Catalyst: Sacred

September 15-17, 2017
New Mexico


What is sacred to you? A person. A place. A belief. An idea. A tradition. What would you do to honor and defend that which we consider sacred? It requires courage, conviction, resilience, action and innovation.

Set against the land of the Four Corners, participants will examine historical and contemporary examples of indigenous peoples who have fought to maintain their tribal sovereignty, cultural traditions, language, identity, land and human rights for centuries against the forces of Western colonization. They will draw parallels between these concepts, Jewish history and thought, and their personal values. Participants will draw inspiration from stories of resistance that reflect the longstanding efforts to fight colonization and threats to native land, languages, and ways of life. On Catalyst: Sacred, participants will engage with community members, indigenous historians, and indigenous spaces to ground themselves in the context of specific tribes and pueblos.

Join our Catalyst if you are open to disrupting deeply entrenched dominant narratives; if you are energized by sharing and exploring what is sacred to you; if you want to build a community based on reflection, sacredness, shared learning, and solidarity.

Catalyst: Sacred will be a small gathering (20-30 participants).



This Catalyst will be most meaningful for those who are open to listening and learning about indigenous history, values and communities. Catalyst: Sacred participants should have a curiosity and openness toward other ways of thinking and a willingness to interrogate their own values and worldviews. This Catalyst will create a space for participants who are interested in exploring and questioning their solidarity and empathy.



Applications are now closed.


As the U.S.-born daughter of Filipino immigrants, Kristin Macapagal learned early on that some of her tastes in food were not common among her friends in the cul-de-sacs of Texas suburbia. If you eat grapefruit with salt, and if you enjoy grapefruit with vinegar, you’re in good company. One of Kristin’s favorite things to do when visiting her parents every winter in her childhood home in Houston is to pick grapefruit from her father’s tree. There aren’t nearly as many – if any – grapefruit trees in the high desert of northwest New Mexico that Kristin has called home for the last seven and a half years. When visiting her fiance’s parents in Wyoming this holiday break, she found a kindred spirit in her future father-in-law, who regularly keeps peeled grapefruit in the refrigerator. Kristin loves to peel back the layers to a grapefruit and the layers to a challenge / to your soul / of a mixed metaphor to death.

Leah Strelsin is currently living in Evanston, IL after five years teaching kindergarten and first grade in New Mexico. In 2014, she and a colleague co-founded a nonprofit called Summer Youth Corporation which operates a summer camp for kids on and around the Navajo Nation in Thoreau, NM. Leah spends summers in Thoreau working as a camp director with an amazing group of campers and counselors. She enjoys hiking, camping, reading, writing, and games and is thrilled to be part of the Catalyst program this year!


Location & Accommodations

Catalyst: Sacred will take place in New Mexico.


More information coming soon.


More information coming soon.

Packing List

More information coming soon.


More information coming soon.

Catalyst Community

Before, during, and after their gatherings, Catalyst participants will share about their gathering with the whole community. Check back soon for photos, reflections, wireframes, and other documents from this gathering!