JCC Women’s Retreat

Shma B’Kolah: Listen to Her Voice

A Retreat for Jewish Women


When: Sunday September 14, 8:30-4:30 pm

Where: Jefferson County Fairground

Keynote Presentation: Dafna Michaelson. Journeywoman: “Unleashing the Power in Our Voice” 

What is the purpose of this retreat?
The purpose of this retreat is to connect with other women through music, song, study, movement and conversation. This one-day retreat brings women together from across the spectrum of our community for learning, reflection, rejuvenation, and socializing. We hope you will join us!

Feel free to contact Melanie Gruenwald at mgruenwald@jccdenver.org for assistance or questions.

Register online here



Workshop #1

Finding Your Powerful Voice, with Julie Geller

Julie will be singing three original songs related to feeling powerful using our voices. Each song will be followed by a related activity, such as writing, drawing, sharing, and/or a guided visualization to enable each participant to explore where she is in regard to using the power of her voice.  Participants will be able to begin to assess what fears and/or other factors may be keeping them from wholly using their voices.

Women in the Bible: Black Fire and White Fire, with Charna Rosenholtz

The Five Books of Moses are filled with stories, teachings, and laws.  On first glance it appears that women were bit characters in the narrative, relegated to the background. Yet a careful reading shows there are over two dozen women who were integral to the unfolding tale.  Their stories will fill out the white spaces of the text, the whispered events in the Torah.  In this workshop, we will explore some of the women’s stories and glean an understanding of their role in the development of Jewish wisdom.

Rosh Chodesh: A Woman’s Road Map, with Teena Slatkin

Teena will share the Kabbalistic meaning behind the Rosh Chodesh celebration of the New Moon. “When we study light, we become light.”  The study of Kabbalah is all about light.  As it is stated in the Talmud, “what comes from the heart goes to the heart.”  Teena teaches women wisdom of the heart though stories, meditation, and sharing the meaning of the Torah portions and energies of the month.  Through understanding the teachings of Rosh Chodesh, women may find their true voices by learning to live their own creative positive essences within the mystical, magical, present moment.

Feminine Perspectives on Teshuvah and Forgiveness, with Debbie Goodman

What is unique about teshuvah and forgiveness through the lens of women?  We will explore some of the examples in traditional Jewish sources that can shed some light on these issues, and we will look at modern and contemporary sources as well.  We will also have the opportunity to examine some personal narratives and stories in order to try to deepen our understanding of the process of teshuvah and forgiveness.


Workshop #2

The Voice of a Beautiful Woman, with Sarah Lehrfield

How does the Torah define beauty? Does Judaism value the concept of beauty? Explore Judaism’s timeless wisdom on the topic of beauty and how we have the power to choose how the world sees us and we perceive others through learning and understanding the Torah’s emphasis on true beauty.

Hannah’s Conversations with G-d: A Creative Writing Exercise Before the High Holidays, with Tammy Dollin

This is a spiritual; preparation for the High Holidays through a creative writing workshop.  We will first study the text of Hanna’s prayer to G-d, an then we will write our own prayers to G-d.

Reconnecting with Our Inner Voice to Strengthen the Bond with Our Children, with Jodi Basch and Carolyn Suslovitch

Women have an intuitive understanding of themselves and their children.. When we are connected to ourselves, we have mental and emotional clarity that allows us to be empowered and effective parents.  If we are in reaction, we are brought out of balance and dismiss and higher knowing.  This causes our children to feel disconnected as well.  In this workshop, we will learn how to use our inner voice to reconnect with our children.

The Strength is in the Fracture, with Rabbi Evette Lutman

In Hallel, Psalm 118, we speak of the “stone that the builders rejected” transforming into a strong and reliable cornerstone..  What is it about each of us that makes us feel flawed and fractured?  When we take on the “fractured” assessment as negative, we become our own stumbling block, blind to our potential, deaf even to our own voice.  When we are able to shine light on the fracture we can begin to see the strength of us is in the fracture.  In this session we will use text to prompt our discussion, and then visualize a different view of the “fracture.”  This learning session will conclude with the opportunity for each woman to mold her visualization into a take-home clay sculpture.

