Thoughtful, funny, honest. Read these firsthand impressions of girls who’ve come.

My rabbi told me about it. I was looking forward to learning about Judaism and growing as a person, but I was nervous about making friends. Everyone looked intimidating in the airport. They dressed differently and I couldn’t tell that they were fun people. I had waaaaaayyyy more fun than I thought I would have! I made amazing friends and I have a feeling we’ll be friends forever. We had a blast! Learning about the Amish people was interesting. And I learned how to 6-braid a Challah! Art made me feel expressive – art always makes me feel like I can just be myself. And the graphology was FREAKY! It was really cool…and really accurate! The classes helped me see things differently, but there were times when I’d disagree with the rabbi. I learned that Judaism is not a religion. We’re not doing things to get to Heaven. We’re bringing G-liness to earth. Judaism is who we are. Bais Chana made me think about who I am. I really needed this experience. I’ve grown Jewishly and now I can go home and teach my family new things.
Deanna, 17, Agoura, CA Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to being around Jewish girls, but I was nervous about not knowing anybody – not making close friends… because at school there are a lot of people but not many close friends and most of my friends aren’t Jewish. We get so caught up in our own lives and our own petty problems that we forget that there are many more issues… This was an amazing way to spend the summer and to learn a lot. My Jewish confidence was strengthened and I now have the knowledge that I am doing the right things in my life. It’s very easy to be myself here. The most important reason to keep kosher, Shabbat, to do any mitzva…is because I’m Jewish!
Lisa, 18, Austin, TX Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I found out about the uncamp from an ad on www.askmoses.com. I was looking forward to being able to freely ask questions and to learning Hebrew. I learned an incredible amount of information. I learned that G-d gives specific people struggles that can shape who we become. We need to accept our parents for who they are, and by doing so we will become more mature and gain a better relationship. I’m not alone – other Jewish girls are working through the same things I am. This was an incredible, non-judgmental, Jewish experience that has changed my outlook on life. It’s not too late for me to learn about Judaism…and I feel like I have gained real self-understanding. This was the most amazing Jewish program ever, completely enlightening – I am so excited to share all the Jewish things I learned. Bais Chana is life-changing and emotionally healthy.
Anne, 17, Clayton, NC Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to the classes and meeting new girls. I gained a sense of belonging. Bais Chana feels like my second home, everyone here is so caring. I learned how to be modest… not just in dressing, but how to act modestly. I learned more about myself. I am more comfortable with who I am, and I am confident about my decision to become more observant, not “religious.” A religion is when people need things from G-d but G-d needs us… Bais Chana is an amazing experience. It’s my home away from home. These past three weeks were indescribable, thought-provoking and definitely a help in helping me become more comfortable with my Jewish identity. Also, because of the art, I no longer am a major perfectionist! I learned to accept my faults and make the best of everything.
Mira, 16, Framingham, MA Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about it from my friend’s family. I was looking forward to the classes that were so inspiring. I was nervous about meeting all of the other girls, but everyone has been so nice. The twister game in shaving cream and then jumping in the lake is one of my favorite memories of the summer. Everything was positive – amazing classes, roommates, friendships… I was happy to learn about the importance and awesomeness of marriage. I learned that G-d wants our mitzvos. I think that knowing this is so important and makes Judaism much simpler. Fantastic – I would absolutely recommend it to my friends.
Sarah, 15, Austin, MN Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to an amazing chance to learn what I want, how I want. Positive: it was larger group than last year. Negative: not as much swimming. I very much enjoyed the physical activities like the Vertical Illusions’ rock climbing and canoeing. And farbrenging… it’s so cool to hear so many ideas from people. The graphology was cool. I enjoyed what the graphologist taught us in classes. I feel more mature…like really, I love how Rabbi Friedman taught us to stop and think…his classes are really the highlight for me. You really gotta come and try it for yourselves!! For real… Bais Chana is an amazing place where your mind is free from the confinement of thinking in the box.
Sara, 16, Minneapolis, MN Summer 2009, Wisconsin
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First my mom went to a program for women and then I went to the program in Running Springs – I had a blast there. I was looking forward to learning more about life and Judaism, and meeting new friends. But I wasn’t expecting such an AWESOME group of people. The most important thing I learned is that life is not about being “religious” and fitting the mold, but it’s about doing everything you can for G-d. The Graphology was amazing. It gave me so much to think about and it really gave me a better understanding of my personality and how to better myself. The girls are very accepting and fun to be around. I had an awesome time and learned things that matter to me and I can actually apply them to my life. That’s how I’d describe it to my friends. I’d say the same thing to my parents, except they’ll want to hear EVERYTHING I learned.
Ester, 15, Los Angeles, CA Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

It was a really cool atmosphere. I loved it. I really enjoyed the rabbi’s explanation on being “religious”! I loved the girls. It showed me how you really can’t judge a book by its cover. I understand a little bit more about everything…and I understand more about why I should do the things we do. It’s a perfect amount of time at the end of your summer to prepare you for the next year and help you figure yourself out. Amazing!
Mariasha, 17, NJ Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to going back, learning more, and seeing everyone again. Firstly, I’ve learned that there is no religion. Secondly, barns can be used for eating. And thirdly, I’ve learned to do the Amish wave. I’ve learned that there is a lot of good in me and that I can do things that I never knew of. About the graphology… it was very personal, but it was important. And the stained glass was great! I would love to come again even though I’m already eighteen!
Golda, 18, Brooklyn, NY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning and meeting nice girls, but I was nervous about making new friends and being homesick at the same time. I was also nervous about not knowing enough about being Jewish. I didn’t expect to have such an amazing time. I met incredible people. The counselors were amazing! I could talk to them about anything and they helped me get through all of my difficult times. The campus was gorgeous, amazing accommodations with air conditioning! Great girls – real girls who don’t judge. In the painting class I was able to let myself go and paint what I felt. I loved it! From the graphology I learned how to act towards others in a positive way. I’m more confident and I feel more connected Jewishly. Incredible. One of a kind. A once in a lifetime experience. I loved it and I’m coming back!
Chanie, 15, Scottsdale, AZ Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

This was my second time and I was looking forward to connecting to Jewish girls my age. I gained support to keep striving and being observant…and I’ve also learned that I should be careful while riding a bike, how to milk a cow, how to make pottery, and all about Amish people in the Middle of Nowhere, WI. Bais Chana is amazing! Julie, 17, Austin, TX Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

My sister came a few summers ago. I was looking forward to asking questions and getting good, reliable answers. I was worried that people might be a little snobby and it would take time for me to fit it, but everyone was really nice and I made friends right away. I wasn’t forced to do anything, so it made it much easier to relax and enjoy it. The art was a nice way to express myself and be creative. I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid or intimidated to ask questions and that if I want to make new friends, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and I should just let myself be who I am naturally.  It’s a really cool experience and fun, and I’m really glad I went.
Stephanie, 14, Austin, TX Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

