Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Chodesh Kislev
By Chani M.


Kislev was a real busy month, with camp making a beeline for us it was really packed! On Rosh Chodesh Rabbi P. Ash spoke about his memories of 770 and the Rebbe in the time of the Rebbes heart attack. His vivid descriptions and fascinating stories really gave us a taste of what it must have been like actually being in 770 during those years.

That evening Mrs. Broh, our Mamor teacher, Farbrenged with us on the concept of Bitachon and Emunah. It was really nice to have a woman for a change because we spent a lot of time singing Niggunim and it was beautiful.

 

With the Kinus Hashluchim going on in Crown Heights we filled in the classes with pre camp training sessions and highlight classes. Mrs. Tenenbaum gave us a Parshah class and no one in the classroom wanted to move when she finished. We could’ve sat there for another hour, her knowledge is amazing and it was an amazing class.  All of our teachers came back to Aussie sharing us beautiful stories from the Kinus. Rabbi Mendy Groner from Chabad of Glen Eira gave us an inspiring recap of farbrengen, speeches etc. at the Kinus.

 

We got off class one evening to see the song and dance put on by the high school. It was an incredible performance and the girls were so excited that we came to support them. 

 

Shabbos Tes-Yud Kislev before camp we had a homey IN Shabbos and Rabbi Wolf joined us. We Farbrenged about being role models even if we don't feel like we reach the standards we are giving over. We also farbrengened about what it means to be a chossid and how we can truly be the most impactful over the summer. The farbrengen really helped girls feel confident in the spiritual department and giving over good values to the girls and continued weel into the early hours of the morning

Shabbos day we had a big meal with all of the staff going up to camp. There was delicious food and we all talked about what we wanted to accomplish over the summer. The meal was led by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Moshe and Dina Kahn

 

Rabbi Tenenbaum gave the last Farbrengen on Yud Daled Kislev as an end to the semester. We heard stories and dwelled on what it means to internalize. As always it was a night of inspiration with actionalization.

 

Camp is seriously a highlight of the year and a lot of credit is due to the wonderful courses and knowledge gained. Being an overnight counselor may seem daunting but with all the prep we really felt prepared. We had courses on dealing with emotional physical and spiritual matters. We all got certified with first aid and felt very ready for any emergency. The courses were full of creative approaches and really applicable information.  A new vibe washed over us as camp approached, everyone started packing supplies and making posters.

 

We had a final meeting after our last class, where we were congratulated on an amazing first half of learning and growing. We got delicious doughnuts as a pre Chanukah treat. The girls who had never missed a class were announced and given a choice of a Sefer that they get to keep. We had a Pre- Chanukah party before camp at Mrs. Groner's house. She made latkes and we had a DELISH barby. It was Etty's final program because she was our activity director only first half. There was a super cute photo booth and then we all got a shock when we watched a video of our parents wishing us a happy Chanukah. The room was filled with mixed emotions of embarrassment, love, laughter and tears. We got Chanukah Gelt from Rabbi T. and played a fun dreidel game with a spin.

 

Right after Shabbos we left to camp early in the morning. Arriving in camp we set up and decorated the camp site. We ended the night in an uplifting farbrengen focused on our power and on what Yud Kislev means to us as Chabad girls.

The campers arrived the next day and we greeted them with excitement and energy. Yud tes Kislev was the perfect day to start camp, being a Chabad camp yud tes Kislev is the day we revisit our appreciation for Chassidus. Our theme was Blast from the Past, focusing on amazing things people in our rich past have given to us and how powerful this Era is!

 

High school camp is smaller and has this heimesh, special vibe. The second the girls got off the bus we became role models, mommy’s, friends and caregivers. The experience of working with high school girls is one of a kind. Every day we gave shuir, ran activities, made sure the girls were happy in every area. The food was super good and we got free canteen! There's nothing better than going to sleep and knowing that all the kids under your care went to bed with a smile on their face. Being in camp, and being thrown into these intense role model positions helped us realize how much we know, and how much we have. We spent nights talking and farbrengening with the girls, laughing and singing with them.

