Seminary Remains Open all Pesach|
Ohel Chana Seminary in Melbourne is remaining open for the
full month of Nissan, holding its first program for students and guests.
night, the 113th birthday of the Rebbe, saw a beautiful Farbrengen take
place in Ohel Chana Seminary in Melbourne, Australia.
The seminary remains open for the entire month of Nissan. Joining the
students who remained in Melbourne for Pesach were many other girls who
are back home for Pesach from other seminaries as well as many
post-seminary girls looking for pre-Pesach inspiration.
The atmosphere was beautiful and all were inspired by special guest speaker Rabbi Aryeh Citron, Rosh Yeshiva L'Smicha in Miami, Florida, and the seminary's dean Rabbi Levy Tenenbaum who came to Fabreng.
Many stories of the Rebbe were shared, focusing on how one must keep the
seminary inspiration going even when out of the regular seminary seder
atmosphere, during Bein Hazemanim. Many interesting and practical ideas
were shared by the older post seminary student on how those currently in
seminary can make the most of every opportunity they have.
Rabbi Citron spoke about the Rebbe’s new Kapital and how we can apply
some of its messages in our lives as Chassidim and Bnos Chabad. He also
related a story he had heard recently from his father of a Yechidus the
Rebbe had with a non Lubavitch bochur in the early years and to whom the
Rebbe was so sensitive to his issue. Rabbi Citron also shared how one
must be so careful when asked by another person for a favour as that
might be the Shlichus of your lifetime and how sensitive we must be to
Rabbi Tenenbaum emphasised that Yud Aleph Nissan is Mazolo Goiver for
all Chassisidim and how the Rebbe always appreciates a Hosafa B’limud
Hatorah as a birthday Matana and that should be a main emphasis of ours
on such an auspicious day.
The Farbrengen went on for a good few hours and all walked away charged
and inspired to make the most of Yom Habhair Yud Aleph Nissan and for
the rest of the year, whether that will be in Ohel Chana, in Melbourne
or any other location around the world
The farbrengen was part of an Ohel Chana initiative known as the Shana
Bais+ Program, facilitating shiurim and farbrengens for girls who have
already returned from seminaries overseas and are currently living in
Chof Bais Shevat
As posted on collive.com
Feb 28, 2015
Special Day at Melbourne Seminary
An Ohel Chana seminary student describes Chof Beis Shevat marked in Melbourne, Australia, with inspiring learning and unity.
By Chana Hirschowitz
Kinus Hashluchos, Chof Beis Shevat: a convention consisting of 48 young women. 48 women powerfully bonding together thousands of miles away from their homes and families in order to actively practice daily the purpose and definition of the Rebbe’s revolutionary vision; Shlichus.
Ohel Chana, Melbourne Australia: a vibrant and devoted seminary institution of the Rebbe that spends every minute living and breathing what the Rebbe wanted and expected from us, “learn an Alef, teach an Alef.” And this is why our chof beis shvat began with a phenomenal mother daughter program in our beautiful dormitory. 80 mothers and daughters from our local Lubavitch primary school, Beth Rivkah Ladies College, including others from all walks of life, bonded and learnt together in honor of the Rebbetzin.
High school girls gathered in our Chabad Youth headquarters, to listen to four very powerful Shluchos, each with individual and different roles in their respective communities. We not only learnt about the complexities and ways in which Shlichus is applied in many different protocols, but rather reinforced that Shlichus does not begin and end with an official title, but rather something we all practice daily as chassidim of the Rebbe, spreading the light of Chassidus. No matter where life takes us, we must try our outmost to take Yidden by their lapel, their collar and being them closer to Yiddishkeit. I am therefore proud and thankful that I was given the opportunity to spend an uplifting chof beis shvat in this vicinity.
Yet like the importance of self-growth and self-motivation that is attained in the kinus hashluchos in New York City, on the Friday prior to chof beis shvat, the 48 of us drove an hour away from our daily distractions to participate in a shabbaton hachana for chof beis shvat in Alexandra, Victoria.
