Ruach Ha’Aretz 2017

Join us for a week-long retreat featuring classes with some of your favorite Jewish Renewal teachers, musicians, and artists, and extraordinary teachers from other faith traditions offering opportunities to learn about, experience, practice and question the path of healing ourselves and our world.

As Ruach Ha’Aretz gathers in 2017, we hear the Spirit of the Earth calling us, in the words of the Aleynu, “L’takken olam b’malkhut Shaddai – To heal the world through the majesty of Nurture.”

This challenge calls us to the work of both inner and outer transformation. As we seek to heal and transform the world, we will find ourselves transformed; as we work to transform ourselves, we find our Earth transforming. 

Embodying the Spirit of the Earth / Ruach Ha’Aretz, we meet this challenge to heal by exploring ways, old and new, to express wonder, celebration, joy and awe; to understand, to sing and to dance Torah anew; to connect deeply with other cultures; and to actively give birth to social change.

In collaboration with all Beings, we empower each other to become the whole beings we are meant to be. We believe, at Ruach Ha’Aretz, that all the love and passion within us mingles with the wisdom of our inheritance, bringing inner harmony and joy, helping to heal all the worlds.

A day at Ruach Ha'Aretz....

Every morning begins with an opportunity to enter into the Divine Embrace through prayer, movement, or silence. Then plunge into a deep encounter with our theme and the teachers of your choice. Delicious meals and the sweet encounters with other retreat participants will provide nourishment between the spiritual and intellectual courses. Following our afternoon classes and dinner, Mincha Time offers opportunities for enrichment... and rest.

Our entire community will gather each evening for programs that celebrate and enhance our experience, with beautiful music, moving poetry, dancing, drumming circles, lively discussions and inspired dream work.

Our week together will lead to a Shabbat full of beauty and love in which the davvening may become the fullest expression of our true selves.

We'll create the spirit and aesthetic that can carry us into joyous merger with the Shekhinah.

There will be opportunities for study with wonderful teachers on Shabbat afternoon for all participants. The whole Ruach village will engage in a celebration of creation and creativity leading up to a unique and transformative Havdalah and a joyous Melave Malka. The Sunday closing ritual will seal your experience and guide you back to your homes and communities. 


This summer, Ruach Ha’Aretz will come to life at Stony Point Center in the scenic Hudson River Valley, northwest of Manhattan in beautiful New York state - home to the Community of Living Traditions, a multifaith intentional community dedicated to the practice and study of hospitality, nonviolence and justice.

Ruach Ha’Aretz participants are able to choose single or double accommodations. Families of 3 may also be lodged together. Larger families will be housed in adjoining rooms.

The campus is beautiful and accessible, and includes a Japanese Peace Garden, Labyrinth and working Farm, as well as a Fair-Trade Gift Shop, playing fields and a state of the art Art Space.

The kitchen will be made kosher, under the supervision of Rabbi Victor Gross, and all meals will be dairy/vegetarian with fish options at times. Vegan diets and other special dietary needs will be accommodated to the very best of our ability. 

We will be treated to fresh seasonal vegetables, eggs, and fruits grown in their gardens. All of the food grown at Stony Point is produced using organic methods and they strive to practice agriculture in a way that is sustainable and just. This means nurturing their soils, utilizing local resources, raising livestock in an ethical way, and much more.


It is recommended that participants traveling by air should fly into Newark Liberty International Airport, as Stony Point provides a subsidized shuttle to/from that airport.

The travel time is about 1 hour.

Alternately, Stony Point will assist with overland travel from/to a range of locations and a variety of transport methods.

For more travel options, see this information on the Stony Point website:

For driving directions from the airport and other origination points, map your travel to:
17 Cricketown Road,
Stony Point, NY 10980

Make your plans to arrive by mid-day on Monday, July 10th. Registration begins at 2:00 pm, and the program will formally begin with dinner at 5:30 pm.

For return flights, note that our program will end on Sunday, July 16th at 12 noon.

Driving to Ruach Ha’Aretz? We have set up a RIDE BOARD so that you can share rides to/from Ruach Ha’Aretz. Click on the link to access the form online where you can offer or seek a ride to/from Ruach Ha’Aretz.

Please pay close attention to the two options – Ruach Ha’Aretz is immediately preceded by our ALEPH Ordinations Students intensive study week/’Smicha Week’. Some may be seeking or offering rides at different times this summer.


Four lodges on campus provide the housing for retreat participants.

