1st Annual Intro Shabbat Retreat

Friday, June 5 - Sunday, June 7, 2020
Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University

It’s time to slow down.

Photo of Brandeis MountainsIntro invites you to pack your bags, leave the traffic behind, and fully immerse in the restorative power of Shabbat at our beautiful Brandeis-Bardin Campus in Simi.  Reconnect with friends and loved ones over delicious meals, around the fire and under the stars, and with a little help from 3,000 years of Jewish wisdom. Give yourself (and your phone) the much-needed break you deserve by joining us for this nourishing weekend retreat.  

For more information, please contact Rabbi Morris Panitz, Director of Immersive Experiences at morris.panitzataju.edu

This special Shabbat experience is generously supported by the NuRoots Division of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.

What To Expect:

Think about the feeling you get when you light Shabbat candles, sit down to Friday night meal with family and friends, and let the week just melt away. Now, imagine that feeling lasting for forty-eight glorious hours. That’s what the Intro Shabbat Retreat is all about: experiencing the full restorative power of Shabbat with a community that gets you.   

We anticipate close to 100 Intro to Judaism alumni — of all ages — coming together for an awesome weekend of connection, learning, and fun. We’ll stretch our minds with great study and conversation, move our bodies through nature walks and yoga, and feed our souls with song, laughter, and meaningful ritual. 

Leaving your home and going to a new (maybe slightly strange) place is about as Jewish as it gets (I’m looking at you, Abraham and Sarah). We understand that some of you are Jewish summer camp fanatics and have been waiting for years for us to offer this kind of retreat. And, for some of you, this is… well, brand new. Just like the Intro course, the Shabbat Retreat will be filled with fascinating, diverse, and brave people who are ready to say “yes” to another new adventure.  We think it’s worth the risk.

Costs, Accommodations and More

  • Costs

    This is early bird pricing... sign up now!

    Adults: $175, Adults-single occupancy: $250

    Children 3-13: $75

    Children 0 -2: Free

    Scholarships Available - we don't want anyone to miss out. Contact Rabbi Morris at morris.panitzataju.edu to learn more.

  • Accommodations

    The Brandeis-Bardin Campus is AJU’s beautiful, rural 2,700-acre campus set in the rolling hills near Simi Valley. It’s quiet, peaceful, and feels like it’s a million miles away from city life, when it’s actually only a short drive from LA.

    A standard room includes two, full-sized beds, a private bathroom and shower, a mini-fridge, and an air conditioning unit. Upon request, we can add additional beds/cribs to accommodate your family’s needs. 

    In short, this is neither the wooden bunk-beds with paper-thin mattresses of your summer camp nightmares nor is it a 5-star hotel. It’s rustic, but comfortable, like a retreat center should be. And, you won’t find a much better view than what you’ll wake up to at Brandeis-Bardin.

    BBC Cabins

  • Sample Schedule

    Friday, June 5th

    • Arrival at Brandeis-Bardin
    • Welcome snack
    • Meditative Candle Lighting
    • Shabbat services in nature
    • Big, Delicious Shabbat Dinner
    • Intro Presents: The MOTH – A Night of Stories


    Saturday, June 6th

    • Breakfast
    • Morning spiritual practice options (Yoga, Musical Service, Meditation)
    • Torah Study
    • Chill Shabbat Lunch
    • Free time/rest (The pool is open!)
    • Text study: Borders, boundaries, and responses to crisis: Ezra, Ruth, and Isaiah
    • Hike/Nature Walk
    • Dinner
    • Communal Havdalah
    • Camp Fire/ Star Gazing/S’mores & Songs


    Sunday, June 7th

    • Optional morning spiritual practice (Singing, movement, meditation)
    • Breakfast
    • Intro’s Creativity Lab: Exploring Jewish ritual through the arts
    • Closing Session
    • See you at the 2nd annual Intro Shabbat Retreat!

More Questions?

  • Can I bring my kids?

    Absolutely!  We believe celebrating Shabbat with your kids in this environment will be special for both you and your kids.  And, the retreat schedule features kids’ programming and babysitting for part of each day to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. 

  • Can I bring a partner/spouse/best friend who didn’t attend the Intro course?

    Yes.  If they’re special to you, they’re special to us.

  • Can I come for part of the retreat?

    Part of what makes this retreat special is the community built over 2.5 days.  Therefore, we don’t permit people to drop in and out of the retreat or miss a whole day.  If you must arrive a little late or leave a little early, we’ll make it work.

  • Real talk: How’s the food?

    Omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, dairy-free, whatever else-free friends, we’ve got you covered. There are lots of delicious food options at each meal, no shortage of snacks, and people have been known to request our guacamole recipe. Cooking for 100 isn’t easy, but we think the food is pretty good.

  • Are there scholarships available?

    Yes. We believe that money should not be a barrier to your attendance.  If the retreat is cost-prohibitive, please contact us to learn more about our scholarships.

  • What are the expectations around Shabbat observance?

    In order to create a communal atmosphere that really feels different from the rest of the week, we ask that cell phones and computers be left in your private rooms. Think of this as an encouraged digital detox that’ll probably result in 100 new Facebook friends 😊 We’ll also be offering different options for Shabbat morning services to reflect the broad range of spiritual pathways in our tradition.