Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Chodesh Kislev Report
By Chaya H and Menucha S.

The Chassidishe month of Kislev began with a bang as the whole OC participated in a Hachana for Yud Tes Kislev on Sunday night. In honour of Rosh Chodesh Kislev the Ruchnius director Shifra and our dorm counsellor Chayale broke out the Yud Tes Kislev Hachana! They turned the dining room into an airplane and broke out the theme through a hilarious video and we were assigned our chavrusa for the hachanah. Following the breakout we gathered into a farbregen with one of our teachers Rabbi Telsner and heard stories about times of the Rebbe. 

For the next 3 weeks the Hachana included coming to Chassidus before Davenning at OCLC, participating in all the Achdus events and Rebbe time programs, daily chavrusa learning, daily Hayom Yom and Moshiach thought learning, and weekly checklists. The following night musical entertainment was brought to the OC dorm in the form of Mrs. Robin Aron, a woman who shared with us her story and how she uses music to impact children’s lives. We were shown a tad bit of what she does with her gorgeous voice and the whole OC was singing and clapping along.

As part of the Yud Tes Kislev Hachana, OC girls got actively involved by giving over Tanya workshops. The first workshop, focusing on the beginning of Tanya was given over by Chaya H along with homemade black and white cookies. The Yud Tes Kislev Hachana continued with workshops from Toby L, Rosie H, Sara Perel M, and Liba K. Achdus events continued into Shabbos with a gorgeous In-Shabbos meal made for OC by OC.

On Tes -Yud Kislev we had a workshop and Farbrnegen with Mrs Rosenfeld on bina and learning about the power of understanding. Another delicious In-Shabbos in honour of Yud Daled Kislev was brought to life with Rabbi Winner, an animated speaker engaging in lively and hilarious conversation with lots of toichen and inspiration, ending late into the night.

On Motsei Shabbos OC brought the wedding to life in our own mock wedding! Dressed up and given roles in the wedding we danced and farbrenged with ice cream dessert. 

Camp preparations began with our full day First Aid Course, which taught us all CPR and First Aid, giving us First Aid License Certificates of Level Two. We are now ever more qualified to care for the children coming to camp. The preparations continued in the dorm with girls building the shiurim we will be giving over in camp, designing posters, creating activities, and more. We also had anti-bullying workshops (with speakers ranging from professionals to community mothers) , child safety workshops, and individual staff meetings with Rabbi and Dina Kahn, pumping us full of anticipation for camp.

Wrapping up the end of the semester with our OC run community programs, the Mishmor Roshes Musya G and Chaya H threw a barbeque for the final Mishmor learning class and getting ready for next semester.

In class, we had a community member and life coach Mrs. Neparstek come speak to us in an engaging presentation on who we are as people and the importance of self-made boundaries and self-esteem. We also were privileged to have the Shlucha Mrs. Malki Rodal, RARA (Rural and Regional Australia) Shlucha come and speak to us about her unique lifestyle and shlichus, sharing inspiring and amazing stories with the conversation ending well after class ended

Our amazing Ruchnius director threw the whole OC a pool party at her home where we could enjoy the gorgeous summer warmth and the pool. By Rebbe time we learned the Niggun of Arba Bavos, accompanied with an orchestra to help us learn it. We also had a Glow In The Dark Dance Party!

The special day of Yud Tes Kislev was made into a whole day event, with all of our classes focusing on learning about the Yom Tov, going into a beautifully set up Seudah and the OC girls Farbrenged for more than an hour before the guest speakers Rabbi and Rebbetzin Greenbaum Shluchim in Moorabin in the form of Q and A. The Farbrengen developed into personal discussions and interactive conversations, with girls voicing their questions and opinions on many different topics. And finally, we had the Hachana winner raffle! After a nail-biting, nerve-wracking raffle the winners…with the grand prize of a trip to Cains in Northern Australia are…….Chaya H and Sara B!!!

Classes ended for Chanukah a few days before camp, before camp hustle and bustle continued with late night meetings, blasting music, dorm girls cutting and pasting and much more. All of the CGI staff were invited to the Chabad Youth building on Shabbos before camp for an achdus get to know you kiddush. Almost all the staff have driven up to camp towards the end of Chanukah and the summer begins! 

This Chanukah OC made the party of the year. We invited the Merkos girls and the year 12s, who will be joining us in January. We had delicious food and amazing Moroccan doughnuts which were made by some of the girls. There was an amazing energetic dance party as well as a Chanukah photo booth. It was really nice to see the girls come together and get to know each other before moving in and going to camp. 

