Jewish Symposium: An In-Community Gathering for Jewish Writers and Illustrators

In-Person | Essential Conversations, In-Community Retreats
The heart of the Jewish Symposium is to offer community for Jewish writers and publishing professionals. The program is designed to be an exchange of ideas, a place to connect, and a springboard for diversifying and amplifying Jewish content in literature for children and teens. There will be inspiring and engaging keynote addresses and faculty panel discussions with Q&A, readings by faculty and participants, and time set aside to write, retreat, and connect with fellow creatives.
This 4-Day/3-Night in-community symposium engages in the rich and important discussions of what it means to grow as Jewish writers, tending to our Jewish joy with care, intention, and faith. There will be ample time for your own work and community building throughout this program.
  • This is an in-person symposium for Jewish storytellers and professionals in the children’s book industry, with inspiring and engaging presentations focused on Jewish storytellers, and amplifying stories from the Jewish community. In addition, there will be time to work on your own stories, connect with fellow creatives, and retreat.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins with dinner at 5:30pm Eastern on Sunday, May 5, 2024.
  • Ends after lunch on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
  • 22 participants max

Kindly be aware that the Highlights Foundation does not possess a kitchen with kosher certification. However, we have the capability to procure meals from a caterer who holds kosher certification. During the registration process, you will be provided with the opportunity to specify your dietary preferences, including the request for meals from the kosher-certified caterer. Roughly one week prior to your scheduled arrival, you will have the chance to make your selections for pre-packaged lunch and dinner options. Additionally, snacks and breakfast items will be presented in packaging that carries kosher certification.

Why This Workshop?

The heart of the Jewish Symposium is to offer community for Jewish writers and publishing professionals.

The program is designed to be an exchange of ideas, a place to connect, and a springboard for diversifying and amplifying Jewish content in literature for children and teens. There will be inspiring and engaging keynote addresses and faculty panel discussions with Q&A, readings by faculty and participants, and time set aside to write, retreat, and connect with fellow creatives. Please see the tentative agenda for more information.

Discussion topics include:

  • Coming to your stories with curiosity
  • Crafting complex Jewish communities on the page
  • History and family as a source for ideas
  • Comics and the Jewish experience
  • and much more!

 

Feedback Expected

  • No formal feedback will be provided. Our symposiums focus on deep conversations that inform our craft and place in the greater context of writing for kids and teens.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are a Jewish writer or Jewish publishing professional interested in engaging in an exchange of ideas about Jewish stories with other Jewish writers and publishing professionals.
  • You write or illustrate in any genre for youth. This program centers on discussion, ideas, and community. You can take what has been offered and apply it to your stories and career.
  • You’d appreciate some retreat time. This course has plenty of built-in time to write, draw, hike, or rest–whatever you need.

Tentative Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.  Click on the headings below to explore the agenda in more detail.

Registration Notes
You will be asked to provide a brief narrative and outline your goals for taking this program upon registration.

You will receive a link to our virtual classroom approximately one week before the symposium where you can introduce yourself to fellow attendees, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and view other pertinent information related to this program.

Kindly be aware that the Highlights Foundation does not possess a kitchen with kosher certification. However, we have the capability to procure meals from a caterer who holds kosher certification. During the registration process, you will be provided with the opportunity to specify your dietary preferences, including the request for meals from the kosher-certified caterer. Roughly one week prior to your scheduled arrival, you will have the chance to make your selections for pre-packaged lunch and dinner options. Additionally, snacks and breakfast items will be presented in packaging that carries kosher certification.

Sunday, May 5, 2024
  • 3 – 5pm Eastern: Arrival
  • 5:30pm Eastern: Appetizers followed by dinner
  • 7:15pm Eastern: Opening remarks by Emily Rosenthal and AR Visny
  • Lighting Yahrzeit Candles in remembrance of Yom Hashoah
Monday, May 6, 2024
Morning

  • 8 am Breakfast with Remembrance & Reflection
  • 9am Morning Session on Building Complex Jewish Worlds in Stories with Sacha Lamb
  • 10am Roundtable discussions on resources and inspirations
  • Open community time: read, write, connect

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • 1pm Comics, Graphic Novels, and Art: A Hands-On Experience with Emily Rosenthal
  • Open community time: read, write, connect

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • 7:30pm Fireside: In Conversation with Emily Rosenthal and AR Visny (Fantastical Research and Getting Started)
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Morning

  • 8am Breakfast
  • 9am Morning Session on Bringing Curiosity to Your Research & Identity with Gail Carson Levine
  • Group Photo
  • “History & Hope” Discussion with Gail Carson Levine and Sacha Lamb moderated by AR Vishny

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Open community time: read, write, connect
  • 4:30pm Virtual Session on What Generations Before Tell Us About Stories Today with Jennieke Cohen

Evening

  • 5:30pm – 7pm Appetizers followed by Dinner
  • 7:30pm Optional Sharing & Readings (fireside, weather permitting)
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Morning

  • 8am Breakfast
  • 9am Morning Session with Brianna Shrum
  • Closing panel and sharing

Afternoon

  • Lunch & Farewells
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the workshop. We try to build in breaks and independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Kindly be aware that the Highlights Foundation does not possess a kitchen with kosher certification. However, we have the capability to procure meals from a caterer who holds kosher certification. During the registration process, you will be provided with the opportunity to specify your dietary preferences, including the request for meals from the kosher-certified caterer. Roughly one week prior to your scheduled arrival, you will have the chance to make your selections for pre-packaged lunch and dinner options. Additionally, snacks and breakfast items will be presented in packaging that carries kosher certification.

How It Impacts Kids

We will gather in-community, so that more books will be written and published that provide Jewish children the opportunity to see themselves in books, and so all children can see Jewish people represented in the stories that we read and tell.

Testimonials from Our Community

“This retreat was both a chance to spend hours alone, diving deep into my manuscript, and an opportunity for long conversations — both serious and silly — with other kidlit writers who share the varied experience of being Jewish.”

“Faculty were both incredibly generous with their time and inspiring and informative as experts. And the mix of participants — spanning levels of publishing experience and experiences with Judaism — blended into an egalitarian, no-cliques, supportive, respectful, thoughtful (and often hilarious!) atmosphere that opened the door to thoughtful, often-difficult, and ultimately clarifying conversations. I left with a great sense of community, which I will feel at my back as I move forward, writing *my* stories.”

Special Guests

DETAILS

May 5 - May 8

$1050

Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

LOCATION

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is included from the local airport and bus stations, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Scholarships
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.