"The last place on earth I wanted to be was at a Jewish camp."
When Mia was told about Bais Chana's teen camp a couple of summers ago, it was the last place on earth she wanted to be. She was set to travel across the country with her non-Jewish boyfriend in his Toyota Corolla with nothing but a small suitcase and the empty promise of a real estate job from a friend of a friend.
Despite her determination to stick with her plans, her Chabad rabbi intervened. Mia was practically pushed onto the plane to Minnesota, and once there had to be cajoled, persuaded and begged by her counselors at Bais Chana to stay on at "UnCamp" one more week at a time.
Only on the very last day of UnCamp, crying and shaking, Mia admitted to her counselor, Bassy, that after everything she'd heard from Rabbi Friedman, and hours of conversations with her tireless and loving counselors she simply couldn't face returning to the empty life that awaited her.
We directed her to Machon Alta and the rest is history. Today, Mia can't stop thanking G-d for the men and women along the way who cared deeply enough to help a vulnerable Jewish girl escape a terrible relationship and discover her true family and heritage.
Mia's scholarship was sponsored by a dedicated alum just like you. Her life is forever changed because you cared enough to send her to Bais Chana and bring her back to her true family.
"That Bais Chana retreat for single Jewish moms changed my life."
Newly committed to becoming frum while raising a toddler on my own was hard in my hometown of Montana City, MT. My parents were supportive but just couldn't relate to the loneliness. I craved community, someone to talk to who knew what I was going through.
In the winter of 2015, my teacher and mentor Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel of Nashville suggested that I look into attending a Bais Chana Retreat for Single Mothers in Minnesota.
That Bais Chana retreat changed my life.
There was so much inspiration and warmth shared during that long weekend. Most significant to me was a Chassidic story shared by Rabbi Moshe Feller about several disciples of the Baal Shem Tov who were approached by a peasant farmer for help when his horse got caught in the mud.
“It is not that we lack the ability" He thundered at the end of the dramatic tale. "We lack the will!” I can still see Rabbi Feller giving that over with his liveliness and love. “If you have the will, you can achieve what seems impossible!” Thanks to his inspiration I picked up my son Joseph and myself and moved us to a Jewish community in Chicago, IL.
Two years after the retreat I got a call from my good friend Lisa who'd roomed with me that weekend in Minnesota. "Elisheva" she said. "I met your husband. He lives in my community and I just know the two of you belong together!" To make a long story short, I now live in a warm, vibrant Jewish community in West Bloomfield, Michigan with my wonderful husband whom Lisa introduced me to, our two sons and newborn daughter, surrounded by new friends.
A few short years ago, I could not have imagined my son Yosef returning home daily from a Jewish school and how much I'd love hearing the new Yiddish and Hebrew words he brings home each afternoon.
Thank you for caring about a lonely mom living with her tiny son in far off Montana. Because of you, my life is forever changed.
Stay tuned to hear how a week at Bais Chana's Snorkel and Study program for college students in sunny Key Largo, FL changed everything for Daniela.
Prefer to donate by check? Please mail to:
Bais Chana Women International
383 Kingston Avenue, Suite 248
Brooklyn, NY 11213
Bais Chana Women International, Federal Id. No. 11-3310069, is a 501(c)(3).
Founding Members, 19 Kislev 5779
Sarah Laytin, Tuscon AZ
Daniela Tank, Minneapolis MN
Paula Matthews, S Diego CA
Leah Robbins, Milwaukee WI
Devora Goldhair, Bronx NY
Miriam Leah Kaufmann, Minneapolis MN
Eliora Klein, New York NY
Itty Kay, Brooklyn NY
How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
What will your legacy be? Now is a good time to think about it.
Here's a simple way to set up a charitable gift in your will. It's so much easier than you think.