She Said/She Said

Single Jewish Moms share their lasting impressions

“I love the women who came, the organizers and teachers; meeting everyone was my favorite part of the retreat. I was coming from overseas, a world away, but I felt so at home here, starting with the unexpected hug as soon as I arrived.

The most memorable talks were the ones about our relationship with G-d, how our attitude makes the difference, and how there’s no place for sadness, sadness being a lack of feeling. And there’s one piece of wisdom (among many!) that really stands out: Always value life (being needed) over existence (fulfilling your needs).

The retreat was everything I was hoping for and more – friends, support, clarity. My thoughts are a lot more clear and I feel so much stronger, ready and able to deal with my challenges.

Thank you for this time and place to relax and learn. Bais Chana is a warm, loving place to learn and grow and just be yourself!

 D, 24, London, UK
Feb 2013
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“Although it’s hard for me to put things into words, the emotions and thoughts that this provoked in me are beyond anything I’ve experienced. This surpassed all my expectations. It really was amazing.

S, 34, Milwaukee, WI
Feb 2013
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“I wanted to find my voice again, to let go of past pain. I didn’t expect the positive relationships with the other women and I found real understanding, acceptance and happiness here – all things I want to bring home with me to my family. I’ve also gained so much pride in Judaism. The drumming and laughing Saturday night were great!

Bais Chana is a warm, welcoming, nonjudgmental and safe place.

 C, 43, Cleveland, OH
Feb 2013
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IMG_7161” I hoped to regain my “spark” and prepare for some major upcoming decisions…

After the classes on Chassidus with Freidy and Rabbi Friedman, I had a much different understanding of my relationship with G-d and how to handle my emotions. I feel happier and determined to be mindful and make decisions based on Jewish values. These are ideas I really want to integrate into my life. Rabbi Feller was also so inspiring – please thank him for sharing his wisdom with us.

Thank you so much for enabling me to attend. It’s enriched and inspired me – we learned from each other, supported each other and expanded our perspectives. I hope to send my teenage daughter to Bais Chana’s un-camp.

PS The food was so healthy and delicious! The drum circle – great!

C, Boise
Feb 2013
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“I hoped to gain clarity and self-esteem, and the workshop really helped me with that. And I really needed the class on forgiveness. The drum circle was the most fun I had in a long time and the watercolor painting was awesome. But my favorite part was the people – the teachers and the women who came.

The retreat was awesome. Everyone at home wants a “transcript” of all the classes so I know I’m going to be busy doing that when I get home and sharing it at my community Shabbos table.

Thanks so much to the women who sponsored this, G-d should bless you – since those who bless (as you have) should be blessed in turn with all you need! This was a G-dsend for me and I never would have been able to come without the grant.

S, 42, Florida
Feb 2013
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“I hoped to reclaim my faith in G-d. I hoped to sleep better and declutter my mind, body, soul and house.

My favorite part was Shoshi’s healthy food, and my favorite class was Rabbi Friedman’s on life and existence.

I didn’t sleep well and I wish I had been given feedback about certain things. But in spite of that, Bais Chana was a unique and open space, and I do feel better about myself.

L, Colorado
Feb 2013
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“I heard about it from a friend who emailed the info. All I hoped for was to gain some perspective…

These four days far exceeded my expectations! The most important thing I learned is that you can learn from everybody. Amazing. A wonderful place, full of love and acceptance. So much wisdom!

Words cannot explain how critical it is for a single mother to step back so she can get perspective, love and hope. Thank you for the opportunity.

 Rachel, 35
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Siddur“I came last year and decided to come back for more. I needed to break out of the spiritual funk I was in for the previous few months and open my heart for prayer. I hoped to gain clarity on my current situation and guidance for my future.

The speakers were incredible and the other women were amazing. On the very last day I achieved my main goal: my heart opened up and I was able to daven and cry – the “good” kind of cry. I was also able to meet privately with Rabbi Friedman and Freidy Yanover, who both helped me tremendously. Farrel was also very good.

