This year’s synagogue retreat didn’t provide as much blogging material as last year’s. But I have a gift of missing the whole point of a spiritual retreat. But someone said that G-d is in the details. That can’t be correct; see below.
The retreat started the same as last year, with the welcome sign that dared me to wreak such havoc that the sign would be revised to read “Maybe we are blessed by your arrival”.
Next year, I hope to report back that my efforts were successful.
The theme of the retreat was “transitions”. Actually, throughout the retreat, there were some really poignant and insightful observations as to certain life cycle and relationship transitions. Even I have to admit (grudgingly) that the discussions and religious services did strike chords in me.
There was a specific emphasis on inclusion of members of the transgender community and their stories and issues. Accordingly, our name tags listed our preferred pronouns, such as “she/her” “ze/hir” “he/his” “they/their”. My selections were so ordinary:
We got an upgrade from our accommodations last year. As you may remember, we stayed in a bungalow that the forest was in process of reclaiming. Apparently, nature correctly recognized it as a compost before the retreat management did. This year, our accommodations ranked a few levels above girl scout camp:
Ok, maybe just one level above girl scout camp. But we did have a mini-fridge.
The camp keeps the Sabbath and maintains a kosher kitchen. So, no coffee on the Sabbath. A riot almost breaks out each year. I heard someone offer anyone $1,000 for a latte. That night, the same person was offering even more for a shot of tequila, right after everyone found out there was no wine with dinner. Ok, the camp maybe “shomer shabbos” (Sabbath observant) but us visitors, well, not so much.
Also, the food was not so kid-friendly (cholent, quinoa with fruit and string beans, etc.), so one family broke the Sabbath and drove their kids to McDonald’s because the kids could find nothing to eat. Hey, living by Torah means that you can’t let your kids starve. (We packed enough snacks, yogurt and fruit so that TLP (our son, the little prince) would have enough to eat. We also had to rely on this stash.)
But there are helpful reminders to everyone about religiosity, especially in one’s most private moments:
(Same sign as last year, but good material is good material.)
The camp is also a working farm, so we saw Hasidic Jews tending to the goats. There was goatyurt for sale, “blessed” goat cheese, and other kumbaya stuff. In fact, the gift shop offered bottles of essence of peace of mind and women’s cycles.
Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya. Oh, Lord, kumbaya.
I don’t know if POB (partner of blogger) can convince me to go for a third time.