News and Events

August Eco-Retreat

Aug. 10-16, 2009, Camp Isabella Freedman

Join Rabbi Jill Hammer, Shamu Fenyvesi, and Kavod Weider for a special Elat Chayyim retreat. During our week together, we’ll work the farm at Camp Isabella Freedman, learn sustainable skills for using nature’s resources, study Jewish texts related to the earth, engage in exciting new moon ritual, and celebrate a joyful Shabbat. Register at

The Jewish Book of Days

Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham's birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days, written by Tel Shemesh director Rabbi Jill Hammer, invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature's rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today.

Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth--seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit--and also echo the natural cadences of each season.

Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day.

Everything is God: A Jewish Spiritual Woodstock

Everything is God:
A Jewish "Spiritual Woodstock"
Thursday, October 29, 2009; 6-9pm
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York
(between 5th&6th aves - subway: 123FLVNRQW456 to 14th st)
$5 in advance/$7 at door

(Co-sponsored by Tel Shemesh, which will have a table at the event and will also be selling Rabbi Jill Hammer’s books. Kirtan Rabbi Cd's with Shoshana Jedwab's drumming will be available at another table.)

Join YIVO, The Forward, and Zeek, together with over twenty cosponsoring organizations, for a unique evening of discussion, connection, and celebration in honor of the new book by Forward and Zeek columnist Jay Michaelson, Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism.

Learn about new forms of Jewish spirituality & community with Dr. Caryn Aviv (New Jews), Dr. Jonathan Brent (YIVO), Rabbi David Ingber (Romemu), Jay Michaelson, & Rabbi Michael Paley (UJA).

This fascinating panel discussion will explore how the generation of the iPod has begun to develop new responses to the crises of modernity and post-modernity. Neo-Hasidic hip-hop, independent prayer groups, the Jewish food movement, eco-kashrut, GLBT/queer Jewish organizations, and "integral Judaism" are some examples of this newest wave of Jewish spiritual reinvention. Are these developments new -- or do they replay, in contemporary form, crises in Jewish identity we have seen in the Jewish past? Are they to be welcomed, or feared? This panel is a unique meeting of leading scholars of Jewish culture, and Jewish spiritual leaders.

Connect at a "county fair" of Jewish innovators including:
Altshul, AJWS-AVODAH Partnership, Brooklyn Jews, Bklyn Meditation Center, Eden Village, Hasoferet, Hazon, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Isabella Freedman, Jewschool, Kehilat Hadar, Kirtan Rabbi, Kohenet, Kol Zimrah, Limmud NY, Makom@the JCC, Mechon Hadar, Mimaamakim, Moishe House, Moving Traditions, Nehirim, New Shabbat Table, Romemu, Shemspeed, Tel Shemesh, & Zeek.

Meet the people responsible for this new flowering of Jewish spiritual creativity!

Celebrate with musical performances by Darshan and DJ Dreamkote, a kosher reception and book signing, and poetry by Hasidic slam poet Matthue Roth.

Schedule of Events:
6-7pm Welcome and County Fair
7-8pm Panel Discussion
8-9pm County Fair, Reception and Book Signing
9pm Musical Performance

Tickets are on sale now at

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Twitter: @jaymichaelson
More info:

Makom/JCC Drum Circle with Shoshana Jedwab

Come play in the soundbox! Celebrate and listen deeply as we join our powerful physical energies. Bring your own instruments if you wish; instruments are also provided. No experience necessary.

Thursdays, 8-9:30pm, Dec. 7 and 21. $10 for members; $12 for non-members per session. Location: The Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Family Auditorium at the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. @76th St., New York, NY. Call (646) 505-5708 to register. (Youc an also register online at; registration code MAKDRM01w6 through 07w6)

Sukkahfest at Camp Isabella Freedman!

Rabbi Jill Hammer will be teaching at Sukkahfest, the annual Sukkot retreat at Camp Isabella Freedman in Falls Village, CT. The retreat takes place in a beautiful natural setting during the first three days of Sukkot, Oct. 13-16 (see Rabbi Hammer will be teaching a four-session class on Sukkot as a festival of the earth, and many other wonderful classes will be offered as well. Prayer services and rituals will occur throughout the week.

Tel Shemesh welcomes event announcements related to Judaism and the earth or earth-based spirituality. Contact to post your event announcement.

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