Jewish Food and Wine Retreat

Home » Year Round » Jewish Food and Wine Retreat

Jewish Food and Wine Retreat September 13-15

Jewish Food & Wine Retreat

September 13-15, 2024


The Jewish Food and Wine Retreat is a weekend for foodies and wine afficionados in the heart of Sonoma County! Breath-taking natural beauty, luxurious accommodations, delicious food, engaging workshops and demos from world-renowned Chefs, all within a joyful Jewish community.

Celebrate all things at the intersection of Judaism, food, culture and food memories in the heart of California’s wine country, in partnership with Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa. Spend this elevated Shabbat experience tasting local wines, sharing food memories, unwinding with friends and help make the world a better place helping to fight hunger with a meaningful service project!

Are you a Camp Newman Alum ages 21-29? Contact Jordanna Flores at jflores@urj.org for special Young Alumni retreat rates through our Work & Play program.

Shannon Sarna, author of Modern Jewish Baker and Modern Jewish Comfort Food is founding editor of The Nosher, the widest-reaching website dedicated to Jewish food, which is part of the 70 Faces Media group. Shannon grew up in upstate New York immersed in performance and music as well as surrounded by diverse culinary experiences: Her Sicilian American mother loved to bake, her Ashkenazi Jewish father loved to experiment, and her grandfather was a food chemist who patented Tang, among other products.

 

Omer Seltzer, of Mt. Eitan Cheese was born into goat farming and cheese making on his families renowned farm outside of Jerusalem. Omer continued his studies and professional development at Cal Poly in SLO, apprenticed at goat farms and creameries in Provence and over the years mastered cheese making skills. In 2020, he was drawn to Sonoma County’s rich agriculture heritage, food culture and unique climate and felt it was the right place for his new creation. As manager of the Seltzer family creamery he achieved international recognition.  

 

Sam Paone started Golden State Pickle Works in 2014. After years of working in SF Bay Area restaurants, she was ready to branch out on her own. She used her culinary know-how regarding fermentation and pickling to bring new life to the fermented food aisle. The goal was to make healthy foods that actually taste delicious. She did this by creating flavor forward recipes using organic ingredients with minimal waste. Her company just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and she is still as passionate about fermentation as the day she started.

 

Drew Neiman is the owner, winemaker for Neiman Cellars. Drew had an eleven year stint  with legendary winemaker John Kongsgaard, rising from harvest intern to assistant winemaker. Neiman Cellars produces intentional wines from exceptional Napa vineyards. Total production is fewer than 600 cases of artisan, small batch wine. Wine critic Robert Parker has called him brilliant, mentioned in FOOD & WINE magazine, Wine Spectator, InStyle magazine, Decanter and poured his wine at the James Beard House in NYC. Each wine will be paired with a cheese selected by Lassa Skinner. Lassa is the founder of Culture magazine and co-author of Cheese for Dummies. 

 

BJ Rasmussen‘s passion for BBQ began in 2001 when he moved to Maryland to start a BBQ business with his best friend Ed and mentor Tom Windwillow. After building a home designed triple barrel smoker, the business was off and running and his love affair with live fire, hardwood smoked BBQ began. In early 2023 BJ was introduced to Competition BBQ through friend and now teammate, Barbara McCombs. BJ was able to take his skill set to the Competition arena taking home 10th place in a field of 31 competitors. In 2024, BJ took home first place in Tri-Tip and pork ribs and his passion and desire to create top notch BBQ has never been stronger.

 
Ilan Davidson’s passion for mixology started when he built the most impressive bar in his dorm room closet, experimenting with designing craft cocktails, probably before he should have. He had a bucket list dream: to become a certified bartender, which he fulfilled about 15 years ago, for his 40th Birthday. After training and finishing at the top of his class, Ilan has created specialty drinks for events all over the LA basin and served as a guest bartender in some of his favorite local haunts. While not his profession, he is often consulted for his knowledge of mixology and fine wines.
 

Gale Swartz has been an aficionado of good food, wine and craft cocktails for many years. This comes in very handy as she is married to a professional chef! For the past 17 summers, Gale has served on the Camp Newman Advisory Board, traveling to Santa Rosa several times each summer. During these visits, there was always time to go taste some fine California wine and sharpen her skills in Oenology. For several summers, Gale and husband-chef, Eliot Swartz, come to Camp Newman to teach culinary skills and cooking for the lucky campers. In 2010, Gale became a certified bartender after successfully completing coursework at the National Bartending School in Cerritos, Ca. In the years since, she has spent many, many hours tending bar at her home, her friends’ homes as well as during many events at her synagogue in San Pedro, Ca..

 

Shannon Sarna, author of Modern Jewish Baker and Modern Jewish Comfort Food is founding editor of The Nosher, the widest-reaching website dedicated to Jewish food, which is part of the 70 Faces Media group. Shannon grew up in upstate New York immersed in performance and music as well as surrounded by diverse culinary experiences: Her Sicilian American mother loved to bake, her Ashkenazi Jewish father loved to experiment, and her grandfather was a food chemist who patented Tang, among other products.

