Catalyst: Repair, Renew, Recharge

January 6-8, 2017
Malibu, CA


While small moments of self-care are essential, rare is the opportunity for many in our community to recharge in a green space. For many Jews, healing the earth and healing the self are innately linked. However, where in the concrete and steel jungles we call home can we find and commune with green spaces, physically heal the world from environmental injustice, and recharge at the same time? The subject of this catalyst merges self-kindness and environmental justice into a central objective: how can Jews connect with and promote the sustainability of the natural world through self-care and eco-therapy?

Repair, Renew, Recharge will focus on dual meanings of sustainability: both self-sustainability and environmental sustainability and how the two interrelate for those seeking to make meaningful contributions to the planet. We will examine various opportunities and practices for recharge, connection with the natural world, and how these two worlds overlap through Jewish practices of meditation, Hitbodedut, and Shabbat. We will leave the catalyst on the path to making meaningful changes in how we sustain ourselves, how we sustain the environment, and how to connect the two.



Anyone struggling with sustainability is welcome to apply. Sustainability can be defined here as struggling to balance work and self-care, struggling with environmental sustainability, or just plain struggling.

We will focus on the specific steps of Repairing, Recharging, and Renewing our commitments to ourselves, to the planet, and towards social justice in a way that is lasting, actionable, and rooted in Jewish principles.

Priority will be given to those currently working in or studying education/ non-profit/ and social justice-based work. Applicants will be selected based on their relationship to the topic at hand, their investment in sustainable practices, and how they will both benefit from and contribute towards our goals as a Catalyst.


  • Applications due: August 21


  • Gathering Begins: Friday, January 6, 4:00pm Pacific
  • Gathering Concludes: Sunday, January 8, 12:00pm

Applications for Catalyst: Repair, Renew, Recharge are now closed.


Lauren Siegmund, a Reality Leadership ‘13 alumna, is a Senior Associate of Participant and Alumni Impact at Teach for All, where she manages an international student survey administered by over 20 partners across the globe, in addition to contributing to knowledge products and education research related to excellent teaching and classroom practice. Lauren’s teaching experience includes time spent abroad teaching English to primary students in schools across Granada, Nicaragua. Following her time in Nicaragua, she served as a 2012 Teach for America-New York Corps Member where she taught 9th and 10th grade English at a public school in the Bronx. Following her service with TFA, Lauren taught 7th grade writing for one year at a KIPP middle school in Harlem. Prior to her experience in the classroom, Lauren was a U.S. Fund for UNICEF AmeriCorps Fellow where she oversaw a country-wide volunteer program, student leadership trainings, and an annual Campus Summit conference for college students from over 100 college campuses across the United States. Lauren holds a Masters of Science in Teaching Adolescent English (Grades 7-12) from Fordham University and a BA in International Relations with a concentration in Africa and the Middle East and a minor in English. Lauren is a native of Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in Harlem, NY with her husband, Andy.

Kyle Shook is a 2012 New York corps member, 2013 Reality Leadership alumnus, and 2014 TALMA participant. He taught English for two years in the Bronx at an arts magnet school where he struggled regularly with burn-out. Following the completion of his Teach For America commitment, he completed a Fulbright in Poland where he conducted and presented research on LGBT development in post-communist Europe and Holocaust memorial architecture and design while teaching linguistics at a Polish university. Since returning to the US, he has been a founding English teacher at an English-language learner school in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In addition to teaching, he is the student government sponsor, Green Schools advisor, and Safe Space mentor. He is currently transitioning out of the classroom to pursue a master’s degree in Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin where he will research media representation of LGBTQ people in Marxist countries. He holds a Master of Science from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Gender Studies from Mercer University where he conducted and presented research on anti-semitism in German Folktales, Queer symbolism in Weimar Horror films, and eco-feminism in the paintings of Frida Kahlo and Remedios Varo. He is a native of Atlanta and is a soon-to-be resident of Madison, Wisconsin.


Location & Accommodations

Our Catalyst will take place at the Shalom Institute in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, California.


More information coming soon!


More information coming soon!

Participation Fee

More information coming soon!

Packing List

More information coming soon!


Catalyst: Repair, Renew, Recharge will begin on Friday, January 6 at 4:00pm. Events will conclude on Sunday, January 8 at 12:00pm.

Catalyst Community

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Repair, Renew, Recharge Video