The Jewish Girls Winter Retreat focused on the theme: “Dream it Real” and was a four day weekend that will last a lifetime.

Thurs: After decorating tambourines and playing ice breaker games, our head counselors, Estee and Leah taped papers with dreams in the Torah on the backs of campers, Campers were challenged to put themselves in the order that the dreams took place. We discovered how each dream lead to another. Yakov’s dream influenced his son Yosef to dream. Yosef’s dream caused him to be taken to Egypt and was followed by Yosef’s family joining him which lead to the Egyptian exile. It is no coincidence that the exile was caused by dreams. It also indicates to us that redemption will be caused by those who dare to dream.

We worked together to draw our picture of a dream world. We cut the picture into puzzle pieces because each of our own personal dreams are part of our collective dream for a world of peace and harmony. We spoke about the need to never stop dreaming, just like the righteous women in Egypt. The tambourine was their constant reminder of the dream of Exodus. We danced with our tambourines knowing that we also have the power to dream big. We visualized doing what we love to fulfill our dreams and took a journey to the third Holy Temple with a relaxing meditation and journal reflection led by Aviva Rossman.

Fri: In groups, we decorated a poster that compared dreams in the night to life in exile. And just like anything can happen in a dream, we learned that we can accomplish anything if we work really hard and reach higher everyday. We worked at making challah, cookies and decorating pillow covers. At JGR dreams do come true! Thanks to our directors, Saralaya Rockfard and Chavie Resnick, JGR’s new film “Follow the Flame” was premiered. We were all blown away.

Sat: There were some girls who experienced their first real Shabbos. We all loved the Shabbos singing and stories. We were taught the secrets to achieving our dreams when we interviewed several women on our Shabbos panel. They were Chaya Mindel Way and Samara Harris, counselors who chose to keep the Mitzvot while in a secular school, Chana Atara Madvig, our head chef and a Shlucha who chose to convert to Judaism. Leah Caras, who inspires so many Jewish girls through Yaldah, JGR and is building a graphic design business while raising her family.

After Shabbos, we were inspired by our virtual guest singer, Chaya Brocha Rubin, who explained the inspiration behind her beautiful theme song, “Nothing Stands in the Way of Will”. We look forward to continuing the JGR inspiration with Jewish Girls Unite online classes and virtual celebrations. Our choir, drama and dance clubs also performed beautifully.

Click to view recording for women & girls of our Virtual Celebration:

After a fun Tzedakah auction, where many girls won gifts, everyone formed a circle for a special candle lighting ceremony. Golda, from Saratoga NY lit a candle and spoke: “We all got a gift tonight . We received the gift of enjoying time together at JGR. When I go home, I’m going to use my siddur and pray more.” Among all the girls who spoke about their experience: Chana Alyza said, ” I learned that you can accomplish your dreams”. Audrey added, “One of the things I learned is that when you have a dream you have to let other people in because you never know what they can contribute to it and if you do it yourself you can only give the scope of what you have.”

At winter retreat 2014, we realized that dreaming is just the first step and discovered how to take the four step journey of preparation, actualization, realization and transformation to dream it real!

View the winter retreat pictures online here.