National Havurah Committee

2 8 th S U M M E R I N S T I T U T E
August 7-13, 2006 Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, NH

National Havurah Committee (215) 248-1335 •

Welcome to the NHC!
The National Havurah Committee (NHC) is a network of diverse individuals and communities dedicated to Jewish living and learning, community building, and tikkun olam (repairing the world). For nearly 30 years, the NHC has helped Jews across North America envision a joyful grassroots Judaism, and has provided the tools to help people create empowered Jewish lives and communities. The NHC is nondenominational, multigenerational, egalitarian, and volunteer-run. The NHC’s flagship program, the week-long Summer Institute, is a unique opportunity for serious study, moving prayer, spirited conversation, late-night jam sessions, singing, dancing, swimming, meditation, and hiking – all in the company of more than 300 people from a wide range of backgrounds. Each year participants leave the Institute reinvigorated and excited to return to their home communities to share new ideas and experiences. One of the NHC’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its participants. We are musicians, doctors, students, furniture makers, retirees, Jewish professionals, homemakers, teachers, activists, and just about everything else. At the 2005 Summer Institute, our youngest participant was 5 months old and our oldest was over 80, with many participants from all age groups in between. We are Jews from birth, Jews by choice, people committed to both traditional and non-traditional Jewish practice, non-Jews, and people exploring Judaism; LGBT and straight; people of color, Sefardi, Mizrachi and Ashkenazi; urban, rural, and suburban; Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, Renewal, secular, and Jewish without labels; and people with no formal Jewish education, people with Ph.D.’s in Talmud, and people with all other types of Jewish backgrounds. The dynamic process of exploring together what Judaism and Jewishness means in our lives is a highlight of the Institute. At the Institute, every teacher is also a student and every student is also a teacher. People who are usually called “rabbi” or “professor” throughout the year go by their first names here. And people who rarely take active leadership roles in their communities discover that they, too, can teach and contribute to the community. One participant summed it up best when she wrote after attending her first Havurah Institute: “The Havurah Institute was slightly closer to heaven on earth than other places I’ve been before. It was a week of learning, singing, dancing, talking, thinking, and feeling...You could make friends with anyone regardless of age or affiliation. It was a place full of individuals and families of all ages, shapes, colors, orientations and interests, united by a love of learning and teaching and a desire to make Judaism a positive force in their lives.” We look forward to creating community with you at this summer’s Institute!

The 2006 Summer Institute Theme
The 2006 Summer Institute theme, selected by the participants at the 2005 Summer Institute, is “Vehayah im shamoa’ tishme’u / If you really listen...” This theme comes from Deuteronomy 11:13, in the Torah portion that will be read during the Institute week. Many of this year’s courses focus on different ways that we can listen: listening to the sound of the shofar, listening through sign language, listening to poetry, listening to the voices of various groups of people, listening to the voices of our classical texts, listening to the divine voice, and listening when the divine voice is silent. We also listen to each other as we build a participatory community together. In order to listen in the languages we can communicate in, there will be special tables in the dining hall for conversation in Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, American Sign Language, and others.

A Day at the Institute
During a typical day at the Institute, you will • take two classes with dynamic teachers • attend stimulating optional workshops • choose from exciting prayer, text study, and yoga options • enjoy delicious kosher vegetarian food • spend free time relaxing in a beautiful natural setting • participate in evening programs and entertainment • make and renew friendships, have great conversations, laugh, think, sing, dance, and learn

The centerpieces of the Institute are the courses offered each morning and afternoon. Courses are small, intense, and led by teachers, Institute participants themselves, who present material they love in an inclusive style that encourages everyone to participate. Choose from classes in traditional texts, Jewish war ethics, Torah commentary through dance, the history of Jewish Germans, prayer in Judaism and Islam, and other intriguing subjects. Your background is not important; your desire to learn is.

Evening babysitting is available throughout the week for a small additional fee paid in advance.

The NHC Children’s Camp
At the NHC Children’s Camp, kids enjoy developing their own close-knit community. The camp is led by a staff of professional educators, artists, and musicians, many of whom are long-time Institute participants. The program emphasizes Jewish experiences related to the Institute’s theme and based on the havurah model – participatory, diverse, and age-appropriate.

The Institute also offers informal hour-long workshops led by Institute participants on topics of their choice. Last year’s workshop topics included the Friday night liturgy, kippah crocheting, rabbinic texts, the Jews of Africa, yoga, and Judaism through comic books. Participants will decide this year’s topics by volunteering to teach workshops! Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to lead a workshop – we encourage you to share your knowledge and skills.