When Chanukah came around a week into to camp we all thought it would be super weird. Chanukah in camp was so cool and so warm. We really felt like a little family up in high school camp and sang the Chanukah songs with passion and vigor. Every night of Chanukah we danced around the Menorah and had special Chanukah activities. We had a latke MasterChef, a Chanukah staff play and much much more. Every second of camp was packed beyond words!  As fun as it was it was also inspiring and uplifting. To see girls with such a quench for Judaism is miraculous and seriously fascinating. We went on fun trips and felt taken care of and appreciated. The director was always there for us and we ended every day with meetings and support. Every day we got little thing and a cute note with a little gift as a thank you. In truth it was a solid two weeks, with strong feelings of pride and strength in Judaism and maturity. Everyone says it's the highlight of seminary and it seriously is. High school camp didn't just change campers but it changed every counselor there. Although short, it was a bitter farewell.

 

After camp we had time off and most girls went to Sydney. We stayed at wonderful families and got to see the views and the beauty Sydney has to offer. Hashem truly created an incredible world. Coming back to Seminary was such a great feeling. It felt a like coming home. We had a Farbrengen the night we got back with Rabbi Eli Feldman from Sydney. We talked about the Rebbe and how Hey Teves really is a significant part of the growth of Lubavitch, how it really was a fight for the movement we are so happily a part of. The Rebbe fought for the books not to have them but for us to learn them. So we do!




Chodesh Cheshvan
By Chani M.

 

Hanging Rock this Rosh Chodesh was the perfect start to the busy month of Cheshvan. We took a bus early in the morning, we came to Hanging rock prepared with our sneakers and our walking sticks we trudged up the mountain only to discover that the path involved some serious climbing on massive rocks. The views where breath taking and everyone enjoyed climbing up the rocks profusely. It was a real moment just sitting on top of the rocks and looking at Hashem’s beautiful handiwork.

We went to the Beth Rivkah graduation to support our future OC members. It was exciting to watch them graduate and we are all looking forward to them joining us in January.

Classes this month where exceptional! We ended off our 5 week session with Mrs. Lisker. We enjoyed her sessions very much and ended off on the importance of being strong in our feminine Chassidishe values and this will help our futures, she also stressed the importance of having good direction for big and small decisions. We then picked up on Bayis Yehudi classes with Mrs Blesofsky. We started learning about the actions of a Chabad Jewish woman.

While some of our teachers were at the Kinus Hashluchim we had some very interesting substitutes. We had a 2 session class with Rabbi Jedwab on Inyonim in Chumash. He expounded on the topic of Yosef and Potifars wife. Both sessions gave us a great insight on how to learn torah. Rabbi Lang also gave 2 sessions on a Chanukah Maamer that we profusely enjoyed. The Mammaer was eye opening and full of incredible insights on Chanukah. Rabbi DL Shmerling gave a 3 session course on creativity. His classes where both interactive and packed with useful tips for us to use. We split up into groups and had a gained real tools to use on how to get creative juices flowing.

Rabbi Winner gave an enthusiastic Farbrengen, He took a real interest in each girl and spoke about the power we each have in ourselves to make the decision to learn and really internalize. He suggested all write inspirational journals to help us remember the things that inspire us. He spoke about the great Mashpia Rabbi Zweibel Z”L and we got a real insight on the intelligence he had. Everyone gained and enjoyed the Farbrengen.

Mrs. Ben Shabbat Farbrenged with us and as always we enjoy having woman Farbrengen because singing niggunim is always nice. She told us about her life story, which is truly an eventful tale. Full of twists, Mrs. Ben Shabbats story is a reminder that Hashem runs everything, that the Rebbe is involved in every step of our life and wants us to reach out and connect. We always enjoy speaking to Mrs. Shabbat whether it be her house for a Shabbos meal or by a Farbrengen, she is a real source of inspiration.