Arriving at our beautiful camp grounds in rural Australia, we opened our weekend with water activities, the flying fox, rock climbing and Shabbos preparations. Beginning in such an enjoyable opening only broadened our hearts and mind to experience the most touching and motivating kaabalas Shabbos. The oneness we felt in our connection between us and Hashem permeated throughout the whole Shabbos, as 48 of us put our arms around each other through Sholom Aleichem, zemiros and most of all the uplifting seder Niggunim soaring high with hachlotas and improvements for the coming year.
Our chaperons, the relatable and motivational Rabbi Shlomo and Chaya Barber, along with our dorm counsellors Mussia and Leah, conducted our weekend allowing us to be fully engrossed in workshops and powerful uplifting farbrengens discussing back and forth both how to work on our challenges that arise during our shlichus as well as improving our techniques in relating to our assigned shlichus areas.
As soon as we got home Sunday evening, we continued to actualise our inspiration. This was accomplished through firstly our weekly Tuesday night hiskashrus shuir with Rabbi Tenenbaum, where we continued to farbreng about how to maintain our hiskashrus with the Rebbe and our connection to our Rebbetzin, as well as daily videos about the Rebbe and Rebbetzin and being well versed into the history of chof beis shvat given over by a shiur with Rabbi Shmzerling.
We then opened chof beis shvat morning with tremendously insightful learning in honour of our Rebbetzin and then proceeded to begin strengthening our hiskashrus by watching a video of those in contact with the Rebbetzin. Thus through this inspiration we began our Shlichus convention banquet. Our convention opened with a motivational, and passionate speech from our very own shlucha of the Rebbe in the North shore of Sydney Australia, Raizel Schapiro, where she opened up to us about the struggles, yet profound sense of accomplishments that her life of Shlichus consists of.
Consequently we did a practical Shlichus activity with Rabbi Blesofsky where we explored with different objects the way in which seemingly random objects have the potential to powerfully interrelate with the complexities of Shlichus. We thus concluded our banquet with a role call which emphasised that despite our relatively small group of 48, we each come not only from many different corners of the world but despite our age, individually contribute to Shlichus and the Rebbe’s work in both different yet unique and tremendously significant ways.
Following a block of learning the Rebbe's Sichos related to chof bais shevat, we had the privilege of listening to the moving, powerful and memorable life story of Mrs Mina Ledeberger and her unbelievable sense of positivity and Mesirus Nefesh she endured despite her challenges.
Our day was then concluded with poignant and motivating farbrengen through the eyes of the powerhouse behind Chabad youth Melbourne, Mrs Dina Kahn. A shlucha that truly dedicates every moment of her life to the Rebbes work and bringing young people, the leaders of the next generations not only closer to Yiddishkeit and but enriched with a passion and appreciation for the Rebbe and Chassidus.
Thus, my chof beis shvat experience in Ohel Chana Melbourne was a powerfully practical insight into the reality and tremendous benefits of Shlichus in our daily lives. Yet despite phenomenal motivation and growth I experienced from my chof beis shvat in Ohel Chana, my insight into the significance of Shlichus was not only as a result of hearing about the various different forms of Shlichus but rather, Hamaaseh Hu Haikar.
Through practically seeing the way in which my contribution to both the Melbourne community as well as Australian Jewry not only profoundly impacts and fulfils the Rebbe’s revolutionary vision, yet even furthermore knowing that the Rebbe believes in me, motivates me every moment to be the Bas Chabad and Shlucha I hope to be.
Start Semester II End Teves 5775
By Shternie W.