Minyanim (Prayer Services)
Every day will offer a different menu of spirited prayer (and prayer alternative) options, in a range of styles: praying in Hebrew, in English, in silence, in song, indoors, outdoors, with instruments, without instruments, and in any other style that participants bring to the Institute. There is also a traditional egalitarian service three times daily. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to lead a service in any style. All minyanim organized and sponsored by the NHC are fully egalitarian, with equal participation by men and women. Individual participants who wish to organize minyanim where eligibility for leading or participation is based on gender may contact the NHC office to arrange a meeting space.

special, joyful Shabbat. Before Shabbat starts, participants build an eruv (boundary) and make other Shabbat preparations. Shabbat then begins with a rousing kabbalat shabbat (welcoming Shabbat) service for the entire community, followed by a festive dinner and opportunities for text study, storytelling, poetry reading, and singing late into the night. A number of different minyanim meet on Saturday morning, after which the community gathers for lunch, further study and recreational activities, and seudah shelishit (the third Shabbat meal). Shabbat ends on a high note with a beautiful havdalah (end of Shabbat ceremony) under the stars.

Children’s Camp includes: • All-camp gatherings each morning with songs, prayers, and stories • Supervised outdoor recreation in a safe environment with water play or swimming each day (weather permitting) • Jewish-oriented playtime for babies and toddlers • Creative, developmentally appropriate Jewish learning for preschool children • Community building with fun and Judaic content for elementary school-age children. The NHC’s adult teaching faculty, Artistsin-Residence, and other members of the Institute community also participate in the Children’s Camp, bringing their areas of expertise to the kids. And, new for Institute 2006, we will also have a Children’s Camp Specialist-in-Residence who will develop and lead exciting activities for each age group. Please note that Children’s Camp is designed for kids six months to twelve years

Families and Children
The Institute gives families with children a unique opportunity to vacation and learn together as part of the larger community. Parents and children also enjoy enriching independent experiences throughout the week.

Celebrating Shabbat
Shabbat is the culmination of the Institute. The intense experience of Jewish living, the creation of community, the intellectual and spiritual excitement of the courses, and our new and renewed friendships all lead to a

old who can participate in an all day program with a break for lunch. (Camp operates during scheduled class times.) Children are grouped according to age and grade levels. We do our best to accommodate all children. Please contact the office if your child receives special assistance at school during the year so we can help you plan for your child’s needs.

for registration and dues. Returning Fellows can apply for half-scholarships. To apply for an Everett fellowship, you must be a first-time adult attendee at the NHC Summer Institute, at least one year post-college age through mid-30s, interested in exploring havurah Judaism, and willing to participate fully in the Institute. Application: Please email your application to by May 1, 2006. To apply, please provide your name, complete postal address, day and evening phone numbers, email address, age, and occupation. Please prepare a 1-2 page personal statement that addresses the following questions: 1. What activities and interests reflect and enhance your Judaism? 2. What do you hope to gain from attending the Institute? 3. How would you incorporate your own personal characteristics into this community? (The NHC community thrives through everyone’s contribution, in an unlimited number of ways. Examples include setup for Shabbat, leading workshops, services, impromptu singing groups, class discussion, and more.) A complete Everett Fellows application also includes: • Two letters of recommendation (may be sent by separate email or by postal mail to the NHC office). We prefer at least one letter from someone who knows you in a Jewish context. • A completed NHC Summer Institute registration form with a check for your fees ($123.00) made out to the NHC. Your check will be held until you accept the Fellowship.

planned just for the weekend. Shabbat guests should plan to arrive on Friday, August 11 between 1:30 and 3:15 pm. Programs for the entire community begin around 3:00 pm. Please see the fee schedule for Shabbat-only registration. Special Workshop

The Teen Program
Every year teenagers at the Institute build a teen community. This community provides a home base and an inclusive group of friends for the teen participants, most of whom also attend with their families. Designated adult advisors are available to teenagers at all times for checking in and trouble-shooting. Teens may work in the Children’s Camp or the Institute office for a reduction in registration fees. Please call the NHC office for more information.

Franklin Pierce College
Franklin Pierce College is located among the beautiful forests, lakes, and mountains of southern New Hampshire, just 90 minutes from Boston and 4.5 hours from New York City. The campus features ample conference facilities with free internet access, a variety of comfortable housing choices, and a fitness center. Mt. Monadnock and the White Mountains overlook the campus, which also contains walking trails and a lake for swimming and boating. Optional side trips during the Institute include a sunrise hike up Mt. Monadnock (the second mostclimbed-mountain in the world) and an outdoor morning service at the interfaith Cathedral of the Pines.