Last year I learned that Bais Chana exceeds all expectations. This year was even better. Our laughter at the drum circle, while not so well-mannered, definitely was a great release.

One of the most important things I learned in Rabbi Friedman’s classes is this: Our eyes hunger for light when in darkness and therefore dilate to allow as much light in as possible, so when the light comes we have a greater capacity to receive it and thus it seems brighter. Likewise, in times of darkness, our heart yearns for light/joy/simcha, and when it finally comes our capacity to receive it is increased, so we enjoy it more.

I’ve been too hard on myself….but now I feel more centered and I’ve regained some of the joy that had been ebbing from my life over the last few months. I feel closer to G-d and I’ve been praying more and with greater intensity than before, and I am very appreciative for that.

Bais Chana is warm, loving, and nurturing – but with a great underlying purpose. The experience is incredible – every Jewish woman should treat herself.

Here’s my message to the special women who support this initiative: Attending Bais Chana is such an incredible learning and growing experience. Last year I attended on scholarship, and this year I am happy and proud to be paying my own way, knowing that what I am receiving in return is worth far more than what I am giving. If you give to Bais Chana, you will be getting something eternal in return.

Thanks for another incredible program, though I hope to be “ineligible” for the single moms program next year!

Malka
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I hoped to get time to myself to recharge.

The retreat exceeded my expectations, in every way. I learned three very important things: 1, Don’t be a victim of my own guilt; 2, I’ve got to make a life that my children will be jealous of; 3, There are things that I can do in this world that no one else can do.

These five days brought me back to center spiritually. I’m more balanced emotionally through sharing with others in similar situations, and more motivated to grow. This was a group of unexpectedly outstanding, sensitive, accomplished, beautiful women!

It was at times intense, touching uplifting, relaxing and a very well put together program. Thank you to everyone for your hard work. You’re helping moms build stronger, happier Jewish homes. Thank G-d I came. ..

Sarah, New York City, NY
Feb 2011, MN
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I hoped to gain direction and clarity, a renewed passion for life – a real meaningful life.This was more than I imagined it could be. I didn’t expect to actually have my eyes opened like this. I feel VERY LUCKY that I had the opportunity now.

My favorite parts of the retreat were Rabbi Friedman’s and Nachshon Zohari’s sessions. I learned that my choices count but that ultimately I’m not in control of the outcome. The discussion on attachment for positive parenting was very enlightening.

I just want to stay connected. I want to stay plugged into a learning environment and stay this focused. My piece of advice for women considering the retreat: If you’re open, you’ll receive insights and tools to move forward in a more focused and clear way.

Bais Chana is a miracle, a necessity, everyone should come. Bais Chana is not enough. We need this for all adults everywhere all the time.

Itty, New York City, NY
Feb 2011, MN
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I wanted to meet other women in my situation and gain more knowledge in Judaism.  I had a great time, met awesome people and enjoyed all the workshops. And the food was healthy which was great!

The group discussions were where I gained the most. I learned not to dwell on the negative, and to be assertive and not let others treat you the way you don’t want to be treated. I’ve gained friends, a stronger belief in G-d’s will and so much practical advice on everyday challenges. I really hope to keep the financial advice offered. And not to doubt G-d at times when everything seems to be going wrong…

Bais Chana is an amazing, warm, accepting place. I’d like to thank the donors for this opportunity – I’ve learned so much and it never would have been possible without the grant.

Lir, East Brunswick, NJ
Feb 2011, MN
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sjm3I originally heard about it from my Chabad Rebbetzin. I was hoping for personal growth, spiritual strengthening, and a network of great teachers and fellow students. This retreat more than exceeded my expectations (including the healthy, nurturing food).

I made a connection to my Judaism through wise and spiritual teachers, and I felt a sense of awe for them and their level of knowledge and depth. All of the classes were excellent in their own way. For instance, the session on striving for intimacy – in a holy sense – made a huge impact on me.

