A Day in the Garden of Eden, Los Angeles Style
Have you ever felt the need to escape, to find some idyllic place to spend at least a day (if not forever)? In late October, 35 women from University Synagogue Sisterhood, Los Angeles, did just that and had a warm and fulfilling spiritual experience in the process.
The women had been invited to “retreat to the natural beauty of a tranquil garden for a day of relaxation, learning and music.” The setting was a multi-level garden in the hills of Brentwood. Only a couple of miles from Sunset Boulevard, it made everyone feel as if they were in an entirely different world.
The Retreat Committee (Julia Weinstein, Berta Greenberg, Bonnie Goldman, Joan Freeman, Marilyn Weitz, Robbie Smith, Roz Weisman, Sarita Unger, Joy Cohen and Suzy Giambattista) planned a day with something for everyone.
The day’s activities began with a presentation by Dr. Felice Miller, who explained how to maintain feelings of competence while reducing tension and enjoying the process of juggling. This was followed by a Qi Gong session with slow gentle movements that integrate posture, breathing and mental focus to provide relaxation and stress relief. Participants then studied the week’s Torah portion before beginning a Tallit project in which even the artistically-challenged could successfully participate and that will result in a Sisterhood Tallit to be used in many Sisterhood events. The beautiful day ended with music and a Havdalah service under the stars.
Of course there was food (delicious), fun and lots of chances to really get to know one another better. All of the comments by the women who escaped to Eden were positive. The challenge for the hard-working committee will be to do it again!
Sylvia Rose - University Synagogue Sisterhood