I believe that the goal and purpose of all Jewish Spiritual practice is to learn how to live every moment in the loving awareness of God’s Presence. That constant and devoted awareness transforms the heart and becomes the source of every action, and the fount of every relationship.
In our tradition we call that loving awareness Devekut, which literally is translated as cleaving. Deuteronomy 4:4 says You that cleave to YHVH your God are alive, all of you, today. This verse lays out the 3 essential qualities that the practice of Devekut cultivates in us: Chayyim, Kulchem, HaYom. Life, Wholeness and Presence.
Villa Sumaya is one of the most beautiful and healing places on earth. There on the shores of the sacred lake, we will share an exploration of Life, Wholeness and Presence, through chant, sacred text, silence and the sharing of our hearts. Our retreat will include an ancient Mayan ceremony for the solstice, a glorious celebration of Shabbat, daily excursions into the Guatemalan countryside and the opportunity to engage with some of the most gifted healers anywhere.
Each day, awaken to Greater Vitality, Connection, Integration and Presence. Experience an authentic Mayan Shaman and a fire circle, or a Mayan Cacao ceremony. Enjoy 3 amazing meals a day, daily yoga classes, beautifully decorated and restful accommodations, kayaking and swimming, Bird-watching, excursions to local villages and festivals, and healing body work.
Villa Sumaya is an eco-conscious, family-run, full-service spiritual retreat center with stunning practice space, charming rooms, lush gardens, kayaks, hot tub, full service spa, fair-trade boutique, juice bar, delicious buffets, hammocks galore and more! Weather in December is sunny and in the 70s.
About Your Leader
Rabbi Shefa Gold is credited with re-awakening the ancient art and magic of Hebrew Chant. She is a leader in ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z”l). She is the director of C-DEEP, The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. She teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community-Building and Meditation.
Rabbi Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayerbooks. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of The Song of Songs, both published by Ben Yehuda Press. Her latest book, published by Jewish Lights, is The Magic of Hebrew Chant: Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love.
By combining her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions, Rabbi Shefa is uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She was selected by The Jewish Daily Forward (forward.com) as one of the most inspiring rabbis in 2015. Learn more about Rabbi Shefa.
About Villa Sumaya
Villa Sumaya is an eco-conscious, family-run, full-service spiritual retreat center featured in Taschen’s Great Yoga Retreats. Set in the heart of the Mayan Highlands on the magnificent shores of Lake Atitlán, you can enjoy uninterrupted vistas of the lake and its three stunning volcanoes. A short and beautiful boat ride from Panajachel, Villa Sumaya is a healing sanctuary amongst the ageless natural beauty of Mother Earth.
The property has well-equipped yoga spaces (temples), lush gardens, a swimming dock and kayaks, hot tub and sauna, a full service spa, fair-trade boutique, juice bar and many places to hide away with a good book. Their cafe offers nourishing allergy-sensitive, abundant and delicious buffets and 24/7 coffee and tea. Optional outings include: boating to local villages, hiking volcanos, craft markets, birdwatching, and service projects among others. Weather in December is sunny and in the 70s.
Choose from single, double, or triple rooms, decorated with folk arts and crafts, each with breathtaking views of the lake and a personal balcony or patio. Take in the vistas of the verdant volcanoes and the tranquil waters of Lake Atitlán, or rest in the many hammocks on the property.
Pricing & Registration
Room Rates (including 3 sumptuous meals, coffee/tea all day, sauna/hot tub, swimming, and all day access to our inspiring sacred space for chanting and yoga, and taxes).
If you want to go on a local excursion from Villa Sumaya, go to a Mayan ceremony, rent a kayak, have bodywork, or a smoothie at the juice bar, those cost a modest additional amount. Tips are extra as well. Spouses/partners of chanters are welcome!
Travel to Villa Sumaya
Airfare is purchased separately, and flights take about 2.5 hours from southern U.S. airports like Miami, Dallas, or Houston to Guatemala City. Prices will go up because of the holidays, so book asap! Villa Sumaya arranges for a comfortable shuttle to pick up guests arriving at the airport, (it takes about 3 hours to get to the lake) and arranges for a boat for the last 10 minute boat ride across the lake. Plan on the better part of a day to travel to this secluded spot, but its stunning beauty is well worth the trip. Some visitors like to extend their stay to see Antigua, a beautiful historic city between Lake Atitlan and Guatemala City, before or after the retreat.
U.S. and Canadian and EU citizens need their passport and they get a 90 day visa upon entry into Guatemala…no advance arrangements or vaccinations are needed. The site and travel to it are safe.
A deposit of $500 per person is requested to hold your spot, and then 50% is due 60 days prior to the retreat, and the balance is due one week before our week at Villa Sumaya.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and to reserve your place on this incredible vacation!
Book soon! Space is very limited and it is filling fast!