Photo credit Chrystie Sherman

Special Shabbat Program with Ruth Messinger
Ruth Messinger will be joining us for Shabbat and leading two Special Workshops. Ruth’s activism has been a vital example of Jewish listening to the needs of the rest of the world. She is former Manhattan borough president (New York) and currently the president of American Jewish World Service (, a nonprofit organization that helps alleviate poverty, hunger, and disease among the people of the world regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Her workshops will include a firsthand account of the ongoing genocidal campaign in Darfur, Sudan that has claimed over 400,000 lives. We will learn about techniques for becoming more effective social justice activists and how we can help motivate our home communities to take on this Jewish responsibility. Throughout both sessions Ruth will share her personal story as a global and local activist.

The Everett Fellows
A generous grant from The Edith and Henry Everett Philanthropic Fund underwrites the Everett Fellows Program for young adults who have demonstrated their potential to be advocates for Jewish causes and who are actively engaged in defining their post-college participation in the Jewish community. Fellows participate in the full Institute programming and in daily workshops designed specifically for them. They receive a scholarship for tuition, room, and board, and are expected to pay

Shabbat Guests
Can’t join us for the whole week? Have friends or family members who would like to join you for Shabbat? All are welcome to join the Institute community for a beautiful, restful, meaningful Shabbat in the mountains. Weekday classes will be over, but there are a number of special programs


Course Descriptions Morning Courses
Every year, the Institute features two Artistsin-Residence, funded by a grant from the Rita Poretsky Foundation. In addition to teaching their courses throughout the week, the Artists-in-Residence will lead a community-wide program and will bring arts activities to the children’s camp. This year Andrea Hodos (M-1) and Kathy Hart (A-2) are our Poretsky Artists-in-Residence. M-1 Moving Torah: Seeing the Voices Andrea Hodos Each of us will create our own dance/theater commentary on the Israelites’ experience of receiving Torah. We’ll begin with a close reading of the Torah text on the revelation at Sinai and, using writing exercises that draw on our learning, we’ll create the text for our commentary. We’ll also move through easy-to-follow methods for creating interesting and engaging movement. Working with a partner, we’ll put our words and movement together to create Moving Torah – commentary that is heard and seen at the same time. It’s a revelatory experience for everyone, both performers and viewers! Poretsky Artist-in-Residence

Unless specified as intermediate or advanced, all text study courses will be accessible to everyone.

Angeles, where she is currently the Artist in Residence. She studied techniques of community-based dance with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in Washington DC, and performed and taught with African-American/Jewish Ensemble Joshua’s Wall Performance Company in Philadelphia. She has created a solo show called “Cutting My Hair in Jerusalem” about her reengagement as an American feminist with traditional Judaism and its texts.
Arts and Literature

M-3 Ein Torah b’li Havurah: Introduction to Havurah Judaism Bob Freedman Torah and fellowship go hand in hand. Since its beginnings, the Havurah movement has been learning and teaching about how to acquire Torah in community. We’ll smooth the path into this tradition for newcomers to the Institute by learning some Jewish history and texts, niggunim (songs without words), davenology (the how, what and why of prayer), an introduction to Kabbalah (mystical tradition), and a lot from each other. The only prerequisite is an inquiring mind. This course is underwritten by a generous contribution from the Albin Family Foundation. Bob has been involved with the Havurah and Jewish Renewal movements for many years, teaching and developing programs for NHC Summer Institutes and ALEPH Kallot. He is the rabbi of Israel Congregation in Manchester, VT. M-5 Palestine 1948: Independence and Catastrophe Harold Gorvine Explore the 1948 war through first-hand accounts, documents, fiction, and the writings of historians. Look at the war as seen by Israeli military and political leaders, and as viewed from the bottom by those who fought and suffered through it. We’ll focus as well on the Palestinian refugee problem. Group discussion and hevruta (one-on-one) study will be the methods of instruction. Harold was honored in June 2001 by the Alumni Association of Akiba Hebrew

Academy (in suburban Philadelphia) for 35 years of outstanding teaching of history and Jewish studies. This is his 9th NHC Institute.
History and Culture

