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.
Heritage Retreats provided me with one of the most powerful, inspiring, and fun times of my life. There are many Jewish kiruv programs, but Heritage connects people like nothing else I've seen. I've never seen so many people change so much over the course of one week. I'm still close with many of the participants from that camping adventure from four years ago.
When I look back today at the speakers provided, and the classes offered, I feel like I didn't even begin to scratch the surface of what was offered in terms of Jewish growth... my rabbis back home wanted to go with me! So many incredible rabbis in one place... half of our group ended up in Yeshiva within a year.
I now donate to Heritage regularly. It had such an impact on my life, and I know how much it's changed the lives of others.
Most charitable organizations deal with physical, medical, or social needs. Heritage Retreats deals with souls; that is, it rescues and motivates - for a lifetime - young souls that are drifting away from their Judaic roots and may be lost altogether. Rabbi Kreitenberg, a visionary and doer, is an inspiring leader that has devoted his life to helping young college students understand, appreciate, enjoy and return to the religion of their forefathers. It is a task of a high order and he feels greatly saddened when he has to turn away applicants because funds are not available to include them in existing programs. If you feel that saving a Jewish soul is a worthy task Heritage Retreats should be part of your charitable giving.
I am truly impressed with the organization. The students who attend the program gather tremoundous amounts of information in a warm surrounding environment. When the student leaves the program they have the knowledge to continue with their pursuit of their own religion. They are able to implement what they learned in our society that we live in. It is a great feeling to see people return to their faith that has existed for thousands of years.
For the past several years we have been a contributor to Heritage Retreats. I have personally visited their summer program in Southern California several times. I have found it to be an excellent program where the participants, whom I have interacted with, have always told me how much they have learned and the lifelong relationships they have formed have contributed to their lives. I have found Rabbi Kreitenberg to be an excellent teacher and administrator. I fully intend to continue supporting this program.