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 Weekend retreats for young married couples with converted spouse

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Debbie B.

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Join date : 2011-09-05
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: Weekend retreats for young married couples with converted spouse   Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:14 pm

The National Ramah Commission has just announced a series of weekend retreats "open to young married couples* (20's & 30's) with a spouse who has recently converted to Judaism":
Ramah Open Door Retreats

"OpenDoor Retreats is a program of the National Ramah Commission and The Davidson School of The Jewish Theological Seminary"---Ramah is the summer camp branch of the Conservative Movement and The Davidson School is the grad school of Jewish education of JTS which is the seminary that has the older Conservative rabbinical school. It is also sponsored in part by the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly.

Because of this I assumed that the reason that information on who the sponsoring rabbi was for the spouses conversion could be in order to ensure validity by Conservative Standards. However, I recently was told by someone involved in the planning that the reason was just to know the affiliation of the people so that the program could be tuned.

Also, the programs are developed with marriages of a convert and a Jew by Birth in mind. There are plans for future Open Door retreats for intermarried couples, so I think I would encourage intermarried converts to wait for those retreats because I think they are more likely to feel more comfortable in that group.

Since it is a Conservative-sponsored program (although I'm sure that couples with other affiliations are certainly welcome), I would hope that the usual Ramah rules banning use of electronics like iPods of Kindles in public places (although allowed back in the cabins) and no smoking on Shabbat. If it is important to you to either have a traditionally observed Shabbat, or if you would not like to be told that you can't use electronics, I suggest that you ask about those policies.

All food will be strictly kosher and supervised by an on-site mashgiach. The application enables participants to list other food restrictions they might have (vegetarian, vegan, food allergies, etc).

And besides all the rules above, it is likely to be a fun weekend with lots of chances for Jewish learning. My guess is that they will have a whole series of sessions to choose from ranging from learning Jewish songs, niggunim, or new tunes to the liturgy, to traditional Talmud study in chevruta, to seminars on various aspects of Jewish life. They will likely have different sessions to accommodate people with a range of Jewish knowledge from novice to advanced.


Last edited by Debbie B. on Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:32 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : revision based on feedback someone involved in retreat planning)
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Debbie B.

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Posts : 373
Join date : 2011-09-05
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: Re: Weekend retreats for young married couples with converted spouse   Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:48 am

I just revised my original post based on communications with a staff member from Interfaith Family who has been involved in consulting for the retreats.

He has assured me that all conversions will be accepted.

He also says that the weekend is likely to be less traditional than I would expect (I based my expectations on the sponsorship by Conservative organizations). I take that to mean that there will be various religious service options with some being less traditional.
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