My mom goes to a lot of Rabbi Friedman’s programs and she admires him, that’s why she thought it was good for me to come. I was looking forward to learning English, learning more about Judaism and meeting new friends, but I was nervous about the girls and the language. Everything was incredible – the girls were so nice, the food was awesome, the classes were the best. I learned that anything is possible. Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t accomplish what I was looking for, but I did. And if we try everything, it’s gonna come out great. I learned to be myself. Everyone is special and we don’t have to hide it or try to be someone else, because we are awesome. We’re not trying to be religious; we’re Jewish. And G-d needs us and loves us. And everything is ok… G-d wants the best for us, we just have to look for Him and He is there. I think that my problems or my difficulties are really something that G-d sends us and we have to try. Everything is gonna be alright. I’m so proud I’m Jewish. I will tell my parents everything I’ve learned and how everyone is so fun and how Jewish can be the best and the funnest. Bais Chana is the best, most incredible thing – program, un-camp, community, family, holy place…
Eliana, 17, Caracas, Venezuela Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to getting answers and learning, meeting new people and knowing that Bais Chana is a home and place for growth. It was such an amazing group of people. And the counselors – they’re there whenever you need to talk or ask questions and they show you that you’re important and you are cared for. I am myself – no masks or layers or fakeness. I’m me and I’m not afraid to show it. And it feels good to be accepted for who I am and that people don’t try to change you. I’ve learned how to think and push myself to ask those nagging questions. I’ve learned to deal with things and find help or advice or even find a person to listen. It’s a great feeling to know you’re not in it alone and that people really and truly care. G-d is all good. No matter what the situation, circumstances – it’s all in His plan and it’s all carried out for a purpose. Sure, you don’t always believe it even though you know it’s true…but I’ve learned that it’s ok to deal with emotions and that all these experiences, however painful, are not in my hand but in G-d’s. Everything that happens is meant to be; not only meant to be, but meant, ultimately, for the good. I think I’ve learned how to accept grief and pain. I’m trying and I hope to be successful. It is hard to accept things, I won’t deny that. But I must always remember that G-d is there and He did it for a reason. I learned that art is a window into the soul – anyone can do art and express themselves – it’s only a matter of whether you do it or not. Graphology taught me to be more daring, to accept and give credit to myself for what I have done, am doing and will do and I shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes!! It was absolutely AMAZING. A great experience, an opportunity to learn. Take it wholeheartedly and bring it wherever you go.  Bais Chana is a home for everyone.
Simone, 18, Fairfax, VA Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

The environment was great and I met new people and made good friends. I gained a lot. I feel like my mind matured and I am more proud of who I am, more excited and determined. It’s a great experience where you have fun and learn amazing things – stress free. I thought there would be more trips though. Bais Chana is awesome, supercool, amazing, brilliant, exciting, fun, easy going, fantastic, crazy, silly, superb, interesting, great, talented, entertaining, positive, magnificent, inspiring, insightful, delicious, just awesome! THANK YOU!
Menucha, 17, Brooklyn, NY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about it from my mom’s friend and I came looking forward to getting away for a little bit, but I was nervous about fitting in. It was a completely new experience from A to Z. I learned so many new things and went to places and did things I never did before. I gained more than I thought I would, or at least planned on for a while.  I became way too over-emotional…but in a good way. One of the things we talked about was this idea of how you fall in love, and how your love changes later on in life. You don’t just fall out of love. It’s such an overused cliché that you just stop loving each other. I know my parents are going to ask about what we learned and I’m going to try to explain them to them what touched me the most and get them to send me again. Bais Chana is one of my homes…
Malka, 18, New York, NY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about it from my friend and I was looking forward to having a good summer and enjoying the Un-Camp. I was nervous about the whole idea of camp and not really knowing what I am getting into. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did and to actually gain from it. The Un-Camp changed my mindset on how Judaism really works. I learned that Judaism is not about being religious, it’s about doing as much as you can do for G-d. There is no such thing as bad, because everything that happens is all done by G-d, so it can’t be bad; the only “bad” thing is our bad choices. Intimacy is something very special and private, so the more you make intimate things public, the less intimate it becomes. I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun. Bais Chana is crucial for helping you understand Judaism and it’s something every Jewish teenager should try. 
Sarah, 14, New York, NY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to all the different activities, and I was nervous about making friends. Also, I didn’t know what the classes or people would be like. The people were a lot more observant than I thought they would be… which at first was very scary, but by the end I was very happy about it. The rabbi’s class on living vs. existing cleared a lot of things up. I learned a lot about modesty and understand it a lot better now. I’m going to try to dress more respectfully when I get back. The graphologist helped me come to terms with a lot of things and he really helped me sort things out. I gained a LOT. I know so much more about Judaism, and it made me even more eager to learn more. I have so much to think about now. I started the process of figuring out the rest of my life and I have a totally new perspective on Judaism. It was a very grounding experience and it was a whole new perspective from the one the students at public school create. I think I’m a lot more mature and wiser than when I left home. Bais Chana is a thought-provoking, exciting, new, refreshing, beautiful experience.
Serena, 16, Boise, ID Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

It’s my third time coming, but originally I found it on google. I was looking forward to seeing old friends and being able to learn in a fun and welcoming environment. Each time I come I grow and my love for my fellow Jew is strengthened. I learned that modesty is about how there is a lot to know but not to see! That changed my life. Bais Chana is welcoming, amazing, liberating. It’s an amazing growing and learning and friend-making experience. It makes you proud to be Jewish. Wow, thanks again for giving me the experience of a lifetime! I love Bais Chana!
Natalie, 19, Bowling Green, KY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning, seeing friends, and helping out as much as possible. I was nervous about coming late and being a “camper” after six weeks of being a counselor. But the group was even better than I imagined! This has been a great break from a stressful life. It was absolutely life-changing. Amazing. It’s my sanity – Bais Chana is my life!
Michelle, 18, Birmingham, AL Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about it from my dad… I was mostly looking forward to going home. I just didn’t want to come at all. I thought the worst, but I turned out liking it and not leaving early like I had anticipated. I made really good friends and it was a lot more fun that I expected. I might think about things more before I do them.
Anonymous Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to being in a new and different environment that I had never experienced. I didn’t know if I would fit in and be accepted and make friends. I didn’t expect everybody to be so open and welcoming – it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from… they just accept you. I learned how to be a better friend and give other girls a chance no matter how different they seem. I learned different views on love from the Tanya and I enjoyed it very much. I’ve grown in every possible aspect. Because of the amazing girls here I am more inspired to learn and be better. I am more and more proud to be a Jew and to be here. From the graphologist I learned about areas that I need to work on and was able to see that I am the right track. This was the most unbelievable, mind-blowing, amazing experience of my life. I want to come again and again.
Chaya, 15, Cleveland, OH Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about the Un-Camp from one of my teachers. I was looking forward to the classes, but I was nervous about not knowing anybody and people not knowing they were being “brainwashed.” Everything was unexpected and positive. I didn’t expect everyone to be as friendly as they were and the classes to be so good and the counselors to be so cool. I learned about the beauty of intimacy and how Jews view sex… the proper way to do it… all about love and true intimacy. Judaism isn’t just a checkpoint, chart or scale. If you do something bad, you are not bad. I learned that one mitzva is infinitely right and how we’re supposed to make mistakes. G-d needs us and whatever happens, we still have the true essence of our soul to serve Him and that’s all He wants. My entire perspective has changed – I’ve become more trusting of people. I’ve decided to learn what Judaism is before I throw it all away. I really want to learn more about being a Jew. I had the most INCREDIBLE summer of my LIFE – the girls were amazing. The counselors were awesome, the classes – out of this world, the trips – so fun, the campground gorgeous. It was the BEST EXPERIENCE and everyone should go.
B, 15, Chicago, IL Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

The best!
Rose, 16, Louisville, KY Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