The past few
weeks have been beyond incredible, packed with bursts of excitement and
surprises. Hot off the summer camp trail we were lucky enough to be joined by
The Aussies both Melbourne and Sydney as well as the South Africans. Our
excitement and nerves had been building up over the last couple of months,
especially the week’s right before camp. So, when it came time for the girls to
actually arrive we were so ready to welcome them. Boruch Hashem, we had an
incredible run the first half of the year, and although we were not really sure
how the second term would measure up Boruch Hashem it has been just amazing so
far with all of our wonderful additions.
make the transition from summer vacation to school easier, we had a Summer
Learning Program. Our schedule was less intense than a regular day, and we had
different teachers that usual 8:30- 3:30 daily.
Each day, we had a class with Rabbi Winner
on Basi L’gani in order to prepare us for Yud Shvat, as well as a JLI course
given by Rabbi Slavin on Paradigm Shift a look at the Rebbe’s Torah view.
Additionally, we were lucky enough to have special sessions given by Mr. Joel
Gershman, Rabbi Jacks, Mrs Johnson and Rabbi Greenbaum as well as a serious of
workshops by Leah on making the most of Seminary. Mr. Gershmans class was on
communicational skills, and Rabbi Greenbaums class was on the progression of
Halacha. Rabbi Jacks on Simcha and Mrs Johnson on healthy eating. We truly
enjoyed being exposed to different topics and gaining the knowledge they contained.
the Summer Program, we were lucky enough to go on a Rosh Chodesh boating trip
at Frankston beach. The weather was perfect, and the scenery was out of a
magazine. It was so nice to spend time with the new girls and get to know them.
That Thursday Chof Daled Teves, Moshe Feiglin came and farbrenged with us. He
offered us incredible insights into how we should do with our struggles, and
how to better ourselves, in order for us to serve Hashem better. After he left,
we were so inspired and moved that we were up till 3 am singing Niggunim and
sharing personal insights and stories. It was seriously a beautiful site.
up to Yud Shvat, Leah, prepared a beautiful Hachanah program. Each day there
were Rebbe videos, lunch and learns, and befitting checklists for us to follow.
The Shabbos before Yud Shvat was an In Shabbos. As usual, the food was
incredible and the Ruchnius was inspiring. Between Mrs. Winners farbrengan
about keeping our connection to the Rebbe strong, the learning, and Seder
Niggunum we all left Shabbos on a high.
week we started regular schedule. We found out our classes, who our teachers
were and then dived right in. However, on Wednesday we were lucky enough to
have a full day trip down Great Ocean Road all the way until the 12 apostles.
The view was so so beautiful, and really made us realize how AMAZING hashem is.
Thursday night Yud Shevat, our weekly farbrengan was led by our very own Rabbi
Tenenbaum. We talked about Hiskashrus, and heard incredible Rebbe stories. The
Farbrengen really allowed our minds to open up for Yud Shvat. On Friday our Yud
Shvat program continued. We had Rabbi Guary from Sydney, Rabbi Winner and Rabbi
Lipsker address us about varoious aspects of Yud Shevat and Bosi Legani. We
then learnt about Panim, and were given time to write our own to be sent to the
Ohel. After school we all set out with our new partners on our mivtzoim to the various
we had a surprise guest speaker. Rabbi D Eliezrie is a Shliach in California,
and offered his expert advice on Shlichus, and the Rebbes views on the matter.
He explained to us why Chabad, and specifically Shluchim are so successful. He
really got the blood flowing in our brains, and the pride pumping in our
hearts. We asked lots of questions and debated many of the Shlichus issues on
our minds. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store.
End Cheshvan and Full Kislev Report
By Shternie W.
Wow! It’s been an incredibly busy
few weeks here in OC, but oh so enjoyable! Our schedules have been packed with
extra farbrengens, gatherings, and speakers.
We were so lucky to have Rabbi
Chaim Tzvi Groner join us in a Chof Cheshvan farbrengen. He exudes total and
complete love and excitement for yiddishkeit and it made the farbrengen on
Moshiach so uplifting. Boruch Hashem we were lucky to have had the honour to
partake in a birthday farbrengen lead by our very own Chani T. It was so
beautiful to get together, just us, and get inspired from each other. That week
we also attended the Beth Rivkah Year 12 graduation. It felt great to go and
show our support to our future fellow peers.
