This queer, Jewish art retreat will be spaced over the four Sunday mornings in October so bring a large cup of coffee and be prepared to get creative.
SPONSORED BY Moishe House Retreatology
Sunday mornings in October, 11am-1pm.
This is a single retreat spread over one month. Ticket purchase secures access to all four sessions.
Each week, we will be exploring Jewish relations to ecology and the changing of the seasons. We’ll be connecting with that ancient Jewish witchy earth energy that’s all around us.
We encourage you to apply with a ‘bubble’ in mind (a friend or group that’s local to you). Whilst we will be meeting together and sharing ideas over zoom, a portion of this retreat will happen between sessions with you and your bubbles out in the material world. Whether you live near an allotment, a park, a woodland or a very friendly house plant, this series aims to develop ritual connection between people and nature.
This series of workshops, performance, exhibition and ritual is aimed at anyone with a Jewish identity or experience, anyone who impacts on the lives of Jewish people, and anyone committed to expanding (their) Jewish knowledge. No prior knowledge is required. If you’re wondering whether you’re supposed to attend, you definitely should.
Talia Chain is the CEO of Sadeh Farm, a UK-based Jewish farm and environmentally-focused retreat centre. Talia founded Sadeh in 2016 as a charity that promotes Judaism and environmental education. Through Sadeh Farm she applies regenerative farming practices as she transforms the site into a space that can host a variety of occasions, from celebrating Jewish festivals to offering volunteer fellowship programmes. Talia’s love of food-growing was inspired during her attendance at the Adamah Programme at the Isabella Freedman centre in the USA, 2015. Talia can most often be found weeding and planting her vegetable beds at Sadeh. She is also involved with the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion Jews. Her Jewish faith inspires her activism, and her activism aims to encourage others to be inspired to care for people and the planet.
Kohenet Rachel Rose Reid
Rachel is ordained by the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and is an award-winning writer, storyteller, and artist, who has created commissions for Billy Bragg, BBC Radio, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Along with Kohenet Yael Tischler, Rachel is co-founder of Yelala, a constellation of projects that renews and revives knowledge of Jewish women and femme spiritual practices, rituals, and folk cultures for people of all genders. She is the Spiritual Educator for Sadeh Farm, the UK’s only Jewish environmental community, and convenes multi-devotional circles in partnership with Sufi musician, Fahad Khalid. As an artist and ritualist, she produces festivals (Willesden Green Wassail; Mimouna London), which build genuine, joyful connections between Londoners.
Kohenet Rachel Rose Reid (she/her), Student Rabbi
Queen of the New Wave of Storytellers BBC Radio 3
Ruth Novaczek is an artist, filmmaker, performance artist and writer who has exhibited her experimental, vernacular films and installations nationally and internationally since the 1990s. She works with écriture feminine, subjectivity and fragmented narrative in her prose and poems. She has a PhD by practice from the University of Westminster where she’s a visiting research fellow. She is on the faculty of the lo-res Transart Institute in Berlin and a visiting lecturer at Falmouth University and Birkbeck College London.
Dex Chait Grodner
Dex Grodner is a London based live artist and the host of the queer, Jewish cabaret Homos and Houmous which they perform as the Yiddish music hall grand dame Chanukah Lewinsky. They are particularly engaged with women’s and queer stories in Yiddish Theatre and have run workshops and retreats on gender and Judaism at Sadeh Farm, Limmud Festival and University of Cambridge, and given talks on gender and theatre practice at Ovalhouse, Hackney Showrooms and RADA. As a drag artist, and poet, Dex has performed at Tate Britain, Theatre Royal Wakefield, and LGBT venues across London, Oxford, Leeds, and Bristol. They are a mentor and consultant for Gendered Intelligence with a particular focus on trans inclusion in the Arts.
Photo by Sadeh’s artist in residence Jess Knight
No one turned away for lack of funds. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and pay what you can. Attendance links will be emailed out prior to sessions. No one turned away for lack of funds. Tickets are priced
Raking and mulching (Talia Chain & Dex Grodner)
October is a rotting season, a time to be preparing dead leaves for mulch. A chance to meet other Jews and spiritual witchy folks and talk endings and decay, Talia Chain will introduce us to the ancient history of Jewish ecology. She will be providing a virtual tour of Sadeh Farm in all its autumnal magic and teaching some skills you can try with your bubble that will enrich the soil for the year ahead.
Past Wisdom, Present Practice: Sacred Space Beyond Shul (Rachel Rose Reid)
The synagogue and temple are by no means the preferred location for the Divine to meet us. We will explore Jewish ancestors’ practices ancient and recent, and discover sacred space that has been found and honoured in the wild, in the fields, and at home.
Through Jewish text, anthropology, reflection and song, we will trace a journey through biblical altars, ancient hill-top shrines, home table, and a rich tapestry of folk traditions from across the diaspora, which may serve as inspiration for how we might find sacred space no matter where we are.
Then There Was Light: Rituals in Transfigured Time
The Torah portion for the Shabbat before the workshop is Genesis I, the beginning of everything, creation. On day one heaven and earth were created, on day two the dry land and the oceans, then there was light, then the separation of light and dark, and finally the seeds, the trees and plants that sustain life. This workshop will explore creation, planting and the life cycles of the seasons and how Jewish culture and the Temple rituals were attuned to the seasons and to agriculture.
We will work together towards an exhibition that documents our rituals, in any medium, we’ll think about how we map the progress of projects that are aligned to the seasons, seeds planted, cultivated, or forms of prayer or blessing.
This is about process rather than outcome, we map the traces of the methods and magic our rituals represent. This is a way of queering our relation to nature, to ritual, and to time. So the exhibition of the process is about mapping and linking, connecting to each other and our process, discovering what we didn’t see, like a dream diary that makes sense some time later, seeing the unseen, reflecting and learning. This workshop follows Simchat Torah, it marks a new beginning, the creation of the earth itself. It also marks our own connections to each other and ourselves, our queerness and our different explorations of Jewishness.
We are where we are (Dex Grodner, aka Chanukah Lewinsky)
This day commemorates Yom HaAliyah, recognising Jewish immigration to the state of Israel. As diasporic peoples and displaced peoples, we have the power to dig our heels in and make something beautiful where we are, whether in the UK or around the world. This final session will be a sharing of work and ritual practices built up over the month. Bring your visual art, your invocations, your restless legs and your weird mossy performance art.
Next year in Sheffield!!
This project has been funded by Moishe House, peer lead retreats .