Most rooms offer two beds, some with two twin beds or a twin bed and a double bed (six rooms have only one double bed and are good for a single person or a couple).

Each spacious room has a desk and a sink. Single-person bathrooms are located in the hallways, directly opposite the rooms, and are shared by other guests on the hall (there is one for every 2-3 rooms). 
24 of the 70 lodge rooms are air conditioned. All rooms have ceiling fans and the rooms without air conditioning are equipped with additional box fans The retreat staff have assured us that it is rare for the rooms in the lodges to become uncomfortable in summer. Ruach Ha’Aretz will be taking place before the heat of the summer sets in.

Each lodge offers a shared lounge and an area with a microwave, sink and small refrigerator.

Wireless internet access is available in all of the lodge lounges (though it may not reach to private lodge rooms), and throughout the public spaces with the exception of the Meditation Space.


We strongly encourage Ruach Ha’Aretz participants to stay on campus, where community becomes more than the encounters during programs and meals. However, for those desiring an off-campus location, A block of rooms has been reserved at the Doubletree by Hilton in Nanuet, NY – a 15-20 minute drive from Stony Point Center.

The special room rate of $124/night (regular rate is $160/night) will be available until June 10 or until the block is sold out, whichever comes first.

To reserve a room at this rate, use the link below – and choose the commuter option when registering for Ruach Ha'Aretz:

To reserve a hotel room at our group rate, click on the link below. You will land on a Doubletree reservation page for Stony Point Center. Click on ‘Book a Room’ to enter the arrival and departure dates that you are choosing, and enter the Group Code: SPC (the default SP1 will not work - you must change the group code to complete your reservation)
Reserve a room

Note: commuters must provide own transportation [Stony Point may provide a morning pick-up at the hotel and a return in the evening, but will not be able to shuttle back and forth during the day.]


If you’re the outdoorsy type…looking for a more affordable way to be at Ruach Ha’Aretz Beaver Pond Campgrounds adjoin the Lake Welch Recreation Area in Harriman State Park 5 miles from Stony Point Center.

There are over 100 campsites – including tent and trailer sites, as well as accommodations for larger vehicles. Comfort stations, showers, laundry facilities and a dumping station are part of the campgrounds.

Click to reserve your spot

Register for Ruach Ha’Aretz as a commuter – all meals and full program included.


Fees include program tuition, meals, administrative costs, and lodging (unless choosing the commuter option). 

Lodging Fees:

[Register on or before Feb 1st and save 10% on your total residential fees]

$ 1,665.00 Adult - Single Room, with A/C*
$ 1,495.00 Adult – Single Room, no A/C
$ 1,455.00 Adult - Double Room, with A/C*
$ 1,295.00 Adult – Double Room, no A/C
$ 810.00 Teen (13 -18) – Double (w/Parent or other teen) 
$ 465.00 Child (4 – 12)

*Please note: rooms with A/C are limited, and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. 

Commuter Fee (no lodging)
$1000.00 Commuter (includes meals)

Early Check-In Option – arriving on Sunday, July 9th in the afternoon
$ 150.00 for Sunday night lodging and Sunday dinner through Monday lunch

Are you interested in our Mitzvah Core work-study option? Check it out.

These fees include programs, lodging (as applicable), meals, and administrative costs. Both options depending on space availability. 

$460 Adult - Shabbat w/ housing
$340 Adult – Shabbat Commuter

Cancellation Policy:
  • Cancellations must be received in writing to
  • Cancellations received until May 26, 2017 may receive a full refund (less $60 registration fee per person)
  • Cancellations from May 27 to June 15 may receive a 50% refund. 
  • Cancellations will not be accepted after June 15, 2017. There will be no refunds or exchanges.
  • All balances are due by May 26, 2017. Payments received after May 26 will incur a late fee of $54 per registrant. 


In the spirit of T’rumah ("gift" or “offering”), everyone who participates in an ALEPH program contributes to the T’rumah Financial Assistance Fund via a 3% registration fee (the 3% is not applied to donations). Not only is the T’rumah fee tax-deductible to you, it enables ALEPH to make programs financially accessible to as many participants as possible. In addition to your support, ALEPH is building the T’rumah Financial Aid Fund by earmarking a dedicated portion of all memberships/donations, a percentage of end-of-year surplus and by soliciting direct donations to the fund. 


ALEPH is committed to making our programs financially accessible. In doing so, we try to balance our ability to meet individual requests with our ability to spread our resources among as many participants as possible.

1. To apply for aid, participants must first register for the Retreat, making at least a $100 deposit for each person included in the registration.

