERE!



Teachers

Rabbi David Curiel is the founder and spiritual director of Asiyah Jewish Community, a prayer community and wisdom café in Cambridge and Somerville, MA. He has renewed song with Romemu in New York City, Kol Hai in the NY Hudson Valley and Nava Tehila in Jerusalem, and nurtured souls at various communities in the Greater Boston area. He holds rabbinic and hashpa’a smicha from ALEPH. A world traveler, tai chi player and bike geek, David was also, in a prior incarnation, a successful wine merchant. He is blessed to share his life with wife Amberly and daughter Dafna.

Rabbi Natan Margalit was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received rabbinic ordination at The Jerusalem Seminary in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Talmud from U.C. Berkeley in 2001. He has taught at Bard College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Rabbi Natan is Founder of Organic Torah, a non-profit which fosters holistic thinking about Judaism, environment and society. Natan is a member of the Va’ad (steering committee and core faculty) of the ALEPH Ordination Program. He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife Ilana and their two sons.

Kohenet Sephirah - Stacey Oshkello is the co-founder and program coordinator of Living Tree Alliance, a three-fold initiative that includes a residential co-housing community, organic working lands farm, and an earth-based Jewish enrichment center. Sephirah - Stacey organizes community festivals and education programs for Living Tree Alliance that integrate seasonal New England homesteading practices with the Hebrew calendar and the ancient teachings of Jewish tradition. She was ordained as a Hebrew Priestess with the Kohenet - Hebrew Priestess Institute in 2017, where she enhanced her ability to curate ritual and ceremony for important life transitions and moments. She integrates Jewish traditional practices into a holistic lifestyle amongst family and community, that is relevant to our modern times. Sephirah loves being connected to healthy food, cooking, growing food, living amongst community, walking in the woods, taking hot saunas, leading and participating in rituals, and teaching. She lives with her husband and two children at Living Tree Co-housing, and is committed to building Living Tree Alliance as a place that is redefining community, regenerating land, and revitalizing Jewish culture.

Sponsoring Organizations


Building Connections: Tu B'Av on the Farm is produced by the following organizations:


And created with generous support from: