Hava Nashira FAQs
I am considering coming for the first time. Will I fit in?
Hava Nashira strives to be a nurturing and welcoming community built on the inclusive spirit of the best of communal singing and worship. One of the core values of Hava Nashira is to honor tradition while actively seeking out new voices, new ideas, and new ways of building community. Each year many participants are first timers. Will you fit in? Yes! It's our mission.
What is rooming like?
All of the accommodations on camp are shared, though there are a very few single occupancy rooms. Most two-person rooms have their own en-suite bathroom, a few accommodations have shared bathrooms for a few rooms, and there are cabins for large or small groups as well.
What should I pack?
Greene Family Camp will provide linens, a blanket, pillow and towels. You should bring your own toiletries, a flashlight, instrument (optional), raincoat and boots. Dress at camp is casual, though if you’d like to have a day to dress a little nicer. You will sometimes need to walk on grass and some gravel paths may be bumpy; bring comfortable shoes. Some other items you may want are a reusable water bottle, a recording device (though voice memos on your phone work very well), external battery for keeping your phone charged, and layers as it could be cooler in doors with air conditioning. Depending on Covid protocols, you may choose to have masks with you on camp.
As you are packing, please check the weather in advance. The zip code of the camp is 76630. In May, Texas is usually fairly warm. If you have been to Hava Nashira in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, in the past, please know that this conference in Texas will be considerably warmer outdoors but possibly cooler indoors with air conditioning. Please plan accordingly.
How do courses work?
Please see our program page for more detailed information, which will grow as our program content is finalized over the next weeks. Generally, the days are made up of a series of courses, some longer than others, on wide ranging topics focused on music education, worship, songleading, and repertoire. Our diverse teachers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, teaching to both the techniques of leading singing, as well as the spirit and the intention to create meaningful and powerful singing and prayer opportunities for the community.
Are there prayer experiences?
Each day there will be at least one and sometimes two opportunities for communal worship. We sometimes pray as a full community, and at other times offer multiple choices in a given prayer block so that you may go where your heart leads you, or experience a worship style that will be helpful in your own work.
What kind of materials and resources are shared?
While much of the music at Hava Nashira is shared live without sheet music, often it is provided - if not on site, then later via cloud-based storage access. Different teachers utilize different strategies in their teaching. Some provide materials during the course; others make it available to download and save. Regardless, participants will have access to the materials from the courses they take, as well as repertoire and content from all the prayer experiences, full group singing, and repertoire sessions at the conclusion of the conference.
Can we record sessions?
We encourage everyone to bring an audio recording device or prepare to record to your phone or tablet. We encourage you to capture audio recordings for your own learning - to remember when you return home, or to be able to take some of the wonderful sounds of the group singing together home with you. We also know that many people like to video record their friends, teachers, and wonderful moments while at Hava Nashira.
We do request that you try to be present as much as possible during the conference, and work as a community to be aware of how your actions impact others around you. Please do not hold up your phone to video record and block others view or become so consumed with making an audio recording that you lose out on what’s happening in the room.
Is there Wi-Fi on camp?
There is Wi-Fi on camp. It can be spotty; so, if there are materials we’d like you to have when you arrive, we will let you know in advance and invite you to download them. And while we try to make it as easy as possible for you to get online, call home and connect to the “outside world” while you are at camp, please be patient if and when the Wi-Fi is slow. The camp is remote, and hundreds of people will be using Wi-Fi at the same time!
What is “late night”?
Late night programming (from the end of evening programs until midnight or 1am) is one of the favorite times at Hava Nashira. This is a participant-led open mic: opportunities over two nights for participants to share original songs, covers, skits, group numbers with friends - the most talented writers, singers, and musicians are part of our community and this is the time to share your gifts as well as support and cheer on the whole community.
What are meals like?
Meals are buffet style in a large dining room. Participants sit where they like, and sometimes conversations or topics are guided at certain tables during certain meals. Kashrut Practice: Greene Family Camp is kosher style; no pork or shellfish, and does not serve meat with milk. They do not use separate dishes, cutlery, or serving pieces. A vegetarian option is also available at no extra charge and our team works with the kitchen staff for all food allergies, as well as dairy and gluten free options. Questions about food are asked in follow up communication after registration.
What is the weather/is there a lot of walking?
We encourage you to check out the packing list when you prepare for Hava Nashira. The weather may cool down at night, and often rains, and warm during the days. Some of the program spaces are warm, others are cool and air conditioned. Bring layers! The areas of camp we use for programming are mostly on a flat surface with paved roads between the housing and program buildings. While we are occasionally outside, we make sure every location is accessible and everyone is comfortable. The camp is beautiful, and the chance to be outdoors, to sit and write a song with a friend, or get to know another in an open trusting environment is one of the hallmarks of Hava Nashira, different from many other conferences.
How much does Hava Nashira 2023 cost?
Depending on the building and rooming you select on camp the cost ranges from $525 - $900. This includes your housing, all meals, all program materials, on camp staff, kitchen, maintenance support, as well as ensuring that our dynamic and creative teachers are compensated.
You are responsible for your own transportation costs.
Is there scholarship money available?
Yes - there is scholarship support thanks to the Make it a Bridge Fund.
The Make It a Bridge Fund is available thanks to the generosity of Philip and Barbara Meltzer, founded in memory of their son Steve Meltzer. Steve was a lifelong URJ camper, staff member, youth advisor, teacher, songleader, songwriter, and performer who attended Hava Nashira for many years. Steve died unexpectedly in 2009 at the age of 45.
The Make It a Bridge Fund, named after one of Steve’s original compositions, was set up to provide scholarship assistance to those attending Hava Nashira, an event that Steve loved so much. Please visit the Scholarship page for application information.
Can teens attend?
Participants must be 18 years of age or older when Hava Nashira begins on May 21st, 2023. We are unable to accommodate younger teens because we would need counseling staff for legality of coverage on camp. If the program moves to virtual only, we will be able to accommodate younger teens.
We have many programs for teen songleaders. Summer Sparks Camp Songleader Development, launches this spring, the Teen Songleader Fellowship, the two week songleading session at the URJ Creative Arts Academy, as well as Song Leader Boot Camp and more exist to support younger songleaders.
SUG is in the process of developing regional songleading trainings for younger teens as well in the next year. Please contact Rosalie if you’d like to speak more about supporting and pipelining teen songleaders.
If we cannot attend will any of the content be made available virtually?
Due to the limitations of capacity and resources of camp and Sing Unto God, we are not streaming our, and the individual classes will not be recorded on site. It is unclear as of this writing if we will stream any evening programs of repertoire sharing. Part of the mission of Sing Unto God and Hava Nashira is to widen the access to the learning and the content by providing year-round programming, we hope you can learn with us in other ways.
Shabbat Shira, our fall retreat will be held October 26th - 29th, 2023 at Olin Sang in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
Photos by Susan Shane-Linder and Aydin Mayers