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2023 Eshel Parent Retreat

May 4, 2023 - May 7, 2023

10th Annual Eshel Parent Retreat 2023 | Riding the Waves: Parenting an LGBTQ+ Child in Orthodoxy | Thursday May 4 - Sunday May 7, Capital Retreat Center

Join us for the 10th Annual Eshel Parent Retreat!

Riding the Waves: Parenting an LGBTQ Child in Orthodoxy

Whether this will be your first parent retreat or your tenth, join us to be engulfed within a supportive, embracing, and nonjudgmental community. Whether you feel like you are struggling to keep your head above water or are going with the flow, this is a confidential space where we can grow together.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander

Scholar-in-Residence: Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander

Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander is President and Rosh HaYeshiva of the international Ohr Torah Stone network of 31 educational institutions including high schools and post high schools, leadership programs for men and women, outreach initiatives in Israel and throughout the world,  and a social action center to represent agunot worldwide. Prior to making aliya, Rabbi Brander was Vice President for University and Community Life at Yeshiva University (YU), taught rabbinics at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). He served as the senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue from 1991 to 2005, overseeing its explosive growth from 60 families to more than 600 families. Rabbi Brander is a 1984 alumnus of Yeshiva College and received rabbinical ordination from RIETS as well as a special ordination from the Machon Puah center of medical ethics in Israel, and from then-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, in the field of medical ethics, reproductive technology and halakha. Rabbi Brander also holds a Ph.D. in general philosophy and comparative literature.

Highlights of the Annual Parent Retreat Include:

  • Spirited Shabbat davening
  • Thought-provoking sessions led by Rabbis, doctors, social workers, and more
  • Chaburah groups to share experiences with a small group
  • Finding a community of other parents with similar experiences

 Plus, special guest appearance this year by comedian Leah Forster, creator of Tichel Tuesdays.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are accepting of your LGBTQ child or struggling with their identity, or somewhere in between, this is the place for you. No judgments will be made about any retreat participant’s levels of acceptance of their LGBTQ child’s identity. We only ask that each attendee agree to respect other participants’ feelings and attitudes. Each parent and family is on their own journey, which includes many detours, twists, and turns. Come with an open mind and remember that everyone’s path is unique. We take confidentiality very seriously. All participants must agree and sign Eshel’s confidentiality policy. Retreat attendees may not disclose the identity of anyone else without explicit permission. Participants can only share what they hear at the retreat with an individual’s permission.

We will create a comfortable, confidential place to share. We will offer sessions on a variety of topics – previous highlights have included panels and workshops on language, mental health, dating and marriage, extended family, as well as navigating shuls and schools. We will share Shabbat davening and meals together. Throughout the weekend, parents will take part in a small chaburah group, providing an opportunity to check in and process what we are learning and experiencing.

Weather permitting, we will offer separate swimming hours in the outdoor pool, as well as outdoor walks, sports, and yoga.

  • Modern conference facilities
  • Delicious kosher food under Star-K supervision with Cholov Yisroel options
  • Shomer Shabbat environment with an expansive eruv
  • Beautiful natural surroundings

  • Capital Retreat Center is on the grounds of Capital Camps at 12750 Buchanan Trail East, Waynesboro, PA 17268
  • Conveniently located an hour and a half from Baltimore and BWI airport and train station
  • A 3-4 hour drive from New Jersey and New York
  • Directions to Capital Retreat Center
  • If you need help getting to the retreat, please reach out to us

You should plan to arrive between 3 and 5 pm on Thursday. Mincha will be at 5:15pm and the first session will begin at 6pm. Early or late arrival can be coordinated; email info@eshelonline.org to arrange. The program will conclude no later than 1 pm on Sunday.

  • Capital Retreat Center’s Nesiyah Lodge offers hotel-style accommodations with individually controlled heat and air-conditioning, hotel quality queen size beds, as well as linen and towel service.
  • Retreat attendees can opt for a private or double room.
  • All rooms include two queen beds, a private bathroom, desk, phone, and wireless internet.

Image of Nesiya Guest Room with two queen beds and a desk

We will continue to follow CDC and local guidelines. We recommend vaccines, and participants are welcome to mask during the retreat based on their comfort level. Being up to date on vaccination and wearing a high quality mask significantly reduce the risk of transmission and the severity of infection. We are monitoring the situation closely, and we will let attendees know closer to the time of the retreat about expectations for testing.

If you’d like to set up a payment plan in order to pay for the retreat in installments, please email sara@eshelonline.org. If you are in need of further assistance in order to be able to attend the retreat, please email miryam@eshelonline.org.
Eshel Parent Retreat


May 4, 2023
May 7, 2023