M-7 Ramban’s Wisdom Jeremy Kalmanofsky By any measure, Moses ben Nachman (Ramban, or Nachmanides, 1194-1270, Spain and Israel) was one of the greatest rabbis of all time. He led his community in times of trouble, taught Torah to help people both live deeply and understand profoundly, raised many students, and helped people discover God. Together we will study his life and writings to encounter this tremendous figure as Bible commentator, Kabbalist (mystic), synagogue preacher, community leader, and poet. Hebrew is helpful for text study, but all texts will be given in English translation as well as in the original Hebrew. Jeremy has been the rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed in Manhattan since 2001. He finds this pulpit rewarding for the opportunity it affords to help people build religious lives that are holy in both traditional and contemporary ways. His own religious interests focus on mysticism and unorthodox halacha (religious law). He lives in New York with his wife, Rabbi Amy Kalmanofsky, and their children Yedidya, Hadas, Isaiah, and Odelya.
Spirituality and Religious Life, Intermediate Text

Andrea, a former Everett Fellow and Institute teacher, is the creator of Moving Torah workshops, a method for creating Biblical commentary using writing, movement, and theater exercises. For eight years she taught Bible and acted as the Jewish Arts Coordinator at the Milken Community High School in Los


Course Descriptions continued
according to tradition, monotheism was introduced to the world. Contemporary biblical scholarship, however, asserts that the Torah was written and compiled by people over the course of hundreds of years, and that the monotheistic religion of the Israelites arose from the Canaanite people and their polytheistic religion. Using archaeological and textual sources, we will discuss the evidence for the human authorship of the Torah, whether the Exodus occurred as described in the Torah, and how a monotheistic Israelite religion developed from its polytheistic beginnings. English translations of all Hebrew and Ugaritic materials will be provided. M-9 Prayer in Judaism and Islam Benj Kamm In both Judaism and Islam, prayer plays a prominent role in systems of practice and law that frame how members of the community relate to God and one another. Within these frameworks, fixed prayer facilitates an individual’s relationship with God and also reinforces communal norms and ideology. We will look at the origins and practice of prayer in Judaism and Islam, in both individual and communal settings. Our study will also introduce the source texts for these traditions and the text-based process each religion uses for determining practice. All texts will be studied in English translation with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic copies available. Benj is a senior at Brown University concentrating in Middle East Studies. A longtime member of the NHC community and co-chair of the 2002 Summer Institute, he is excited to be teaching a full-length Institute course for the first time.
Spirituality and Religious Life

M-11 Men, Women, and Sex in the Talmud Ronnie Levin Using both halachic (legal) and midrashic (story) materials, we will study Talmudic (rabbinic) texts that relate to men, women, marriage, and sex. We’ll start with some of the biblical underpinnings and go from there. This is an introductory course; texts will be read in translation. Ronnie is a longtime member of and teacher within the Havurah community, with a graduate degree in Bible and tefillah (prayer). In real life, she does risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis for the US Environmental Protection Agency. M-13 Re-examining Our Roots: A Contemporary Look at the Development of Monotheism, 1500-500 BCE Stuart Mangel When God gave the Torah at Mt. Sinai,

Stuart is a professor at Ohio State University, where he teaches and does brain research. Before moving there in the summer of 2005, he and his family lived in Alabama, where he was a co-founder of the Birmingham Havdalah Havurah. Stuart is a veteran of many NHC Summer Institutes.
History and Culture, Contemporary Issues

M-15 Jewish Germans: A Glorious History Bernice Potvin It’s hard not to view the history of Jewish Germans through the lens of the Shoah (Holocaust), but we’ll try. We’ll strive to cast light on the complexities of this society by examining 19th- and 20th-century religious traditions, institutions, scholarship, and participation in the secular community. By understanding the evolution of the German Jewish community, we may find parallels and lessons for 21st-century American Jewry.


Unless specified as intermediate or advanced, all text study courses will be accessible to everyone.

Hebrew text study and knowledge of traditional forms of biblical interpretation are strongly recommended, translations will be provided for all texts. Regina is a transdenominational rabbi who has served as a chaplain, educator, and “singer provocateur” in Israel and the US. She works primarily through Ways of Peace Consulting and Educational Services, and is writing a book about reclaiming the traditions of the hevra kadisha (sacred Jewish burial fellowship). Regina has taught at four previous NHC Summer Institutes.
Spirituality and Religious Life, Intermediate/Advanced Text

ers while supporting beginners as well. Since discussions will focus on the words of the texts, an elementary ability to read Hebrew is strongly recommended. Jonah holds a Ph.D. in Talmud, is director of Talmudic Studies at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, and is a co-founder of Hebrew College’s Summer Beit Midrash. He has also taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Jonah received the “New Scholar Award” from the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.
Extended Format (each session is 2.5 hours, instead of the standard 1.5 hours); Text for Everyone/Advanced Text