Firstly, I was looking forward to being with people who actually know or want to know the deeper aspects of Judaism which I always knew existed. Secondly, I wanted to learn a Jewish perspective which is geared toward the whole person – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, situational, etc. Thirdly, I wanted to be in a place where the Jews come from all different backgrounds and aren’t the “cookie-cutter type.” I was also looking forward to getting away from home, my community, my friends, and my therapy friends. I wanted to create a new identity. It was more like uncovering my identity. I was nervous about being judged (like I was in every other Jewish place) and not being confident or secure enough to make friends. I never could have imagined such a beautiful way to look at Judaism that’s not a cult or something… it’s like totally legit and feasible at the same exact time! I was extremely surprised by and love the concepts of “it’s not about me, G-d needs us.” (What?!!) – Religion is bad, we are not going to suffer eternally for our sins, we are not here to perfect ourselves – that’s not possible, there can be real observant people who totally and fully accept another Jew who’s not following Jewish law, even if she grew up following it. – The deeper parts of Judaism aren’t just interesting – they actually have practical applications. – True love and a strong marriage are possible. – Chassidus is part of Torah – and so much more. I learned that life is not about me… and self-righteous guilt is just as much focusing on myself as self-righteous mitzvos are. Don’t try to build self esteem, you are a soul – act like one and stop focusing on your self. I don’t have to fit into a mold and constantly measure up to a particular religious expectation. I just have to do the next mitzva. My most memorable experience was probably one night when we went around and told our stories. It was so pure and moving and inspiring. Everyone has been reaching out toward living their Judaism in such beautiful ways. I will never forget that night. It affected me deeply. I am growing towards being a normal Jewish girl instead of a struggling, sick person who identifies herself by her issues. Jewishly, no words to describe… finally hoping and believing that it’s possible for me to live as a Jew and feel good about my Jewishness – instead of feeling guilty and copping out. It is not hypocritical for me to do a miztva just because I don’t do all of them! No one does and I can make a difference to G-d!! Crazy! Being allowed to just let go and express myself through art… loved the creativity of the projects and connected with others many a time over art. Graphology was really cool and interesting! So Bais Chana. (And so why I love this place!) It’s indescribable! For every Jew. (So as not to be absolutely deprived!) I am now closer to being who I am. I am coming back a changed person – without exaggeration. And honestly I think my person and aura will speak louder than my words. Bais Chana has given me, and therefore my parents, hope. Bais Chana is the real stuff.
Anonymous, 16, Milwaukee, WI Summer 2009, Wisconsin
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My friends who have been never stop talking about it so I was really looking forward to the whole experience. There was an exceptional amount of support, helping us deal with things – that was very positive. I really liked how things were discussed on a spiritual level and an emotional and psychological level. Nachshon Zohari is way out and it would be cool if he could be more involved somehow – he brought more to the table. I think it brought me to a deeper level of honesty with myself. It was a real growing experience. I was able to gain a new perspective on lot of the concepts I know. It was way cool! Bais Chana is revolutionizing.
Devorah, Chicago, IL Summer 2009, Wisconsin ……………………………………………………………………

The unexpected part was the really great people. I gained different views, heard different opinions, and learned to accept all people. And – I can read Hebrew now!
Heather, 15, Boylston, MA S
ummer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I didn’t even realize how much I gained in such a small amount of time. I learned about love and how to love someone, and that it’s not THE single most important thing in life. I met some amazing people whom I will never forget and will always hold close to my heart. I learned that working as a team in life cam be very painful a lot of the time, but when you figure out a way to do things, they can always be done. I gained a better understanding of what G-d is. Tsippi, 16, Baltimore, MD Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I just wanted to get away from my normal day-to-day activities at home, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I have to say, this definitely was different and exciting, and I know I’ve gained in many ways although I’m sure I’ll feel it more when I get home. Rose, 15, Louisville, KY Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I feel like I’ve re-evaluated my Judaism. I’ve learned with all different kinds of people, and made new, good friends. Now I can look at situations with a different approach. Bais Chana is AMAZING! Tami, 17, Milwaukee, WI Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was mostly looking forward to being away from society, being able to breathe and really focus on important things without distractions. I was nervous about not fitting in and not understanding. What I did not expect is the warmth and how we all cared for each other. It is unbelievable how much you can learn from people. I gained the confidence that I can make it. I learned to be proud and stand up for who I am, and that this isn’t fake – this is for real. I feel special being Jewish – I’m lucky! Bais Chana is a place where everyone should be and belongs regardless of their background. Yamna, 16, Montreal, Quebec Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

The classes have made me realize how much I take things for granted. Seeing how girls are able to overcome challenges in life is a true inspiration to me. Being able to bond with counselors in a real, deep way is very refreshing. Just seeing that everyone has struggles in life helps me feel better – that we’re all going through something together. It was awesome! M, 18, New York City, NY Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

Most girls come knowing no one, and they all leave with true friends. The girls don’t even realize how much they’ve gained. I definitely gained in every possible way Jewishly. I learned how to really live. Chanie, Milwaukee, WI Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I attended Bais Chana last year, and this summer I came up to VT to visit the Un-Camp for three days at the very end of the program. I am so glad I did, and I am so grateful that I was invited. I feel like I always have a home to come back to – a place of spiritual nourishment and unconditional friendship. From just these three days I can see how inspired this group of Jewish girls was. I have made new friends and learned new lessons about Judaism. Last year Bais Chana rescued me in a lot of ways, and I can’t express how thankful I am for their program. Visiting this year reminded me about its power to change lives – an open, warm environment for Jewish young women to grapple with important spiritual questions and at the same time form a loving, supportive network of friends and mentors. It is one of the most special places in the world. Dorit, 19, Teaneck, NJ Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

