Hosted inaugurally at the brand-new, stunning, 13-acre Jewish Leadership Campus in Upstate New York, Jewish Girls Unite offered a weeklong summer retreat, inspiring girls to cultivate their talents and dreams as they grow into tomorrow’s confident mothers and leaders with vision.
We are deeply grateful to all our generous donors who realized establishing the Campus, a place for Jewish daughters worldwide to call home! We received much support during our 36-hour-only global campaign; launched mid-camp, it thank G-d far exceeded its $100K goal, even catalyzing a bonus round.
Each day brimmed with lively activities that both enriched and harmonized the mind, body and soul, from morning “cocoa club,” meditations and prayers at the start to a finish of late nights bonding, and so much in between. Campers enjoyed innovative GROW [learning] workshops, a talent show, nature walks, a bonfire, boating, gardening, exciting trips, baking and creative workshops including jewelry-making, crocheting, drama, choir, watercolors and painting ceramics. Even meals or free time together were transformed from ordinary into extraordinary! Thank you to the marvelous, devoted Retreat staff, for making it all possible:
Rabbi Avraham and Nechama Laber, co-directors; Rabbi Mendy Shepherd, health director; Chaya Shepherd, kitchen head; Heather Bianco, house manager; Nechama Dena Zwiebel, camp mother (also a renowned speaker, educator and spiritual healer); Chana Laber, program director; Nili Navot, social media manager; Chana Rachmani and Ilanit Chamish, counselors; Shaina, Raizel and Rivkah Laber, Raizl Milchtein and Tzipporah Prottas, kitchen staff.
At the elegant debut of her new book, Finding Song in Sorrow: My Journey from Loss to Legacy and Light, Mrs. Laber reflected on how the painful void she experienced as a young girl in the wake of her esteemed father’s untimely passing became her driving force in perpetuating his teachings and heartening young women today. Despite a major thunderstorm earlier, serious nearby flooding, and a power-outage shortly after she began to speak, the unfazed procedure of the well-attended event (and a few small miracles) affirmed our profound ability to generate our own souls’ light and find G-d, even within the darkest of times! Supporters of the memoir, book launch and Leadership Campus were warmly recognized; Micki Massry, who underwrote Finding Song in Sorrow and also lost her father while young, was specially awarded for her dedication. A JGR choir led by musician Tzirel Liba Mitzman performed her original compositions that relay Mrs. Laber’s story through song.
Read more and purchase Finding Song in Sorrow, here!
Other highlights included an illuminating Shabbos replete with singing, stories, guests and shared blessings; a professional photography session with Sarah Greenfield and group portraits; a banquet and candle-lighting ceremony, where campers and staff empowered one another on their personal ‘sorrow-to-song’ journeys and missions by courageously sharing their own. One must experience it for themselves to fully appreciate why the Jewish Girls Retreat has been dubbed, “where Heaven and Earth meet!”
Aeden: I love JGU because of how nice everyone is and how everyone can feel accepted. When I’m here I feel closer to Hashem [G-d].
AriAna: JGU helps me on my journey to find who I am.
Chana: JGU is a place where everyone is loved, accepted and encouraged to be who they are and to grow into a better person.
Mussia: …JGU teaches me so much. I made such good friends. In JGR I’m a tiny bit homesick but JGR is like home so I’m not so homesick… I had such a good time here…hope I come again.
Hadassah: I love JGR so much because you made every girl’s heart sing.
Daniella: JGU is a wonderful camp…fun and chilled. They have excellent counselors, gourmet chefs and fun…for everyone. Thanks for making it the best camp ever.
Partner today in building the future through various high-impact programs at the Jewish Leadership Campus!
Jewish Girls Unite is a global community of girls and women of all ages and backgrounds, whom we aim to inspire through innovative approaches in education and technology, to embrace their Judaism with joy, and grow into the confident mothers and leaders of tomorrow. JGU empowers our daughters to tap into their unique latent talents, express their souls through creativity and nature, and pursue their dreams to creative positive change in the world.