Written By: Amanda Weisman
Running Spring Retreat
Sometimes, a meaningful weekend getaway is just what you need.
The members of JMI took time to reset and rejuvenate during their weekend retreat at the David Oved Retreat Center in Running Springs, California. Situated 17 miles west from Big Bear Lake, Running Springs is a haven for scenic landscapes, bountiful nature, and fresh air – a welcomed break from the LA smog! 55 men attended this winter escape and left with a deeper connection to themselves, to their peers, and to Judaism.
The retreat was planned and run by Rabbi Azriel Aharon. He kicked off the weekend with an energetic Friday night service that included lively singing, dancing, and even some instrumentals.
The cozy cabin-like setting made for a perfect backdrop for guest speaker Charlie Harary’s fireside chats. Attendees sat around the fire as Charlie led a discussion on Unlocking Greatness.
Two more guest speakers joined in to inform and enlighten. Sol Blinkoff passionately spoke about “our reason for living,” while Sal Litvak shared his inspiring personal story of his unexpected journey back to Torah.
Rabbi Aryeh Markman, Aish LA’s Executive Director, shared words from the Torah and connected the weekly Torah portion to the vision of JMI.
And what’s a getaway without a little fun? The men enjoyed playing rounds of poker, bonding over beers, soaking up the hot tub, playing the guitar and drum, and taking in the mountainous views.
The temperature dropped below zero outside, but the camaraderie, warm spirits, and blazing fireplace kept everyone toasty. The Running Springs retreat proved to be the best way for the JMI group to enjoy, engage, and refresh.