2. Participants should, after registration, fill out the T’rumah Aid application form:

Aid will be offered on a sliding scale (usually 10% to 45% of the fee).

3. Applications will be processed in the order they are received up until all available funds have been disbursed. Submitting an application does not guarantee aid support as resources are limited
Register online

Click here to read about all the class choices and register early to assure your place in the classes of your choosing. 


The Alchemy of Shalom: A Phenomenon of Healing, Wholeness, Harmony
Hazzan Steve Klaper, Brother Al Mascia, Mary Gilhuly

Becoming Whole / Becoming Healers
Rabbi Shefa Gold

The Exile From The Garden and Recovery From the Impact A Jewish Contemplative Practice Workshop
Rabbi Jeff Roth

Immigrants, Exiles, and Strangers: The Book of Ruth and Torah for Our Times
Rabbi Shulamit Thiede

Prayer as if the Earth Really Matters
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Sage-ing: Wisdom of the Heart – A Vision for Inner and Outer Healing
Reb Bahira Sugarman, Rabbi Shaya Isenberg


Creating Midrash, Writing Songs Cantor
Linda Hirschhorn

Dance of Healing Rabbi
Diane Elliot

Hand of Miriam: Jewish Elemental Technologies for Catalyzing Healing
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Taya Shere, Shoshana Jedwab

Healing Practices from the Path of Deep Ecumenism:
Transform Your Suffering and Repair the Worlds

Dr. Rachael Wooten

I Asked for Wonder: Philosophy and the Spiritual Journey
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan

Teaching Torah with Spirit
Rabbi Lori Shaller & Rabbi Rain Zohav
click for complete class information & Teacher description

Exciting Programs for Children and Teens:

Ruach Ha’Aretz sets the standard for fabulously fun and creative programs for children. It’s an exciting, joyful, and nurturing Jewish renewal experience. This year, our youth will have the opportunity to explore the Ruach theme through music, play, sports, crafts and davvening as a deeply personal expression.

An inclusive and participatory program for teens is also an integral part of the Ruach experience. Older teens may choose to attend any of the adult classes and workshops and/or serve as teen assistants to the Ruach Kids program. If your teen would like to assist with Ruach Kids, please indicate on the registration form, and one of the program directors will contact her/him for an interview.

Experiences geared for teens alone will be planned according to the numbers registering for the summer retreat.

Ruach Ha’Aretz may also provide childcare for pre-school age children. Please contact us if you’re planning to bring a child under 5 years of age.
Children and teens at Ruach Ha’Aretz enjoy a balance of their own activities, and opportunities to be fully integrated into the greater Ruach Community during mealtimes, recreation time, evening programs and Shabbat. The Ruach Kids program serves a central role in the larger Ruach Ha’Aretz Village, inspiring a culture of inter-generational connection where everything and everyone is interdependent as we all embrace Reb Zalman’s vision and seek to bring healing to our hearts, our families and the world by getting it together … together!

Hannah brings many years of experience working with youth and integrates, into this work, a deep love for creative earth-based ritual and Jewish mysticism. She has lead youth wilderness summer programs, rites of passage trips for teens, family wilderness intensives, and several art and play therapy groups for children. Hannah has a master's degree in transpersonal art therapy and has worked primarily as a youth and family therapist for the last ten years. She graduated this year as Mashpi'ah Ruchanit, Jewish Spiritual Director, in the ALEPH Hashpa'ah training program, and is a graduate of Reb Nadya's Wisdom School. Hannah is passionate about creating meaningful, collaborative, inclusive, empowering and nurturing experiences for youth to express the truth and gift of who they are, and explore this wondrous life through all worlds.

One Family’s Experience…

—DN 2010

My wife and I have been coming to Ruach Ha'Aretz retreats every other summer since 1997.  I had many wonderful experiences at the 2010 East Coast (first ever!) Ruach Ha’Aretz retreat in Maryland.  But what I will remember the most about this particular retreat centers on my children.  They are now 11 and 7 years old, both rambunctious boys, both having grown up since babies at these retreats.  They were really looking forward to the retreat, and they had a fantastic time.  They immediately reconnected with Amitai and Hod (co-leaders extraordinaire) and wanted to hang with them and the other kids whenever they could. What this meant for my wife and me is that we actually got to spend quality time together on our own. The week felt leisurely, fun, and effortless.  The kids ran as a pack, and it was such a safe environment that for the most part, we let them come and go when they pleased.  They felt so comfortable on the “campus” and with the other kids and adults that they would often leave for meals before we did, get their food, and sit down to eat with other families.  In other words, it felt like we were part of an extended family, a tribe.

