Chanukah 2019/5780 was brought to life in a jam-packed, inspirational and re-JEW-venating weeklong program of the Jewish Girls Retreat, hosted at the Jewish Leadership Campus in East Greenbush, New York.

Surrounded by creativity, nature, and the ubiquitous spirit of Judaism, eighteen girls (grades 3-12) convened from NY, CT, MA, NC and FL, to grow as leaders.

The Retreat theme of “Discover Chanukah” emphasized topics like determination, conviction, individuality, transcending challenge, G-d-consciousness, initiative, etc., which were explored and internalized through daily learning and challenges, performing and culinary arts, discussion circles, heartfelt presentations, and more.

Between cocoa club then prayers, and late nights bonding, campers enjoyed various workshops, a talent show, nature walks, cozy fires, adventurous trips, movie nights and spontaneous dance parties!  Highlights included helping execute Chabad of SRC’s community Chanukah party; an illuminating Shabbos with story and song; a banquet and candle-lighting, where participants shared support to “be a Maccabee,” overcoming personal struggles by transforming them into a source of purpose and light.

In appreciation of the devoted Retreat staff: Rabbi Avraham and Nechama Laber, founders and co-directors; Rabbi Menachem Mendel and Chaya Shepherd, EMT and admin; Chana Laber, program director; Chaya Eber, Chana Rahmani and Ilanit Chamish, counselors; Shaina and Raizel Laber, kitchen team; Heather Bianco, house manager; Rivkah, Shaina and Raizel Laber, photography and videography.

Our Girls Speak:

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].

Rena: At first I honestly wasn’t so excited about JGR; I thought it would detract from my winter break.  But now I realize it’s probably the best way I could spend my break!

Sima: …Such a warm, loving, happy environment! The week passed so quickly, yet I knew without a doubt that the journey was not over… JGR was a place I could grow in my own personal challenges and turn them into something good…made a huge impact on my life, teaching me so much about life and just being me.  I hope you continue your amazing work, inspiring other girls like me in their own lives and to grow as proud, young Jewish girls! 

One must experience it for themselves to fully appreciate why the Jewish Girls Retreat has been dubbed, “where Heaven and Earth meet!”


Jewish Girls Unite is a global community of girls and women of all ages and backgrounds, whom we aim to inspire through innovative education and technology to embrace their Judaism with joy, and grow into tomorrow’s confident mothers and leaders. JGU empowers our daughters to tap into their unique abilities, creatively express their souls, and pursue their dreams to creative positive change in the world.  To learn more, visit JewishGirlsUnite.com and become a member!

Partner today in building the future through various high-impact programs at the Jewish Leadership Campus!  Registration is now open for our Summer Jewish Girls Retreat and Pesach-on-the-Hill [Family] Retreat!