What will I bring home from this? A sense of modesty. I’ll continue to study and maintain a level of Divine awareness to continue living with integrity. You really have to accept your life where you are.

It’s going to be hard to describe to friends what this really did for me – I would keep it simple and state that it was life-changing. It truly was.

Shirley, Cleveland, OH
Feb 2011, MN
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When I heard about it from a friend, I thought wow, rest – and clarity. But I didn’t think I’d be able to let myself enjoy the experience without feeling guilty.

What was really amazing was the women, the friendships…the honesty. We were all able to let it all out in a healing, constructive setting. I realized that my family needs me to be the captain – and I need to be the captain. This is my life. I have to take charge.

Thank you, donors. As a single mom, you take moments for everyone else and you forget yourself and it’s very easy to forget to feed your soul. This program allowed me to take time out for me and allowed me to connect to other women in similar situations, grow from them and their stories, as we learned Torah. I never find time for a class, for a friend or for healing because I’m just too busy. This was an opportunity to institute change so I can be a better mom and a better me with a connection to G-d. I see now that the absence of G-d will not allow me to move forward in peace…

I, Miami, FL
Feb 2011, MN
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sjm4

I was able to immerse myself (unlike the usual “come and go” of the summer). I feel that I was pushed/pulled out of my comfort zone in a way that has been mostly positive. I have always tended to distance myself from (other) divorced women especially those who’ve talked openly about physical abuse they suffered. I’ve been able to see myself as one of the group – unusual for me.

My favorite moments were in Nachshon’s workshops, the watercolor sessions, Friday night davening (especially Freidy’s class) and singing. I’m finding out what my “personal genius” is – and that’s good. I should follow what I want to do and feel that I am competent and appreciated in my “work” life as well as the big picture. I have to take charge of the steering wheel of my life and drive the bus.

This is probably too intimate an experience at this stage to talk about it much but I do want to say something to the all the people who made this possible, from Chaya in the kitchen to the all the incredible people who funded this. Thank you, thank you for enabling and empowering this unique group of women to be spiritually and emotionally nourished together.

 Chana, St Paul, MN
Feb 2011, MN
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I heard about it from a friend. I was hoping for inspiration, friendship, being around women who are supportive and understanding, and that’s exactly what I found here. I learned two really important things: First, I need to be my own person, to live MY life; I can’t let my Ex rule my life.  And second, my kids can be healthy and normal even if things are tough.

I feel like I can finally move on. I am truly grateful – this was a life-saver. Thank you so much for the experience of hearing the speakers, being with other women who were there for me…and I for them.

G
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I was here at Bais Chana years ago, before I was married, when I was about 19. This is a special place with a special feeling that I can’t describe. And I have a peace inside now that I could only get from being here.

I learned (again) that G-d is watching over me all the time – I guess I needed to hear that again. My biggest challenge is my own selfishness, that’s what gets me into trouble.  So it’s comforting to know G-d is there, after everything I’ve been through, and it makes me want to be a better person.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the generous people who made this week possible for me.

H, Cleveland, OH
Feb 2011
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What did I get out of it? I’m looking forward to trying the “time in” concept with my kids. And to making challah with them. I’m able to laugh more. I see beauty in the prayers. Actually, my favorite part of this week was the Shabbos meal with Rabbi Feller. Bais Chana is an interesting place where women from different walks of life can bond.

 Deena, NJ
Feb 2011
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I was looking forward to meeting other women in my situation…and now, after talking with them all and hearing all the classes, I understand marriage better than I ever have. That was completely unexpected – understanding more about love and marriage at a retreat for single moms.

 The discussions were intense but it’s because we’re so mixed up, we’re looking for romantic love instead of the “oneness” we should be looking for in marriage. There’s a lot more to say on this topic – marriage is about our essence so it’s a big conversation.

 I discovered that I have a passion for helping others and now I want to help other women in severe situations. One of the other women said something I wish I had heard years ago, which was, We teach people how to treat us.

 I just want to say that the sensitivity and love I felt here really made this special.

 C, 21
Feb 2011

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