On December 5, 2008, Jewish women from across America and from diverse backgrounds will participate at a Shabbat retreat in Boulder, Colorado.
The convention, sponsored by the women’s division of Chabad-Lubavitch, anticipates a weekend of unity that will transcend the guests’ diverse political and religious affiliations. The idea is based on a Biblical passage imploring the nation to “gather joyfully in unity as the mountains rejoice before G-d.”
Issues of importance to modern Jewish women will be addressed, ranging from equality as a value in Torah, the Chassidic perspective on personal fulfillment in contemporary life, and women’s health issues. The program was planned, say convention coordinators, keeping in mind the eclectic nature of the guests.
According to Susan Kramer, chief development officer at the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, it is the cross-mix of participants that makes the convention so appealing and so vital. “The sisterhood of different women is critical to the continuity of the Jewish faith and people.”
“I love that people from around the country will be attending,” added Karen Hammer, radio host and producer of Denver’s Mountain Time Heads Up! – a public affairs program. “The conference offers substantive programs with excellent topics and a chance to hear other people’s ideas and perspectives. It does not matter where you are coming from. If you are Jewish, we have something here for you.”
Karen Hammer is a member at a local reform temple, but attends Jewish Learning Initiative, (JLI) classes at Chabad. “Everything I have attended at Chabad is accessible,” she says. “Everyone is engaged, regardless of their level.”
Bestselling author Yitta Halberstam (Small Miracles), and Chabad’s representative to Sweden, Leah Namdar, are two of the weekend’s headliners. Also presenting will be Laya Jackson, a parenting expert from Safed, Israel, and Rabbi Yossi Chazan, a popular British speaker.
Workshops are divided by age and interest: an education seminar includes a class for parents of small children, a focus group about teenagers, and a third discussion that will explore adult education opportunities.
The retreat will also provide its guests, many of them hard-working professionals and mothers, a chance to relax via swimming, massages and manicures – and outdoor activities will offer informal opportunities for women to become acquainted.