On Thursday night our amazing Dorm Counsellors, Shifra and Chayale made a Chanukah program with delicious hot chips and pizza. They also organised a funny yet emotional video of our parents wishing us a happy Chanukah. During the video, parents had given some incredible lessons and Torah wisdom about Chanukah. Overall this Chanukah has been one of the most uplifting and inspiring and we now look forward to the incredible experience of overnight Camp Gan Yisroel in Australia! 


Chodesh Cheshvan Report
By Chaya H.

The OC girls really brought all the inspiration we received over TIshrei in Melbourne into the month of Chesvan. To start, we relocated our learning center from our beloved 99 Hotham Street over to Beller House. Guess what? We're on top of the most delicious bakeryp0 in town. Class time is always filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and desserts.

We had a huge variety of inspirational and motivational speakers throughout Cheshvan. Rabbi R Cooper came to our sem to give us a relevant Q and A about Shlichus with youth and we got very involved in the discussion, opening up new gates into a life of Shlichus. We heard the most inspiring, jaw-dropping story of Mrs. Ben Shabbat and her return to Yiddishkeit with the direct help of the Rebbe. Her story brought tears and gasps to everyone with her moving words and she was open to all our questions.

We also merited to have the Rebbe's personal secretary Rabbi Yudel Krinsky come to our dorm to talk to us about what it was like to live alongside the Rebbe and he showed us what a true connection to the Rebbe means. He shared with us many personal stories involving the Rebbe and Rebbetzin that we had never heard before. Needless to say, it was captivating and one of our own OC girls, Rivki S, wrote an article about it that was posted on COLlive (if you haven't read it yet you're missing out). Rabbi Y Barber (father to a future OC girl) gave us a glimpse into the light of a Dayan on the Beis Din and answered all our questions. He also later came to farbreng with us at our dorm. The mother or our Ruchniyus director Mrs N Kornhauser came to share with us her inspiring life story after a delicious In-Shabbos meal cooked for OC by OC, cause nothing is better than Mommy's recipies. In honor of Chof Cheshvan our amazing Bayis Yehudi teacher Mrs. C. Blesofsky came to the dorm to farbreng with us about the Yom Tov that went late into the night, with stories and personal discussions. 

This last Thursday night Rabbi Tenenbaum brought the Kinus Hashluchim to us with his farbrengen that included stories, mashalim, engaging discussions about the importance of Shlichus and being connected to the Rebbe. By the end of his farbrengen we had all taken on new Hachlatas to continue to carry on the inspiration we received. We also had the zchus of hearing Rabbi P. Ash speak about his personal account of the Rebbe's heart attack 40 years ago and his personal stories with the Rebbe that moved us all to tears and laughs. 

At the dorm we had many Rebbe times at night where we learned songs, shared poems on Slam Poetry night, and learned about our neshama-always with delicious food for thought. We also had a project where we were divided into teams and given different countries to call the Shluchim for interviews and present it to the rest of OC in a fun way. Each group dressed up like their country and made a food from their country. (Congratulations to the winning country-China!) 

In class we rotated our Chavrusa partners to be able to learn bichavrusa with a fresh face and new perspectives, delving into learning on our own. We also are all very excited for our presentation to be given in our Shlichus class with Rabbi Blesofsky where groups were given different topics about life on Shlichus to be presented to the class in a creative way.

We also went on a weekend Shabbaton to the beautiful Flinders National Park in the mountains with a breathtaking view of the mountains and lots of Kangaroos hopping about. We got there early Friday and had different activities to choose from, between a giant bungee swing over the mountainside, to swimming, to archery. We were joined on the Shabbaton by our beloved dorm mother Mrs. Groner and her family, including her daughter Mrs. M Lisker and her husband Rabbi D. Lisker who farbrenged with the girls Friday night in an engaging conversation that lasted into the early morning. Shabbos day started with Chassidus with Rabbi Lisker who delved into the deeper meaning behind each of the 12 pesukim. We then had a Shabbos meal with a competition game of Guess the Song, getting everyone even Mrs Groner involved and laughing. Seder niggunim took place outside with a breathtaking view of the sunset over the mountains, with Rebbe stories and heart sung niggunim, leading straight into Havdallah and Grand Master Chef cook off!!!! Rabbi and Mrs Groner had a wonderful time trying all the food with the spot of the judges. We returned to OC Sunday afternoon, after a morning of swimming and relaxing. 

