Nishmah Shabbat retreat offers a chance for women to connect

This year’s Nishmah Shabbat retreat is planned for May 1st to 2nd at Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Ill.

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Editor’s update (March 17): Due to COVID-19 concerns, this retreat is being rescheduled for next year. 

Every other year the folks at Nishmah host a Shabbat retreat designed to bring together local Jewish women of many generations, affiliations and life phases. This year the weekend is planned for May 1-2 at Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Ill. Reservations for the weekend need to be made by March 30.

This year’s theme, “Living with Intention: Bringing Kavanah Into Your Life,” will hopefully inspire participants to think deeply about what it means to live our lives with intention.

“We plan to offer participants opportunities around mindfulness as well as reflection,” explained Larise Klebe, director of Nishmah.  

The retreat, co-chaired by Ann Mayer Eisen and Shari Whay, will begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a special welcome message from Rabbi Andrea Goldstein of Congregation Shaare Emeth, followed by a Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat dinner. Shabbat Day includes a variety of prayer options and programs inspiring introspection and community connection. The retreat concludes at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday with a Havdalah service. 

“My sense is that there really is a place for everyone at the retreat,” said Klebe. “People come for different reasons. Some come for learning, some come for social reasons to be in company of other women, some come for the more religious, spiritual aspects of celebrating together. It’s very easy to find something that speaks to you in an open, pluralistic environment.”

The registration fee includes hotel room, four kosher meals and all programming expenses and costs $200 to $360 depending on how many women to a room. Those who prefer can attend Saturday without staying Friday night (for $115). Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available at all meals. Visit for more information and to register. First-timers can enjoy a special rate and scholarships are available. For more information, contact Klebe at 314-442-3111 or [email protected].