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Student perspectives

Sinai Scholars National Jewish Retreat

The National Jewish Retreat was an incredible experience that I look forward to being a part of for many more years to come. This year the retreat was held in Alexander, VA (about 40 minutes outside of D.C.). There were about 900 people at the retreat; 150 of those people were fellow Sinai Scholar Alumni. 

Each day of the retreat was comprised of multiple workshops. Ranging from Israel discussions, Kabbalah (mystique Torah) and spiritual learning, laws of Kashrut, Shofar making, basic Talmudic text, and ethics in Judaism, I always found a workshop that taught me something new and interesting. My favorite workshop was called “Crossfire.” During this workshop students were given the opportunity to ask a panel of wise Rabbis and Rebbetzins any questions they wanted! This was a unique experience, and helped me to understand more about Judaism and life. 

I spent one of my afternoons taking a group trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. This was a very emotional experience. We were lucky enough to hear an incredible story from a survivor. As a young Jew, I really saw the importance of passing on the stories of the Holocaust to future generations.

I really enjoyed all of the nighttime activities. We spent one night floating the Potomac River on a four decker boat. Other nights were spent having deep late night discussions with Chabad Rabbis and other Sinai Scholars. I also spent a lot of the retreat eating and eating, and eating some more. The food was delicious, and seemed to never end. 

Being with the other Sinai Scholars was a special experience. We all shared a common desire to learn about Judaism, and increase our knowledge as people. During the retreat I connected with many of these people, and made friends from universities across the U.S. and Canada that I will continue to stay in touch with.

Joel is pictured on the right. 

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