Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Mini-Imun – A Short Retreat for Busy People

Posted by jewsnextdor on December 29, 2008

From USCJ.

Mini-Imun – A Short Retreat for Busy People

DECEMBER 2008 – For a certain subset of synagogue leaders, it sounded like a dream vacation– the chance to spend nine days on a retreat in the country, either learning to lead a service, read Torah, haftarah, and perhaps one or more of the five megillot, and write and deliver a d’var Torah or refining those skills.

That’s United Synagogue’s Imun program.

The only drawback for some of those people is that they do not have enough time for Imun. They’d love to do it, but work or family obligations do not allow it.

Now, we have a program for them too. It’s called Mini-Imun. Give Rabbi Paul Drazen, its director, just three nights and four days of your time, and he will send you away at the end either able to lead services far better than you could when you started (no matter where that starting point was) or able to chant trope.

Unlike Imun, held at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in upstate New York, Mini-Imun will meet on the West Coast. It will be hosted by Congregation Sinai in San Jose, California, and participants will sleep at the PruneYard Plaza Hotel, close to the synagogue and to the airport. It is scheduled for January 25 to January 28, 2009.

Mini-Imun, like its big sister, is an intimate program. Participation is capped at 20 people, and there are three staff members. In that setting, people from all backgrounds but shared interests develop a deep camaraderie with each other as they tackle learn skills that many have spent a lifetime wanting to acquire. The only prerequisite is the ability to read Hebrew; understanding it is not necessary.

Students at Imun learn everything; their instruction includes davening and service leading skills and trope-based text learning. In Mini-Imun, participants chose between those two tracks. Imun has the luxury of being able to teach davening for Shabbat and for holidays and every day; Mini-Imun’s focus necessarily is for davening on Shabbat. The learning is individualized to match each student’s needs.

“Every person who comes to Mini-Imun, like those who come to Imun, are interviewed individually, so we have a pretty good sense of who people are and what level they’re at,” said Rabbi Drazen, who is United Synagogue’s chief program development officer. “It’s flexible. We have adults who want to learn skills, and we do our best to accommodate them.”

“It’s a remarkable opportunity, for us and for them,” he continued. He said that in general participants tend to divide into three groups – those who for any number of reasons didn’t learn these skills early in their lives; people who have them but want to learn more and go farther, often prompted by a child’s upcoming bar or bat mitzvah; and people who are moving into leadership positions in their congregations and want to be able to lead services, or to lead them better.”

Registration is scheduled to close on December 10. For more information, email Rabbi Paul Drazen or call him at 646 519-1018.

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