What is Beyond the Tent?

GatherDC’s Beyond the Tent Retreat is a creative and interactive weekend retreat that brings together Jewish and Jew-curious 20s & 30s from across the DMV at a retreat center outside of Washington, DC. Over the course of three days, you’ll explore what it means to be Jewish today, unpack 21st century American Judaism, and dive into alternative models for expressing that identity. You’ll build deep relationships with other Jews from the DMV, and of course, have a ton of fun doing it.

Over the course of this weekend, you will:

  • Build relationships with peers over DMCs (deep meaningful conversations) in a relaxing, outdoor environment

  • Explore alternative models for what your Jewish life could look like

  • Gain a deeper understanding of how you relate (or don’t) to your Jewish identity as a young adult

Who is Beyond the Tent for?

Jewish 20s & 30s across the DMV region who are open to exploring new and alternative paths of Jewish expression with their peers.

This experience is non-denominational with no background experience or knowledge required. Ideal participants are those who feel like they have tried to connect to Jewish life in DC, but it just isn’t working and are proud to be Jewish, but aren’t sure how to make that an active part of their adult life.

When is it?

Friday, July 29th – Sunday, July 31st, 2022. A bus will take you to the retreat center, leaving from a central location in DC around 1:00 p.m. on Friday and returning around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.  Roundtrip transportation from DC to the retreat is provided.

Where is it?

Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center in Beallsville, MD (30 miles from DC).

How much is it?

  • Early bird pricing is $75 through June 17th.
  • Regular cost is $99 through June 24th.

This cost is all-inclusive of transportation, meals, lodging, and facilitated workshops throughout the weekend. Financial assistance is available upon request – email info@gatherdc.org for more information.

What's the roomming situation like?

You will stay in lodge-style rooms with 1-2 other roommates. Upon acceptance, you will be given the option to request a roommate. We will do our best to accommodate those requests.

What is the food situation like?

Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center  is a vegetarian/dairy space. Food will be vegetarian. Vegan, gluten-free, and nut free options can be available at each meal.

Can I drive on my own and just stay for part of the retreat?

You can certainly drive on your own. However, we request that you stay for the entirety of the retreat – arriving and departing at the same time as the rest of the participants. In order to make this experience fully immersive, we ask that all participants be present, both physically and mentally, throughout the entire weekend.

Can I talk to someone about this before signing up?

Of course! Email Rabbi Ilana (rabbi.ilana@gatherdc.org) to find out if this is right for you. Or, if you’d like to speak with a past Beyond the Tent Retreat participant, email info@gatherdc.org and we’ll connect you with someone who can speak about their experience.

Okay, I'm in. How do I apply?

Apply using this form now through Friday, June 3rd.

This form is broken down into three sections; contact info, accessibility, and a series of short answer questions, that may take up to ~30 minutes to complete.

Acceptances will be sent out Friday, June 10. If accepted, participants will have until Friday, June 24 to submit payment to secure their spot.

COVID Safety Measures:

Beyond the Tent is an in-person, immersive retreat. GatherDC requires all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will require proof of vaccination from all accepted applicants. All participants will have to show proof of a negative PCR test prior to the retreat. Taking these precautions will allow members to experience the retreat to the fullest without social distancing or wearing a mask since we will be the only ones at the retreat location. Learn more about GatherDC’s COVID policies here.

What do past participants say?

This weekend was everything to me. The people were all incredible. The content was mind blowing to me. I have so many more questions than I went in with, which I think was the point. I feel wonderfully confused about my Jewish identity and am doing my best to let that feeling sit. Now, I’m questioning everything, but not at all questioning that I want to be a Jew.

— Robin

I had such a positive and memorable experience on Beyond the Tent – meeting new friends and mentors, engaging with deep and nuanced ideas, and learning new Jewish texts (and moving poetry!).

— Mia

I entered the weekend with the expectations of meeting some interesting people while exploring theirs opinions and my own opinions about how we feel about Judaism in our current stage of life. My expectations were met and exceeded, and I have developed close relationships with people and a better understanding of Judaism and what it means to me.

— Eric

Beyond the Tent gave me the opportunity to re-think my Judaism in a positive and enlightening manner. I met some incredible people, shared some great experiences and really felt like I came away as a different person.

— Matt

I can’t say enough good things about Beyond the Tent. I literally went in knowing no one which was very anxiety inducing for me. I wound up finding this entire new group of people! I felt welcomed from the beginning, and that anxiety was gone very quickly. I would encourage anyone considering going to try their best to overcome their nerves, because it really is such a welcoming and accessible place.

— Trey



I really didn’t know what to expect from the retreat. But soon after I arrived, I was hooked on trying to unpack my own experiences and understanding of my American Jewish identity. I’d never taken the time to unpack what Jewish culture, tradition, and morality meant to me. It was really great to have the opportunity to do so in an environment where I was pushed to think about those ideas.

Sam H

Past Beyond the Tent Pics


GatherDC is excited to meet the needs of all 20s and 30s who are interested in getting involved in DC Jewish life. We welcome the participation of interfaith ​individuals, and people of all abilities, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of our coffee​ at (202) 656-0743 or info@gatherdc.org, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.