Rabbi Blesofsky Farbrenged Sunday night, Chof Cheshvan. He was leaving to the Kinus the following day. We Farbrenged about the concept of Chassidim going to see their Rebbe and what it means to be Mekusher. It was an awesome Farbrengen. Rabbi Blesofsky was as always super great, with stories and jokes to keep us alert and interested.

We had wonderful guest speakers this month. Mrs. S Althaus from Sydney taught about Hiskashrus with the Rebbe. She is super passionate and she gave over helpful tips for us to increase and build our connection with the Rebbe. She gave hints from the word Hiskashrus that can help us remember the best way to connect to our Rebbe. She said stories that where mind blowing and really showed the power of being connected.  

Rabbi D. Rahmani is the founder of Back To Basics Sichos. Everyone was looking forward to having a session with the rabbi who created the magnificent books that we learn from during Chavrusa. We got a history of how the idea came about and how it turned from a program made just for Yeshiva school to sending it out to schools all over the world. Eventually they realized the power of the idea and the pamphlets turned into a book. Rabbi Rahmani showed us how to use the books to their fullest potential. Since his class Chavrusa has really been a time where girls have been using the book to learn real skills to learn Sichos on their own.

Mr. David Werdiger gave a class on public speaking. He was a great role model and showed us how tone, words, eye contact, presence, and body language are all key roles in public speaking. He prepared us for any public venture we might find ourselves in throughout our lives.

The theme of this month In Shabbos my essence. The whole dining hall was set up as a boat with blue walls and fish, totally transformed into a Teivah for Parshas Noach.  We played a super fun games and enjoyed Dvar Torahs prepared by our seminary mates. Rabbi Jacks spoke about the Parsha and how Noachs story really relates to us. Emunah and Bitachn are both things that we can truly have in our day to day life. Rabbi Jacks spoke very practically and we enjoyed him late into Shabbos night. 

Shabbaton at Flinders was awesome! We stayed in beautiful cabins. It was super special because there was 35 beds in the room so Achdus was truly felt the whole Shabbos. The camp site had wild kangaroos and the lookout was an image of mountains that seemed endless. On Friday we went swimming and jumped on a super fun trampoline. We got ready for Shabbos and enjoyed delicious catered food. The Devreis family joined us as well as Rabbi Tenenbaum and his family. We played games all Shabbos and enjoyed the warm weather. Rabbi Y Devreis Farbrenged till very late Friday night, he was full of energy and inspiration. He talked about how everything we do has an effect whether we see it or not. Being that he worked in Mayanot for many years he told us mind blowing stories from his experiences and he was super entertaining!

Rabbi Tenenbaum gave a Chassidus shiur early Shabbos morning about chitzonios and penimios. It was a great start to Shabbos day. Mrs. Devries Farbrenged Shabbos day. She told us about her unbelievable life story and the events that led her up to where she is now. She was extremely pleasant to Farbrengen with and girls sat with her all Shabbos day and enjoyed speaking to her about everything under the sun.

Mrs. Tenenbaum gave a shiur on Midrash Shabbos afternoon. We learnt about all the different types of Midrash and about how the goal for us is to look at them and take lessons from them. She gave a great Shuir and we gladly listened to her wisdom. We ended Shabbos with uplifting Seder Nigunim and stories of the Rabbaim.

Motzei Shabbos we had a game of pass the parcel and following that a grand Hachlata auction. It was a great way to internalize all the things we Farbrenged about all Shabbos. It was a fabulous night packed with fun and growth.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a breakfast buffet with fresh doughnuts and fruit as well as many other foods. It was an uplifting, inspiring weekend and we thank both families for adding so much to the experience.

The teen challah baker was a real highlight this month. We all got t-shirts and set out to help the event happen! There was hundreds of teens in the town hall all excited to make challah for Shabbos. There was an incredible sense of unity and the dancing topped off the event, making it a truly memorable night. 

