The Kickoff: Sleepless Before the Denver JWRP Trip

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[alert type=”info” close=”true”]Chaya Parkoff and Ellyn Hutt are leading a contingency of 13 Jewish women from Denver this month for the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project. Chaya will be blogging about the trip and the experiences of the group here on The Jewish Experience Blog. If you’re interested in joining the next JWRP trip, contact us![/alert]

December 8, 2014 — How can I possibly sleep when I am about to embark on an incredible journey to the Holy Land with 13 Jewish women from Denver and 200 women from North America?

Four years ago, while I was still living in Dallas, a new woman in town gave the keynote address at my daughter Maya’s 8th grade graduation. She was the new CEO of the Jewish Federation who had just moved from Denver to take this position. And from the moment I saw her, I knew I wanted to be friends with Susan Kramer.

In one of our earlier conversations she said to me: “I am on the board of JWRP, and you have got to be a City Leader on this trip!” I have been suggesting the trip to women since JWRP started in 2010, and it was my friends Chaya Weiner, Devorah Zakon, Shifra Robkin, and Hudy Abrams who were the City Leaders. Who knew if there would ever be a place for me? But I know that you don’t G-E-T if you don’t A-S-K, so ever since that conversation with Susan, I have be asking God (and Lori Palatnik) to somehow get me on that trip — and my prayers were answered!

A series of “coincidences” brought us to Denver just about a year ago. Susan Kramer had just moved back to Denver. Her incredible work had been done at the Federation in Dallas. She came back to Denver just in time to be there for me! And since then I have been saying, “Susan! How can we get me on this trip as a City Leader?”

Through a mitzvah project I had an idea for I met and became fast friends with an incredible woman, Eve Levy, who was (at that time) the women’s program coordinator here at The Jewish Experience.

“Eve!” I said, “I want to take ladies on the trip! If you ever need someone … pick me!”

Who knew what Hashem would have in store?

Last spring Eve and her husband Rabbi Gadi made a decision to accept a position in the kollel in Portland, Oregon.

“I have plans for you, Chaya,” she said. Plans? What plans? “I want to suggest to my bosses that you take over my position. Are you open?”

Talk about feeling humbled and honored and totally taken off guard! WOW. Yes, I was open. Open to seeing what Hashem had in store …

So here I am! Leading a group of Denver women (with my partner in crime Ellyn Hutt – who happens to be the aunt of my daugther Maya’s very close friend in Dallas).

The journey actually started months ago when we interviewed women who applied for the trip, and we loved each and every one. Wow. What incredible women!

Thirteen were selected, and we have been anticipating this day since then. We have already bonded with our pre-trip get togethers, and I can only imagine what is to come as we experience the Holiness of Israel together. I know that we will all emerge different — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am humbled and honored to be part of this absolutely incredible movement. A movement that is the true birthright — the beauty and power of what it means to be a Jewish woman. A movement that is creating the momentum we need to bring about the final redemption.