After a successful summer, Mrs. Nechama Laber, director of the Jewish Girls Retreat in Troy, NY, was faced with a dilemma. Fifty girls from a wide spectrum of Jewish backgrounds were departing from camp inspired and recharged, each returning to her own community. What could she do to continue the inspiration for these girls throughout the year? How could the innovative methods used at the retreat reach girls in many more communities?
Together with Leah Larson of YALDAH Magazine, Mrs. Laber has created a curriculum of ten monthly themes. With a focus on achdus, the lessons take classic concepts in Chassidus and bring them down to the practical lives of Jewish girls from all backgrounds. “The learning has to talk to each girl personally,” says Mrs. Laber, “and that can only happen when she feels accepted and loved. By strengthening respect and unity between girls, we’re creating an environment where girls can grow.”
This year’s curriculum is called “We are the World”, based on a verse in Kohelet which states, “G-d put the World in the heart of a Jew”. Every part of creation, from a bee to a mountain teaches us about our purpose in this world. Each lesson is based on one aspect of nature and includes team-building activities, hands-on games, discussion, visuals, creative writing activities and an assortment of crafts and activities, giving girls of all learning styles a chance to internalize the lessons. JGU can be opened as its own club or incorporated into an existing Hebrew School, Bat Mitzvah Club, or school. Its lessons are relevant for girls anwywhere from grades 3-12.
Shluchos or teachers can sign up to lead a monthly Jewish Girls Unite club in their area. In addition to receiving the curriculum and free consulting for ideas and troubleshooting, JGU connects its members to a global network of Jewish girls. Each member receives a subscription to YALDAH magazine, delivering inspiration to their doorstep. Creative writing and updates from the club meetings will be published in YALDAH, giving girls the opportunity to be published in a national magazine. Members also receive a login to the JGU online unity forum, enabling them connect with fellow club members around the world through meaningful discussions.
Since its inception this fall, JGU has grown quickly. It has five branches including a club in Germany! The excitement is spreading as more and more clubs open up. Shlucha Leah Namdar of Sweden says, “This really inspires excitement. What a great resource for shluchos! So many people say that it’s hard to work with teen girls…this will make it so much easier!”
The excitement doesn’t stop there. For the first time ever, Jewish Girls Retreat will be holding its annual five-day winter retreat in a luxurious hotel in Albany, NY. The retreat will be an incredible opportunity for JGU members and all Jewish girls to strengthen unity, get inspired, and recharge.
“JGU is more than just another club or project,” says co-director, Leah Larson. “If there’s one thing we need right now, it’s achdus. JGU taps into our three most powerful tools to bringing Moshiach: the youth, our future women, and achdus. Together, we can make it happen.”
For more information about Jewish Girls Unite & Jewish Girls Retreat, to sign up to run a club or to find a club near you visit www.JewishGirlsUnite.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure if JGU is right for your community? Fill out our questionnaire and a representative will contact you to discuss how you can best use JGU to reach the Jewish girls in your community.