The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) seeks to inspire women to transform themselves, transform their families, their communities and the world, according to the organization’s website. Its mission is “to empower women to change the world through Jewish values that transform ourselves, our families and our communities.”
Lori Palatnik is the founding director of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, which is based in Rockville, Maryland. Palatnik, an author and a Jewish educator, has appeared extensively on television and radio.
Since JWRP’s inception in 2008, 7,300 women from 21 different countries have experienced this life-changing trip. They have come home with what the website describes as “the best gift of all — a deep, eternal connection to Israel, a profound kinship with each other and a heart filled with Jewish values.”
Twelve Orange County Jewish women, led by Rebbitzen Natalie Ciner of Congregation Beth Jacob of Irvine, spent eight days in Israel on JWRP’s flagship program, Momentum. From May 9 to 18, the women had a chance to explore Israel while exploring themselves.
JWRP works in partnership with a wide spectrum of community organizations to recruit the women, staff the buses and continue the journey through continually evolving follow-up programming that keeps the inspiration going and helps to create bonds that extend not only to communities, but globally.
The trip began in Tiberias and the Kinneret with dinner and dancing. It continued with kayaking on the Jordan River, the artists’ colony of Tzfat and a mikveh tour. In the old city of Jerusalem the women prayed at the Western Wall and had Kotel tunnel tours. The tour continued with Masada, the Dead Sea and Eretz Bereshit.
The next day was about challah making, candle lighting, singing and dancing at the Western Wall and Shabbat dinner. On Shabbat the women experienced classes, dining in individual Jerusalem homes, the third meal with IDF soldiers and a rooftop Havdalah overlooking the Temple Mount. The next day included an IDF base visit, a trip to Yad Vashem and a visit to centers supporting children and seniors in need. The trip culminated with a seminar on bringing the inspiration home, a banquet and plans to keep the momentum going.
After the trip, there are followup events, enabling participants to learn, grow and create change. Women attending the Momentum trips commit to attending a learning activity once per month and five group activities per year.