By Michele Amira Pinczuk
Forget the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this past weekend was a “Sisterhood of Shabbat,” thanks to Meor’s first “Mind, Body and Soul Retreat” shabbaton. The shabbaton took place at the peaceful Pearlstone Center Kayam Farms, a Jewish sustainable farm and conference center in Baltimore — the ideal scenery for morning zumba dance classes and Shabbat spirituality-based yoga.
Meor is a campus-based program focusing on providing Jewish cultural and religious opportunities on campuses much like its counterparts at University of Maryland such as Hillel. While this shabbaton is the first of its kind, it fused together many of the elements of Meor’s women’s events this past month on topics such as self-esteem. Meor recently hosted a screening of “Brave Miss World,” a documentary about an Israeli woman’s dealing with being sexually assaulted.
Meor fused Shabbat and character-building programming together for its shabbaton weekend, according to Devora Jaye, assistant director of Meor.
“We wanted to create a weekend that would inspire girls to take care for themselves spiritually and emotionally,” she said.
Highlights of the weekend included activities from the Beit Midrash “self-esteem sessions,” focusing on everything from the Jewish view on self-care to self-worth, a dance party and meditation to a spa night, which included every Jewish girl’s favorite brand — Ahava Dead Sea skin products.
Elyssa Morris, senior journalism major and co-chair of women’s’ programming on Meor’s student board, said, “This past weekend was beneficial to me because it helped me to explore the Jewish perspectives on self-esteem, help others through their struggles, as well as further develop my leadership skills.”
Activities wrapped up with “swag bags” filled with fun girly items.
Mariel Goldstein, director of women’s programming at Meor, said in reference to why self-esteem and Shabbat were interconnected over the weekend “Shabbos is a time to refocus on what is important — that as much as we put forth our effort (and that is essential), we always need to remember that there is a ‘master-planner.’ Pausing for Shabbos allows us the opportunity to reconnect to that original message.”