Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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New Group Arrival Chai Av 5776
By Esther R and Lyba P

Wednesday morning, bright and early... Oh wait, maybe it's Thursday... I will never get used to this! Whatever morning it is, I'm landing in Melbourne, Australia, turning on my phone to 753 texts and 140 missed calls from my parents to see if I've landed, if I have my passport, making sure I kept my purse within eyesight the entire flight, and of course the 17,000,000 whatsapp's just pictures from the family chats. The stewardess makes an announcement about not getting up until the seatbelt sign turns off, meanwhile the entire plane has departed and is by baggage claim. I turn to get my bags, and I'm amazed by how much of a mess one can make in 14 hrs, bottles, wrappers, gum, sandwiches, 1/2 eaten chicken from the DELICIOUS kosher airplane meals!

I quietly grab my bags and run off before the stewardess yells at me for the mess! I get to baggage claim and my heart stops, I realize I haven't quadruple checked for my passport. Frantically dumping out the contents of my bag by carousel 4, thinking the whole time how I'm possibly going to make that phone call to my parents. I sift through my toothbrush, wallet, face wipes, pancakes, headphones, charger, until my hand brushes something leather and my heart starts beating at a normal pace again. I start putting all my necessities back into my purse, when I hear the loudspeaker go on, "Attention passengas frum fleight Q ninety fuw, yuw carousel has changed frum numba fuw to numba sivin. Surry fuw the inconvinience."  Oh gosh! I frantically stuff the last few things into my bag and venture off to find carousel "sivin" by the time I get there most of the people have already gotten their bags. I stand on my tipee toes looking over people's heads, walking the length of the carousel trying to squeeze between people. Then I spot one of my 5 oversized suitcases! I start chasing it up the carousel and finally I get a grip on it, I tug and the handle rips... Only me!!! I find the other handle and give another tug, this time I fly backwards and the suitcase falls on top of me! So embarrassing!! There's other girls here who look like they are going to seminary too, oh no now I've made a fool of myself...

Finally with all my luggage on the carts, which by the way are free to use.. Take notes America! I head into line for customs, I’m about to take a selfie with my luggage to send to the family so they know I've got everything, when a huge woman come up next to me and in a mean raspy voice yells, "NO PHONES BY CUSTOMS" I jump 10 feet in the air and my phone flies out of my hand, the screen shattering into a million pieces. Shaking, I pick it up and put it away! No time to cry about it now. As I'm waiting, I still haven't recovered from that traumatic experience, I realize the line is moving so slowly! This line is longer than the flight itself... 

2,000 year later....

Finally I get closer to the front and give a silent prayer to Hashem that the dogs won't smell the 30lbs of American meat I have in one of the suitcases,  I walk by security, give my cutest smile and hand in my passport, the officer gives me a smile and lets me through. Baruch Hashem, somethings going right for me today. After about 30 minutes of looking around the airport we all gather together and finally find Rabbi T. The taxi pulls up and I get into the front seat, for a second I didn't understand why the steering wheel was in front of me... until the taxi driver comes and yells at me to get out of the driver’s seat! Understanding that this is going to be an upside down year I climb into the wrong side of the car and we drive off to the Ohel Chana dormitory, preparing for the best year of our lives!

Much emphasis during  these first few weeks of school have been focused on the month of Elul, and appropriately so, for in my experience, one often begins learning about Elul just as it is nearing its end. We have learnt about how Elul can be considered a place of refuge from the dark coarseness of the rest of the year, and how that refuge can be used for optimum levels of Teshuva. We have learnt how our Tefillos can be reached in the Depths of the Depths of Hashem when we reach that optimum level of Teshuva where my depths call out for Hashem’s. But above all else, we have learnt about how “the King is in the field”.

Now I understand that perhaps this is not a great Chidush. That this is something we all have been lucky to grow up knowing, but how often do we get the opportunity to truly KNOW it? How often do we take advantage of what we are saying?

The King is in the field. He is not in His throne room. He is not in His royal gardens. He is not in the market. He is in the field.

This is a special type of accessibility – one that still requires giving of self, albeit a minor one in comparison of that of other months. If the king were in the Market, where everyone would find themselves already, perhaps this availability of the King could be unappreciated or abused. The King goes to the field, where the common man still must go out in order to find Him, but once he makes that easy trip, the King is completely accessible for any and all of his needs.

All of this has been understood many times over, but the fact that the King is in the field means nothing if WE, the people, do not reach out to Him. That is what we must take advantage of for as long as possible! To make The King’s accessibility personal to us and mean something so when we daven, or learn, or attempt any type of teshuva, we understand that THIS is the time when we are really reaching the ears of Hashem, and THIS is me going out to the field to find the King!

All of this becomes much more meaningful when I think about it in the context of my beginning seminary. This is a time, where we are being presented with a plethora of knowledge and wisdom and self- understanding on a silver platter. But I still have to be the one to go out and take it for myself! I can’t just sit and wait for all of it to fall into place and subsequently affect my actions. If I want this year to be real, I have to make it so! That is when maximum impact will occur. That is when I can truly “meet the King”.

Wishing you all a Ksiva Vachasima Tova and Gut Gebencht Yor!

(Here’s hoping I figure out this whole walking upside down thing before Yom Tov….)

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