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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Heritage Retreats Inc dba University Heritage Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Judaism, Leadership Development, Religion, Special Education, Youth Development - Religious Leadership

Mission: We seek to revitalize Jewish identity through educational, religious and cultural initiatives that are designed to reach out to all Jews with an emphasis on those that do not strongly identify with Jewish life.

Target demographics: Jewish college students and young adults all over North America

Direct beneficiaries per year: 225

Geographic areas served: North America

Programs: Heritage Retreats is a one week immersion experience designed to revitalize Jewish identity among unaffiliated Jewish Youth.

Community Stories

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 zuckzuck

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Rebekah M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Sara M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Ilana C.

Client Served

Rating: 5


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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A splendid Jewish Enlightenment Program for men to return to their roots and understand the meaning of Judaism. Some of the most memorable speakers were R. Keleman, and R.Gershenfeld who were able to connect the secular knowledge and understanding and weave Jewish thought into the minds of so many. The program was nestled in the most serendipitous 100 + acres in Santa Barbara, close to NEVER NEVERLAND of Michael Jackson -- a place where one can be at peace with himself, and focus on the spiritual. Most positive memories.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ability to learn and grow in my Jewish heritage along side people with a diverse group of backgrounds who all had a passion to explore within was truly amazing. The comeraderie between all the participants in this short retreat is truly amazing. I would recommend Heritage Retreats to others.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heritage Retreats changed my life! They welcomed me in with open arms and even flew me to california when i could not afford to pay. they did the same for my boyfriend, to attend the mens program, who also could not afford the cost. from the moment i got there the inspiration began. the location in the mountains of california offered a remote place removed from the confusion of secular life. things became clear. the facility was beautiful! i have been to other places, that were run down and without basic plumbing. heritage was like a ski lodge. with beautiful lounges, classrooms, and dorms. and the grounds, with the many fields and trails, lend themselves perfectly to the experience of self evaluation and discovery. but the real jewel at heritage is the community that forms. there are the teachers, the rabbis, and the madrichot all there to impart wisdom and understanding on the students. never have i met a more compassionate and patient group of people who give of themselves and expect nothing in return. the classes are eye opening and changed my view of the world forever. i saw truth and got clarity on the purpose of life. i made life long friends whom i am still in contact with to this day. i have been invited back, and if it were not for the constraints of my job, i would have gone without hesitation. there could be no better charity in my opinion.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heritage Retreats had a profound effect on my life as well as the lives of many of my friends. The experience is so powerful that even those of us who were not on the same retreat feel a connection of the experience when we meet. Heritage Retreats is changing lives by helping people live more positively, purposefully, and therefore fulfilled lives.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to Heritage somewhat in turmoil. I had started to wander down a path toward observant Judaism, but I really wondered if it would it be possible to maintain my sense of self and individuality while making a commitment to learn more about my faith and integrate Torah into my life? Could I still be a feminist, a liberal, a social activist AND an observant Jew? Heritage was a wonderful forum to address my questions. The environment really fostered growth and candid discussion. I was able to ask my questions, even those that bordered or crossed clearly over into the heretical, without feeling judged or belittled, and when the answer was not entirely to my liking, I was directed to books and authors who might offer me a different perspective. No, the retreat did not erase every qualm I hold about a Torah-observant lifestyle, but it did fortify my commitment to integrate Torah into my life, introduce me to a wonderful community of people, and give me the spiritual energy to continue to grow, to learn, and to feel wonderfully proud to be a Jew.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heritage Retreats was one of the most amazing, inspirational, and growth inspiring experiences. I had the opportunity to learn with very knowledgeable teachers and peers. When I attended, I was trying to grow in my Judaism, and Heritage Retreats provided a safe place for me to ask questions, explore, and really learn. It was incredible!

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heritage Retreats was a great program that I attended in the summer. They have incredible speakers, fun activities, kind madrichot, and great learning. Women are exposed to Judaism and the many interesting topics encompassed in it. Some of the enjoyable activities we participated in was challah baking, swimming, basketball, and the several captivating shuirs we heard. There were great feelings of repour with the bonding and closeness created with our mentors. We were all girls trying to learn and grow and despite our seemingly differences in location of living we all experienced a oneness as we got to know each other and due to our common goal. We were extremely blessed to have top speakers to hear from and ask questions to. This was a fabulous summer program that I feel that any girl looking for expanding her horizon's on life and forming great friendships would definitely desire to attend.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very positive. The classes were insightful and detailed. The instructors were warm and caring, and provided a lot of positive motivation.

15

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was a shiduch between Hashem and I - Heritage Retreats made it happen by bringing me to be aware of my creator, allowing me to see my identity as Jew, as a future Jewish mother and wife, as a Jewish soul.

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

After dating my fiance for only a few months, it come aparent we had very different religious opinions, outlooks, knowledge, needs and wants. I went on this retreat to help me learn more about Judaism and look deeper inside of me. The retreat was very difficult at times and I even wanted to leave a few times as well. Nevertheless, I stuck through it and left inspired and ready to live up to being Jewish. My fiance and I are now married with two kids,a kosher home and are working hard at becoming fully observant.