Fall Shabbaton - Center for Small Town Jewish Life


The Fall Shabbaton is an annual event that brings together the Maine Jewish community and friends from farther afield for a weekend of Torah study, soulful music, Shabbat meals, and invigorating connection. What started out as  a Friday-night dinner and concert has evolved into a full Shabbat of learning and singing, with intergenerational programs for college students, children and teens, synagogue members from across the state. Past guests have included Nefesh Mountain, Deborah Sacks Mintz, Neshama Carlebach and the Glory to God gospel singers, and Joey Weisenberg, as well as Talmud scholar Ruth Calderon. The Shabbaton has grown into a partner program to the Maine Conference for Jewish Life, sustaining our community with Jewish learning and music as we enter the winter months. 

Fall Shabbaton with Batya Levine

Friday, Nov. 4-Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022

We’re thrilled to be welcoming communal prayer leader Batya Levine as our musical guest for the 2022 Fall Shabbaton. We hope you’ll join us in person at Colby College for Shabbat services, dinner, and learning opportunities. We also welcome guest scholar Rabbi Sandra Lawson for inspirational learning and Torah study. 


SHABBATON SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Friday, November 4

5:15-5:45 p.m.: Arrival and check in, Alumni Center
5:45 p.m.: Dinner prepared by Capital Area New Mainers Project
7 p.m.: Kabbalat Shabbat services with Batya Levine 
8:30 p.m.: Community Oneg Shabbat 
8:30-9:30 p.m.: College students program
8:30-9:30 p.m.: Maine Roots program 
Saturday, November 5
8:30 a.m.: Light breakfast
9 a.m.: Shabbat services
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Children’s Program at Colby Museum of Art
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Study with Rabbi Sandra Lawson 
12:30 p.m.: Shabbat Lunch 
2 p.m.: Gentle Shabbat Hike and Song with Batya Levine  
3:30-4:30 p.m.: Rabbinical Apprentices session
5 p.m.: Se’udah Shlishit
6-6:30 p.m.: Havdalah and Closing with Batya Levine 

It was beautiful to welcome Shabbat in October 2021 with the song and music of Elana Arian. If you’d like to revisit her Kabbalat Shabbat service, click here for the live stream recording.


Guest Artist and Scholar Bios

Batya Levine

Batya Levine (they/she) uses song as a tool for cultivating healing and resilience in their work as a communal song leader, musician, shaliach tzibur (Jewish prayer leader) and cultural organizer. They believe in the liberatory power of song to untie what is bound within us, and sustain us as we build a more just and beautiful world.
Batya is a founding core team member of Let My People Sing! and was on the Cultural Organizing Team at Linke Fligl for a number of years. They are an alumni of Rising Song Institute’s Fellowship and Residency programs. Batya offers song, ritual, and workshops in a variety of communities, including SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, The New Synagogue Project, Rising Song Institute, and Isabella Freedman. Batya composes original music made of Ashkenazi yearning, queer heart-medicine, and emunah (faith/trust). Batya released their first album, Karov, with Rising Song Records in 2020.

Rabbi Sandra Lawson

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (she/her) is Director of Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion at Reconstructing Judaism. She works with senior staff, lay leaders, clergy, rabbinical students, and Reconstructionist communities to help the organization realize its deeply held aspiration of becoming an anti-racist organization and movement. Rabbi Lawson is developing a series of anti-racist policies and trainings for the organization and its affiliate members. She also serves as a mentor to rabbinical students.

The 2018 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College graduate is one of the first African American, queer, female rabbis. She has consciously sought to alter the perception of what a rabbi—and the rabbinate—look like. Lawson is known for tackling difficult questions surrounding Jews and race. A social media pioneer, she models what it means to teach Torah in digital spaces, and has built a following of more than 50,000 people on social media. In 2020, the Forward named her to its “Forward 50,” proclaiming her a “truth teller.”
Prior to joining Reconstructing Judaism, Lawson served as the Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life and the Senior Jewish Educator at Hillel at Elon University in North Carolina. She is also the founder of Kol Hapanim—All Faces—an inclusive, Jewish community that is relevant, accessible, and rooted in tradition.
Lawson served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police person with a specialty in Military Police investigations. She has also served as the investigative researcher for the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Region, becoming the go-to person when law enforcement in the South needed information on hate groups. She lives in North Carolina with her wife Susan and three “fur babies.”