The Maine Conference for Jewish Life is a pluralistic opportunity for superior Jewish learning and joyous celebration in central Maine. Living far from America’s major urban centers (and from one another), Jews in northern New England rarely gain access to the Jewish world’s finest scholars and cultural innovators, or the experience of being surrounded by a critical mass of other Jews. This conference brings Jews from across the region together in order to gain familiarity with the jewels of Jewish civilization, convene with other Jews from around the state, exchange best practices for crafting successful rural Jewish lives, experience the benefits and challenges of celebrating in a pluralistic environment, and revel in Torah learning.

2022 Conference Update

We’re are so excited to invite you to join us IN PERSON for the 2022 Maine Conference for Jewish Life! 


Provisional Schedule Now Available! 

Our conference schedule is taking shape as we work to bring you superlative Jewish learning that highlights some wonderful aspects of Jewish life both here in Maine and beyond! Please know that we will be continually adding to and modifying this schedule in order to accommodate the various needs of our community and the speakers who will teach us—so take a peek now, but check out more soon!


3 – 5 p.m:. Arrival, Registration, and Check-In 

5 – 6:15 p.m.: Kiddush and Dinner

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Keynote Address (TBA)

7:30 – 8:30 p.m.: Kabbalat Shabbat led by the members of the Shaliach Tzibur cohort


8 – 9 a.m.: Breakfast

9 – 11 a.m.: 

  • Conservative Services
  • Reform Services
  • Meditation Services
  • Shabbat Hike with Susan Bakaley Marshall and Chris Marshall
  • Kids’ Services
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.: 

  • Anna Wrobel, “Israel Experience: Memory, History, and Poetry”
  • Harriet Freidenreich, “Female, Jewish, and Educated”
  • Sam Posner, TBA
  • Sarah Rockford, “Torah By Heart”
  • Babysitting

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: 

  • Rabbi Darah Lerner, “Hidden and Revealed: Secret Jews-Public Jews”
  • Fran Malino, “Jewish Voices, Muslim Lands; Jewish Women Teachers of the Alliance Israélite Universelle”
  • Siobhan Whalen and Molly Curren Rowles, “HIAS and the JCA as a Refugee Placement Partner”
  • Kids’ Programming with Cantor Melissa Adleman
  • Babysitting
3:30 – 5 p.m.:
  • Seudah Shlishit/Cocktail Hour
  • “L’Chaim!” Mocktails with Vena’s Fizz House (this session can accommodate 50 people and will be first-come, first-served)
  • Intro to Mah Jong with Ariana Lushtak (can accommodate 12 people)
5 – 6 p.m.: Dinner
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: 
  • Anna Lushtak, “On the Ground in Warsaw”
  • Rabbi Dr. David Freidenreich, “Place-Based Jewishness” (This session is a Makom-track session open to all)
  • Kerry Sonia, “Mothers and Midwives: The Rituals of Childbirth in the Tanakh and Ancient Israel”
  • Rabbi Rachel Isaacs, “Strength in the Jewish Tradition”
  • Babysitting
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.: 
  • Alexander Matthews, “Reestablishing Relationships: Shehecheyanu or Reviving the Dead?”
  • Elizabeth Lucy of MOFGA, “Shmita, the Sabbath of the Land, and other Ways Judaism Guides our Growing” 
  • Rabbi Erica Asch, “Midrash: More than Cute Stories”

8:30 – 9:30 p.m.: Song Circle/Melave Malka with Eliana Willis 

9:30 – 10 p.m.: Havdalah, followed by Conference-wide jam! Bring your instruments!
8 – 9 a.m.: Breakfast
9:15 – 10:15 a.m.: 
  • Graeme Miller of BenReuben Knishes, “Rolling Rugelach & Talking Tradition” (This session is limited to approximately a dozen participants and will last a double session.)
  • Brad Orsini of the Secure Community Network, “From Pittsburgh to Colleyville: lessons learned regarding the importance of training and developing a layered security approach for all our Jewish communal organizations” (This session co-sponsored by the JFNA and will last a double session.)
  • Jean Berman, “Journey of the Mourner and the Soul”
  • Sarah Biskowitz, “What Yiddish Can Do for You: An Intro to Progressive Yiddish Culture”
  • Kids’ Programming with PJ Library
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: 
  • Rebecca Bass, “Addiction and Recovery in the Jewish Community”
  • Meryl Troop, “People of the (Handmade) Book”
  • Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor, TBA
  • Babysitting
11:30 – 1 p.m.: Lunch
1 – 2 p.m.: Closing Session

The world is changing rapidly yet again, and we are working to keep you updated as expeditiously as possible. Please make sure to read all of the important information on our registration page. If you have questions about the Conference please contact Mel Weiss: [email protected]du


When is the conference?
This year, the conference will be held June 17-19, 2022, at Colby College.

What programs are planned?
Our initial schedule is up but will continue to grow and change! Check back here often for updates on speakers, classes, and programs.

Who should I contact with questions?
Melanie Weiss: [email protected]

How can I get updates on the conference?
Like us on Facebook! You can also scroll to the bottom of this page and register for our monthly newsletter for program information.

Housing and Transportation

Housing Information:

Dorm rooms at Colby College are available for the entire weekend. If you would prefer to stay off campus, please make a reservation at one of Waterville’s hotels or B&Bs.

Other Hotels Include:

Please Note: 

If coming by bus, Concord Coach does not run to Waterville over the summer. Only Greyhound provides direct service. However, Concord Coach does stop in Augusta year-round, and one can order a taxi from Augusta to Waterville.

Local Information

Colby is located on Mayflower Hill, overlooking the small city of Waterville, Maine, just 15 minutes north of Maine’s capital, Augusta. Waterville is home to 15,000 residents and boasts a downtown district that features a municipal auditorium (the Waterville Opera House), one of America’s great independent cinemas (three screens), and many locally owned businesses including restaurants, bakeries, retail stores, and a brewery. Visitors will also find a half-dozen hotels, two hospitals, a multiplex movie theater, and nationally recognized businesses—Starbucks, Home Depot, and many fast food chains—within city limits.