Ending Cheshvan with a beautiful Melavah malka on Motsei Shabbos rosh chodeash Kislev with make your own pizza station, and Sunday evening with the Hachanah program breakout for Yud Tes Kislev which will include farbrengens, chavrusa learning, programs, Chassidus before Davenning, workshops, and so much more. The program continued into a farbrengen with our teacher Rabbi T. Telsner where we heard lively animated stories of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin, followed by a continuation of the farbrengen conducted by the girls along with the singing of niggunim. 

The next day we went on a Rosh Chodesh special trip to Hanging Rock, climbing the mountainside to reach the beautiful view at the top, with a birthday celebration for our OC girl Yetzirah C.

Looking forward to everything the chassidishe month of Kislev has in store for us!

Mazkir Shares Stories at Seminary
By Rivky S, student at Ohel Chana Seminary

Rebbe's Mazkir Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky visited Ohel Chana Seminary in Melbourne and told first-hand encounters with the Rebbe.

Ohel Chana Seminary was honored to have one of the Rebbe’s Mazkirim, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, address the students during his visit to Melbourne on the occasion of his grandson’s wedding. We were very excited and eagerly anticipated hearing first hand from someone who was so close to the Rebbe throughout his entire nesius.

Rabbi Krinsky began his talk with some reflections on his own childhood and upbringing. Born in Boston, Massachusetts into an illustrious family, he and his siblings grew up in a Chassidishe environment under the tutelage of their schochet father and devoted mother.

Rabbi Krinsky first came to New York in 1946 to celebrate Hoshana Rabbah in Crown Heights. He saw the Rebbe for the first time during Tehillim that night in 770. “I was utterly smitten by his aura; I had heard so much about him and instantly realized that here was a very special and incredibly unique human being,” Rabbi Krinsky related.

On Shmini Atzeres night, Rabbi Krinsky was part of a group of bochrim in the upstairs Beis Medrash of 770; the Rebbe and Rebbetzin were on the second floor having Seudas Yom Tov. On his way home at 11.30pm, the Rebbe passed by the Beis Medrash and asked the bochrim whether they had done Hakofas. The Rebbe than proceeded to take off his coat and danced Hakofos with the bochrim till 2.00am. Said Rabbi Krinsky: “I didn’t dare put my hand on the Rebbe’s shoulder, but I wanted so much for him to put his hand on my shoulder. My eyes were continuously fixed on the Rebbe. It was an incredibly exhiliriating experience – indeed we saw many special moments on Simchas Torah throughout the years.”

Rabbi Krinsky recounted the extreme sensitivity shown by the Rebbe and reminisced on his own experiences. While working in the mazkirus one day, Rabbi Krinsky had picked up an extremely heavy carton and hurt his back - he would not be able to go to 770 the next day while he recuperated. That evening he received a call from the Rebbetzin. “How are you feeling?” she asked. “Remember the time last year when you took me to the doctor? Now I will reciprocate – I will make you an appointment and take you there tomorrow”.

Rabbi Krinsky responded that he would indeed go to the doctor but certainly did not want the Rebbetzin to take him. Not to be deterred, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka went along with Rabbi Krinsky to the doctor in New Jersey, where she waited in the lobby of the doctor’s rooms like a mother waiting for her child. The doctor instructed him to walk and sit upright and straight. When the Rebbe saw Rabbi Krinsky some time later, he remarked: “I have always said to go B’derech Hayashar.”

Rabbi Krinsky was responsible for addressing public relations issues and liaison with the press, both locally and internationally. He recalled how very early on, when the press requested a photo for their publication, he brought five photos to the Rebbe for his consideration. The Rebbe responded: “I trust you to choose the photo; just please ensure it’s one with a smile.”

Rabbi Krinsky recounted the challenges Chabad faced after Gimmel Tammuz. The opinion of the press and indeed most of world Jewry was that Lubavitch was going to disintegrate and that the concept of shlichus would fade away. How wrong they were – we see today how Chabad throughout the world is flourishing, Chabad Houses are being established wherever there are Jews, even in the most remote corners of the globe, and hundreds and hundreds of young married couples are yearning and searching for Shlichus opportunities in ever increasing numbers.

And today, Lubavitch is the largest Jewish organization in the world. And growing in leaps and bounds.