In honor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Rabbi M Shmerling, our Yomim Tovim teacher came to farbreng with us. He spoke
about an array of topics, but focused on his personal experiences with the
Rebbe. Hearing personal encounters make it more alive and real to us, and we
were deeply engrossed in the stories. Leah, our incredible DC, program director,
mommy, teacher, friend, inspiration, farbrengener, and cook prepared an amazing
hachana program for yud tes kislev. We had lunch and learns on Sundays, and
loved to attend them, and, it wasn’t just for the delicious homemade food that
Mrs. Groner generously cooked and baked for us.
Mrs Wonder, a beloved teacher in
Beth Rivkah came and farbrenged with us. She stressed the importance of our
roles as women in our children’s lives. She showed us that we must take the
time now to set our standards, as we won’t just wake up and magically have
perfect children. We need to lead by true example, and the time to start is
right now. She really reached us by being practical and honest. The blood was
surly flowing in our brains by the time she left.
Mrs Pollack, another dedicated and
wonderful teacher in Beth Rivkah came to speak to us during class hours for an
incredible class on Shmiras Haloshon. She has us sitting at the edge of our
seats from all the incredible sources she was bringing in to prove what happens
when we talk nicely, and god forbid the opposite. Extra classes like this one
with Mrs. Pollack always leave lasting impressions on us. They offer us
practical insights in integral topics that affect us daily.
Camp prep has been in full swing.
We were thank god provided with such incredible training lessons. We were given
life guarding and first aid courses, sessions on bullying, abuse, security
risks, and emergency procedures. The training required lots of hours but was
really incredible and informative. The task of having class, camp prep and all
the extra programs was intense, but extremely rewarding. Leah planned a
beautiful challah baking session at her house. For some it was their first time
making challah from scratch, and it was beautiful to say the Bracha together.
In honor of Tes- Yud Kislev, we had
our very own Rabbi Tenenbaum come and farbreng with us. He had spent time in
New York for the Kinus Hashluchim the week before, and shared the inspiration
he acquired with us. We did a beautiful exercise that required us to go through
the Hayom Yoms of that week. As we read each day we really focused and zoned in
on what message it was giving us. Additionally Rabbi Tenenbaum told us many
incredible Rebbe stories, ones that are relatively modern and rich in meaning.
For the last in Shabbos of this
half of the year we hosted Rabbi and Rebbetzin Telsner. They really enhanced
our Shabbos table by sharing insights to the Parsha. The theme of the in
Shabbos was overcoming struggles, whether they are big or small. The food was
delicious and the program was informative and fun. It was so nice to spend a
full Shabbos together. It was bittersweet. We are so looking forward to our new
friends coming and joining, but we have had a great run and we will miss the
We finished classed last week. Time
really passes by before you even know it. We ended of the first term with
presentations for our Practical Shlichus class. We were divided into groups on
various shlichus topics and instructed to present our work. Girls got really
creative in how they presented. There were videos, plays, songs, and games. It
wasn’t just interesting but also fun. We had to say good bye to some amazing
teachers, but we are looking forward to meeting our new teachers and re-joining
with our old. We also had our last bnos and mishmor. It was sad to say good bye
to the kids that we built connections with, but comforting to know that we
still have until June with them.
Yud Tes Kislev in OC was
INCREDIBLE!! We started it of the right way with a special Seudah. Everyone got
dresses in nice clothing and sat down together to eat. Two girls got up and
spoke about why they love and feel connected to chassidus. We were later joined
by Josh Goldhirsh who talked extremely candidly about his connection to chassidus
and the Rebbe. The next day, we had a workshop with Leah about how Chassidus is
like a lense, it isn’t different from mainstream Torah but rather helps us see
Rabbi Gluckowsky from Israel came
and inspired. He gave us the inspiration for camp by explaining that he is the
person he is today because of camp. He stresses how big of a responsibility we
have and that we have to have confidence and then we will succeed. That evening
Chof Kislev we had a farbrengen with Rabbi Johnson. It was incredible to be
able to have such an in-depth discussion on how to apply Chassidus to our lives.
