long island

At Madraigos retreat, spiritual uplift for families


The tenth Madraigos Rosh Hashanah Retreat, held at the Hudson Valley Resort, was a catalyst for introspection and spiritual growth for more than 630 attendees.

The retreat, known for its openness and acceptance, included young adults and families of all backgrounds and hashkafos.

“Rosh Hashanah was remarkable, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced,” remarked attendees Azriel and Sara Ganz. “They describe it as the ‘non-judgmental Judgment Day’ but it was so much more. So much courage, so much yearning, so much acceptance, friendship and love. You cannot have attended and not been affected forever.”

 The theme for this year’s retreat was “Explore Your Strengths — Experience Success,” focusing on educating and empowering participants to utilize their strengths to take their lives to the next level. Through a series of interactive workshops, participants learned how to nurture their key strengths while developing other less dominant strengths for greater personal success and fulfillment.

The program, which attracted over 120 participants, was developed by Dov Perkal and Ben Rapaport, Gallup-certified strengths coach and mental health professional. Building on the overwhelming response to the strengths development workshops, Madraigos is generously sponsoring 50 people to participate in a more intensive strengths-coaching workshop in the coming year. Additional strengths-based programs are planned for the greater community.

During the meals, young men and women sang with hearts full of yearning for closeness to Hashem, the land of Israel, and the arrival of the Messiah. Several Madraigos members shared their personal journeys, telling how, through the love and support of the Madraigos family, they came from places of great pain and moved towards happier and healthier life situations.

“Rosh Hashana was truly a beautiful experience,” said attendee Matt Newman. “It showed me how a slight change of perspective and just the right amount of optimism is all a person really needs to feel welcome and comfortable. It was an honor to be able to spend the beginning of a new year with so many new friends.”

The retreat ended with a symposium in which participants shared their experiences in a most open, heartfelt way. Motti Miller led a musical Havdalah while participants swayed together arm-in-arm. Rosh Hashana attendees left on a “spiritual high” with chizuk to carry them through the coming year.

“Spending Rosh Hashana with the Madraigos family brought Yom Tov to a whole new level,” said Devorah Iskowitz-Wachsler. “We were beyond inspired and forged new friendships that we hope to maintain for years to come. We can’t wait to join Madraigos next year.”

Captivating talks and workshops were delivered by mental health professionals and rabbis who specialize in community outreach and education, including Rabbi David Clyman, director of the executive Jewish enrichment group of Aish HaTorah International; Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, director of the Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES; Rena Kutner, MFT; Rabbi Mayer Pasternak of Artscroll Mesorah Publications; Eli Perlman, clinical director of Madraigos; Menachem Poznanski, clinical director of the Living Room; and Rabbi Shalom Yona Weiss. Meditation sessions, led by Yudy Weiner, were elevating for many who took part in them.

The program’s success was assisted by Berel Gelbstein and Eta Bienenstock, who managed hotel and reservation logistics, babysitting, and catering, and Chaim Richter of Richter Catering.

For more information about Madraigos programs and services, contact Eli Perlman, LCSW, clinical director, at 516-371-3250 ext. 111 or email eperlman@madraigos.org.

Source: Madraigos