M-19 The Divine Voice in Human Hearing (and Doing) Jonah Steinberg Bernice shares her passionate interest in the history and culture of the Jews of Germany from the perspective of an aspiring historian, practicing attorney, and sometime law school adjunct professor. She chairs Adult Education at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston and the Horvitz Scholar-in-Residence Program at Houston’s Jewish Community Center. Bernice has attended a previous Summer Institute and Cape Cod retreats.
History and Culture, Especially Suited for Families

M-17 Who Knows Four? I Know Six! Listening to Our Silent Matriarchs Regina Sandler-Phillips Bilhah and Zilpah, the mothers of onethird of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, are usually misrepresented and dismissed as Jacob’s “concubines,” even in egalitarian communities. Yet a closer study of the biblical narrative, traditional commentaries, mystical literature, and folklore reveals a very different story. To hear the silences speak in the lives of these two women, we will combine classical forms of interpretation with contemporary understandings of gender and social class. We will recover what has been lost in translation, and discover a hidden legacy of women’s peacemaking handed down by these forgotten matriarchs. While previous

How did we get from the Torah in the ark to the Torah of the rabbinic beit midrash (house of study), and the Torah of lived Judaism? Is it a matter of revelation, human interpretation, evolving folk custom, or the influences of history and experience? What are the spiritual consequences of acknowledging each of those factors in the Torah of our lives? In this beit midrash style course, combining introductions, first-hand encounter with the sources in hevruta (study pairs), and group discussion, we will explore a variety of rabbinic grapplings with the question, ranging from the second through the twentieth centuries. The sessions are designed to satisfy advanced learn-

M-21 Exploring, Renewing, and Keeping Shabbat Ilana Streit Shabbat is a way to let go in our lives. How do we do this today, both one day a week and in smaller moments during the work week? We will explore some classical texts but focus on new guidelines and new liturgy for the day of rest, and also look at new applications of the practice of Shabbat in our lives. Prerequisites: familiarity with basic customs and ideas about Shabbat, and some experience of or thinking about Shabbat. This can happen between registration and the Institute, with recommended books and websites provided. Ilana has been creating meaningful Shabbats for herself and her communities for ten years. She facilitates opportunities for creativity, engagement and learning, and helped develop TorahQuest, a method of interactive text study that will be used in this class. A longtime participant in Havurah Institutes, Ilana is a graduate student in the Heller/Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Mission-Driven Management at Brandeis University. One of her favorite Shabbat practices is unplugging and covering clocks, and then not knowing what time it is.
Spirituality and Religious Life


Course Descriptions continued Afternoon Courses
A-2 We are the People of the Book: Creating a One-of-a-Kind Book Kathy Hart Listening comes in many forms: literal – to stories from our families, or from the Torah and other books; metaphorical – to ourselves and our thoughts, concerns, likes, and dislikes; and listening to God or nature, what we hear when we really pay attention. In preparation for creating one-of-a-kind books, we’ll discuss the kinds of listening we’ve experienced in our lives and how the “stories” in Judaism – especially in the Torah, the oldest book – have formed and informed our lives. After exploring the ways in which we are all storytellers, we will use various techniques (collage, printing, paints, and writing) to construct pages and covers for our books, which we will also bind. This is not scrapbooking and no art experience is required. There will be a $20 materials fee payable directly to the instructor. Poretsky Artist-in-Residence A-4 Listening to Palestinian Voices: Hearing Palestinian Narratives Joseph Berman While the Israel-Palestine “debate” often leaves us hungering for genuine dialogue, attempts at peaceful discussions often fall short of really allowing us to understand the core narratives that motivate those with whom we dialogue. This course is designed to be an exercise in the first steps necessary for peacemaking. We’ll look at Jewish texts that deal with the hows and whys of listening to others to ground our learning in Jewish values, find a medium through which to engage with each other, and open up the possibility of truly hearing the narrative of the “other.” The Palestinian voices will come through story and poetry, film and photograph, as well as graphic novel and testimony. We will explore voices on al-Nakba (The Catastrophe) and the refugee experience, stories of Palestinian citizens of Israel and those living under occupation, as well as contemporary perspectives. Borrowing from various models of dialogue, we will work to create a safe, supportive, and respectful learning and listening environment. Joseph, a former Everett Fellow, has studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict extensively and has been involved with numerous peace and coexistence organizations over the past five years. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 2004, Joseph spent a year in Jerusalem on the New Israel Fund’s Richard J. Israel Memorial Social Justice Fellowship working with the Israeli peace movement. He is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Contemporary Issues