Lots of girls had questions and he took the time to answer them till the point
of satisfaction. On Friday, Chof Kislev we had a program in OCLC with Leah. We
munched on delicious pastries, and had group presentations which was done in a
vert artsy way. Additionally, Rabbi Masinter from South Africa empowered us
with his outlook on chassidus and how special Tanya and all practical chassidus
On Shabbos day we had a camp Shabbos
lunch with all the staff. It was beautiful to be together, and meet all the
people we will be working with. Today erev Chanukah we had a pre chanuka
party hosted at the Groners. We had latkes, homemade pizza, salads, pasta, ice
cream and so much more. We received our first Chanukah gelt from Rabbi Tenenbaum.
It was so nice to get to enjoy delicious food in the beautiful sunshine. Things
have been crazy with camp the past week. The dorm is flying, but boruch hashem
only for good things. We leave to camp in just a few hours, and the excitement
in palpable. First semester has flown by, but we cant wait to see whats
in store for us next Semester!!
First Half Chodesh Cheshvan
By Shternie W.
when Yom Tov affairs were starting to wind down, we were busy again. The
Shabbos Project took Melbourne by storm, and we were at the forefront helping
out. On the days leading up to it, girls
went on Mivztoim to raise awareness, walked around malls wearing bright yellow
Shabbat Project T-shirts, and handed out pamphlets. On Thursday we helped 3,000
women bake challah, together, in one room. Just mind-blowing. That week we had
an in Shabbos, we created our own Mini Shabbat project. We delved deeper into
the meaning of Shabbos, and learnt how we can keep it to the best ability.
Thursday night and Friday afternoon were spent cooking for it. The food was
delicious and the program was fun and had so much to offer. That week we hosted
Rabbi Divries and family at our monthly In- Shabbos. He runs Birthright
programs and has a very diverse and interesting background. He talked about how
he became religious and shared with us his love for the Rebbe and Chassidus. We
learnt a lot and were really inspired. We also took on a hachlata that pertains
to Shabbos. Such as not applying makeup, lighting before the 18 minutes, etc
. That Motzei Shabbos, we all trammed up
to a nearby park to join a few thousand fellow Jews for a beautiful Havdalah
concert and fireworks event. We sang and danced in unison. The Jewish pride was
tangible. It was a night that will forever be etched within us.
The next day, we took a trip with Mishpacha
Groner. We divided ourselves amongst a few cars, and drove to a kangaroo
reserve in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. We all squealed with delight at the
sight of the Kangaroos. It was so enjoyable to be out in gorgeous nature like
that. We played Aussie footy, and were treated to a delicious BBQ. We all loved
checking seeing kangaroos off our bucket list (It made up for being let down
that they don’t just roam the streets). Later on in the week a majority of us
trekked by tram to the Australian Red Cross to donate blood. It felt good to do
such a special Mitzva and help out people in dire need. The next week a girl
went back to donate, and when she got there the clerk mentioned that she
remembers that she was there the week before with a large group of teenage
girls, and she was so impressed by their respect and behaviour. It reminded us that even when doing the most
mundane things we can have a positive effect. We made a Kiddush hashem, and we
know we gave the Rebbe much nachas. Additionally, that week we had a panel of
women from the Jewish community come in for a 2 hour discussion during
afternoon classes. We got to hear the perspective and ways other sects of Jews.
