Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality
Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Family Retreat

A spiritual journey for the entire family enabling the B’nai Mitzvah preparatory experience to be an opportunity to grow individually and together.

Co-sponsored by
Moving Traditions and the Teva Learning Center

The B’nai Mitzvah Family Retreat (BMFR) rekindles the potency of the bar/bat mitzvah ritual as a rite of passage for adolescent Jews and their families.

This program is not a practical bar/bat mitzvah preparatory course but a spiritual journey for the entire family to develop a deeper, more personal relationship to Judaism.

Through an intensive week of programs for both teens and parents, BMFR will foster a child’s spiritual maturation during a critical time of development while helping families grow together through the shared experience of Judaism.

For teens to...

For parents to...

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Who can come?

The B’nai Mitzvah Family Retreat is a non-denominational program that is open to any family whose child has chosen to undergo a bar or bat mitzvah. This includes interfaith and mixed heritage families who are not presently affiliated, as well as families with long-standing affiliation as synagogue members.

Information for Summer 2008 coming soon!

UJA-Federation This program is made possible through a grant from the UJA-Federation of
New York.


Rabbi Lynn GottliebRabbi Lynn Gottlieb has served as a congregational rabbi since 1973 to Temple Beth Or of the Deaf, Hebrew Association of the Deaf, Mishkan, and Congregation Nahalat Shalom, where she created dynamic b’nai mitzvah programing that included creative art projects, wilderness retreats, Jewish peacemaking, interactive text study and personalized ceremonies. She is now the Director of Interfaith Inventions Wilderness Peace Camps for youth and elders, and continues to travel as a performing artist, Klezmer musician, dancer and peace educator.

Rabbi David IngberRabbi David Ingber iis the founder and Spiritual Director of Kehilat Romemu, NYC’s Transformative Synagogue. An explorer and integrator, Rabbi David has a wide range of experience — from training in the orthodox world to renewal Judaism; from teaching Pilates and Gyrotonics to meditating under the guidance of great Zen teachers. Rabbi David’s personal practices also include tai chi, yoga, and astrology.

Andrew StempelAndrew Stempel has facilitated adventure programming for Jewish youth for the past 13 years, specializing in ropes course and wilderness camping experiences for institutions such as Camp Tawonga, Isabella Freedman, Eisner Camp, and Camp Ramah. Several seasons working as lead naturalist for the Teva Learning Center led to an M.S. in Conservation Biology at Antioch University. He now weaves nature, group-building, and adventure education with a diverse audience of Jewish and secular youth and adult groups.

Amelie DavidsonAmelie Davidson has been working with children and teenagers in different capacities for the past nine years including bar/bat mitzvah preparation, as a camp counselor, in urban farming and nutrition with inner city teens, and as director of the Elat Chayyim Children’s Program. Amelie was a part of EC’s Neshamah Residential Community, recently studied in a Jerusalem yeshiva and is now pursuing a graduate degree in Social Work at Columbia University.

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Registration Information

Single Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed


w/ private bath


w/ shared bath


w/ hall bath

Double Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed


w/ private bath


w/ shared bath


w/ hall bath

Triple Room

w/ private bath


w/ hall bath

Children (Ages 3-14)

per night


Adult Fees

The program fees for this class are $195 per adult, $125 per child. Fees do not include the cost of Room and Board (see table on the right).

Room and board includes housing, meals, Shabbat services, evening activities, hot tub, yoga, meditation, and full use of our facility. All rooms are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. Adults fees apply to ages 15 and higher.

Financial assistance for graduate students in rabbinic, cantorial, or Jewish education are eligible for aid through a generous grant provided by The Lasko Family Foundation of Philadelphia. Click here to apply.

Limited financial aid is also available through the Elat Chayyim scholarship fund.

Arrival and Departure

Please arrive between 2pm and 5pm on the day your retreat begins. Retreats end with brunch at 11:30am on the last day of the retreat.

Cancellation Policy

The Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. In this event, you will be given a complete refund.

For transportation: A full refund of transportation fees is available if you cancel at least three days (72 hours) in advance. No refund is available if less than three days notice is given. For more information on getting here, please visit our Travel & Transportation page.

Register now!

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