On Shabbos it is often tricky to keep the kids interested.  One moment I won’t soon forget came during the Friday night service.  It was being led by Shefa, and Reb Nadya was doing an extended visualization that involved going to the Garden of Eden.  Sometime after that my older son Sam came up to me and said “Dad, you know that thing Shefa just did, well something really happened to me in the middle of it, I really felt like I went to the Garden, I feel different now…” And in the same conversation he related to me how after the week at Ruach he “understood why we pray”. Ahhh…

Overall my family could not have asked for a better vacation and spiritual retreat.
—DN 2010

Mitzvah Core:

Ruach Ha'Aretz offers opportunities to deepen your practice of Mitzvah and service. The Mitzvah Core is a "work-study" exchange program that manifests the Malchut (grounded reality) of the retreat by assisting in the Ruach Kids village, offering childcare, assistance to our teachers, setting up for Shabbat, and all other informal Mitzvot that may arise during the week.

Our vision is to work mindfully and joyfully by grounding ourselves in the spiritual practices and teachings of the week. As the Mitzvah Core is nourished we hope to transform the entire retreat into a Conscious Community that is yearning to serve each other with Chesed (loving-kindness).

Ruach Ha’Aretz is committed to making our programs accessible to younger adults, and to bringing new energy and vision to our village. This year we are able to offer Mitzvah Core positions at a nominal cost (room&board only), for half-time work-study. You will have the option of a morning or afternoon class and will contribute your work-exchange in the alternate time of the day.

PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out to us. To inquire about Mitzvah Core options, please send an email to or leave a message on our voicemail (215-247-9700 ext 18). Our Mitzvah Core Coordinator will get in touch with you.


Can’t make the full week at Ruach Ha’Aretz this year? You don’t have to miss out on the experience. Come enter the community for Shabbat and share in the energy that has been building all week long.

Shabbat Commuter - $340
Shabbat w/Housing - $460**

Please note: We have VERY limited space available on site. We encourage you to consider the hotel option or the opportunity to camp nearby in beautiful Harriman State Park.

Register online
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Contact Us:

Questions about the program, special needs, or Mitzvah Core:
(215) 247-9700 x18

Questions about registration:

Ruach Participants Say…

–LR 2012    

I had a deeply healing and beautiful experience… I was very impressed with Victor and Nadya’s openness and attempt to include everyone and be open to everyone’s feedback throughout the retreat. I would think that would be difficult to do. They were so nice and heartwarming. So, thank you.
–LR 2012

–MB 2014    

Overall, great, just great. –MB 2014

–DE 2014    

It was a blessed, deep, and wonderful week, filled with satisfying human connections, supported by the gorgeous weather – everything heightened by the emotion surrounding Reb Zalman’s passing... All in all, an amazing week. –DE 2014


What inspired me the most?

Opening evening program, Sandy’s décor and kinesthetic banners the students in my class, individual conversations, pre-Shabbat mikveh in the river, Reb Shefa’s early morning chanting davennen, the way people and musicians participated so creatively in Tuesday evening’s earth healing/blessing ritual, the dancing during Reb Andrew’s kirtan and during the talent show, Burt’s besht presentation, the Shabbat seudat shlishit, the storytelling Sat. night!

–JK 2014    

I was a very happy camper at Ruach. Organizers did a wonderful job with our schedules and all content. THANK YOU for an absolutely wonderful week. Yasher Koach. –JK 2014

–NN 2014    

I left with my connection to Source strengthened. –NN 2014

–HS 2015    

I am deeply grateful for all the hard work people put into making Ruach work. …we had a really, really good time, and feel so enlivened by the experience. I'm not sure I'd be an observant Jew without Aleph and Jewish Renewal. Thanks very much to everyone involved, especially Rabbis Gross and Annie. –HS 2015

–YK 2015    

Glorious. Truly, it was the best Ruach yet! I loved the community that was built - the relationship of the teaching team came through and impacted everyone. –YK 2015

–LK 2015    

I loved the week, so rich and full of ruach, new and old friends, deep classes, ecstatic Shabbat. –LK 2015

–RS 2015    

This was our second Ruach Ha'Aretz, having attended last year’s in Oregon as well. The classes, services and programs were just as amazing as before. Overall it was another wonderful experience and we are very glad we attended. –RS 2015