We got a glimpse into the lives of the Litvish community, as well as the
Mizrachi community. It was amazing to see how diverse Judaism is yet at the end
of the day we share a special common ground. Torah and Hashem.
of our special farbrengens was hosted by Rabbi Winner. His humour and wit
opened up our minds and made us receptive to all he had to offer. He encouraged
us to take upon a hachlata, and always expect more from ourselves. We left
wanting to do more and be better.
past Friday we piled onto the charter bus and off we went to a cabin tucked
away in Creswick, about 2 hours out of Melbourne. When we got there we were
blown away by the beauty. The cabins were clean, cows and goats were roaming,
and ducks were gliding through the lake. As soon as we got there, the program
was in full force. The theme of the Shabbaton was “I see with OC”. It was all
about paradigm shifts. The goal was to show how when looking at life and Torah
through the Chassidic lens you will reach maximum results. Right when we got there Leah started with a
beautiful activity. She had printed out gorgeous picture of nature, buildings,
bubbles, and animals amongst other things. She then told each girl to take a
picture that spoke to them and connect to a concept in Chassidus, or Torah. It
was amazing to see how each girl really has a unique mind and has so much to
offer. We came to realize that even the most mundane thing, such as someone
blowing a bubble can be connected to a concept in Torah. The rest of the day
was filled with other activities, and we were treated to a delicious pre
Shabbos snack. As we were preparing for Shabbos, Rabbi Wolf and his wonderful
family arrived to spend the Shabbos with us. Rabbi Wolfs class is one that we
all look forward to, and we were so excited to spend Shabbos with him, and see
all that he had to offer.
After candle lighting we headed outside for a pre
davening meditation session with the Rabbi. He really gave us a new perspective
of the paragraphs we were about to utter. We then went inside and davened
together, while the Rabbi davened outside. Up next was the meal. The food was
prepared by a caterer that came along. It was delicious and made Shabbos feel
special. The meal was beautiful. Girls said Dvar Torahs and stories. We then
sang traditional Shabbos songs, and heard a few words from Rabbi Wolf. After
the meal we had an incredible farbrengen with Rabbi Wolf. We asked questions,
challenged ideas, and took upon hachlatas. Before we knew it, it was 3 am. We
bade each other good night and went to sleep. The next morning, we had
breakfast and chassidus before davening. Rabbi Wolf taught the daily Tanya
portion with an incredible twist. We were able to see concepts which we had
known for years in a whole new light. We then went off and davened alone. We
all found a comfortable spot to settle in. Some sat amongst the tress, some by
the lake, and others on a comfortable couch inside. Again we had a beautiful
meal followed by a Q&A session with Rabbi and Rebbetzin Wolf. That led into
Sholosh Seudos, and seder niggunim. We played a few more games, shared some
more stories and then ended Shabbos with a heartfelt havdalah and Rebbe living Torah
video. After Shabbos the fun and games began! We turned on music and started
dancing!! By that time we were all hungry again (not) and sure enough we were
fed a delicious spread. After we ate we headed back to our rooms to change into
sneakers for our night hike. We took our flash lights and followed the guide
into the woods. It was pitch dark, yet we lit up the forests with our tunes. We
sang the 12 possukim, and other melodies. It was simply beautiful. We went back to the dining hall and had a
hilarious game of “Minute to Win It”. After that we settled down by the fire
and made smores. We enjoyed the sticky marshmallows while Rabbi Wolf warmed our
insides with his insights and Chassidishe stories. We talked and enjoyed being
together till it was late, and then we headed to bed.
The next morning we woke
up, had breakfast, chassidus , davened, and then went canoeing and swimming in
the lake. The sun was out shining and we enjoyed immensely. After that we ate
lunch, explored a little more, took one last jump on the trampoline, packed up,
and headed back onto the bus to our next stop. On the way back to Melbourne we
stopped for bushwalk, the Aussie version of a nature walk. Now we felt like
real Aussies, all we needed was the accent. Along the trail we stopped for
games and snacks. We all got into a circle and discussed what we can take upon
ourselves as a group to maximise all that we can gain. We continued on the hike
while singing niggunim, the 12 possukim, and other Jewish songs. It was amazing
to know that we were elevating a place for the very first time. To say a bracha
under those trees felt special. Once back on the bus the amazing weekend hit
us. We had an incredible time in all aspects, and the achdus that we exhibited