Unexpected, yet extremely positive was the connection I made with the counselors. I’ve been a counselor for so long that I dreaded the feeling of being a camper – having people take my job. But the minute I met the counselors, it all melted away. It was incredible. I didn’t have the “counselor feeling” – they are just older friends. The girls are all from different backgrounds and pasts, yet we all came with the same questions and have gained so deeply from each other. This was the most memorable summer of my life. The concepts I learned here: life vs. existence, soup vs. stew etc… have changed my life. Michelle, 17, Birmingham, Alabama Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to meeting new acquaintances and to feel what it would be like far away from home trying to be independent. I was nervous about my English and making new friends. I will not forget the people who made me happy with their own smiles. I didn’t know there would be lessons here but I learned a lot in classes. I hadn’t felt it before, but now I am proud of being Jewish. My mother will understand everything looking at my eyes in the pictures. I’d like to be in touch with my new friends. Bais Chana is the camp which will stay in my memory with all its beauty. I visited a lot of camps, but this one I’ll never forget. It was amazing. Thank you for everything!
Tanya, 15, Ukraine Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to meeting new people. And I did – I met people I’ll never forget, who taught me a lot and surprised me in beautiful ways. I was impressed by how open the rabbi was about various topics and how helpful he was. The graphologist really made an impact on me. I definitely grew and learned more about myself. I’m more comfortable with myself and I learned a whole lot about being Jewish. It was really unbelievable. It’s definitely something I would recommend and encourage my friends to go to. Michelle, 15, Brooklyn, NY Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning about the spirituality of the Jewish religion. I was a little uneasy about being in an all-girls environment for three and half weeks and not being very religious at all. I really didn’t expect to meet people who would truly not judge me and just accept me for who I am. I learned that labels should not exist in Judaism. There is no reform, conservative or orthodox. We are all JEWISH. No matter where we come from, we can all connect and learn so much together and about each other just because we’re all Jewish. I learned that G-d gives us all tests in our lives, and the bigger the test… the more G-d trusts that you will pass it. I have most definitely gained emotionally, spiritually and Jewishly. Not only have I learned millions of things about Judaism which I never knew or understood, I met amazing people and truly connected with quite a few of them on a deep level. It was an amazing experience. Something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Highly recommended if you have bunches of questions. To parents: Absolutely inspiring and I wish they got to experience all this knowledge with me. Mariya, 15, MD Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was surprised how at peace I was with myself, how happy I was in this environment. I didn’t think this program would have the impact that it did. Everyone is damaged. Knowing that I’m not the only one with stuff going on is really comforting, and I‘ve learned how to move on and use my past as a lesson in life – not a burden. I learned to appreciate myself and that it’s ok if I make a mistake. Also, everyone wants to be loved no matter how distant they may seem… The Rabbi was not only a teacher, but he actually cared about everyone’s wellbeing. This was really special because nowadays most adults are immature and self-centered, and they don’t care about anyone but themselves. It was beautiful to see how not only does he care, but he goes out of his way for others. My Jewish pride is soaring through the roof. I wish my parents could go on the couples retreat! Bais Chana is a brick in my yellow brick road! H, Detroit, MI Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I learned about how being vulnerable is good and necessary in order to really love someone. I learned that love is an acquired trait. I also learned to not be so stressed out and just wing it sometimes. Even though I was nervous about being so far out of my element, I think Bais Chana is the scariest, funnest, best place to spend your summer if you are a Jewish girl. B, 15, Milwaukee, WI Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to the classes but I was concerned about not knowing anyone. I honestly didn’t expect the love, caring and support! I feel so comfortable here, and I wish I could stay here and learn forever. My favorite parts were Friday night Shabbat dinners and speaking and relating to other campers and counselors. All the classes with the rabbi were amazing. I’ve dealt with many things here that I had been holding in. I’ve become more open and open-minded. What I’ve learned from classes and the other girls has been unbelievable. It is clearer to me how to get to my goals in life… I wish it was better publicized, as I know umpteen girls for whom an experience like this would make a world of a difference. A, 15, East Greenwich Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I think I am more open to learning. I was scared of learning because it meant I didn’t know everything, but the classes were amazing and I am feeling so much less confused about my Jewishness. I look forward to doing more Mitzvos at home. It was a long road, but it was filled with adventure, spirituality, and lots of singing. It was fun…and it changed my outlook on life. Mira, 15, Framingham, MA Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

To be honest, I didn’t have much time to think about what I expected because it was a last minute decision. I was really just relieved that I had somewhere to go for the summer, and anything beyond that – whether good or bad – I didn’t contemplate much. I was nervous that the other girls wouldn’t accept me for who I am. I thought they would all judge me a certain way and I felt that that was not really the way I always wanted to be viewed. I wasn’t able to answer people’s questions about religious things when I have so many questions myself. And I was also nervous about just opening up to people in general. No one judged anyone else. It did not make a difference where you were from, what your background was, what you wore, or anything else. Everyone was so open, friendly and accepting. After only a few days, I felt like I had been with these girls forever. The classes were above and beyond anything I expected. People (including my mother) told me amazing things about Rabbi Friedman, but his classes were beyond amazing. He explained things in such a logical and relevant way that things which had previously seemed impossibly complex suddenly made much more sense. And then that opened up a whole new door of questions, all of which I felt I could ask without being judged or feeling uncomfortable. In short, it was more incredible than anything I could have imagined. Three important things I learned: We are all damaged and bad stuff happens to all of us, but that’s not the important thing in our lives. What we need to focus on is what we make happen and what we can do to fulfill our purpose. There is a deeper side to everything you see. No matter what someone or something looks like at first, there is always more and you should work to see that. There is no such thing as different types of Judaism. We are all Jews trying to do as many Mitzvot as we can. We should focus on that – not on our petty differences. I feel like I’m more comfortable with who I am right now. Even though I still have questions and doubts, I now have an amazing support group to rely on. Everything that has been done for me can’t even be put into words. Coming here is the best thing I could have done for myself. Bais Chana is an incredibly rare place where you can be exactly who you are without being judged or ridiculed. It is a place where it is okay to ask questions because everyone here is trying to figure out their lives, and it is a place where we can all do that together. I’d love my parents to go on the couples program… Leah, 17, Seattle, WA Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

Before I came here I had no clue about where I was going to be for next year, so I was really looking forward to guidance in that area. I was completely blown away when I had my first talk with the Rabbi. He completely changed my way of thinking and allowed me to see my purpose in a clear light. I was also amazed at how girls from all different backgrounds were able to come together and relate and connect to one another. It truly inspired me. Also, I realized how everyone has her own story and struggles that she has been through, and I didn’t expect to find that so many of their stories and struggles in life were very similar, if not the same as my own! Everyone has the power and potential to make a difference and be good. I learned in class that there is not one person who doesn’t have a purpose and that we just have to figure out what our purpose is and embrace it. There is no end to self-growth. In life you have to do what’s right for you, and even though you might not have the support from those you care about, you have to be strong and follow your heart. I have gained in so many areas that I don’t know where to start! Emotionally, I have learned to open up more and not hold everything inside, which is something I have been doing my entire life. Spiritually, being in such an open-minded, non-judgmental environment has made me want to change and just grow in Judaism. I feel so proud to be Jewish, and I can’t wait to grow in knowledge in Judaism and just be an inspiration all those around me. I just can’t thank Bais Chana enough. Rachel, 18, Los Angeles, CA Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I learned – really learned – three things: Everyone should be and is loved and accepted for who she is. I am here for a reason; I have a purpose, and I can and will make my mark. Life is precious and short – make the most of it and go on the right path. I’ve found answers to questions in Judaism, questions no one else would deign to answer. But most of all and most importantly, I’ve found satisfying-enough answers to my questions on life, so I thank you for this opportunity. Bais Chana is just the beginning… M, Long Island, NY Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning about myself, learning NEW things about life(!), making new friends and having a good time! The whole camp thing was kind of scary, though. I never went to sleep-away camp before. I met a lot of great people and connected with a lot of different kinds of girls, all from different places and backgrounds. The whole experience was just great – very inspiring. Everyone is there for you to help you out. If you REALLY want to be better and you put your mind to it, you can do it. One thing that really impacted me – never live a life of guilt. Always think positively – life can be hard, but you can do it. Don’t blame yourself for other people’s problems – IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THEM. Jessica, 17, Albany, NY Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I learned not to judge others – if I were in their shoes, how would I handle it? If these were my own struggles, how would I deal with them? It makes me realize that other people are much stronger than I am, because they passed tests that I’ve never had. Miriam, Montreal, Quebec Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to meeting new people and I had my sisters there for support, so I wasn’t alone. People here were so accepting. Although it wasn’t what I expected, I’m really glad I came. I learned humility – that we can all learn from each other, from hearing each other’s perspectives. Stephanie, 15, Boylston, MA Summer 2008, Vermont ……………………………………………………………………

My mother came here when she was my age. She said it was unforgettable so I was looking forward to the classes and making new friends, and I love to try new things and “face my fears.” I really didn’t expect the feeling l’m leaving with: I’ve never felt more in touch with myself. I feel like a whole person – like there is nothing I can’t do. I am who I am, and I’m more proud of it than ever. Coming to Bais Chana was the best choice I’ve made in a long time. Golda, 17, Brooklyn, NY Summer 2008, Vermont …………………………………………………………………..

