Eshel, a national organization serving the needs of Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Orthodox Jews, is sponsoring a Midwest retreat on August 9-11th in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells featuring special guest Dr. Joy Ladin. The retreat will include inspiring learning, spirited davening (prayer), delicious kosher food in a beautiful, natural setting with lots of time in between for relaxation, beauty and summer fun.
The retreat will take place held Friday, Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. to Aug. 11, 2013 at 2 p.m. at Perlstein Resort and Conference Center in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells. Participants will receive a $10 day pass to Mt. Olympus Water Park.
The weekend will feature keynote speaker and special guest Dr. Joy Ladin whose talk "Shipwrecked with God" will explore the ways that telling our stories becomes a spiritual resource and an important tool in religious life. Her personal story explores developing an intensely close relationship with God while feeling alienated from the religious community. Ultimately, Dr. Ladin's question is: What are the ways that being LGBTQ can contribute to one's personal religious and spiritual life.
Joy Ladin returned to Yeshiva University as a woman after receiving tenure as a man which made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and winner of a Forward Fives award.
A sample of some of the workshops include, Towards an LGBT Jewish Sexual Ethic with Golda Goldbloom, professor of Creative Writing and World Literature at Northwestern University and award-winning novelist; Don't listen to what I say, listen to what I mean: Communication 101 and Gay Dads; let's talk about it! with Harvey Perle, a Coordinator of the Father's Group of Minnesota and active in Jewish life in the Twin Cities.
Traditional Shabbat and kashrut will be observed. There will be a children's program featuring Child Development Specialist Tracy Patton, owner of Once Upon Some Messy Fun.
Participants will come from Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, and both coasts. The retreat will be family friendly, open to adults, children, singles and couples. Confidentiality honored. Early bird rates will apply until June 26th. Scholarships are available to those in need. To register and for more info: www.eshelonline.org .
Eshel works to create a place within mainstream Orthodoxy for LGBT Jews through education and awareness-building by providing the Orthodox community with resources and a speakers' bureau. Eshel also helps LGBT Jews maintain their traditional observance and find meaningful religious community by creating models for integrating their seemingly contradictory religious and sexual/gender identities. Eshel achieves its goals through community-building retreats, advocacy, media watch and response, and parent and family groups. Eshel is also a home for those who are formerly Orthodox, "Orthodox-curious," or anyone interested in being in a traditional Jewish setting as a LGBT Jew.