“The Judaism we are looking for can be found at IJS.”

— Audrey Brooks

Preparing for Retreat

Suggested Packing List

Retreat Clothing

Pack loose, comfortable, casual clothing (easy for sitting meditation and yoga). You may wish to bring extra clothing, enough to allow for a mid-day change of clothing on most days – after daily yoga, which can be a little shvitzy (sweaty), many people choose to change into something fresh. In the winter, our January California retreats are in the 50’s and 60’s during the day and cooler at night–rain is possible. For all retreats we advise bringing a variety of layers.

Some people choose to dress a certain way for Shabbat services – we encourage you to wear whatever you will be most comfortable in on-retreat – just be sure that you are comfortable and prepared for sitting meditation and the local weather.

Other items to pack

  • reusable water bottle
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • hat and sunglasses
  • journal
  • camera
  • bathing suit (for summer retreats or the optional pre-Shabbat mikvah.)
  • hiking boots if you plan to go into the woods
  • flashlight
  • rain gear
  • ritual items: Tallit, Kippah, Tefillin (these are not provided). Siddurim are provided whenever necessary, however you are invited to bring your own if you prefer.
  • prescription medicines

Items provided

All of the retreat centers we use provide alarm clocks, bedding, soap, and towels. Unless you are sensitive to scents, there’s no need to bring these items.

Arrival & Departure

Early Arrival

Typically registration is between 3:30pm and 6:00pm (check your pre-retreat email for exact details, sent out 2 weeks before the start of the retreat). Often the Opening Session will begin directly after the end of the Registration window, so allowing yourself time to get settled before this session is recommended. We encourage you to arrive as much within or directly before the window as possible–often we can’t provide you with a key to your room before that window–but do know that if you have to arrive early there will be a place to put your things down until you are able to check into your room.

Late Arrival or Early Departure

If you will be arriving late to a retreat, or leaving early, it is important that we know this so we can plan ahead for meal counts and materials.  If you are arriving late, it is also important for us to know because often we can have the retreat center save you dinner. If you are leaving early, the retreat center will need to know that too.  Please email Esther Smigel esther@jewishspirituality.org with any questions or information regarding arrival/departure times.

Departure Times and Checkout

Our retreats either end after breakfast (around 10am) or after lunch (around 1pm). We will give you the exact time of the last session and meal in our pre-retreat email, sent out 2 weeks before the start of the retreat.

Most of the retreat centers we use will ask that you check-out of your room by 9am on the morning you are leaving. There is always a place to store your bags after you’ve checked out.

Checking out by the correct time allows the retreat center staff time to turn over the rooms for the next guests (often arriving the same day!). Your help and cooperation in this effort helps us maintain a positive working relationship with the retreat centers we use, and we appreciate your good-faith effort to accommodate the check-out time.