ALEPH Ordination Program Intensive Study Week – aka "Smicha Week"

Sunday June 30 to Sunday July 7, 2019
Stony Point Center in Stony Point, New York

Retreat and registration details will be posted as soon as they become available.
Please contact the AOP office at (215) 247-9700 x210 if you have any questions.

  • An amazing opportunity to spend an intensive, spiritually uplifting, intellectually stimulating week of learning with your fellow students in all the ALEPH ordination programs!
  • Study with members of the VA'AD and special guest teachers. Meet informally with your teachers and directors of studies.
  • Surround yourself with constant hevruta, in small classes and informal groups throughout the week. Earn 2 units of credit for full participation in the week's learning.
  • Soar with daily student-led davvenen'! Sign up to lead or co-lead, and to receive feedback on new approaches from ALEPH teachers.

Smicha Week is for students in the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) and candidates whose application is in process. AOP students attend Smicha Week as part of their curriculum requirements. If you are a candidate for one of our smicha programs, a letter of invitation from Rabbi Marcia Prager, Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Fagan or Hazzan Jack Kessler is a prerequisite for registering for Smicha Week. ALEPH musmachim are also welcome to participate on a space-available basis.


Many of the classes offered this summer will include a Hebrew learning component. These courses are identified with an asterisk, and will require pre-Smicha Week preparation, including creating a glossary of terms.

Back by popular demand – Mishpacha Groups will meet 3 times during the week, allowing for deepening relationships among students and an opportunity to explore how your Smicha Week experience is impacting you. If you have experience facilitating mishpacha groups at EC/DLTI, please let us know at

Smicha Week is a place for experimentation. We invite you to use the daily davennen leadership as a spiritual laboratory. Lead from your growing edge. How are you called to guide a community in the davennen experience? We are asking you to think in terms of different modalities and approaches, whether using the matbeah as your architectural framework or building your own path to present an experience of the deep structure of that moment of communal prayer. Experiment with meditation… silence… chant in a contemplative or ecstatic container. Make the best use of this laboratory. 

Faculty will provide the following for inspiration and guidance: 
Recommended readings: a chapter or two on davvenology 
Helpful guidance: a short, to-the-point cheat sheet outlining matbeah essentials. 
Mentoring: Student davennen coordinator will have a list of faculty who are available to mentor this summer’s weekday davennen leaders. Choose a mentor based upon the type of service you wish to lead. Mentoring, feedback and evaluation will come solely from the mentors with whom you choose to work. 

Beit Midrash will be scheduled daily to facilitate learning. 

Rabbi Diane Elliot, a spiritual teacher, ritual leader, dancer, writer, and somatic therapist who inspires her students to become clearer channels for Presence through movement practices, chant, and nuanced interpretations of Jewish sacred text, will join us before Shabbat to bring her unique teachings and experience to the entire community at Smicha Week.