Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Sivan 5766 - June 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Filling up the Cup — Women's Getaways
By B. Hyman

I was running late. The Amen rally was due to start. I rushed across the long courtyard outside Binyanei Ha'uma, submitted impatiently to the security check, and barely managed a smile at the ladies and teenage girls who were thrusting multi- colored fliers into my hand.

I knew I needed the chizuk. I thus made the effort to leave my house at 6.30 in order to arrive on time. I now needed another dose, above and beyond the "Amen" one, in order to calm down from the monumental effort, emotional stress and extra adrenaline I had had to muster in order to organize my household to go out for the night at 6.30 p.m!

It was only after I arrived home (totally re-inspired about brochos and amen, of course) that I had time to glance at the fliers I had shoved into my bag. And then I saw it . . . and I just had to smile.

"It's that time of year again . . . Rejuvenate and ReJEWvenate in glatt-kosher comfort at the third annual English-Speaking Women's Getaway . . . "

The ad might sound corny to you, but it didn't to me. Because I have been there, you see . . .

We take the big plunge in life. Register at the aliyah office. Leave our sprawling houses and cram our oversized American furniture into lifts, and small apartments. Attempt to communicate with the neighbors with our ungrammatical Hebrew. Celebrate simchas and crises without the benefit of close family members living nearby . . . and continually crave American — you name your favorite!

Why do we do it? For the incomparable opportunity of basking in the ruchniyus of Eretz Yisrael, of course. But sometimes, after a hectic week, it would be nice to go to Mom's for Shabbos without having to fly 5000 miles. And sometimes my brain is too tired to formulate coherent sentences in Hebrew. And sometimes the 6-day workweek, coupled with financial stress and child-raising worries can feel overwhelming. Where can one go to refill one's "cup," which has been running over and is now dangerously close to empty?

Three years ago, two ex-Australian Jerusalemites felt like their "cup" was close to empty, both spiritually and physically. Not having relatives locally, they couldn't leave their children and go away with their husbands. The Israeli camps-for-mothers sounded like a great idea, but it would mean joining a program geared to the Israeli mentality, in Hebrew, which would not be completely suitable or relaxing.

So they decided to organize their own program. The three-day getaway was an incredible success, and became a much-awaited annual event. Last year I attended. I was feeling that stretched-to-bursting feeling and I needed to get away. I was a little nervous about the details, however . . .

Were the other attendees going to be as shtark as me in hashkofoh? Were they going to be in my age range? Would I be kept busy from morning until night without much- needed time to relax? Would the shiurim be inspiring and intellectually stimulating enough? And would I gain weight from the food?

Acres and acres of green grass and flowers. A women-only gorgeous outdoor swimming pool with a female lifeguard. Abundant tasty food with the best supervisions. A walking tour of Zichron Yaacov. A visit to Haifa. A picnic lunch on a boat ride. Davening at the grave of Eliyohu Hanovi. Jewelry making. A free facial. A brochos party with an electrifying atmosphere. A workshop on stress reduction. Even a Tupperware party. And a keynote speaker (Rav Geller, Rosh Yeshivas Zichron Yaacov), who stimulated our intellects with his divrei Torah, then had us rolling with laughter at his kiruv tales and then — to our surprise — brought us to tears when he played the violin for us!

And best of all — the dynamic among the women. I found myself taking to women who I might have thought were very different from me . . . but they weren't. I got chizuk from hearing their stories and challenges.

I asked Bassya, one of the organizers, how they manage to pull off such a feat. "We think of which activities would physically and spiritually rejuvenate us, and then we try to arrange them. The first year we subsidized the three-day getaway with private donations. Baruch Hashem, the chareidi wing of the Jerusalem municipality now subsidizes the getaway, as they think that the idea of a retreat for English-speakers is both innovative and vital."

"And you and Adina, the other organizer? Do you get a break?" I asked.

"The first year was crazy, and we came home exhausted," she replied. "But we learned our lesson and divided our hours to ensure we each had time off during the getaway. And besides, how can we not organize the getaway, when we get feedback from its attendees that it literally saves their year, that it gives them a new lease on life, that they were patient with their kids all summer because of it?"

As for me . . . my cup is filling up with anticipation of next month's "retreat" . . . in order to "advance".

(For information about this year's getaway, call Bassya on 5852297).


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