CGI Summer Camp is coming up and all month we’ve been having intense training sessions. Each one being packed with information that is incredibly helpful. We started off our sessions with an 8 hour CPR course. Though long, it was full of knowledge and it was a great day of life skill learning. We had a session of emergency plans, emotional health, spiritual health and physical health. We feel prepared for any obstacles that may be thrown at us over camp. We has sessions on how to lift up a camper to be a leader, how to deal and prevent bullying. We role played and spent time listening to real life stories and situations, all the session help us feel like we can truly give each child a most memorable camp experience. Thank you to all the incredible people from different organizations, showing us how it is so possible for us to make a change.

The Jewish Task force against family violence came and gave an eye opening performance about family abuse. It was incredibly heart wrenching and shook many to the core. We were very eager to talk about the red flags when dating and the way to help someone close to you, if ever needed Chas Vesholom.

We also had a course on how to identify a child might be in a not such positive situation. A great woman came and did a workshop on disclosure, bullying and creating growing, happy, safe environments for children in camp.

We had constant CONNECT sessions with Etty in the dorm following night classes . Each one started off with inspiring information on a relevant topic and ended off with a Rebbe video. It’s always nice to end off a long day with a treat and extra learning. Thank you Etty! We ended off the month with a Rosh Chodesh Kislev Hachana program and everyone is excited to complete the entire booklet in the weeks to come.




Chodesh Tishrei
By Lyba P.

Here we are at the end of another month at Ohel Chana! This month of Tishrei has been unlike any experienced by our group in the past. Chodesh Tishrei is unique in the fact that it is begun with the holiest of atmospheres; that of the Yom Tov, Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah, a usually special day in its own right, was only made that much more beautiful by the superb davening services of the multitude of Shuls available, the amount of programs we were able to be involved with in various Chabad Houses, and the inspiring afternoons meeting with high school girls to walk to neighbourhood nursing homes on mivtzoim. On Thursday, we were treated to a Farbrengen with Leah Groner, who shattered any illusions we might have had about the term “Bittul” and through a sicha of the Rebbe helped us see what exactly this highest of Avodos really means for us.

Then, at the end of the already packed week, we were invited to Dina and Moshe Kahn’s home for a special Friday night Vov Tishrei Dinner where they not only made us feel welcome, but really helped us understand our roles better in the community, and filled us with excitement for the rest of the year with them. As the meal progressed, we Farbrenged with them on the power we have as role models and on not only the impact we can have, but all there is to be gained. Then Shabbos Day was another much awaited In-Shabbos with Aishes Chayil as the theme, in honour of Vov Tishrei, and the whole of Beth Rivkah’s Year 12 as our Shabbos guests. It was a meal that was unforgettable in nature. The outpouring of spiritual inspiration didn’t end there, for we were not only involved in a high school wide program highlighting the importance of Vov Tishrei and Rebbetzin Chana, but we were treated to Mrs. Paltiel, a cousin with a personal connection to the Rebbetzin, coming to speak to us about her relationship and Rebbetzin Chana as both a figure in the history of Chabad and an amazing woman, using her own personal letters and pictures from the Rebbetzin to illustrate her point. The sight of so many never before seen treasures really left a mark on us. I doubt the date of Vov Tishrei has ever been as significant to any girl in the seminary, especially with the culmination of our Vov Tishrei Hachana in honour of the Rebbetzin’s Yahrzeit, a truly and meaningful and memorable to personally celebrate the date, and how appropriate, as it is Ohel Chana after all.

This led us straight into Yom Kippur, a day automatically elevated beyond any other, but the experience of it in the dorm with all of your classmates and friends around you, encouraging each other and supporting each other, attending shul from all hours of the day, was an experience that truly connected helped you connect to the importance and significance of the day. Later that week we had another inspirational Farbrengen with our dorm counsellors, Perel and  Rochel Leah, and our program director, Etty, in honour of Yud Gimmel Tishrei, the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash, where we discussed practically the topic of Lehatchila Ariber, To jump over our obstacles. Next Shabbos found us all invited to the Ben-Shabbat household, where we were astounded by their amazing life’s journey to Melbourne, Australia, all the way from the heart of secular Texas. Theirs is a story of faith, of understanding, and of trust in the Rebbe and in Hashem. It touched us all.

