Dear JGU Sisters,

We have all been in situations where someone has helped us, where we were given something. We have all encountered times in our life where a person had an everlasting impact on us. How many times do we actually give back to that person? Is just saying ‘Thank you’ enough? 

A few summers ago, when I was going into eleventh grade, I went to the Jewish Girls Retreat. For those that don’t know, it is a camp for Jewish girls from all backgrounds. The summer was a life changing experience for me, being that I wasn’t coming from the most religious background. I saw Judaism in a completely new light. The environment was filled with a love for Judaism and the encouragement to explore who we truly are. I watched the way the counselors approached their day. They were filled with a passion and excitement I wanted to have. They were there to fulfill the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s vision: to love and return precious Jewish souls to their true essence.

During those three weeks, I was filled with an excitement and passion I had never felt before. I was filled with a love for Judaism, that had I never experienced. I was ready to do whatever it took, to live a truthful life. The counselors in JGR rekindled my flame and revived me with meaning. 

The Rebbe taught us to rekindle the flame within every Jew. He inspired his Shluchim, Rabbi Avraham and Mrs. Nechama Laber, the directors of JGR, to set up a camp in order to rekindle my flame. He instilled within the counselors a sense of responsibility, in order to show me the beauty of Yiddishkeit. It was all for me.

Since that summer, since the day I chose to express who I am, there has been a question continually nagging at me. Will I ever be able to repay the Rebbe for caring about me and every Jew?  I didn’t have a connection to the Rebbe then; I barely knew about the Rebbe. To my own understanding, the Rebbe was not involved in my life. Yet, the Rebbe, this person whom I felt I had no connection with, changed my life.

I don’t have a definite answer but I am sure of one thing: I have the responsibility to do everything I can to repay the Rebbe. I feel that to fully repay the Rebbe, is nearly impossible. However, I will do everything I can, to give to others, even a fraction of what I was blessed to have been given. I will utilize my experiences to inspire and teach others about the beauty of our heritage.

Thank you!


Today a student in Machon Yerushalayim