Micah Siva, is a trained chef, registered dietitian, recipe writer, and food photographer, specializing in modern Jewish cuisine. Micah is the author of Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine and children’s book, “1, 2, 3 Nosh with Me” After graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute of Health & Culinary Arts, she pursued a career in nutrition and later worked for global brands, media outlets, and publications in food media. She shares Jewish-inspired, plant-forward recipes through her blog, Nosh with Micah. Micah lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband, Josh, son Ari, and dog, Buckwheat.

 

Sam Paone started Golden State Pickle Works in 2014. After years of working in SF Bay Area restaurants, she was ready to branch out on her own. She used her culinary know-how regarding fermentation and pickling to bring new life to the fermented food aisle. The goal was to make healthy foods that actually taste delicious. She did this by creating flavor forward recipes using organic ingredients with minimal waste. Her company just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and she is still as passionate about fermentation as the day she started.

 

Jeff Morgan: In 2003, Covenant founders Jeff Morgan and Leslie Rudd were inspired to bring a new California perspective to a 3500-year-old winemaking tradition. What started as a 500-case Napa Cabernet Sauvignon project has now grown more than ten-fold. Today, Covenant’s 9,000-square-foot urban Northern California winery is situated in Berkeley, California. Before becoming a winemaker, Jeff had a career in the music and worked for Wine Spectator. He is the author of several cookbooks, and he is looking forward to sharing his Jewish wine journey with us. Jeff will lead us in tasting Covenant Wines and, since its after Shabbat dinner, sipping Covenant brandy as well.

 

Arielle Dubowe brings over a decade of experience in food, agriculture, and hospitality. She thinks of food as humanity’s universal language and a basic human right for all. She holds a B.S. in Agricultural Communication from Cal Poly SLO and a Masters of Gastronomy from Boston University. Previously part of a PR firm representing restaurants and hotels, she currently works at Project Bread, a nonprofit in Boston that makes it easier for people to access and afford food with dignity. As the daughter of the first female deaf rabbi in the world, Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, Arielle also understands the importance of tikkun olam and serving the greater Jewish community through inclusivity and beyond.

 

Eliot Swartz attended the prestige’s Culinary Institute Of America in Hyde Park NY. Upon graduation, Eliot held positions as executive chef at various white tablecloth restaurants and has consulted in the development and execution of restaurant openings. Eliot was honored to return to his alma mater as the commencement speaker for the graduating class, and as a member of the Society of Fellows of the Institute. Eliot co-founded and was co-chair of Two Chefs On A Roll, a company, which was started with $7000 dollars, and was built into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, with 2 facilities, one in Southern California the other in Pennsylvania. He is the Founder and President of Kitchen Culture Inc., a consulting company who partners with restaurant owners, manufacturers and celebrities on new product development, quality assurance and strategic vision in the Retail and Foodservice categories.

 

Hagafen Cellars is located in Napa Valley, the heart of California’s premier wine country! Owned and operated by Irit and Ernie Weir, the Hagafen brand was founded in 1979 and the first commercially released vintage was harvested in 1980. Since those early days, the enterprise has steadily evolved from a humble partnership into a distinguished and highly regarded boutique wine brand. Since 1981, Hagafen wines have been served to numerous foreign dignitaries at the U.S. White House on various occasions. As a sustainable green winery, a respect for the values of conservation are essential. The 2023 Harvest marks the 50th Harvest for Hagafen Cellars in Napa Valley. Exclusive pre-weekend, on-site tasting experience available for Food & Wine Retreat guests; space limited, reserve yours upon registration.

 

Jewish Deli Panel

Learn about the origin stories and chefs behind three of the best Bay Area Jewish Delis! Enjoy this moderated panel while tasting some of their favorite menu items and explore the ancient Jewish tradition of getting a nosh at The Deli.

Moderated by Alix Wall, an award-winning journalist with an interest primarily in food, Jews and love stories. She is a contributing editor at J. The Jewish News of Northern California, where she writes a regular column about Jews in the food industry as well as other features, and is the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals.

Weekend of Nourishment

This retreat experience is grounded in nourishment – of body, mind and soul. Each workshop, gathering and tasting aims to ensure guests are (ful)filled and deeply connected: to what sustains them, what inspires them and what grounds them. More detail on specific workshops coming soon!