Lift Your Torah UP! Learn How to do ‘Hagbah’ and Be Lifted, with Dr. Caryn Aviv and Rabbi Keren Gorban

Lift your Torah UP! Is literally a ‘hands-on’ workshop for women and girls who want to learn how to lift up a Torah for the ritual of Hagbah that occurs at the end of a Torah service.  Women and girls rarely learn how to lift up a Torah, and it’s pretty rare to see women volunteer for the honor.  We tell ourselves all sorts of myths: that we’re not strong enough, we might drop it, or ‘it’s just not done in our community.’ It doesn’t have to be this way.  YOU CAN DO IT! And in this workshop, we will support and celebrate your learning and courage.  Come get your Hagbah and lift yourself UP!


Workshop #3

Writing an Ethical Will: So Your Values Live On, with Debbie Rosenthal

In this interactive session, we will explore the historical relationship between Judaism (mostly men in the past) and ethical wills.  Participants will learn about the more recent connection for women and explore who, what, when, where and how of creating an Ethical Will.  We will explore the various stages of readiness for creating an ethical will: Willingness, preparation, action, completion,. Review/ renewal, and with some guiding phrases and questions, begin drafting our own ethical wills.  Debbie will share the various resources that she referred to before and during her process, including several books written by women on this topic.  Writing and Ethical Will is the perfect way for our descendants to ‘listen to the voices’ of women in their families.

Building the World with Our Words, with Ellyn Hutt

The Talmud teaches us that 10 measures of speech came into the world and women took nine of them. What does that mean?  We will explore the unique gift and power of women’s speech and how we can attune ourselves to using it for the good.  Discover how our tradition guides is in having a profound impact on our own lives and on the lives of those around us as we build the world with our words.  This session will enable women to understand, appreciate, and be motivated to use their unique gift of speech to create and shape reality based on the teachings of the Torah and our Sages.

Listening to the Wisdom of Your Body, with Carolyn Jones RN, LPC, CEDS, CEDRN

Through education, discussion, and experiences, the individual will learn to connect to and listen to her body inform her of what she is needing physically and emotionally.  When an individual becomes aware of these needs, she becomes empowered to meet these needs in healthy ways and thus live a more balanced and stable life.  This balance and stability enables women to better serve G-d, their family and their community.

Biblical Childlessness and Rosh Hashanah: Inspiration for a New Year?, with Dr. Julie Lieber

Almost upon us is Rosh Hashanah, a time for renewal and reflection.  Throughout the year, most of the publically read Torah portions focus on biblical men.  Yet, on Rosh Hashanah, the public Torah readings highlight the stories of two women, Sarah and Hannah, and center on the themes of infertility and childlessness.  Join us to discover how these ancient female-centered texts might guide contemporary Jewish women towards renewal of the New Year.  How can we, as Jewish women, draw strength, inspiration, and find our own voices within the stories and struggles of our biblical mothers?

Anger, what is it Good for? Recognizing, embracing, and (possibly) overcoming our anger, with Dr. Sarah Levy

Anger is an unavoidable part of our lives, but how can we keep it from taking over our lives? Together we will use traditional Jewish texts to examine anger, focusing on questions of why anger is negative and what kind of damage is can cause, how it hinders our growth, and how we can all benefit from patience. We will also look at some practical tools for controlling our own anger.


We would like to thank our gracious sponsors:


Voice of Empowerment:

Jewish Women’s Fund of Colorado


Voice of Wisdom:

Congregation Rodef Shalom Sisterhood

Denver Jewish Day School

Boulder JCC

Hillel of Colorado


Voice of Vision:

LEA Hadassah

Denver Chapter of Hadassah


Congregation B’nai Havurah

CAJE Colorado

Sisterhood of Temple Emanuel

HEA Youth Programs

Judaism Your Way

Kavod Senior Life