Rabbi Krinsky recounted those fearful days in Tishrei when the Rebbe suffered a heart attack at Hafofos on Shmini Atzeres. Even though the Rebbe was under severe stress and in great pain, he nevertheless made sure to finish Hakafos before returning to his room where doctors had gathered. The Rebbe was adamant that he not be taken to hospital but rather be treated in 770. At 5:00 am when the situation worsened and the doctors advocated hospital treatment, the Rebbetzin said that the Rebbe till now has always been in control of every situation, and if the Rebbe has made the decision not to go to hospital this view, now too, must be supported and obeyed.

Late on a Tuesday afternoon in 1990, while driving back from the Ohel, the Rebbe asked Rabbi Krinsky if a coin could be especially minted for Lag B’omer- that Sunday. Throughout the next day, they researched the feasibility of undertaking such an endeavor in so short a time, and discovered that the quickest manufacturer would need at least 30 days to do so, which they subsequently advised the Rebbe. The Rebbe blamed himself for not requesting it earlier. This was enough to dramatically stimulate them into doing whatever was humanely possible to fulfill what was apparently a critically important wish of the Rebbe. We identified the different tasks and stages required to mint coins, and approached the various companies that specialized in each particular component of coin minting. That Friday, only three days from the original request, Rabbi Krinsky advised the Rebbe that on the Sunday morning of Lag B’Omer, 10,000 newly minted coins would be delivered to 770. The Rebbe responded: “I bless you with the peace of mind that you gave me by doing this.”

Said Rabbi Krinsky: “I will never forget those sleepless three days and nights. Ashreinu Ma Tov Chelkenu.”

Rabbi Krinsky enthralled us when he recounted how he went on Merkos Shlichus in 1957 after returning from a shlichus to E’retz Yisroel. Rabbi Chadakov had discussed shidduchim with him and had said that he would put him on a list of bochrim at shidduchim stage. When several names were proposed, Rabbi Krinsky entered yechidus and presented five names to the Rebbe, who indicated his preference for the daughter of a shochet of the Frierdiker Rebbe who only ate from his shechitah. Said Rabbi Krinsky: ”Her older brother was my chaver in Yeshivah, so I knew of the family.” On erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan that year Rabbi Krinsky drove to her home and when she opened the door, they instantly knew it was a “done deal.”

The date of the Tannaim was set for 6 weeks later on Tes Vav Tammuz in Crown Heights. Many out of town family came especially for the occasion, and everything was all organized. That morning, the Rebbe advised the mazkirus that he would go to Gan Yisroel in upstate New York during the day. Rabbi Krinsky was already driving the Rebbe by then for five years, and wasn’t about to give up this highly unusual and unique opportunity. On arrival at the camp, the Rebbe washed with the campers, delivered a Ma’amar and gave out kos shel brocha. They then visited Camp Emunah and eventually returned to New York at 11:30 pm. when the Rebbe davenned Maariv after which Rabbi Krinsky drove the Rebbe home. During the drive, the Rebbe turned to Rabbi Krinsky and said: “Were you not supposed to write Tannaim today? “ The Rebbe then gave Rabbi Krinsky many brachos for his forthcoming marriage. Said Rabbi Krinsky: “I wouldn’t have traded that for anything in my life!”

That summer, after returning from Merkos Shlichus, Rabbi Chadakov called him in and asked Rabbi Krinsky his plans for after his wedding. He replied that he still felt very much like a yeshivah bochur and consequently had no definite plans! Rabbi Chadakov asked him: “Why don’t you join the Rebbe’s mazkirus?”

Rabbi Krinsky assumed that this was coming from the Rebbe, although he did not want to ask him directly. After voicing his willingness without a moments hesitation, Rabbi Chadakov instructed him to report to the office the day after Simchas Torah. Three days later, alone in the office, the intercom to the Rebbe’s room rings. The Rebbe asked Rabbi Krinsky to come into his room where, seated at his desk, the Rebbe is making corrections to a letter in front of him. The Rebbe handed Rabbi Krinsky the letter to type up and told him: “Don’t be confused. Start from the beginning of the letter and type word by word, line by line. You will see that by the time you get to the end of the letter, it all works out.” This was a lifelong lesson for Rabbi Krinsky - if you do things carefully and methodically, step at a time, it will all work out in the end.