Finally came the Chag of Succos, where the rain did nothing to dampen the spirit of the community of Melbourne throwing open their doors to hold girls, some for multiple meals! Their warmth and kindness helped us truly feel the atmosphere of Succos, and though our families were missed, I doubt any would have traded the experience for anything. The first day of Chol Hamoed was marked with a community wide afternoon at Luna Park, where with Chabad Youth we ran the booths, played games, did Mivtza Lulav and still had time to go over the park ourselves afterwards. To see the whole of the community, so many people whom we have come to know over the past two and a half months, coming together to celebrate the simcha of Yomtov was really something special. The second day of Chol Hamoed was the day of our specially organised paintball trip! Every girl in the seminary was outfitted with protective gear, a gun and hundreds of paintballs and unleashed on the terrain. Though returning battered and bruised, we quickly ran to our Simchas Beis Hashueva programs: Silent Disco for Beth Rivka Primary and a Fabulous Foam Extravaganza for High School. The pure simcha radiating off both seminary girls and the girls of the community was palpable, and the dancing went on well into the night.

On Shabbos of Chol Hamoed, every year of Bnos, Sukkah hopped around the community, once again enjoying the hospitality of the community and getting the chance to experience as many different types of Succos as possible. On Motzei Shabbos, we were instructed on the art of sushi making and enjoying our own creativity has never tasted so good J Then after the instruction we all moved to the Tenenbaum’s for delicious dessert and an amazing speaker in the form of Mrs. Althaus from Sydney who told us various stories ranging from those about amazing Hashgacha Protis to the importance and beauty of the mitzvah of Shaitel.

The second days of Yom Tov had us preparing our own meals and the achdus of the dorm was a lovely thing to witness. On Simchas Torah we went on Tahalucha to various Shuls, some up to an hour away, with our Bnos girls, to run their children’s programs and to generally add in the simcha of the occasion. Then we all returned to the Kahn’s home for a beautifully prepared Yom Tov meal together before all going to Shul to witness the event of a pure joy of the Torah itself expressed so clearly until at one point, it spilled over to have the whole of the shul dancing with the Torahs in the street, in a beautiful display of Hakafos. The next day had us holding a high school wide Simchas Torah Symposium where a girl from every year, an Ohel Chana student, and a shlucha who all came together to speak of their love and appreciation of Torah and to offer their ideas and tips for us all on our own personal avodahs. Their sincerity was touching in itself.

After Yomtov we enjoyed a meaningful Farbrengen pre Shabbos Beraishis with Mrs Miri Lipskier, where discussed boundaries both between each other and for ourselves. It was an enlightening evening with the give and take of the room expressing everyone’s involvement and appreciation of the topic. We ended month of inspiration with Shabbos Beraishis and as they say, how one acts on Shabbos Beraishis determines how a person acts the rest of the year. I think as the culmination of the whole of Tishrei, Shabbos Beraishis allowed us to linger on our thoughts of personal introspection and growth and connection before finally admitting that “Yaakov Halach Ledarko” and as wonderful as Tishrei was, with every event both inspiring and moving us, and every Tefillah furthering our feelings for Hashem into the realm of the practicality, with the end of it all, it is time to take those feelings and really move them into the realm of practical action. Although the New Year began a month ago, in many ways, it is only now the year will truly begin, but with as beautiful of a “forward” as the Tishrei we just experienced was, I can have nothing but the highest of hopes for the rest. On our way we do go, but only up from here on in!




Chodesh Elul
By Rosie S.


The month of Elul has been chock-full of learning, inspiration, excitement and fun. Shortly after our arrival in Australia we had the opportunity to meet some of its locals. We took a trip to the Melbourne Zoo, making friends with the koalas and kangaroos. The enjoyable outing gave us the energy and spirit to jump right back into the amazing classes that evening.