I was nervous about the normal things, I guess you could say. Will I fit in? Will I be interested in the classes? Would I like the activities? The program exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The classes were amazing, and the girls were so sweet. Everything was perfect. I learned that it’s important to surround yourself with holy things in order to live holy lifestyle by serving G-d, and how important it is to encourage Jewish pride. I will never forget our last farbrengen on Shabbat. I feel that now I have the tools to keep myself inspired in to grow in my Judaism. This experience was a turning point in my life. It changed my perspective of Judaism for the better. Leora, 15, Toronto Summer 2007 – Vermont …………………………………………………………………………..

The location was perfect. The counselors were amazing. The classes were fascinating. This program literally changed my life. Kali, Surfside, FL Summer 2007 – Vermont ………………………………………………………………………..

I was excited to be able to learn in an environment where nothing was forced upon me, and I could ask most any question I wanted to. Everyone loved the counselors, even though people might call them “ultra-religious” because they wore stockings and covered their collar bone, etc. The classes are great. You really grow by the end of the summer, even if you don’t realize it. Nothing is forced, so you feel free to choose. You make lots of good friends from tons of different backgrounds. There are great trips, and even when you’re staying in, you’re never bored. I just feel that my faith is stronger. I feel like I’ve gained confidence as well, for some reason, and I know that it’s not just enough that I’m a good Jewish girl, but I need to work on myself constantly. Shevy, 17, CT Summer 2007 – Vermont …………………………………………………………………………..

I’ve met so many special and talented people over the past few weeks who shared one common goal: to learn. I’ve bonded with the group and opened up to them in ways I never thought I was capable of. Bais Chana is the perfect example of a true “melting pot.” Everyone comes from such different backgrounds that it would seem impossible to connect with each other. On the contrary, everyone opens up to each other and learns from each other’s differences. Bais Chana’s most impressive “trait” is that it provides you with a level of indescribable freedom, but balances it with the perfect amount of trust. The overall environment is so welcoming and warm. Everyone feels comfortable to be themselves, and the atmosphere is extremely non-judgmental, regardless of your background or past experiences. As much as I’d like to avoid the though of it, I’m on the brink of adulthood. And not just any adulthood, but a Jewish one, which comes with an overwhelming responsibility. I have learned to embrace adulthood and acknowledge my important responsibilities. It’s the ideal way to spend a summer – extending your social circles, going on exciting trips and learning at the same time. It’s a positive experience from all angles. Naomi, 18, New Haven Summer 2007 – Vermont …………………………………………………………………………..

It broadened my understanding of having a higher purpose in my life. This contributed to my having a much less selfish outlook in life. Eli, 16, New York Summer 2007 – Vermont …………………………………………………………………………..

It was fun, and at the same time, I learned so much – mostly about things I wouldn’t have had a chance to learn about elsewhere. Rabbi Friedman was very honest when it came to answering our questions. He was very informative on delicate subjects. Chassidus is beautiful. It’s a totally different way of looking at everything and I love it! Sara, 16, Kansas Summer 2007 – Vermont {2jtab: Un-Camp Weekends East} I loved Zoomba, the Q&A with the rabbi was informative and funny, and late nights were a blast! I gained knowledge, clarity and friends. It was amazing. I’ll definitely recommend it to my friends. Bais Chana is a great new way of learning and discovering things about yourself and others. E, 17, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ———————————–

I heard about it from my sister and I really couldn’t wait to be in an atmosphere where people are real. Everyone has been telling me that it is very important to “be happy with yourself” and I never got it. Over the weekend I learned that that means that you’ve had enough with yourself and now you want to help others. I learned so much about not being stuck in my problems. You gotta come! It’s this awesome place where everyone is accepted and the rabbi talks about everything and answers questions in such a real, normal, caring way. And the people are so warm and accepting. Any person, no matter where they are holding in their journey of life, feels welcome, safe, comfortable and loved. M, 19, Denver, CO Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————————–

I didn’t expect to be so changed after just two and a half days of being with the greatest group of girls I’ve ever met. We’re all the same, yet completely different – and so completely nonjudgmental. I learned that you need to be honest with yourself (and others); that you need to take the focus off of yourself – don’t take yourself so seriously, because you are here only to serve a purpose. And I learned that you can always change. Even if it may not feel like it, with time and effort, you can do anything. With these three things, I’ve been able to get past myself and the petty things. I never thought it (me being “inspired”) could happen – especially overnight! I’m at a loss for words. Buying that plane ticket to NJ was the best decision I’ve ever made. Bais Chana is a place that girls from all over the world come together to learn, see reality in a new light, understand who they are, and have family outside of their own family. F, 16, Milwaukee, WI Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ———————————————

I learned that if you look deep enough, everyone is not so different. I’ve grown a new love of who I am and what I can do. Bais Chana is a one-of-a-kind experience where you can learn, laugh and grow – all in one place. It’s home. Golda, 19, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ———————————-

I was looking forward to meeting new people, but I was nervous about religion. I loved Zoomba, and meeting the counselors – and it’s the best place to make friends! A, 17, West Orange, NJ Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————————–

Zoomba was totally cool! I really enjoyed singing with the girls and I learned a lot from the rabbi. A, 17, Brighton, MA Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ————————————–

I heard about it from my grandma. I was looking forward to meeting other girls and learning more, but at the same time I was nervous about being new and not knowing as much as other girls do. I didn’t expect the counselors to be so nice and helpful. They were always happy to answer questions. It was very important to me that we talked a lot about marriage. And seeing how other girls my age are living their lives was really important and special to me, especially when I compared them to my friends at school. I think I’ve grown spiritually. I feel like I’m a little closer to G-d, and I appreciated talking to other girls who understood where I was coming from. It was amazing, totally not what I expected – so much better. Ari, 16, Pound Ridge, NY Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ————————————–

I honestly didn’t expect the rabbi to be so open about the topics we discussed. We talked about the sanctity of marriage, how we need to be selfless in relationships, and that you don’t need to skate around certain topics. I learned about the importance of the Jewish soul. Amazing and inspirational.E, 17, Brighton, MA Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————————-

I came in the summer, so I was looking forward to being back home! I learned that you need to get out of yourself with the goal of honesty; that the intelligence of the human soul is what decides between my human and G-dly soul; and that everyone can be affected. I’ve strengthened myself more, seen the growth I’ve had since last time in Bais Chana, and I’ve been really inspired by amazing Jews. This is the greatest most essential place in the world! Bais Chana is my foundation. C, 17, Milwaukee, WI Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————————

Amazing, exhausting, wicked fun. I didn’t expect to get so little sleep! I used to be very selfish, and I’ve learned that if I just listen more, I’ll learn more. I’ve learned how to snap out of depressing feelings and be a better person. I think I’m a stronger person because of the program. This was my fourth time at Bais Chana. I first came in summer 2008 and I love it here, it taught me so much. It’s changed my life and connected me to incredible people, and the classes are fantastic. I can’t wait for next summer. M, 16, Framingham, MA Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ————————————–

Amazing place. I learned how to be me. Mindy, 17, New York City, NY Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ———————————

