Dear Friends:

The following story expresses the heart of the JGU mission.

Rabbi Shemtov from Uruguay was walking with a friend on Shabbat afternoon. A ten year old boy approached them and asked, “Where are you from?”

“I am from Montevideo and my friend here is from Buenos Aires,” said Rabbi Shemtov.

“Why, are you wearing those strange caps?” he asked.

“This cap is called a ‘Kippah.’ We wear it at all times in order to remind ourselves that G‑d is always watching over us,” he explained.

“You know something? I don’t believe in G‑d,” the child retorted.

“You want to know something?” the Rabbi replied, “G‑d believes in you!”

“In me?” the child asked in wonder.

“Of course. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have created you. There is something that only you can accomplish and no one else.”

“Really? There is something that only I can accomplish? How do you know that?” exclaimed the boy.

“Why else would G‑d have created you? There is something that only you can accomplish,” explained the Rabbi.

“Wow! And what is it that only I can do?” asked the boy.

Rabbi Shemtov replied, ”I do not have the answer to that question. It is up to you to find it…”

At every JGU online class, girls are finding answers to their questions about themselves and the world. At the upcoming Jewish Girls Summer Retreat, we will facilitate open discussions for girls to discover their unique role in G-d’s world.

I am thrilled to share with you the meaning behind our summer theme 2015 “READY… SET… GROW”!!!! (We are building upon the theme we created at JGR summer 2008.)

G-d created the world for us to transform into a beautiful Divine orchard filled with good deeds, as G-d says in Shir Hashirim, “Bosi L’Gani – I have come to My garden. Man is charged with planting and tending this orchard by creating a “fruit-bearing tree” out of his own portion of the world. (Rebbe)

The JGR staff recorded our “Ready… Set.. Grow!” theme songs and got me into the camp spirit as I listened to them singing on my phone. Here is an excerpt of the lyrics.

“Welcome to our Garden, It’s beauty so divine.

Come and join our team, where we each do our part.

Bringing heaven down to earth, a stunning piece of art.

To make this happen, we must have a plan

With each of our good deeds, We are planting little seeds

Our souls, we are nurturing, Make this world evergreen

Where G-dliness is seen. READY..SET..GROW!!”

I am filled with gratitude to G-d as I watch the JGR garden grow and blossom.

What is the JGR garden?

Of course, JGU, our global movement for Jewish girls is an outgrowth of JGR. In addition, after ten years, JGR has grown our beautiful campers into fruit bearing trees who are going to be JGR STAFF this summer. We have over 15 alumni returning to JGR to provide a life changing summer for our campers. One counselor told me, “I can’t wait to give my campers the best summer of their lives, just as my counselors did for me.” They are confident leaders today, sharing their fruits and they are sweeter than the sweetest fruits!

Welcome Back to the following Alumni:

Chavie Resnick – Assistant Director

Mushkie Rubin – Learning Director

Chaya Laber – Program Director

Bryndel Gniwisch – Head Staff

Miriam Goldberg – Head Counselor

Basya Feldman – Head Staff

Eliana Rose – Counselor

Ellie Parker – Counselor

Chana Laber – Counselor

Tova Noll – Counselor

Devorah L. Paltiel – Counselor

Deanna Ryder – Kitchen Staff

Masha Pevsner – waitress

Netanya Liberman – waitress

Mimi & Dassie Franklin – Staff Kids Counselors

They also recruited their friends to join the incredible team of JGR staff. Our JGR gardeners, the staff arrive on the 22nd for staff training. We are so excited to welcome JGR campers to the “JGR Garden” on June 25, 2015!!!

A JGR camper once asked a great question in GROW workshop – our learning classes in JGR.

“Why didn’t Hashem just create a perfect world? Why does G-d require us to work soooooo hard and to overcome many hardships in this world?”

We answered, “Hashem wants us to transform the world into the blossoming GARDEN that He had in mind! We have the job, so of course we have the ability and the power to plant and nurture this world into a beautiful garden, where G-d feels comfortable.”

And Yes, we can do it because G-d believes in us!!!

Shabbat Shalom,

Nechama Laber