In our first farbrengen of the month, Rabbi Y Lever relayed to us how judgement is a good thing. It helps us realize the right from wrong and helps us use others strengths and weaknesses for good. To pick up Yidishkeit we must tap into the Rebbe. The human condition is logic, the Jewish condition is Neshama. Don’t give me a God I can prove, give me a God I can Believe in. All of the heavy things in Elul and Yemai Ratzon leads us to simcha.

 

We were all really excited to start our much anticipated jobs and involvement in Chabad Youth, to be able to contribute to the community as much as possible. We started on Wednesday, becoming Tzivos Hashem leaders, leading cheers and songs with our lively and energetic soldiers. Everyone calculated up their points, and were pleasantly surprised by how far they’d moved up in rank. We continued with our loaded week on Thursday with the beginning of Mishmor. Every week we teach the Beth Rivka students a new mitzvah and finish each session with an engaging activity relating to what we learned. Fridays are a busy day for everyone, but we all made an effort to go on Mivtzoim and visit various nursing homes spread around the neighbourhood. We were greeted with warm smiles and fascinating stories from both the residents and staff. We conclude each week with a smashing Bnos program on Shabbos afternoon, with the goal of leaving each child motivated, knowledgeable and excited to return the following week.

In addition to the commencement of our Chabad youth activities, we were also introduced to Connect and Create It programs. On Monday nights, we end off our day with the most amazing Connect program, during which we strengthen our hiskashrus to the Rebbe through watching Rebbe videos and by the various things we learn. Create It programs, on Wednesday nights, are filled with thrilling activities, such as mug decorating, calligraphy lessons, apple decor crafting and much, much more.

On the next Wednesday afternoon, Mrs Lederberger strode into the classroom dressed beautifully with an infectious smile. She shared with us her story of how she came close to death and survived by a miracle. On her journey to survival she couldn’t move any of her limbs and came to appreciate her mobility and everything she can do much more. Her legs were amputated and she returned home after 6 months of illness she recovered. She shared with us how she lives her life with Ratzon Moments. Everything that happens that is seemingly just a coincidence is actually Hashem giving us a moment to ask for brochos. Mrs. Lederberger left everyone with a renewed look on life and coincidences and a much stronger view on Hashem running the world. 

 

For the following farbrengen, Mrs. SB Lesches spoke about all the segulos we get from keeping mitzvos behidor. Wearing a sheital and running a Yiddishe home brings amazing brochos into our lives. The power of our Tefillos on Rosh Hashana is beyond our comprehensions.

 

We were privileged to have the most amazing and fascinating interactive performance by Alon Margalut. He addressed the topic of marriage with a new and insightful view. The presentation gave us a different perspective and understanding on relationships and the manner in which to go about them.

In commemoration of the establishment of Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim, we dressed up as bochurim to sit down and enjoy the special anniversary seudah. When watching a Rebbe video in honor of the momentous occasion, we were completely enthralled by the powerful words and influential message.

We celebrated Chai Elul with fervour and joy. The whole day was filled with speical lessons on Chassidus and what it means to us. We had quite a few guest speakers including the

Rosh Kolel Rabbi Y Johnson and Rabbi D Lisker. Included in the special schedule was a Chassidus Cafe, where we had the chance to enjoy insightful articles on the special day, to adding some light into our life through candle making, the day was brimming with enthusiasm and holiness. The fabulous high school Bnos program, Soup & Spirit, featured various impressive workshops that we were able to enjoy while dining on delicious soups and garlic breads. In honor of the auspicious day, Mrs. Dina Kahn Farbrenged about the power that we have in our age and environment. We are in a place that is pouring down Tochein and giving us tools to become more in touch with our Yiddishkeit. We have to open ourselves up to everything we are being taught. 