We learned crystal clear about how to have a good attitude towards our mission in life – with joy and not focus on the petty things. We also learned about the issues of relationships and marriage and how modesty now allows us to have a healthy marriage later. The “transition” from being single to married doesn’t seem so scary or intense any more. I’ve grown emotionally – learned about a healthy ego and self esteem. I learned to be sensitive to others who come from very different backgrounds than I do. One of the most valuable weekends in my life. The learning, new friends and setting helped make it amazing. Bais Chana is for every girl who wants to know about real life issues, and what Judaism and Chassidus say about it. Rachel, 19, Sydney, Australia Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ————————————-

Your life is not meant for you to just live in, it’s meant for a purpose. And if life is meant for a purpose then it’s bigger than what I want, which means I’m not as selfish as I was. It was the most amazing weekend I’ve experienced! I had a blast, got inspired, learned a lot, it was peaceful, and I felt like I could grow in a relaxed environment yet keep moving upward at my own pace. Bais Chana is my ANTI-DRUG. Miranda, 17, Houston, TX Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————————-

I wasn’t looking forward to anything. Coming wasn’t my choice… my parents forced me to come. Zoomba dancing was awesome. I also liked the Q&A with the rabbi. S, 16, Morristown, NJ Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————–

I was most looking forward to spending time with Jewish people (I’m from a small town with no Jews) and I was nervous about going back home. I didn’t expect to feel so refreshed and reinforced – I am so happy, excited, blessed to be Jewish. I learned about the purpose of life in one’s individual mission and that free choice is the involvement of the human soul with the G-dly soul. I’ve grown Jewishly, this was life-changing – again (this is my second time here!). Bais Chana is home. Anne, 17, Clayton, NC Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ————————-

I heard about it from my sister who went to Snorkel & Study. I was looking forward to being able to ask questions and receive answers but I didn’t really know what to expect. I really enjoyed learning about the Tanya, learning about the Jewish soul, and keeping a real Shabbat. There is not enough space to explain, but I learned a lot about what it means to be Jewish and have a Jewish soul, and I truly connected with my Jewish roots. I have so many more questions, and I’m really looking forward to learning more. I am going to tell my parents everything I learned – in detail. Bais Chana is a group of soul sisters where I can express my opinions, and at the same time learn from those around me. Vashti, 17, Bolingbrook, IL Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————–

The best place to understand yourself and your Judaism – and the Zoomba was awesome!! I learned lots about what girls are expected to do or behave like in Judaism, and I began to give more respect to others’ beliefs in Judaism. Amazing weekend. Tamara, 16, Newton, MA Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey —————————

Everyone here was so friendly and so ready to change their lives for the better. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – don’t think you know people until you find out how special they are and how much they have to add to the world. And “don’t sweat the small stuff” – think about the important things, don’t focus on the petty things in life. I didn’t feel embarrassed in any way – I could ask anything or make any statement I wanted to, and then when I asked something, I got real, good answers. Bais Chana helps you become more knowledgeable and helps you want to grow and learn more, about yourself and your Judaism. C, 18, Boston, MA Thanksgiving 2009 – New Jersey ——————————–

I was nervous about whether or not I would like it and if there would be the same discussions I usually hear but I loved it and the discussions were very different – they weren’t lectures. Everything was very relaxed and fun. I was able to just be myself. I also really enjoyed how everyone was asking questions to help each other understand – that was amazing. Esther, 16, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning, getting inspired, and meeting new people. My mindset on marriage and how G-d works has changed. I became more open. Some of the things we talked about were…You shouldn’t be self-conscious, but you should be conscious of yourself. Think good and it will be good – your thoughts are very powerful and the people you are thinking about can feel it. P, 16, New York City, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

Most memorable were the rabbi’s talks about marriage – how a man should first love the idea of marriage, respect women, and also respect intimacy. And how you don’t marry for love, you marry because you love marriage. I learned that you must grieve after a tragedy. The world tells you to get over it, but you can’t get over it – you have to get through it. It was an amazing experience. The things you learn here will you get through any challenge you experience, for the rest of your life – and they’re the most important things you’ll ever learn. Lucy, 19, Riverdale, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I’ve been before and the questions were very mature this time. I learned the difference between inspiration from within vs. inspiration from the outside; and how to accept my own challenges, but protest others’ challenges. Bais Chana’s uncamp is what I need as a Jew, as a woman, as a daughter, as a sister, as a future wife and as a mother. Bais Chana is perfection, genius and life-changing – and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Sallie, 18, Riverdale, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I learned to get through things, not over them – and the importance of properly grieving. I learned the importance of being non-judgmental and accepting. I learned that a woman needs to feel that she can trust, and a man needs to feel confident. Eli, 17, Monsey, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I really enjoyed meeting new people as well as the icebreaker where we had to build a castle out of index cards without talking. The weekend was amazing! I can now look at my Jewishness and always find something positive about it. Tami, 18, Milwaukee, WI Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

Every time I go to a Bais Chana program I learn more and when I go home, I try to bring all I’ve learned home and I feel really relaxed. AMAZING! Mira, 15, Framingham, MA Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to asking my questions in an un-censored environment. It is so hard to understand how G-d could allow death, but by discussing grief and other emotions, many of my questions were answered. And I learned what faith means, that it can’t be dependent on a condition, because it’s void of conditions. Then we spent the whole Saturday night turning over the ideas behind love and marriage, and I think it’s so important because the media is constantly projecting its own ideas about love. The diversity of the girls attending really enhanced the Shabbat too, because I don’t get to meet girls from different backgrounds that often. I really got to see where I am religious-wise, because I wasn’t surrounded by a stadium full people watching me. Thankfully, I’d describe it as “non-inspirational” because other Shabbatons I’ve gone on are all about that. This weekend was more down to earth in the sense that I was able to ask questions that I feel pertain more to where I am. It was so worth it. G, 18, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

My older sister attended a Bais Chana program, and my mom got an email about this Shabbaton over Thanksgiving weekend. The overall atmosphere was more laid-back than I expected, and we had more downtime than I expected. In some ways it was nice because it gave you time to digest things and talk to people and to get to know them. We talked a lot about the Holtzbergs in Mumbai, how there’s a difference between getting angry at G-d and accepting what He does, but crying out because it’s painful even though it’s necessary and part of His plan. I also learned that when there’s no limit to the sympathy you have for someone, it becomes a problem and it’s difficult when you feel that it’s totally your responsibility to make better. A lot of topics I was unsure about were clarified, and I also learned some concepts that were new to me – they really enriched my understanding. The environment was very warm, there was a huge variety of girls all coming for a common reason, and the rabbi was straightforward, open and easy to talk to. Chava, 15, Ann Arbor, MI Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I’ve learned things that I can apply to my daily life and feel confident to be stronger in what I believe in. Strength doesn’t mean self-confidence. Strength is knowing right from wrong. It was a great experience and I learned A LOT from it. I would definitely come back and I totally recommend it! M, 16, New Hempstead, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to learning with Rabbi Friedman and to hearing other girls’ questions, but I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as moving as my first two Bais Chana experiences… Not everything about you or your faith can be dictated by the mistakes that you’ve made in your past. Sometimes you need to adjust your perspective in order to understand your pain and its relevance to G-d. I’ve learned that there is more to Jewish life than what I’ve been told growing up and that a doubt or shortness in faith shouldn’t make me give up, but should allow me to seek out the answers and become a stronger person. Bais Chana’s uncamp is always eye opening. It’s an opportunity to discover Judaism within yourself and to view G-d and religion in a different light. It’s one of the few positive Jewish experiences of my life. Fraida, 17, Far Rockaway, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I learned what it means to liberate yourself from yourself. I’ve got lots to think about, to make more sense of my life… Miriam, 18, Long Island, NY Thanksgiving 2008 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

