Two Retreats, One Sholom Weekend

Jay Rapoport, RJE Director of Lifelong Learning

Three years after creating our 3rd & 4th Grade Family B’nai Mitzvah Retreat weekend as part of participating in the Chicagoland cohort of the URJ’s B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, it was time for something new. We had heard from parents of younger students that they wanted to participate, so this year we reinvented our family retreat as the JK-4th Grade Mishpacha (Family) Camp Getaway, and decided to hold our Orr Shalom High School Retreat that same weekend at our URJ Camp OSRUI. So what happens when you take eleven families, nine teens, two Rabbis, two engagement coordinators and a Cantor to camp?

Children of all ages ran through the lodge laughing and playing, parents chatted about our Eilu v’eilu learning theme and studied Torah with Rabbi Gellman, families welcomed Shabbat with Rabbi Goldberg, castles of cups were built in the Chedar Ohel (dining hall), teens led their own programs on the theme of “Drake is Jewish! Jews in Pop Culture,” we made s’mores in the fireplace (kids) and the fire pit (teens), and, of course, gaga was played by kids and teens. Much time was spent hanging out and playing family games in the lodge, playing sports in the Mercaz Sports (sports center), walking on the frozen Lac La Belle Lake, touring camp and checking out the new building, and just relaxing and being together during Shabbat at camp. A third of our participating families were returning from previous years, and many were new!

It was so nice to be at OSRUI together, which we fondly call “Sholom Away From Home,” or as Rabbi Goldberg likes to say, “Temple Sholom North.” Our mini-community ate together, celebrated Shabbat morning together, and got to enjoy being outside together in December! We hope your family will join us next year.

Here’s what some parents had to say about their experiences:

“The retreat was (for lack of a better word equivalent to the actual experience)  AMAZING! We were able to meet other Temple families and staff in a fun and relaxed environment. I personally feel closer to the Temple community and Jewish life after having participated. My family also had a personal memorable experience as a family unit and we are forever grateful. We were able to share personal stories in a non-judgmental environment, gain a stronger understanding of our community’s shared beliefs, and leave with a new knowledge of our own personal family values: wanting more quality time together, desiring to strengthen Jewish lifestyle by traditions, and gaining an overall better idea of the vast richness that exists in future summer camp education and participation for our family.” SARAH BOROCHOV

“Our girls can’t stop talking about Camp OSRUI! Our whole family, children and parents, connected at Temple Sholom’s family retreat at OSRUI. The camp staff was SO accommodating, and facilities were super-clean and up-to-date. The clergy led memorable, lively, original and relevant services, and staff ran the weekend’s programs with ease. Programs were meaningful and great friendships were made. It was a semilocal vacay to attend— that’s for sure!” ALEX AND STACIE GORFINKEL