Sep 11, 2017
Girls Retreat Camp Is Year Round

Jewish Girls Retreat camp unites girls from around the world throughout the year, with online programming and inspiration.

by Susan Lowenthal Axelrod

After nearly twenty years of spirited summer and winter retreats for Jewish girls...Nechama Dina Wasserman-Laber wondered, "How do you keep the flame burning year-round?’ Laber searched for ways to connect Jewish girls from around the world year-round and keep the inspiration of summer camp alive. She created the answer in Jewish Girls Unite, the online global community for Jewish girls.

“We didn't want girls to have to wait a whole year to express their love for Judaism through the arts,” said Laber. So, in 2014, she began to offer a weekly Wednesday online program for girls called Beyond Bat Mitzvah.

Then, in March, 2015, Jewish Girls Unite, an online community with programs, blogs and a forum by Jewish girls was launched. In the past two years, JGU has expanded its online programming to include more workshops given by professional educators from around the world.

They include: a weekly Leadership class for teens called Mirror Reflections, Prayer and Holiday classes for women called "From Roses to Pearls" with leadership Coach Susan Axelrod and Nechama; Creative Online Club, every Sunday, with workshops on Jewish Music with Chaviva Tarlow, Jewish Art with Ahuvah Coates and Creative Writing with Yedidah Wolfe. Sarah Salles from Fl., a JGR Alumna and JGU student wrote, "I would say Mirror Reflections is one of the best classes I ever took. It gives me so much inspiration to grow as a leader."

Online Classes begin this week.

Last September, Laber established the JGU Educators Forum and created a platform for teachers and female performers to collaborate with the mission of empowering our Jewish girls through creativity and innovation. Educators work together to plan Inter-school broadcasts where students are given the opportunity to present their learning through art, music, drama online to schools across the globe. The first broadcast will take place on September 27, at 12 ET on the theme of Chana's prayer.

Rae Shagalow from Emek Hebrew Academy said, "Our students looked forward to the broadcasts each month. The girls were so excited to share their work with a broader audience outside of their own class and school."

The mission of JGU is to create a global community of empowered Jewish girls and women, using innovative approaches in education and technology. JGU offers girls around the world many opportunities to share their talents and experience the joy of Judaism and community year-round. The theme "Sing Your Song" will carry on throughout the year and will be integrated into our Beyond Bat Mitzvah Workshops, Creative Online Clubs on Sunday and Inter-school broadcasts.

Voices in Harmony is the title for JGU’s newest book, due out in March of 2018 by the JGU Press. A unique collection of original songs by girls and women at the Jewish Girls Retreat and from International singers. An underwriting donor [who remains anonymous] said: “Voices in Harmony will offer the perfect opportunity for Jewish girls from around the world to unite through song and experience the camp atmosphere year- round, on Shabbos or anytime.” Singing together can soothe and uplift! You can support the vital work of JGU that is creating confident Jewish girls who will become the confident Jewish mothers of the future by dedicating a page or a song here.

Last year's publication by JGU was titled One More Light, and united Jewish girls in a beautiful anthology on Shabbos candle lighting. The book is available for sale here.

The JGU Community is open to all Jewish Girls, Women and Educators.
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