The Retreat


The Women's Spirituality Retreat is over. Just like that. Snap my fingers and it is done. Months of planning, detailing, preparing, creating and obsessing are over.


I am grateful for my women friendships. Some of the best moments of the retreat were Rachael and I setting up. Rachael, Carol and I outside discussing G-d and Halacha, getting to know Sara better, Missy and her love for babies, Lisa's positive energy, wine in the room with Rachael and the babies, hiking with Margee and Kenya, Pearl's joy when speaking about her daughter, Marian's sensitive and humorous outlook on life, Michaela's stories about her children, Chelle and her beautiful self that radiates, Eva and her style and dignity, Andrea's mom and her subtle kindness...and all the women I encountered who are too numerous to name.


Rachael may agree with me here...the Traditional Service was really nice. I really learned a lot about P'sukei D'zimra...why we chant them, what their purpose are, how they prepare us for prayer. Joanna Dulkin did a fabuluous job with brining the Psalms alive. At one point, we sang a verse in rounds and we participants, most of whom cannot sing, made the most angelic music with our voices. It gave me the chills. The ensuing Torah Study with Phyllis and then Israel study with Cyndee were really connected in a lot of ways and spawned great conversation and reflection amongst Rachael, Carol and I. Rachael is a great person to discuss these things with. You may not realize but she is a really deep person. She can take a word or two out of a class or a reading or the Torah and focus on it in such a way that it really pushes me to consider and investigate that which I had previously just skimmed right over. At this retreat, it was G-D REMEMBERED. Simple? Not so much!


Retreats like this one serve to remind me that I am not as observant outwardly as my heart and soul yearns to be. This retreat brings to the forefront my love of Halacha, my desire to be part of a community, my love for davening Orthodox, my wish to be shomer shabbos--and my fear that it will never happen. It also reminds me that my Hebrew is not good enough, my davening in Hebrew isn't so strong and that there are chunks of things I should know but don't, like how to say the long version of Birchot and how to chant the long version of Kiddish. Basically, this retreat as did last years and on and on ignites a flame in me to try to synchronize my soul with my behavior.


I LOVE to work on the Women's Spirituality Retreat and I only hope that overall the powers that be were happy with what our committees accomplished. I hope I am called to help next year in some capacity. And I hope I have many more opportunities to serve in the Jewish community as I find it satisfying and completing.