Friday, September 13
Time Offering
1:00-2:30p Option Add-On: Exclusive pre-weekend wine tasting at Hagafen Cellars. Taste limited production wines that are only available for tasing and purchase directly from Hagafen. $35 per person (half off the regular price for Jewish Food & Wine Retreat attendees). Reserve a space when you book your retreat and pay when you arrive at Hagafen Cellars. Transportation to/from Hagafen to Newman is not provided.
3:00-5:00p Welcome & Registration
  Drop in Activities
5:15-5:45p Community Gathering:
Create Weekend’s Signature Cocktail
6:00p Kabbalat Shabbat
7:00p Dinner
8:00p Wine Maker #1
9:00p Chopped Dessert Competition
10:00p Siyyum / Closing Circle
Saturday, September 14
All Day Drop-in Activities: tie dye aprons, fruit & veg print making, work in garden, DIY spice mix table, “wine”garten, lawn games
7:30-9:00a Rolling breakfast
Optional early morning activities
8:30-9:30a Shabboptions–Experience Shabbat through Food
9:30-10:30a Block 1: Choose from Multiple Chef’s Sessions
10:45-11:45a Wine Maker #2
12:00-12:45a Lunch
1:00-2:00p Block 2: Choose from Multiple Chef’s Sessions
2:15-3:45p Deli Panel: Learn from & Sample Local Delis
4:00-5:00p Block 3: Choose from Multiple Chef’s Sessions
5:30-6:15p Freshen Up for Dinner
6:15-7:15p Happy Hour wine & cheese: Wine Maker #3
7:15p Dinner
8:15p Shannon Sarna:
Nosher Editor-in-Chief, Author “Our Jewish Food Memories”
9:15p Havdallah & Closing Circle
  Glamping Dessert Bonanza: Beyond the S’more
Sunday, September 15
Food Justice
7:30-9:00a Breakfast
9:30-10:30a Block 5: Choose from Multiple Chef’s Sessions
10:45-11:45a Block 6: Choose from Multiple Chef’s Sessions
12:00 Siyyum / Closing Circle
  L’hitraot – see you next year!

Accomodations

Weekend, all-inclusive packages start at $675 per person* based on your choice of accommodations and includes access to all retreat activities, workshops and experiences, lodging, linens, sumptuous meals and all wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Lodge with a small group of friends in our state-of-the art cabins with en suite bathrooms sleep up to 4 and are the perfect option for a campier type of weekend ($725 per person). We also offer both single- and double-occupancy options for a more private, hotel-style stay in our brand-new Lodge ($825 – $1,175 per person) or our Camp Motel ($675-$925 per person).

*Special retreat rates of $475/person available for Camp Newman Alumni ages 21-29! Contact Jordanna Flores for more information and discount code.

The Lodge Accommodations
$825 per person – Double-Occupancy
$1175 per person – Single-Occupancy

The Lodge is a brand new upscale, hotel-style building with 28-double occupancy rooms. Centrally located at the heart of camp, steps from the Dining Hall and all that main camp has to offer. View The Lodge Room Map >

Each room has:

    • 2 queen beds & a private bathroom
    • Mini fridge, microwave & Keurig coffee maker
    • small outdoor seating area with rocking chairs
    • Several single ADA accessible rooms available

Cabin Accommodations
$725 per person – up to 4 people

 

We have several cabin villages with a variety of outdoor amenities and a short walk to the heart of camp!

Offers:

  • 1/2-cabins sleep up to 8 people (you will have the opportunity to indicate who you want to live with in the registration process) and are great for groups of friends
  • Each suite includes four sets of bunk beds with one private bathroom with multiple shower stalls
  • All cabins include A/C and heat.
  • Several ADA accessible cabins available.

Camp Motel Accommodations
$675 per person – Double-Occupancy
$925 per person – Private Room

Our Camp Motel is located a short 5 min up-hill walk from the center of camp with a wonderful view overlooking the valley. Golf-cart transportation will be available to and from the Motel throughout the weekend during key transition times.

  • Motel Rooms can sleep up to 4 people (Food & Wine weekend will be only single and double-occupancy) and include twin-sized bunk beds in the 6 upper-level rooms and twin-sized single beds in the lower level rooms
  • Each room includes a private bathroom and shower
  • Balcony with incredible views

FAQs

Is this a glatt kosher event?

We are a Reform Movement camp and our facility is kosher style, meaning we do not mix milk & meat or serve any pork or shellfish.  The chicken and beef we serve is not certified kosher. Some participants who keep kosher, choose to eat vegetarian or vegan when they are with us. Please also note that some food will be cooked during Shabbat.

Can I bring my kids?

Children (ages 4-12) are welcome to join you for a $200 activities fee per child which will include meals and supervised camp-style activities while adults are enjoying retreat experiences.

Child care will be provided during these periods: 9:30am – 12pm; 2:00-5:00pm; 8:00-11pm (after kids are in bed!)

Children under 4 will need to remain with you!

If i'm flying in, what do i need to know?

If you are flying from outside the Bay Area, there are several convenient airports: STS (Santa Rosa – 30 min drive to camp), OAK (Oakland – 90 min drive to camp) and SFO (San Francisco – 90 min drive to camp). Retreat check-in will begin at 3pm on Friday and we anticipate participants arriving between 3-5pm. Our retreat will end around 12pm on Sunday.

What if i don't drink alcohol?

This will be a wonderfully engaging weekend, regardless of whether you chose to partake in wine tasting. There will be plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available for all!

In partnership with