Hava Nashira 2019

The annual songleading and music workshop of OSRUI & the URJ

Wed., May 29 - Sun., June 2

Hava Nashira is the premier songleading program of the Reform Movement, serving diverse populations from a variety of movements, communities, camps and congregations. With a focus on teaching songleading for religious school, camps, as well as leading and crafting meaningful worship, Hava Nashira brings the best in professional songleaders and worship teachers to hundreds of participants every year.

Created by Debbie Friedman (z"l), Cantor Jeff Klepper and Jerry Kaye, among others, Hava Nashira provides you with the opportunity to improve your skills as you learn from the finest Jewish music innovators and composers, as well as meaningful sharing of repertoire, best principles and practices from among the participants.

Faculty for 2019 are:  Ellen Allard, Merri Lovinger Arian, Noah Aronson, Rabbi Ken Chasen, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Alan Goodis, Cantor Jeff Klepper, Shira Kline, Eliana Light, Josh Nelson, Dan Nichols, Judith Silver, Deb Winter, and Or and Feliza Zohar, under the direction of Program Director Cantor Rosalie Boxt.  Read about the faculty on our blog.

The program is open to adults, 18 years and older.  If you are a teen not old enough for Hava Nashira and are interested in songleading training, check out NFTY's Nashir: Teen Songleading Institute.

What's Hava Nashira like? Download the 2018 Hava Nashira Schedule. This schedule should give you a good idea of how the program is structured. The 2019 Schedule will be given to participants upon arrival.

Intensives and Electives. Participants have the choice of taking two intensives (2.25 hour in-depth learning sessions) and three electives (1-1.5 hour shorter learning sessions). Click below for descriptions:
Intensive Descriptions 2019
Elective Descriptions 2019

For more information or to be added to the Hava Nashira or Shabbat Shira mailing lists, please contact Rachel Lyon at 847-239-6974 or osruiprograms@urj.org.

Mark Your Calendar:
Hava Nashira 2020 - May 27-31!

Registration Dates:
New Participants:  
If you have never attended Hava Nashira, you may register starting Monday, March 11, at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.  First-timer registration continues until Friday, March 15 at 12:00 p.m. Central Time. (New participants are welcome to register later as well.)
Returning Participants:  If you have attended Hava Nashira in the past, you may register starting Monday, March 18, at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.  New participants are also welcome to register then, if they didn't register the week before.

Tuition and fees for 2019 are $855 for semi-private housing in the Bayit, Lodge, and Daniel M. Soref Education and Alumni Center; $725 in the Nerenberg Family Center; $585 for dormitory housing; $485 for those choosing to stay off-site in hotels; and $485 for URJ and Ramah camp songleaders.  No private rooms are available.

Additional details about faculty are available here.

MakeItaBridgeFund4Make It a Bridge Fund Scholarship funds for Hava Nashira are available thanks to the generosity of Philip and Barbara Meltzer and the Make It a Bridge Fund, 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.SteveMeltzerSM

Steve Meltzer Scholarships are based on financial need, and with limited exceptions are available only for first-time attendees and only to those registering for dormitory housing. First, ask for assistance from your congregation, camp, employer or Hillel. We assume that they are the primary source of funding for assistance for this program. As we have limited resources, most of the grants given out have been $100 per person. To apply, please fill out this form.

The fee for Hava Nashira includes lodging, meals and all programming and materials. Semi-private housing is available in the Bayit, Lodge and Daniel M. Soref Education and Alumni Center (rooms with 2 twin beds and private or shared bath); and in the Nerenberg Family Center (rooms with 2 or 3 twin beds with common washrooms at the end of the hall, separate for men and women). Lodging is also available in dormitory cabins (separate for men and women), featuring bunk beds for 24 participants in each cabin, with adjacent washrooms and showers. Read more about the various categories of housing.

Hava Nashira takes place at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the regional camp of the Union for Reform Judaism in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, located between Milwaukee and Madison. Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to camp. The nearest airport is Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE - Mitchell Field), a 50-minute drive from camp. The best time to arrive at the Milwaukee Airport for the regular program on Wednesday is between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The camp is also a 2-hour drive from O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

Buses to OSRUI for URJ and Ramah songleaders on Tuesday -- Bus transportation from the Milwaukee airport to OSRUI will be provided at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. central time.  This bus service is included in the URJ/Ramah tuition. If you are arriving at another time, you are responsible for your own transportation. See info about van transit below.

URJ and Ramah songleaders return to the airport -- URJ songleaders are responsible for their own transportation back to the Milwaukee airport on Sunday. The link to make a reservation is under Quick Links in the right-hand column. A reminder, you can save money by making a reservation for more than one person at a time if you are leaving with others.

Transit for all other participants:

Van transportation from the Milwaukee Airport to OSRUI and back -- all other participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Milwaukee Airport (MKE) and OSRUI. We recommend using GO Riteway van service. If you are flying on the same flight as someone else, you may find it less expensive to call and make one reservation for both of you. We strongly discourage you from making a joint reservation for you and others landing in Milwaukee at similar times as any flight delays for one of you will delay the entire van reservation. The van service does an excellent job of grouping people together on vans and transporting them to camp. If you have trouble with the link, call the van service directly at 800-236-5450.

Driving directions -- You can find them in the right-hand column under Quick Links. Use the directions for Retreats and Special Programs.

Additional transit options Some participants choose to fly into Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD). There are a few options to get to the Milwaukee Airport from there. There are hourly bus shuttles from O'Hare to the Milwaukee Airport, and there are also Amtrak trains that run from downtown Chicago and Glenview to the Milwaukee Airport, where you can then get a ride on van to OSRUI. We encourage those who are looking to offer or share rides to OSRUI to indicate their interest by posting in the Hava Nashira facebook group.

If for any reason you need to cancel your registration, please do so by emailing the OSRUI Program Team at osruiprograms@urj.org. The refund policy is as follows:

  • Cancel by April 1st:  Your registration fee will be refunded, less a $125 cancellation fee.
  • Cancel April 2 - May 1st:  50% of your registration fee will be refunded.
  • Cancel after May 1st:  We are unable to issue refunds except in exceptional circumstances.

 If you are on facebook and would like to communicate with and share resources with other participants, go to:
Hava Nashira / Shabbat Shira facebook page
Hava Nashira facebook group

For those of you who come to Hava Nashira for the community, for the music, or for an inspirational weekend, more so than for song-leading and educational opportunities, you might want to consider our fall music program Shabbat Shira instead.

Hava Nashira usually starts the Wednesday after Memorial Day every year.

*Hava Nashira is a proprietary program name and may not be used for other programs or events without express written consent.

This program is underwritten in part through a generous grant from the Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust.