Shavua Tov, friends! I’m preparing for my next Shabbaton in February in St. Louis, Missouri and I realized I hadn’t posted about my Shabbaton in Guatemala this past Elul. It was such an amazing experience, it’s really hard to capture in words. I get so much strength from connecting with Jewish women from different backgrounds and places. I know I’m the one leading and aiming to inspire and teach women, but the truth is I always come back having learned so much myself, and feeling totally inspired and uplifted. Thank you to Chabad of Guatemala for bringing me back again to lead your beautiful women in an amazing Shabbat retreat.
This was my second time going to Guatemala for the Jewish Woman’s Circle Shabbaton hosted by Chabad of Guatemala. (You can see my past trip here.)We were in the same property that we were last time: Hacienda Casa Pastores in Antigua, Guatemala. I believe we were 35 women this year. Some I had met before and some I met for the first time. (We took the above group picture on Sunday mid morning and a lot of ladies had left.) You might have seen this picture of me on my Instagram.
We arrived at the Hacienda Casa Pastores on Friday and were treated to massages!
Then, we went to get ready for Shabbat. We lit candles together and we sat down in a beautiful room with a view for my first talk. I spoke about my journey in becoming Shabbat observant, or more specifically my relationship with Shabbat.
The talk is titled, Shabbat: mis sentimientos encontrados. I make a little bit of fun of myself and point to the fact that it was highly unlikely that a person like myself would embrace Shabbat. You’ll have to hear me to understand what I mean, but boy am I glad I did embrace it. It’s by far my favorite day!
After that talk, we had kiddush and a delicious gourmet dinner made by Yael, the Chabad Shlucha of Chabad of Guatemala. Yael is a master chef and of course I don’t have pictures of the food, but she caters this event in a way that is beyond gourmet and tasty. No detail is overlooked.
On Shabbat morning, we had a delicious breakfast, had time for tefillah (prayer) together and then started our morning talk. This year I spoke about the Power of Speech. I connected it to Rosh Hashanah as we were right in the last two weeks before the big day. This talk lends itself to a lot of conversation and personal insights from all the participants and we all learned a ton from each other. Then we gathered for lunch, had some time off and met for our third talk.
When I was there two years prior, I gave my signature talk, Mi casa es Su casa: Kabalah of the Home and this year, I expanded on that topic and created Mi casa es Su casa: Practical Tips. I shared practical and creative examples of how to use our creativity to create a Jewish environment and bring G-d into our homes. It was great! I gave the ladies many examples from my life, some featured on my blog, and some from interior design clients and/or friends. And of course, many ladies had even more creative ideas and wonderful stories to add to the list of practical tips on how to bring Judaism to the home. It was a lot of fun!
Late into the day, we gathered with a beautiful spread of fruits, chocolate and drinks to do a Seudat Amenim or a Brachot Party. I love doing these. It’s a fun and very insightful way to teach the power of berachot (blessings) and of the word Amen. Also, it’s a great way to bring down amazing blessings for our loved ones, as we all gather together to say the names for whom we want certain blessings to come to fruition. Each food blessing is associated with an area of people’s lives. So, when we say the people’s names and the blessings with intention and we all answer Amen, we can really have a tremendous impact in someone else’s life.
We then made Havdallah and after we all called our families, showered etc, we gathered to watch a fun movie. This year we watched Rama Burshtein’s The Wedding Plan. It was hysterical! (By the way if anyone knows how to get in touch with Rama Burshtein, let me know. I’ve been wanting to bring her into Jewish Latin Princess Podcast for a while, but haven’t been able to reach her.)
We also had an incredible Melave Malka meal of crepes and salad and decadent cheesecakes. And of course we had popcorn and other treats. I’m telling you, this weekend was total indulgence for both body and soul.
On Sunday morning, some of us did yoga and then had a beautiful breakfast with the rest of the group. Here are some more pictures that we took that morning.
Some ladies had to go back earlier, but others stayed and we had a nice Question & Answer session which I answered with honesty and love. I love Q&A sessions because they are such a great way to bond, open up and get real!
Which by the way, is part of the reason why I’m launching an Ask Yael episode on Jewish Latin Princess Podcast. We will air it once a month and answer your questions. I have tons of questions gathered that have come through the blog and via email and I will be responding to many on the air.
Please click on Ask Yael on the blog’s sidebar to submit your Jewish lifestyle questions or email me. You can submit your question anonymously. I would love to help you navigate through whatever is on your mind that you wish Judaism had an answer for, or that you never really understood.
I’m also looking for readers and listeners who want to co-host with me. I think it will be a great way to interact with some of you, share who you are and what you’re up to with the rest of the world, and have some fun while we navigate what’s on my audience’s mind and see if Judaism has an answer or perspective that can help. If you think you’d like to join me behind the mic, email me, tell me about you, and why you’d love to co-host.
Have you subscribed to Jewish Latin Princess Podcast!? You can do it on iTunes here and have it download directly to your iPhone. If you’re using an android phone, you can find Jewish Latin Princess Podcast on your android’s podcast app. Looking forward to having you there.
Here are some of the lovely reviews I received from the attendees in Guatemala:
“An incredible learning experience!” – Bina
“I loved seeing the value of things that we normally do and how everything we learn is meant to be applied practically to our lives…” – Rivka
“…I like how clearly you express yourself, your charisma and the feeling you put into your talks.” – Galia
“I love Yael’s energy and how she taught us profound concepts in a practical way, accessible to all types of women.” – Estela
“I love your energy and your openness; your passion for beauty and elegance shines through your talks.” – Sharon
Want me to come to your town? I would be delighted! email me to discuss your event, audience and my signature talks and/or to custom design a talk for your group.
Have a beautiful week!
You CAN make Shabbat without the overwhelm!
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