Learn with Hadar
Summer Learning Retreat

“Who Is God And Why It Matters”

June 12-15, 2022

All sessions will be held on Zoom

Registration fee is a sliding scale of $36-360




Hadar’s Summer Learning Retreat is an opportunity to experience the rich and dynamic texts of our tradition firsthand. Guided by experienced teachers and joining alongside passionate peers, participants will immerse themselves in Torah study that is rigorous, nuanced, and sensitive to the full range of human experience.

The Summer Learning Retreat is open to people of all learning backgrounds. No specific prior experience is required.

Fill out this form to register for the Summer Learning Retreat.


Who is God? And Why It Matters


God is everywhere in Judaism, yet many Jews rarely take the time to consider who and what we mean when we say "God." The Bible scholar Terence Fretheim observes that "It is not enough to say that one believes in God. What is important finally is the kind of God in whom one believes." The kind of God we believe in, in all of the complexity that raises, dramatically impacts how we ought to live as Jews. Join us at the Hadar Summer Learning Retreat to dig deep into Jewish tradition and ask the biggest questions about God and ourselves. We’ll explore some of the many varied ways that Jews think about and imagine God and consider how these images impact the lives we ought to lead today.




Rabbi Avi Killip is the Executive Vice President at Hadar. A graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, Avi also holds Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University. She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Schusterman Fellowship. Avi teaches as part of Hadar's Faculty and is host of the Responsa Radio podcast. Avi lives in Riverdale, NY with her husband and three young children.



Rabbi Shai Held –theologian, scholar, and educator–is President and Dean at Hadar. He has taught both theology and Halakhah at the Jewish Theological Seminary and also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism. Rabbi Held's first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was published by Indiana University Press in 2013; The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, was published by JPS in 2017.



Rabbi Aviva Richman is a Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar, and has been on the faculty since 2010. A graduate of Oberlin College, she studied in the Pardes Kollel and the Drisha Scholars' Circle and was ordained by Rabbi Danny Landes. She completed a doctorate in Talmud at NYU. Interests include Talmud, Halakhah, Midrash and gender, and also a healthy dose of niggunim.


Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is President and CEO of the Hadar Institute. Elie has previously worked as a journalist, banker, and corporate fraud investigator. A graduate of Harvard College, he completed his doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was also ordained. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of the independent minyan Kehilat Hadar and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010). He also received semikha from his long-time teacher, Rav Daniel Landes. Elie serves on the board of Natan and on the advisory board of Upstart. Click to watch a short video of Elie as scholar- in-residence at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.


Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz is Hadar's incoming Director of Tefillah and Music. An educator, practitioner, and facilitator of Jewish communal prayer, Deborah serves and supports communities and individuals who seek to deepen, sharpen, and unlock their practice of empowered song and tefila. As a musician, Deborah has partnered creatively with a diverse array of voices in the Jewish soundscape; in addition to collaborating on over two dozen albums, she released her first record of original spiritual music, The Narrow and the Expanse, in 2020 on Rising Song Records. Beloved ongoing artistic collaborations include Joey Weisenberg's Hadar Ensemble, R. Josh Warshawsky's Chaverai Nevarech, and New Moon Rising with Elana Arian and Chava Mirel (album due for release summer 2022). Deborah received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also earned her MA in Women and Gender Studies. She holds degrees in music and religious anthropology from the University of Michigan. Learn more about Deborah's work at www.deborahsacksmintz.com.



Hannah Kapnik Ashar is a fellow in Hadar’s Advanced Kollel. Hannah is a Faculty Member at The Bronfman Fellowship, where she previously was Manager of Fellowship Year Experience. She formerly served as the Associate Spiritual Leader of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the Conservative synagogue in Boulder, Colorado. Hannah co-founded The Tefilah Retreat, a weekend of Jewish spiritual practice for young adults, and Come & Listen, podcast of Jewish existential ideas, for which she was an Upstart Fellow. Hannah consulted on the Girls In Trouble Curriculum, exploring creative interpretation of stories of women in Tanach. Hannah participated in the Kenissa: Network of Communities of Meaning Consultation, the M2 Senior Educators Cohort, and Ayeka Soulful Educator Training. Hannah is also a birth doula, and has three daughters of her own. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude and has studied at Hadar and Pardes.


