First retreat: February 2019
In February 2019 Bayit sponsored a first rabbinic retreat on the theme of innovation. Via our fiscal sponsor The Jewish Studio we received seed grants from the Eleanor M. and Herbert D. Katz Family Foundation to support an innovation-themed retreat, held at Pearlstone Retreat Center. We convened a planning group of seven clergy: Rabbi Debbie Bravo (URJ), Rabbi Jonathan Freirich (URJ), Rabbi Heidi Hoover (AJR-NY), Rabbi Alana Suskin (JTS and Yeshivat Maharat), and three Bayit board members. The Planning Group held weekly calls for three months prior to the retreat and planned retreat programming to weave contributions from inside and outside the Planning Group, from clergy and lay leaders, from traditionally observant participants and from more liberal contexts. Sessions included:
- Jewish Doorways: Online Tools for Energizing Ritual Moments
R. Evan Krame • Conservative • Founder, The Jewish Studio
- Textual Activism: Traditional Texts of Innovation
R. Mike Moskowitz • Orthodox • Scholar in Residence, CBST
- Making the New Holy: Ritual Lab for Micro-Innovation
R. David Markus • Renewal • Co-Rabbi, Temple Beth El of City Island
- SketchNoting: Hands-On Training for Visual Torah
Steve Silbert • Reform • Entrepreneur & Director, Visual Torah Project
- Knowing What Works: Spiritual Analytics and Feedback Loops
R. Rachel Barenblat • Reform/Renewal • Velveteen Rabbi / CBI-North Adams
The retreat developed and integrated three areas of Jewish innovation – text, ritual, and representation – with focus on skill-building.
We look forward to future retreats and to sharing the innovations and practices that emerge from those spaces.
For more on our first innovation retreat:
- Ashrei. Happiness. Ashrei. Steve Silbert.
- Reflections on an innovation retreat. Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.
Second retreat: February 2020
Our second retreat also carries forward the theme of innovation.
Our theme is Being the Change: innovation and change agents in a complex world. We’ll refine tools in prayer, pedagogy, entrepreneurship, social justice, and personal spiritual practice. Expect high-quality learning, great davenen, and nourishing fun!
Our featured teacher is Rabbi Jeff Fox (Yeshivat Maharat). Rabbi Debbie Bravo (Makom) and others will offer innovation case studies. Additional presenters (TBA) will speak on the institutional and spiritual dynamics needed for successful change. There will also be deep text study with R’ Jeff Fox and R’ Mike Moskowitz, Bayit co-founder and scholar-in-residence at CBST.
Stay tuned for updates from that second retreat.