M-23 Writing and Listening to Jewish Poetry Philip Terman Students will write poems inspired by their Jewish experience (in the broad sense). Sessions will consist of “workshopping” each other’s poems, reading poems by established Jewish poets (ranging from the Bible to contemporary authors) for inspiration and modeling, and experimenting with poetic techniques, forms, and subjects. Some in-class writing will get the juices flowing, followed by assignments for class critique. By the end of the course, students will not only discover a deeper appreciation of Jewish poetry, but be more comfortable in developing their own poetic “Jewish” voice. Prerequisites: an interest in writing poetry. (A love for the written word will help; no previous writing experience needed.) Philip is the author of four books of poetry: What Survives, The House of Sages, Book of the Unbroken Days, and Greatest Hits. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, such as Poetry Magazine, Tikkun, the Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, and The Forward. He is a professor of English and creative writing at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and co-director of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival at the Chautauqua Institute.
Arts and Literature

Kathy (, a longtime Havurahnik, is a metalsmith, painter, and bookmaker who works in many media to tell stories and make Jewish ritual art. Her recent one-person show, “Inheriting Memory, A Testimony of Survival,” told the stories of her family’s experiences during the Holocaust.
Arts and Literature

A-6 A Neighborhood to Pray In: Where American Jews Live and Why Adam Gordon Does it really matter if Jews drive on Shabbat? Why do some Hasidim live intermixed with Caribbean immigrants in Crown Heights, New York and others in isolated communities upstate? Why have an eruv (boundary), anyway? You will learn and debate Jewish and American law and history in order to understand the answers


Unless specified as intermediate or advanced, all text study courses will be accessible to everyone.

to these questions. In the process, you will grapple with how where you live helps define who you are as a Jew and shapes your community’s values and spirituality. Adam, a former Everett Fellow, is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Next American City, a quarterly magazine about the future of cities and suburbs that the New York Times calls “a subtle plan to change the world.” He has worked, written, and spoken on racial discrimination and urban policy, Jewish communities’ interactions with surrounding neighborhoods, and domestic and international housing. He is finishing Yale Law School, where he is a member of Congregation Beth El Keser Israel.
Spirituality and Religious Life

Sue has been signing prayers for more than 25 years. She is the child of a deaf mother and served as a rabbi in Henrietta, NY, home of the National Technical Institute of the Deaf. She prays in sign to enhance her own kavanah, and also to help involve others in the meaning of the words.
Spirituality and Religious Life

A-10 Lishmoa Kol Shofar: Hearing the Shofar Marga Hirsch Learn about listening to the voice of the shofar, as well as how to blow it so that others can hear it properly. While concentrating on the Rosh Hashanah shofar service, we’ll also consider other occasions when the shofar is sounded in modern times. Our study will include biblical texts that mention shofar, halachic (legal) texts that describe how to blow and listen to it, and contemporary texts that interpret the shofar. Ability to follow a Hebrew text with translation will be a plus but is not required, as all materials will be provided in English. Participants do not need to own their own shofar. Marga has been a ba’alat teki’ah (shofar blower) since she became a bat mitzvah and has blown for congregations in the US and Israel. When it is not shofar blowing season, Marga serves as Library/Media Center Specialist at the Perelman Jewish Day School outside Philadelphia and teaches in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School Parent Education Program.
Spirituality and Religious Life

A-8 Listening with Our Eyes, Praying with our Hands: Sign Language Prayer Susan Gulack Sign language is a real form of communication for the deaf, and has much to teach the hearing as well. Sign is a way to help us understand the Hebrew, bring our bodies into prayer, and increase our kavanah (intention). Praying with sign is a way to add a movement meditation to prayer, as well as a visual component for those who daven (pray) with you. We will learn key sign concepts and vocabulary, look at the choices made when one translates/interprets, and learn to pray with our bodies. Our learning will enhance our Shabbat davening, both at the Institute and at home. Knowledge of sign is not required, but a familiarity with Hebrew and prayer will be helpful.