Elisheva Urbas, Hadar's Editorial Director, is an editor, writer, translator, coach, and teacher, working with authors, with publishing houses, and with non-profit organizations. She has edited and published the work of authors including David Ellenson, Sharon Koren, Daniel Gordis, Judith Stern Peck, Yohanan Muffs, David Hartman, David Halivni, Leonard Fein, Ruth Wisse, Isaac Bashevis Singer, David Grossman, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, and worked with publishers including Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge University Presses, Basic Books, Jewish Lights, and Faber & Faber, as well as with many non-profit organizations. In the past, she has been the director of Hazon’s coworking space Makom Hadash; the managing editor for adult books at the publishing house Farrar Straus & Giroux; and the board chair at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. She and her husband have three grown daughters and live on the Upper West Side.


Rabbi Nadav Berger is the Rosh Beit Midrash of Hadar in Israel. He is an alum of Hadar’s Year Fellowship program in New York (2009-10). He has also learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa. He has a Masters in Talmud and Halakhah and a Bachelor's degree in Bible and Jewish Studies as well as a Teaching Certificate, all from Hebrew University. He received ordination in Beit Midrash Har’el in Jerusalem, where he currently teaches Talmud and Halakhah.


Rabbi Avi Strausberg is the Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the Director of Congregational Learning of Temple of Aaron in St. Paul, Minnesota. Avi studied at Hadar as a year fellow, and served on our summer faculty in 2014. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow.  She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education.  While pursuing her studies, Avi was honored to serve as a rabbinic intern at Kehillath Israel and Temple Sinai.  She has taught students of different ages and backgrounds at Kehillath Israel, Temple Sinai, Makor, and Hadar.  Additionally, Avi has worked as a chaplain intern at Hebrew Senior Life and organized an anti-trafficking campaign as a rabbinic fellow at T’ruah.  Energized by engaging creatively with Jewish text, she has written several theatre pieces inspired by the Torah and maintains a Daf Yomi haiku blog in which she writes daily Talmudic haikus. Avi is most grateful for her wife, Chana, and two children, Ori and Niv. 


Rabbi Ethan Tucker is President and Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Ethan also directs Hadar’s Center for Jewish Law and Values. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He is the author, along with Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg, of Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law (2017). Ethan serves as a trustee of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.


Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish is faculty at Hadar and a Senior Coach for Pedagogy of Partnership. She is completing her PhD in Rabbinics at Harvard University. Her interests include rabbinic approaches to gender, parenting, and education. She has published several articles, including, "Upending the Curse of Eve: Reframing Maternal Breastfeeding in BT Ketubot" (2017). Rabbi Walfish has taught Tanakh, Talmud, and Jewish Law in numerous settings including the Conservative Yeshiva, Hadar, Harvard University, Hebrew College, and the National Havurah Committee's summer institute. She revels in the process of learning Torah with and from her students.


Sample Schedule


Subject to Change

All times are Eastern


Registration Fee


The registration fee for the 2022 Hadar Summer Learning Retreat is on a sliding scale between $36-360.

We believe that finances should not be an obstacle to participation and want to make sure that all who wish to learn with use will be able to. Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] if finances pose an obstacle to participation. We would love to learn with you!


Frequently Asked Questions


Is it for me?

The Summer Learning Retreat is open to people of all learning backgrounds looking to deepen their connection to Jewish thought and texts.

What skill level do I need to participate in this program?

Hadar welcomes people from a variety of learning backgrounds with a range of facilities in text study. All materials will contain both original language texts and English translation.

Where and when is it?

This program will take place entirely online. Sessions begin on Sunday evening, June 12 and runs through Wednesday afternoon, July 15.

Can I participate part-time?

Yes! While we strongly encourage you to attend as much of the program as possible, we recognize that the reality of the moment has made full-time Zoom presence a challenge and would still welcome you to learn with us part-time. You may indicate on the registration form how you will be participating.

Will there be recordings available?

Yes! We will make class recordings available to those who register. Please allow 3-7 days for these recordings to be processed.

How are the days structured?

Please see the schedule tab for an in-depth look at the schedule for the week.

How much does it cost and what’s included?

The registration fee for this program is on a sliding scale between $36-$360.

We believe that finances should not be an obstacle to participation and want to make sure that all who wish to learn with use will be able to. Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] if finances pose an obstacle to participation. We would love to learn with you!.

I have more questions. Who can I contact?

We’d love to tell you more about this program! Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions.