CELEBRATING FIFTEEN YEARS, REFORM MOVEMENT'S SPIRITUALITY AND STUDY RETREATS HAVE FAR-REACHING IMPACT
2003 Kallot to be held in California and New Hampshire
(MARCH 2003)--The organizers of the first kallah sponsored by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, held on the campus of Brown University fifteen summers ago, never imagined that these five-day retreats would have such an impact on the Reform Movement.
"Originally, we focused on providing individual Reform Jews the opportunity to study and worship with others in a bucolic, retreat setting," said Rabbi Dan Freelander, vice president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. "What we have come to realize is that the kallah attendees, while small in number, are the agents of change in congregations throughout North America."
The summer Kallot, a five-day program of exploration, study, and worship, are an opportunity for in-depth study with leading Reform scholars from both the academic and congregational worlds. As the 150-200 people who attend a kallah are generally among the more involved in their home communities, the daily and Shabbat worship are highly participatory and, over the years, have served as an incubator for new approaches to worship.
"Many of the people who have attended a kallah return home and take on new roles and responsibilities in their congregations," Freelander said. "Eager to continue their study of Judaism and Jewish topics, they become active in planning adult education programs for their synagogues. Enthusiastic about the kind of worship experience they've had at kallah, they join the congregation's ritual committee, where, working with the clergy, they can begin to introduce the melodies and prayers they learned over the summer."
This summer the UAHC is sponsoring two Kallot: June 25-29 at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, NH, and July 16-20 at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Each site offers classes taught by leading Jewish scholars, authors, or artists in areas of unrivalled scenic beauty, with breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor exploration. In addition to the regular program, the UAHC is also sponsoring pre-Kallah seminars, an Educators Track, a Synagogue Musicians Track, and a camping option.
Organized around the theme of "Erecting Fences, Bridging Differences: Judaism Encounters the 'Other,'" the 2003 Kallot curriculum includes daily limudim (text-based seminars) and chugim (participatory group workshops). The faculty includes author and scholar Lawrence Kushner, Rachel Adler, associate professor of religious thought and feminist studies at HUC-JIR, Neil Gillman, professor of Jewish philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary; Indiana University professor of philosophy Michael L. Morgan; cantor, composer, and performer Jeffrey Klepper; author and HUC-JIR Professor of Rabbinics Mark Washofsky; and songwriter and recording artist Debbie Friedman.
The Educators Track, now in its third year, will be taught by Rabbi Jan Katzew, director of the Jewish Education at the UAHC, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. It will include sessions on tikkun middot (ethics and values) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). Open to all educators in Reform congregations, it will be held in conjunction with the New Hampshire Kallah.
The Synagogue Musicians Track, to be held at the Santa Cruz retreat, will focus on the music of the High Holy Days. Taught by Evan Kent, a cantor at Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles, CA, and Mark Kligman, an ethnomusicologist from HUC-JIR, and open to members of the Guild of Temple Musicians, the track will examine the structure and rubrics of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah liturgy and repertoire.
Also at the California Kallah, adventurous participants can take advantage of a special camping option. Scheduled for July 13-16 in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the camping option will explore the connections between God, Judaism, the wilderness, and one's spiritual path. Participants will sleep in tents, daily hikes are scheduled, and all activities will be conducted outside.
For those who can take an additional day away from their homes and work, each location has a variety of pre-kallah programs on a wide range of topics ranging from Religious metaphors to physics, spiritual intimacy to the binding of Isaac, as well as a day-long class for those who wish to improve their Hebrew skills.
Information on the Kallot, including the curriculum, faculty, and registration forms, may be found online or by calling the UAHC Department of Adult Jewish Growth, 212-650-4087, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.