Our pre Slichos inspiration late on Motsei Shabbos came in the form of Rabbi Broh’s farbrengen. He gave us insight into the reasons behind Slichos, why we say it and where it came from, so we’d understand and appreciate Slichos that much more. When we were later at shul, each moment of Slichos was special and memorable.

We were granted the honor of having a farbrengen pre Rosh Hashana with Mr K Rubin, a local psychologist who shared his wisdom and experience with us. He delivered an understanding and knowledge on the topic of relationships that we’d be able to benefit from in a multitude of ways.


In preparation for Vov Tishrei, we were given a brilliant and conducive hachana program. Readying ourselves for Rebbetzin Chana’s Yartzheit in this way truly enhanced the atmosphere and experience, by enabling us to set attainable goals and focusing our minds on the importance of the upcoming day, which we will IY”H be able to commemorate with that much more gusto and zealousness.

On the Motzei Shabbos before Rosh Hashana, we had a grand melave malka full of food and inspiration.

 

We had the opportunity to feel as if we were experiencing Tishrei with the Rebbe through his teachings and videos. This uplifting event really prepared us for the upcoming month and will IY”H enhance and beautify our Tishrei in Melbourne.




Chodesh Av
By Ziessa S.


It feels surreal, being in Australia. It feels like only yesterday that we were in America, drinking good coffee and day-dreaming about being in Seminary. And now, now we’ve travelled some 14,000 miles to the other side of the world where the water goes down the drain differently, and it will never snow. But here we are. In Seminary.
We arrived in Australia tired and dusty from our arduous journey. We were put through the immense stress of customs (no, we are not bringing over illegal fruits, we promise), finding lost luggage, and then finally, we had made it. There were a few confusing moments wherein we had no idea what to do or where to go. But that’s the great thing about being Jewish. You’re never lost. Just walk up to the first chossid with a beard that you see and ask him where to go, and suddenly you are found.

After the initial settling in of dragging luggage up stairs, unpacking, and learning where we were, everything began to happen in fairly quick succession. There was an orientation where we discovered that Carlisle street was where everything was well and truly happening. Struck by midnight cravings for pizza? Just walk up to Pizza O’ Clock. Need candy? Just walk up to Pri-Cut. Need nosh for class? 7/11 is the be here and end all of Melbourne. Schedules and classes were explained, it was revealed that we would be taught by no less than an 20 outstanding teachers. We discovered that our learning centre would be just a two minute walk away, and that we need not fear having to wake up too early.

Suddenly, it was Shabbos. Shabbos of course, is the best day of the week. The Melbourne community stepped up, taking in these strange Americans. They made us feel more welcomed than we thought possible. Despite our nervous behaviours and apprehensions, it turned out to be wonderful. Then suddenly, Shabbos was over. What better way to say goodbye to Shabbos and greet the new week, then by having a Melava Malka? What better way to get to know each other? After a beautiful event hosted by our very own director of events, Etty Raskin, we started feeling that yes, we truly belonged here in Australia.

School began, with its variety of classes and myriad of wonderful teachers. Our eyes were well and truly opened to the incredible opportunities that were being afforded each of us. Think you’ve learned properly before? Well then, you’ve never been enrolled in Ohel Chana where your mind can be opened, and theories can be turned on their head in but a matter of minutes.
Speaking of concepts being turned on their heads—welcome to kashrus in Australia. It’s not the OU on the package that tells you it’s kosher, it’s the app inside your pocket, the diamond hidden on the wrapper, or the Australia shaped K. Thank you for this enlightenment, Rabbi Wasjbort.
Who knew that you can’t eat the some of the pringles or slurpees here? Well, now I suppose that we do. But never mind all that, there’s still an abundance of nosh, candy, (lollies, as the Australians say) and other various snacks to satiate our voracious appetites at Farbrengens. Larger than our appetite for nosh, is our hunger for learning. After that we had our first incredible Farbrengen on Chof Av, given over by none other than our very own Rabbi T. If you don’t believe that Sem has begun, guess again. It’s time to get your head in the game, to take advantage of all that we can in this one precious year away from home. Strengthen in all which you are lacking, form a stronger kesher to the Rebbe, get a Mashpia, take the inspiration being given you and transform it into momentum which will propel you forward throughout the year.


