For years, Torah educators Rabbi Asher and Sara Esther Crispe have travelled the world to speak and teach. But more recently they have decided to bring the speaking to them. And all it takes is one glance at their stunning property in Southern Vermont to understand why.
Directors of the educational non profit, Interinclusion, their tag line is “It’s all connected—We’re all Connected” and the focus of their programming is to make Jewish learning an experiential process.
Having relocated to Danby, Vermont from Merion Station, Philadelphia in February of 2015, the Crispes are now running Interinclusion retreats for small groups (20 people max) with accommodations at the beautiful and historic Wilburton Inn (amazingly enough, Jewish owned!) with programming at their home.
Last summer was their inaugural retreat and just last week the first of their two summer retreats took place. The theme of the June retreat was: “The Ride Inside: Re-Envisioning Ourselves, Others and the World” which related to the sense of the month of Tammuz which is sight. Classes included: “A Torah Approach to Stress Relief”, “Fixed and Growth Mindsets”, “Back to the Future: How Tomorrow Can Change Yesterday” and more. Additionally there was a Torah-based writing workshop for self-exploration as well as an intro on “Art and the Creative Drive” followed by a painting workshop.
One evening participants were treated to a violin concert with Yehoshua Sussman of the Haddonfield Symphony and Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, and the other evening there was a performance by professional percussionist, Ben Cohen.
The all-inclusive program included three healthy and delicious meals a day which included ingredients from local farms. There were vegetarian and gluten free options throughout.
Participant responses included: “A+”, “You let me reflect on my being”, “You’ve helped me to grow”, “I’ll be coming every chance I get”, “I can’t tell you my favorite part because I enjoyed all of it!”
There are still a few spaces left for their August retreat (Aug. 16-18, Elul 1-3). The theme in August is “The Challenge of Change: Preparing for a New Year and a New Reality.”
In addition to running their own retreats, the Crispes are also collaborating with other organizations and creating personalized programming for their groups. They have already hosted the Jewish Girls Retreat with 100 campers as well as a group of about 20 students from Bais Menachem, the Wilkes Barre Yeshiva.