Stephanie’s first book has attracted considerable attention; it won the 2004 Moment Book Award for nonfiction, selection for the Hadassah Book Club reading list, and enthusiastic reviews from a wide range of publications in the United States, Israel, and the UK. With an A.B. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Stephanie teaches at Tufts University and has enjoyed speaking about her work in a broad mix of venues. Stephanie is putting the finishing touches on her second book, a novel set in a fictional Hasidic community.
Contemporary Issues, Spirituality and Religious Life

A-14 Not In Heaven: When God is Silent, To Whom Do We Listen? Neil Litt When Rabbi Eliezer summoned a Heavenly Voice to the study hall and it proclaimed that he was correct, Rabbi Yehoshua stood up and declared, “The Torah is not in Heaven!” (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 59b). Rabbi Yirmiyah explained that once the Torah had already been given at Mount Sinai, we should no longer pay attention to Heavenly Voices. Is this a declaration of independence from the revelations of new prophets or a declaration of dependence on human reason? We will look at rabbinic and modern texts to seek clarity on who we listen to and what we listen for. Neil is a past chair of the National Havurah Committee, and taught on modern echoes of the Talmud (rabbinic commentary) at last summer’s Institute. He is a member of the 8

A-12 Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey among Hasidic Girls Stephanie Levine Drawing from the teacher’s recently published book of the same title, the class will discuss her research and share an intimate sojourn with teenage girls in the Lubavitcher Hasidic community. The primary goal of the project was to listen to others with depth and empathy. We will do the same in the course, focusing on these Hasidic teenagers, each other, and the larger Institute community.

Course Descriptions continued
experience of the High Holy Days. All material will be available in English. Louis is the rabbi at Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry, NH. He has taught at NHC Summer Institutes and Winter Retreats, serves on the national board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and sits on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester. Louis has also published articles on the Talmud (rabbinic commentary) and related topics.
Intermediate Text

A-20 Western (Portuguese) Sefardi Judaism: a Model for Contemporary Postdenominational Jews? Michael (Plotnik) Tayvah In 1497, Sefardi refugees and the smaller native Portuguese Jewish communities were forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism. Surviving as overt Catholics and covert Jews for at least 100 years, their community re-embraced Jewish practice in Amsterdam beginning in 1598. Within a generation they developed premier publishing houses for Jewish books, trained scholars, and worked to bring more of their Jewish sisters and brothers out of what they called “lands of idolatry” to “lands of Judaism,” while creating a Judaism of beauty, quality craftsmanship, and intellectual openness that (largely) embraced the best of both traditional Jewish and European cultures. Can we learn from their way of being Jewish and apply it to our time? We will examine the history, unique institutions, liturgy, and music of this small branch of the Jewish tree. Michael, a longtime Havurahnik, earns his living by serving as the rabbi at a Reconstructionist congregation in New Jersey. Between 1998 and 2001 he was the rabbi of the oldest synagogue in continual use in the Americas, Congregation Mikve IsraelEmanuel, on the island of Curaçao, where he became enchanted with Western Sefardi Judaism.
History and Culture

Library Minyan at the Princeton Jewish Center in NJ. He has been reading Talmud every day for the past six years, and continues to find it brilliant and challenging as a historic and literary achievement. His Talmud blog, “Daf Am Haaretz” (, wrestles with Talmud and insists on applying it to this time and place. A-16 A Taste of Zohar: Teachings on the Days of Awe Louis Rieser When the Zohar, the central text of Jewish mysticism, explores the key themes of the Days of Awe, new understandings emerge. We’ll explore three selections from the Zohar focusing on the themes of creation, tzedakah (righteousness), and hospitality. As we decode the Zohar’s symbolic language and follow the dynamic interplay of the sefirot (divine emanations), we will open new possibilities for an enriched

A-18 Jewish Ethics in an Age of Global Commerce and Conflict Brent Chaim Spodek The Jewish textual tradition, from the Torah to the Talmud (rabbinic commentary) and onward, has attempted to provide guidance as to what is “right and good in the eyes of God.” Through an exploration of biblical concepts, Talmudic sugiyot (discussions), and contemporary philosophy, we will try to work out what might be “right and good” when considering issues such as human trafficking, the manufacture of off-label AIDS drugs, and infrastructure development. Brent is a fourth-year student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where is he pursuing rabbinical ordination and a master’s degree in Philosophy. He is also a Jewish educational consultant for the American Jewish World Service.
Contemporary Issues


Unless specified as intermediate or advanced, all text study courses will be accessible to everyone.

