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Eshel National Retreat 2024

January 12 - January 14

Eshel's 14th Annual National LGBTQ+ Retreat | Top Hats, Tichels, and Tiaras: The Many Hats We Wear | MLK Weekend: January 12-14, 2024, Isabella Freedman, CT

Friday January 12 – Sunday January 14

Isabella Freedman

Falls Village, CT

Top Hats, Tichels, and Tiaras: The Many Hats We Wear

Join us in celebrating the beauty and diversity of our Eshel community. We all wear different hats in different areas of our lives. We are large – we contain multitudes. We are children, parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends. We are students, professionals, retirees, creatives, entrepreneurs, explorers. We come from communities that are modern Orthodox, Haredi, Chassidic, traditional, Ashkenazi, Sephardi. Our genders and sexual identities span every inch of the rainbow. In many aspects of our lives, we promote or downplay certain aspects of who we are. This weekend, we will explore and embrace the many different sides of ourselves.

Eshel is like coming home, only better. Meeting new and old friends, in a natural setting, with interesting programming – its something I look forward to all year long.


I came to appreciate that there are so many in our Jewish community who want to feel accepted and valued – and that our Jewish community institutions and organizations sometimes don’t provide that … Eshel, and a retreat like this, plays an important role in addressing an issue that often flies under the radar.

Keith Krivitzky

This was my first ever LGBT event and I felt washed over with love and tenderness. I felt really seen.


Wherever you are on your journey, whether you are questioning, closeted, or looking for community: this is the place for you. We strive to make this a judgement-free space for learning and personal growth. We only ask that each attendee agree to respect other participants’ feelings and attitudes. Each person is on their own journey, which includes many detours, twists, and turns. Come with an open mind and remember that everyone’s path is unique.

Queer or LGBTQ+ adults and families are welcome. Children’s programming will be provided throughout many parts of the retreat.

We all have our own unique Jewish journeys. This is a space for those who are committed to or see themselves in communities of traditional Jewish observance. We welcome participants of all backgrounds, including Modern Orthodox, Yeshivish, Chassidic, Sephardi, traditional, formerly Orthodox, and Ortho-curious.

We take confidentiality very seriously. All participants must agree and sign Eshel’s confidentiality policy. Retreat attendees may not disclose the identity of anyone else without explicit permission. Participants can only share what they hear at the retreat with an individual’s permission.

At our national retreat, the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ Orthodox Jews, we spend Shabbat getting to know each other, davening, learning, singing, shmoozing, and relaxing. On Saturday night, we let loose and have fun together! Sunday provides more opportunities to learn together, including some unique activities. Past offerings have included text studies such as “Leviticus through the Looking Glass,” “Gender Transformations in Rabbininc Literature,” as well as safrut, rainbow candle making, and “Sensuality and the Sacred in 1900 Queer Jewish Writing.” Throughout the retreat, you’ll be part of a small chaburah group to discuss and process each step of the journey.

We welcome proposals for sessions from participants. Contact info@eshelonline.org for more information.

  • Beautiful indoor and outdoor gathering spaces
  • Delicious, sustainable, and glatt kosher food under supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission
  • Shomer Shabbat environment in beautiful surroundings
  • A commitment to sustainability through energy efficiency, food justice, animal welfare, and supporting healthy ecosystems
  • Conveniently located within 2.5 hours of New York and Boston
  • A shuttle service from the nearest Metro North station
  • Learn more about the facilities

Participants are responsible for transportation to and from the retreat. Isabella Freedman retreat center is located about a 2.5 hour drive from New York, a 3.5 hour drive from Boston, or just over an hour from Hartford. We offer a shuttle service from the Wassaic Metro North station to and from Isabella Freedman for $35 each way.

We are able to provide flexible payment plans to all retreat attendees – email sara@eshelonline.org to request a weekly or monthly payment plan.

For some, attending the National Retreat may require some sacrifice – choosing to cut back on other discretionary spending such as going out to dinner, buying coffee, or paying for entertainment. We believe the transformative experience of the national retreat is worthwhile. For others, attending the cost of attending the National Retreat may present a hardship if it would make it difficult to put food on the table, pay rent, or pay for transportation to work. If attending the national retreat would present a hardship for you, you may be eligible to receive financial aid.

If you are interested in financial aid to attend the retreat, please fill out our application form to help us better understand your needs. The deadline to apply for financial aid is December 4. You will receive a confirmation email once your application has been received – please reach out to us if you don’t get a confirmation email. Financial aid decisions will be emailed out on a rolling basis.

Registration for the National Retreat is now closed. Please contact sara@eshelonline.org for information about joining the waitlist.


January 12
January 14