Follwing that it was time to sprint back to the dorm to pack for our first Shabbaton. Goodbye Week 1, Hello Week 2.

Merely a hop, skip, and a dash away was Phillip Island, home to fuzzy little penguins and multi-coloured kangaroos. Ice blue waters framed by ebony coloured rocky shores awaited us, along with  rolling lawns of blue green grasses with tiny warrens where the penguins lived. We arrived at our hotel to begin prepping for Shabbos right away. Move a room there, a billiard table here, squeeze in a chair in over there. Should we expand to the patio and have a meal with a view? I think we can manage just fine without. Welcome to first Shabbaton in Ohel Chana! There’s food for thought and stories for the heart and songs for the soul, here at the makeshift home of Miri and Menachem Lipskier. Shell out those Rebbe stories, and open those songbooks, who said anything about an introduction to Chabad Youth? We just came to Farbreng.
After a soul-stirring Shabbos Night, we progressed into Shabbos Day where we were introduced to our roles as future Madrichot (Muds), future Tzivos Hashem Commanders, and future Mishmor Directors. We could hardly wait. All these wonderful opportunities to give lay just in front of us, and we were more than ready to contribute as best we could.

We returned from Phillip Island on a high, which only continued with various welcome events throughout the week. First was the high school’s met-and-greet where after sufficient time to mingle and say hello, we were asked to stand up and say a fun fact about ourselves and play Jewish geography. Following our first welcome it was time to meet our other halves, the Year 12’s. Strangers no longer! What was your most embarrassing moment? Er……. Who from history would you like to eat with? The….uh….Moshe? Definitely Moshe Rabeinu. He’s so cool, you know?
Anyone joining us second half? Yes, it looks as though our numbers will be doubling.

But back to the learning. We are here to learn Chabad Chassidus, yes? So then what’s the Secret of Chabad? Good thing that we have Rabbi Eliezre Shliach in Yorba Lina, CA and his best-selling book to elaborate. After frank conversation and chapter evaluation, we know just about all the answers to the secrets of the universe. Want to find out more? Purchase of the book can be made at your local Judaica. J

Between classes, Mivtzoyim, Chavrusa, Primary Chavrusa (they.are.so.cute.), Bnos, Mishmor, Tzivos Hashem, Chassidishe Yomim Tovim, Farbys, and many, many wonderful C-O-N-N-E-C-T activities,  you may think that we had forgotten about each other. How could we ever? These 31 strangers are our hand-selected family for the rest of the year! If you haven’t bonded already, welcome to the first IN SHABBOS of the year! The King is in the Field, and our homemade food is oh-so-good.


Time to get in gear for Elul. It’s Shabbos Mevorchim and none other than Rabbi Kransnjanski will be Farbrenging. Get in that coffee, it’s going to be a long night of extraordinary story-telling, self-discovering, and truth-uncovering. Everyone share a tale, and learn from one another, lets focus on how Hashem is so close to us and we have the power.

Did you get any sleep? I didn’t think so, time for the theme of In-Shabbos: “Dirshu Hashem B’himatzo” All we must do is raise our voice and exclaim, we have the power to bring about change!
To follow our high of Shabbos, we had shlichus class with Rabbi Cooper. Shlichus is hard, as we all know, but it’s the most beautiful thing there is. Go find those who don’t know, or don’t know much and spread Yiddishkeit to them. You are a flame, so give off sparks to all those around you.

It’s been a whirlwind of a first few weeks. Somehow in this short space of time we’ve become leaders, teachers, students—wait I think there’s a term for it. Ah yes. We’re OC Girls. We are in the best Seminary in the world, and if you think that all of the above sounds amazing, then hold on to your seats. We are only just beginning.




  
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