A-22 Reading the Talmud as Shakespeare: Literary Approaches to Talmudic Stories Miriam-Simma Walfish Although more commonly studied for its legal content, the Talmud (rabbinic commentary) is also a compendium of much aggadah, narrative passages that reveal the theological and ethical views of the authors. We’ll read about rabbis with the power to burn fields with their eyes and iconoclasts who force God to give rain. Through literary analysis of well-known as well as more obscure Talmudic stories, and study of parallel Jewish texts (rabbinic and modern), we will come to view these passages as carefully crafted literary masterpieces. All texts will be studied in the original Hebrew/Aramaic, with word lists provided. Miriam-Simma, a student in the Pardes Educators’ Program, is studying for a master’s degree in Jewish Education at Hebrew University. A lifelong Havurahnik, she has studied at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, McGill University, and Midreshet Ein Hanatziv, and has taught at the Northwoods Kollel/Beit Midrash Program of Ramah in Wisconsin.
Arts and Literature, Advanced Text

How humanely must we treat our enemies during wartime? We’ll explore a variety of sources – from midrashim (rabbinic stories) to medieval legal texts to contemporary scholarship – to shed light upon pressing ethical issues for both America and Israel, focusing on the issue of interrogational torture of terror suspects. As of the Summer Institute, Melissa will be ordained as a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is the author of four articles treating the subjects of torture, human dignity, and self-defense in Jewish sources, published at A former Everett and Wexner Fellow, and graduate of Harvard, she has served as faculty in a variety of adult education settings. Melissa has presented on the issue of torture in Jewish law to Senator John McCain, as well as at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, and several synagogues. She has also served as a prison chap-

lain, and is the co-founder of the JewishPalestinian Encounter program in Jerusalem.
Contemporary Issues

The 2006 Planning and Course Committees are tremendously grateful to all those whose time and energy make the NHC Summer Institute possible. The active participation and generosity of so many different people demonstrates the breadth and vitality of grassroots Judaism in North America. We always receive more wonderful proposals for courses, workshops, and programs than we can accommodate, and this year was no exception. Special thanks are due to some of our extraordinary donors who support the NHC and make many of our special programs possible: The Albin Family Foundation for helping children and families attend the Institute and for underwriting the Introduction to Havurah Judaism class. The Edith and Henry Everett Philanthropic Fund for underwriting the Everett Fellows program since its inception. The Rita Poretsky Foundation and The Rita Poretsky Memorial Fund establishing and for supporting the Artist-in-Residence program. Fran Zeitler, for being a long-time supporter of the Children's Camp. 10

A-24 Milhamot Hashem? Jewish Conceptions of War Ethics Melissa Weintraub Given Judaism’s abiding emphasis on the sanctity of life, how are we to make sense of the concomitant injunction to participate in limited warfare? What does our tradition consider legitimate grounds for war?

pareve/vegan options and an abundance of healthy, tasty choices. The kitchen and dining hall are under the strict supervision of a mashgiach (supervisor), who also participates in the Institute. If you have special food needs or food allergies/sensitivities, please help us meet your needs by letting us know of them on the registration form and providing a detailed explanation by June 15. Please feel free to call the NHC office for more information.

Franklin Pierce College is located off Route 119 in Rindge, NH, just north of the Massachusetts border. Approximate driving time is 4.5 hours from New York City and 90 minutes from Boston. The closest airports are in Manchester, NH and Boston, MA. Information about ride-share arrangements will be provided in the confirmation e-mail.

Three comfortable, modern housing options are available. The suites building in the center of campus is air-conditioned and accessible to those with special mobility needs. Each suite has six bedrooms with two twin beds per room, one bathroom with three showers and sinks, a living room, and a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave oven. Suites are generally designated for families with children under the age of 10 (to facilitate babysitting) and people with special mobility needs. The apartments are located near the suites. Each apartment has two bedrooms with two twin beds per room, 1.5 baths, a living room, and a kitchen with refrigerator, stove, and dining area. The apartments do not have air-conditioning; however, the mountain climate usually makes airconditioning unnecessary at night. The townhouses are next to the lake, a 7 to 10 minute walk to the dining hall and classrooms. There is a wheelchair accessible studio apartment on the first floor, while the second and third floors contain three bedrooms with two twin beds each, three full bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room area. The townhouses are air-conditioned. All accommodations have parking, washing machines, and dryers nearby. Please indicate your housing preference on the registration form.

Anyone who lives near the campus can participate at a reduced cost by registering as a commuter. Commuter registration includes all meals and full participation in all programs. Commuters who wish to stay on campus for Shabbat should contact the NHC office.

Each day features three delicious kosher vegetarian meals and plenty of evening snacks. There are always