Jewish Journal


March 2, 2011

Mommy Camp



When I read about the Mom’s Retreat at Camp JCA Shalom in TRIBE’s March Calendar, I thought, “Sign me up!” A weekend—kidfree—with all the fun activities of camp: hiking, swimming, games, arts and crafts ... but even better. The weekend includes activities only a grown-up can truly appreciate: manicures, pedicures, massages, tai-chi, speakers and discussions.

It sounded like exactly the kind of getaway a first-time mom like me needs after 9 months of intensive infant caring round the clock. But, alas, reality set in and I realized that I couldn’t possibly go on the retreat. My son and I are still attached at the boob. So, I’ll have to wait until next year to join the other moms who rightfully treat themselves to a pampering weekend.

Here is a testimonial from one of those lucky moms, Wendy Guttler Cohen, who has been retreating to the beauty of the Malibu mountains for over five years.

As March approaches, I get winsome and excited at the thought of this special weekend that is all about “ME!” 

My children have been JCA campers for years and I am always a bit envious as I send them off every summer. Somehow Camp JCA figured this out and developed the Mom’s Retreat. I live in Murrieta, California, where I am not involved with Jewish experiences outside of my home. This is my one weekend away where I get to enjoy a Jewish experience from Shabbat services to havdalah (my favorite), with other moms who like me, look forward to this experience every year.

I have been coming to the Mom’s Retreat for years now. Here is the attraction: No kids wanting something; no husbands (partners) wanting something; no planning meals, preparing meals or cleaning up from meals; no agendas, plans, after-school activities, obligations. Just me and a group of warm and welcoming women doing everything camp offers or nothing at all.

Some of the optional activities that may be offered during the weekend include hiking, Zip-line, havdalah service, yoga, Zumba, morning services, camp fire, singing, swimming, arts and crafts, educational/therapeutic workshops, manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.

On Saturday evenings, the staff spoils us with a martini party.

It is a treasured gift I give to myself once a year. As I drive away from camp, enjoying the beautiful Malibu mountains, I am filled with appreciation for camp, my husband, my kids ... my life.

Mom’s Retreat: Fri., March 11 - Sun., March 13. $295 (all inclusive). Shalom Institute, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu. (818) 889-5500. campjcashalom.com/momapply.


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