Rabbi Krinsky inspired all of us with his personal anecdotes and life lessons he had learnt from the Rebbe. He spoke about the role and power of Jewish women as it is highlighted in the last maamar of Lekutei Torah; being at the end it is reflective of the entire Lekutei Torah.

Rabbi Krinsky concluded by bentching us with strength and determination in our role as Bnos and IY”H Neshei Chabad, and as a foundation for our future roles as the akeres habayis of our homes and families.

All of us at Ohel Chana very much appreciated this wonderful opportunity of spending time with one of the Rebbe’s mazkirim and learning from his guidance and personal experiences.

Chodesh Tishrei Report
By Chaya H.

Tishrei in Melbourne was an uplifting experience all around for Ohel Chana’s students. Throughout the month of Yomim Tovim, girls participated hands-on in Melbourne's celebration of the holy days.

Leading into Tishrei a new project was launched as a Hachana for Vov Tishrei: we were challenged to complete a checklist of things to add to our chassidishe avodah every day. In doing so we read Rebbe letters, learned b’chavrusa, and studied a new chassidic concept every day. This helped to create a strong connection to the Rebbe’s mother and to the namesake of our school. On Vov Tishrei, we gathered together to play a fun trivia game about the life of Rebbetzin Chana, and spent time writing panim.

During Rosh Hashanah, many girls helped out at many shuls and Chabad houses around Melbourne, keeping kids engaged during davening to assist Shluchim in making Rosh Hashanah beautiful.
Before Yom Kippur we joined the Melbourne Jewish community in kapparos in the wee hours of the morning, driving together from the dorm at 4:00-5:00 in the morning to go perform the mitzvah. Then came the holy day of Yom Kippur. In that auspicious time, Ohel Chana seminary once again spread itself out to the far reaches of Melbourne, visiting many different shuls for the yom Kippur service.

Sukkos was a chance for girls to really connect with nearby families. The many festive meals over Yom Tov gave girls an opportunity to see beautiful sukkahs, enjoy delicious food, and share in the joyous atmosphere with our new Melburnian neighbours. The Shabbos afternoon Bnos Chabad Sukkah hop was a hit with all of the young girls in the community, with OC girls joining Beth Rivkah students to gather at different homes and celebrate Sukkos together, with a combination of learning and fun.

On Chol Hamoed, both Beth Rivkah high school students and OC participated in a smashing disco dance party on the rooftop of Chabad youth, complete with a DJ, disco lights, and a great barbeque. OC girls were then treated to a Chol Hamoed trip to Healesville Sanctuary to see the native wildlife of Australia. We got up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas, and gorgeous exotic birds. We then all enjoyed a fantastic meal in the Groner sukkah, followed by a bonfire with a hilarious musical activity. The Bnos activities continued, with OC and Beth Rivkah joining forces to go out on mivtzoyim with their lulavs and esrogs and help others participate in the joy of Yom Tov.

Rounding off the festivities on the night of Simchas Torah was Tahalucha with Beth Rivkah high school and OC girls heading to different Chabad houses as far as an hour’s walk away to spread the Tishrei joy. Their dancing brought spirit and fun to every shul they visited. Afterward, everyone regrouped at the Khans’ home for some delicious food, and then headed to Yeshiva shul for Simchas Torah dancing well into the night

Altogether, Tishrei brought the whole community together in happiness and rejoicing, and brought the OC girls closer to all of Melbourne’s Jews. It was truly a privilege to be able to both tangibly feel and visibly spread the holy joy of Tishrei. On Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan we had a surprise trip to Bounce, (!!!!) a trampoline house with different areas and obstacle courses. It was so much fun!

As a group we were given many different opportunities with many different farbrengeners. We had a Farbrengen with two women from the community who spoke with us about Vov Tishrei and Rebbetzin Chana in the dorm. We also had a Farbrengen in Rabbi Tenennbaum’s home during Chol Hamoed with delicious dessert with guest speaker from Sydney Mrs. S. Althaus about her experience on Shlichus there.

Shabbos Beraishis in the afternoon we had a special farbrengen in the dorm with Rabbi Arenstien from south Africa who inspired us about getting off on a good start to the new year. The following Friday night after an in-Shabbos meal in the dorm (cooked, of course, by the OC girls themselves) we walked together to Rabbi Wolf’s house, one of our teachers who delves into various topics of interest. That fabrengen continued until almost 2 AM, learning a new Niggun and speaking about hiskashrus to the Rebbe. 

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