By Liza Moskowitz
Did you know that more than 1,300 people have experienced 82 Peer-Led Retreats (PLRs) in 12 different countries this year?!?
Are you asking yourself, “What is a PLR?” What are you passionate about and who are the people you want to gather to explore that topic? Your PLR can combine both of these things on your very own Jewish learning retreat facilitated by you on a topic of your choosing.
Check out these photos and quotes from the facilitators (all MHWOW hosts!) to learn about some rockstar Peer-Led Retreats from Arizona to the UK.
Want to add “facilitating a PLR” to your 2019 #goals? Check out www.moishehouse.org/retreatology to get started.
Jackie Zais & Molly Cram, Washington D.C.
“We had an idea that we wanted to reimagine Jewish ritual and create something that is relevant to our lives as we are living now. This retreat explored what the traditional rituals are, what the traditional reasoning is and then how we can reinterpret and reimagine them.
In one session a participant turned to another person and said: ‘I can’t believe other people want to have these conversations too!’ Participants found a space to have discussions they weren’t having with their friends.”
Standing Again at Snowdon
Yael Roberts, London & Sara Moon, Sheffield, United Kingdom
“Participants learned about the festival of Shavuot, life in a world of loss and hope, and specific liturgy like the Psalms. Through individual sessions including ‘Building Your Dream Community’ and ‘The History of the Jews in Wales,’ there was something for everyone. We had an art session focused on our ancestry, and creating installations from it, as well as a midnight vegan cheesecake party.
A participant did a very meaningful session about mapping our ancestry. She invited us to use a variety of art supplies as well as natural materials to map where we each had come from. People became so immersed in the activity right away. Each person began to create an installation based on their personal history. The atmosphere was quiet and contemplative and created a change of pace in the middle of the Shabbat service. It was also a way for people to relate and connect in a way that was less intellectual and more embodied.”
Kabbalove: An Exploration of Love, Community and Jewish Mysticism
Dana Becker, Baltimore, MD
“On Saturday morning, we did a beautiful exploration where we experienced the world blindfolded in pairs, where one person would take another blindfolded on a nature walk, having them meet the world and experience it both sensationally and through the lens of the Kabbalah, specifically different sephirot. This was so much fun and it helped the participants awaken in their bodies, and begin to relate to their senses in a different manner than visual, which opened different experiences of how creation moves through both our bodies and the world.”
Let There Be Light
Gavi Berk, Scottsdale, AZ (and now a Moishe House Seattle resident!)
“Every session used a theme or text from Judaism to relate to ways we as Jewish young professional women can better shine our light and share it with the world. The arc of the experience was meant to be wholesome and well-rounded, with sessions topics ranging across recognizing our worth, Shabbat as it relates to self-care, Judaism’s emphasis on social justice, mindfulness & connection with nature, and owning our failures.
One really unique program was when we combined a hike with a session on mindfulness. At the base of the mountain, a participant read an introductory text about Judaism’s appreciation of summer & nature and gave everyone two reflection questions to mull over as we hiked. Then at the top, with a breathtaking view of the striking red rock mountains in Sedona, we discussed the phrase ‘lech lecha’ and how we viewed each of our individual journeys. Finally, she led a guided meditation as we each shut our eyes and focused internally on a decision or challenge facing us.”
Moishe House Gets Muddy
Lauren Marx, New York City, NY
“On Saturday afternoon, we talked about how nature has adapted over the years and how this has affected our lives. In addition to learning about our bodies, movement, and how that has played out in Judaism, whether it be in relation to Adam and Eve or the Jews in Egypt. We participated in some activities to help us get ready for the Tough Mudder on the following day surrounding teamwork and community.
The next morning we woke up early and got ready for the Tough Mudder, aka the highlight of the weekend. This was the arc of our event because at first, everyone thought it was going to be super hard and some people were nervous and questioning their choice of participating. However, once they started the event and saw that we were working as a team, they quickly changed their mind and had a great time. This proved to everyone that not only were they capable of completing this event but that it was fun and not as scary as they may have assumed it would be. In addition, it provided a great team-building experience and inspired everyone to strongly consider doing another one again soon. It was exciting to see everyone having a great time and the smiles on their faces. Not only was everyone able to complete the event, made new friends, and trust circles were built upon completion of the event and weekend.”