It’s amazing how just a few words can change your whole perspective. I got some of my major questions in life answered – and they weren’t the usual explanations that people give. They actually made sense. In the process, I met other girls who were struggling with exactly the same questions I had and we really connected. Dena, 15, New York City Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I didn’t expect the house to be so beautiful or in such a lovely setting. I didn’t expect to talk to the Rabbi one-on-one. I thought he would talk to us once and leave. I learned a lot about Judaism and how Shabbat works – I learned so much that there isn’t enough room for me to describe it all. I feel like I gained more spirituality, and like there’s a lot more to discover. I feel like I’m getting closer to my Jewish background. I definitely want to go back. One suggestion: please make the program during a longer school break. It’s so hard to go back home – it’s a huge transition back into everyday life, school, etc. Elizabeth, 17, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I didn’t think it would be so organized and fun – but it was really fun. You have to be very open-minded, ready to learn and willing to listen. I used to be afraid of the word marriage. What if he cheats? What if it doesn’t work out? There’s still a lot to learn and I want to hear it, but the idea of marriage doesn’t scare me anymore. I think I have the tools now to be a much happier person. Sara, 17, New York City Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I came in order to learn new things about the Torah, praying and Judaism as a whole. I was nervous about meeting new people and not being able to keep Shabbat all the way. But I did it!!! I learned. Philosophy? Yes. Answers? Yes. Wisdom? Yes. Everyone was so nice… the Rabbi, the hosts, the counselors, and the other girls. The most important thing I learned is that first comes marriage, then comes love. An interesting thing to ponder. Another thing is that to be happy is to feel. To not feel is to be numb – depressed. Yes, I knew before, but I understand it now. It was fun. It was educational. It was spiritual. And it was mentally challenging. The complexity of Judaism has been untangled a wee bit more. Helen, 18, Brooklyn, NY Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

One of the most important things I learned is to be respectful of other people’s opinions even if I don’t agree. I think I’ve gained a much better understanding of what it means to be a good person – not necessarily more religious or anything specific… just a good person… someone people will like – and how to get there. I also really enjoyed the graphology and painting workshops, which I didn’t think I would. Chana, 16, New Jersey Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to being inspired, learning and gaining a new outlook in some areas… meeting new people and seeing their outlook on life, but I was nervous it might be too intense. I loved it so much! I had an amazing time! I really have a new outlook in many areas and ideas. The Rabbi taught me a lot, and the girls who I met here are all really amazing. They inspired me by their struggles and how they got through them. I wasn’t really expecting to meet such amazing people who would inspire me for good…and although I didn’t plan on it, I made new friends whom I really admire. The classes totally changed my outlook on the idea of marriage. Now I understand that marriage is a re-uniting of two parts of the same soul. Love in a marriage builds up over time. I learned about sadness, grief and how everything has a purpose, but I still don’t understand how everything, like people suffering, could be good. I also discovered that I love to paint. From the handwriting analysis I found out some things about myself that I’d like to work on, and that I should appreciate everyone for their unique personalities. I can’t wait to go home and teach all I learned to my friends who weren’t able to come. Thank you so much for this amazing weekend! M, 18, Long Island Thanksgiving 2007 – New Jersey{2jtab: Un-Camp Weekends West}Since I live in Tucson, AZ there aren’t many Jewish girls my age so I was really looking forward to meeting new people. I had a blast! I met some really great people whom I intend to keep in touch with. It was relaxing and easygoing and I learned so much! Sophie, 16, Tucson, AZ March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I was nervous because it was snowing and I had no idea there was going to be snow… I gained a better view of what Judaism is really about… The Uncamp is an incredible environment where teenagers from around the nation come together and learn about Judaism while having fun! I had an amazing time, met amazing people and it’s something I will never forget. Yasmin, 15, Valley Village, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I was most looking forward to hearing the rabbi speak, yet I was nervous about not getting along with the group. I didn’t expect to make tons of friends! I learned about how marriage is sacred and how to preserve that; about love and Judaism and how they come together. I’ve learned a lot about being Jewish. It was fun, insightful and something along the lines of amazing. Awesome weekend – I loved it. Miriam, 14, Agoura Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I heard about the Un-Camp weekend from a friend and I was really looking forward to meeting new people but I was a little nervous. I learned a lot about Jewish thought and culture – and I became so close to the girls I met. I tried something new and it was a life-changing experience. I would totally do it again! Liora, 16, Beverly Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

Everyone here is so caring. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have fun and meet new people, but I had a blast and I learned a lot about Judaism! It was amazing – indescribable. Danit, 15, Simi Valley, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I was nervous about meeting a lot of new people since I am very shy, but this program opened me up so much that I was comfortable to be with everyone. I learned not to be scared to make/be friends and to give everyone a chance. I learned not to judge a person by their looks – they really are different on the inside. I am more connected to G-d than I thought. And life is a precious thing. I’m not as much the observer as before – I’m more open. It was the most amazing weekend. The girls are incredible, the classes astounding and very interesting. If you want to go, it is way more than worth it. Thank you for allowing me to experience something this special. Simone, 18, Fairfax, VA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I was looking forward to my questions being fully answered. Rabbi Friedman is a great speaker – I was very impressed! I made new friends, I look at a lot of religious concepts in a different way now, and I’m inspired. Emotionally, spiritually, Jewishly… I’ve gained in every one of these aspects. Amazing, super-inspiring – you’ll go home satisfied with your answers. Esther, 17, Long Beach, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA ……………………………………………………………………

