I think Heritage Retreats is a train to greatness. I bumped into my first Heritage Retreats opportunity this past summer, and I wish the same bump to anyone who might be deliberating on whether or not to go. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. It wants you to experience, learn, be challenged and engaged, pushed yet relaxed without any requests or demands, ulterior motives or expectations. It - that is, the diverse rabbinical leadership, guides, volunteers, and all of the age-ranging observancy-varied attendees, were beautifully accepting and interested in one another. I learned that it only takes 36 hours to feel like family, especially in Poland. Warsaw - Lublin - Majdanek - Belzec - Krakow - Auschwitz/Birkenau - Krakow - Wolbrom - Wodzislaw - Lodz The dynamic leadership is scholarly, CAPTIVATING and full of vim. The deep, deep insight to Polish history and Polish/Jewish history put a lens on my mental camera. The cornucopia of kosher foods was tasty and fresh. The countrysides were lush, clean and picturesque. Krakow is magnificent. I had always wanted to go to Poland, to be depressed and uplifted simultaneously. Whoever you are, however your faith, whatever your age, you'll find something you're looking for. Even if it is unknown. To rekindle....you will.
Being a part of this program opened up a whole new world to me. I met great people and have been on a path of enriching my life as a result of what I have learned attending Heritage Retreats.
Heritage Retreats is a one-of-a-kind program. I attended the program twice and it quite literally changed my life. The activities, the learning, the inspiring lectures - all had a profoundly positive impact on me. I have grown immensely in my own Jewish observance as a result of Heritage Retreats and now speak confidently with family, friends, colleagues, co-workers when they ask me questions about Judaism. Heritage Retreats has given me the gifts of awareness of and pride in my religion, and I am eternally grateful to them.
I attended Heritage Retreats at the sincere advice of my Rabbi. I come from a Secular/Reform Jewish background and hadn't gotten the complete education I was looking for. So, as I got there, I met all the women who came from different educational and observant backgrounds. I was pleasantly surprised by the sincere acceptance if everyone. We studied Judaism from some of the best teachers I have ever had. I learned about the Book of Ruth, the Book of Shmuel, Breshis, Women's spiritual roles, and a number of other intense and incredible classes. And when our minds were spinning full of fascinating information, we would "take a break" and white water raft on a beautiful river by Lake Tahoe and hike through the beautiful paths. This trip inspired me to never stop learning, and now I'm currently in Israel studying at seminary, all thanks to the inspiration from Heritage Retreats.
Heritage retreats went above and beyond in many aspects, and provided me with Jewish learning and discovery that would become a springboard for so much more.
First, top teachers from around the country (and the world) dedicated their time and energies to give thought-provoking, inspiring shiurim.
Second, the staff was warm and approachable. They initiated deep conversations, continuing the learning from the shiurim.
Third, the experience was set in a beautiful environment, and sprinkled with fun activities to facilitate meeting the other participants (some of whom I am still in touch with after several years).
The retreat leaders ensured that upon returning to my hometown, I would have contacts to continue my Jewish learning.
The retreat inspired me to spend a year in Israel learning. Since then, I have participated in a one-year, full-time Jewish fellowship, married my wonderful Jewish huband, and we are raising our beautiful baby boy in a vibrant Jewish home.
I had such a wonderful time at Hertiage. The teachers were phenomenal, and had time for all of our questions, whether in or out of class. Getting other girls who were more experiences to be our tutors and mentors really helped us continue learning, and most of all we had someone back home who we could relate to (since the tutors were generally from our state/area). The activities were also so much fun, and gave us an opportunity to hang out and grow closer. This week was so inspirational, and was definitely a catalyst in my learning and personal growth.
If i could pick one experience that boosted my confidence, helped me get in touch with who I really am, inspire others and be inspired by others, it is Heritage Retreats. This program had incredible teachers that were open minded and wanted to help each individual grow. At the end of the program, everyone said what the experience meant to them. There was a person who got up the courage to get out of an abusive relationship she was in because of this program. There were people who felt like they finally knew who they were and what they wanted out of life.
Heritage Retreats changed my life and the lives of many others for the better.
As a practicing litigation attorney, it was challenging for me to take the time off necessary for me to participate in the Heritage Retreats program. However, I made the necessary arrangements, and can honestly say that it was life changing and one of greatest adventures I have ever been invited to participate in. From an educational aspect, the faculty who staffed the trip I attended were all, literally, leaders and world class experts in their respective fields. I learned a great from the various classes offered, and remain in close contact with many of the teachers to this day, some of whom even made special arrangements to attend my recent wedding. In terms of the excursion, there options sufficient to satisfy even the most adventurous among us. Heritage Retreats is an excellent program administered by a highly trained and experience group of individuals who possess the skill and ability to effectively touch their target audience. As an alumnus, I have become a financial supporter of their efforts, and highly encourages to do so as well.
Heritage Retreat really gave me an opportunity to connect in a real tangible way to Judaism on a very high level. It also created an amazing bonding and learning experience between girls from all different areas and backgrounds of Judaism. It was a big blast, we were learning but there were enough fun activities that it felt a little like camp. i would highly recommend it.
Heritage Retreats is a one of a kind organization. It all starts with it's founder, Rabbi Mordechai Kreitenberg, and his incredible devotion for the organization. The organization helps bring young Jews to their roots and to learn the beauty of Judaism. Without Heritage Retreats, many young Jews would be heading in the wrong direction. I give the organization my highest level of respect, not only for the role it played on my life, but for the positive change it has created in each student to have attended.
Two years ago, I attended a Heritage retreat in Northern California. I did not know what to expect as I am not a religious Jew. From the first moment, I was greeted by a group of staff, fellow attendees and volunteers with respect and understanding. I was not judged and I was not proselytized to. Soon we became friends, immersed in learning about Judaism and the Jewish way of life. I attended classes with teachers who were at once caring and intellectual. I had many questions for them and they patiently took the time to answer. They made me feel welcome. They made we feel as if I was part of a big family. They made me proud to be a Jew. I can not say that I was converted into a religious Jew - I was not. But, I can say that I am proud to have a group of people who are smart and caring and know how to have fun. Many of the relationships that developed at the retreat have continued to develop into lasting friendships.