Advancing Jewish Retreating

Amy L. Sales and Nicole Samuel

January 2020

Advancing Jewish Retreating coverRetreats are immersive experiences that remove people from their everyday lives. They give participants time and space for renewal and growth, and opportunities to expand horizons, deepen relationships, and build community. Jewish retreats, with their vast array of organizers and retreat centers, are found across the American Jewish landscape. Each year Jewish retreats touch the lives of tens of thousands of people of all ages and, overall, appear to be on a growth trajectory.

Advancing Jewish Retreating maps the diverse ecosystem of Jewish retreating. It examines how retreating has been adopted by a vast array of organizations, what issues facilitate or impede their efforts, and what current levels of activity portend for the future of Jewish retreating. The report also suggests opportunities to grow Jewish retreating and to help raise the quality of retreat experiences.

The research was overseen by an Advisory Committee with extensive experience in Jewish retreating, engagement, and immersive experiences; and was made possible by the support of Josh E. and Genine Macks Fidler, longtime advocates for Jewish retreating and camping.

Key Findings

Retreating is an extraordinary tool that can be applied throughout the Jewish community to realize many of the aspirations for Jewish life today. Tools, however, are only as good as their design and their application. Advancing Jewish Retreating is a first step in understanding what constitutes excellence in design and how far and wide this tool might be applied. Most importantly, it indicates that retreating’s potential can be advanced through actions that support the proliferation of Jewish retreats, increase the number of Jewish organizers and participants, and help raise the quality of these experiences.