I learned that marriage is holy and that you have to be kind in order for marriage to work. I am speechless…the weekend was amazing. All I can say is that it was one of the most positive, life-changing events of my life. (I wasn’t expecting the snow but it was gorgeous!) Lyla, 15, Agoura Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… Fun, exciting, interesting. Everyone had such a positive attitude and the counselors were amazing – they made sure everyone was happy. We had a LOT of fun with the drums and the music, that was awesome! Elana, 18, Beverly Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to learning new things and forming new friendships. I wasn’t nervous at all. Everything was perfect and what I expected it to be – this was my third time. I learned about making positive, sincere relationships, and I was surprised at the way the “love” class really touched me. The drum circle and all of us together just in harmony with one another was a really memorable activity. There are a lot of things that I’d like to really put my time into learning more about…For me, Bais Chana is an opening that will never close. Cherie, 18, Oxnard, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I had a lot of fun. At the beginning I wasn’t so sure I would like it, but I met so many new people and I loved it! I learned about the three things you need in a marriage, about motherhood and love and about trust in relationships. I think I gained a lot of new information that I will definitely use in the future. Melody, 16, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I learned that there is nothing I can do to change a certain situation. It’s all in G-d’s hands. I learned many definitions – and that makes life clearer. I’ve gained enough to return home with enough inspiration to last me until I come back in the summer. It’s absolutely amazing – it’s true Judaism for girls. The Uncamp is my oasis. Michal, 18, Birmingham, AL March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I loved meeting and getting reconnected with other Jewish people. I want to be a part of the Jewish community like I used to be. It was a blast! <3 I’m really excited for the Wisconsin trip. One of the most fun, loving, full-of-life programs I’ve ever been to! Shani, 15, Thousand Oaks, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to the chance to understand Judaism for what it really is but I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to connect because I’m not really observant. I learned that rights are not equivalent to morals, but dependent upon them; that we must stand up for ourselves if we are to be recognized as a people; and that respect comes above societal demands or pleasure. I’ve always had a “disconnect” with G-d because of tragedies that I blamed Him for, but I think I understand that fate happens for reasons above human understanding. I’m at peace with the idea of G-d… Rebecca, 15, Calabasas, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to spending quality time with friends, meeting new people and identifying with other Jews. I was nervous about the amount of homework I would have when I got home! Eeek! Something unexpected, but positive, is that I really changed some of my views on society, G-d and relationships. I learned that human beings are not really entitled to anything. We need to distinguish between right and wrong rather than what we deserve. I learned to act with dignity and know when certain things are appropriate so that I gain respect from others. I had a lot of questions answered and I feel more in touch with Judaism than ever. It was fun, worth it, exciting. Gabby, 15, Westlake Village, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I really enjoyed how the rabbi spoke. It made us really think. After just two speeches, I was hooked. The weekend was unbelievably inspiring. We talked a lot about love and relationships. Love is about the trust we have – we don’t start a relationship only for love. We need to know, to grow and to have compassion. I’m for sure coming back. Channi, 15, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… Everyone was so easygoing. I learned about Judaism, religion and culture. I made new friends and gained some clarity. It was just a great experience – so different than anything else I’ve done! Esther, 17, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was nervous about not fitting in properly because I’m not religious, but everyone was like a family. I learned what it means to be able to trust your husband, and I learned about believing in G-d. I also learned that “it’s never too late.”  I’ll definitely go again! Pegah, 16, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… It was an amazing, fun Shabbat weekend (even though I was nervous about keeping Shabbat) – and I’ve gained more knowledge about how Jews live. Some of the things we discussed: that if you want to have a good mother/father/teacher you need to be a good daughter/student; that it’s important to show people that you deserve respect. The drumming circle was amazing and very surprising… Shanni, 16, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I didn’t expect to feel like I had known all these girls since forever. This was a great place to meet new people and discuss important things. Dana, 14, Oak Park, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to meeting new people, learning something new about Judaism and having fun. We talked about the existence of G-d and about love and marriage – it really changed my outlook. I see the world differently now; almost with new eyes. It really opened my world and showed me why the right thing is the correct thing. I also really enjoyed the music and art. It was really fun, come with some friends and you will leave with many new ones. Great weekend – very worthwhile! Shiva, 18, Beverly Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… Meeting other Jewish girls, singing and learning how to sing Jewish songs, staying up all night and bursting out with laughter, and discussing important issues of society with the rabbi made this weekend incredible! I learned a huge amount about my religion and met so many cool people. I loved it! Saba, 18, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… My friend constantly recommended that I go so I was looking forward to spending time with her, learning about Chabad values and relaxing. I was a little nervous about the snow tubing. Bais Chana let me take my mind off the everyday materialistic world. It didn’t change my values – it reinforced them. I didn’t know that Rabbi Friedman would be so insightful. This weekend was beyond amazing. Celia, 16, La Crescenta, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to learning more about Judaism, yet I was nervous to meet the Rabbi. We discussed so many things – about a mother’s responsibility, how to interact properly with others, what jealousy is, how to make marriage sacred, the intimacy between husband and wife. It was educational – and amazing. The Uncamp is the BOMB! Nicole, 16, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I wanted to have my questions answered, talk to the Rabbi, and just get away for a weekend where I could explore my thoughts. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined. It was an amazing experience. I finally understand the meaning of free choice and free will. I learned the definition of love and what I should be looking for in marriage. I also learned that there are a lot of nice people – you just have to go to the right places. It’s never too late to change, to become better and to learn more about Judaism. I’ve gained more confidence because I know that I’m doing the right thing. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. It was perfect, a getaway from everyday life. I learned, relaxed and laughed for 18 years… Darya, 18, Beverly Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was looking forward to meeting Rabbi Friedman and hiking. This was my first Shabbaton so I was curious and excited. I learned that the point of life is to fix the unholy things in the world and make them holy. By having the ability to make a choice, we are G-dlike and G-d wants and needs our company and relationship. I think I’m much more comfortable with how the soul works and what my purpose is. This is an opportunity that teaches what to search for and how to act. This is not about religion; it’s about life. Yasaman, 18, Valley Village, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I learned about a person’s “journey” through life and what the Jewish concept of hell is. I also met a lot of new people from different backgrounds and got to hear their perspectives on religion. While I was looking forward to spending time with friends, I really got a lot of my questions answered. It was amazing. Michal, 17, Los Angeles, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I learned how to talk and represent myself in public and work with groups of people. I learned that G-d is just although we might not be able to comprehend how. I’m very grateful for this experience… Sanaz, 16, Beverly Hills, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I came to the Shabbaton two years and in coming back I was looking forward to hearing Rabbi Manis Friedman speak. I was nervous about the girls not being welcoming, and I was surprised at how this time around we had better and deeper conversations. It was important for me to understand that love is not all you need in marriage and that beauty, not sex, is important to attract men. Most importantly I learned that G-d has a plan for everybody. The Rabbi really changed my outlook on many things; I changed my perspective on many things. The weekend was fun and inspiring. It answered many of my questions and made me feel complete as a person. Sophia, 17, Seal Beach, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was nervous, like, I was scared the Rabbi might answer a question that I wouldn’t want to really hear the answer to. I didn’t think he would be so straightforward, but I’m very happy he was. The Rabbi made me look at relationships from a totally new perspective – a better one! I love the environment and how everyone is so different…we’re all Jewish girls who become one over the weekend. I really want to come back! Miriam, 15, Irvine, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… The Rabbi didn’t beat around the bush – I got direct answers. And the Madrichot were amazing – involved, not pushy and down to earth. I’ve gained so, so, so much! It’s a place to go to learn, chill with new people, be accepted and not feel judged. Soak up everything while having a good time – this is for any Jewish girl. Annalise, 16, San Diego, CA March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I was excited to come because I’d heard so many great things about the program but it was so much more than I expected! You’re here to gain because you want to, not because anyone’s forcing you. The weekend gave me a lot of clarity… Sara, 18, New York City, NY March 2009 – Running Springs, CA …………………………………………………………………… I learned more about myself through all of the Rabbi’s talks, bonding with the girls, and morning prayers overlooking the gorgeous view of Bigbear. I made connections and bonded with girls of all different levels in Judaism, and I know that I will always be welcome at Bais Chana. It was amazing! You will learn things you’d never get at school and create the best bonds with the greatest girls. Chelsea, 16, Los Angeles Winter 2007 – Big Bear, CA ………………………………………………………………………….. I was nervous about the ideas that would be presented and that there would be cliques. But I liked the people, and, although it may sound weird, I feel like I developed my Jewish soul. I learned about myself, my faith, and more about belief and the reasons behind Judaism while making great new friends. Sophia, 15, San Diego Winter 2007 – Big Bear, CA ……………………………………………………………………………. I was nervous because I didn’t know every observant practice of Shabbat. But there was nothing to worry about, because the sensitive counselors made everyone feel welcome and were very helpful. Even though the classes were long, I didn’t want them to end. I’m still absorbing and digesting everything. I am still deep in thought. The subject of intimacy is such an awesome one, and I feel that I have learned much, much more than I ever imagined. I was definitely enlightened in unfamiliar topics. I’d like to read my notes over with my mother. Julia, 15 Winter 2007 – Big Bear, CA

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