Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Chodesh Tishrei Report
By Raizel C.


There was a sense of familiarity with the weekly routine at Ohel Chana as the fourth week began. We got accustomed to going on Mivtzoim every Friday to different old age homes in the community to add some joy to their week, or to the late night Rebbe Time programs in the dorm. The computer rooms were a hub of activity during the afternoon with girls planning their Hebrew school lessons or google-mapping how to get to different tourist attractions in Melbourne. That’s when the Tishrei Yomim Tovim kicked in and brought along with them a renewed energy, and anticipation for what’s to come this year. We had so many classes preparing us to experience the Yomim Tovim with a deeper grasp of their significance, so that standing in shul on Rosh Hashana would really feel like a major moment had arrived. As I was Davening, explanations and Mashalim were running through my mind that made the Tefillos feel more concrete and relatable. After shul, we spread out around Melbourne for meals. Time and again we were blown away by the hospitality and graciousness of the community, who made being so far from home for Yom Tov that much easier.


For one of the Shabbos meals we ate in the dorm and it was such a fun opportunity to relax with one another and taste all the delicious food our friends prepared. Mrs. Winner visited the dorm and enhanced our Shabbos table by farbrenging with us about how to live successful a life, and the need to be focused because this generation has such an important task on our hands.

 

In addition to all of our classes, Thursday night farbrengens really amp up the inspiration. They afford us with a unique opportunity to gain so much from our guest speakers, who bring a lot of practical knowledge as well as fascinating stories to the table, and we walk out feeling empowered to take the next step in whichever area of life was focused on. Before Rosh Hashana Mrs. Ben Shabbat, our life skills teacher, had us enthralled when she recounted the massive changes she made in her life to become the person she is today. Her story really blew as away as she saw clear Hashgacha Pratis every step of the way. She also discussed with us the impact that writing to the Rebbe had on her life.


On Thursday night before sukkos we had a farbrengen with Rabbi Lipskier, who had a wealth of descriptive stories to share that illustrated the Rebbe’s connection with his Chassidim and how he related to them. He described our unique approach as Chassidim to the month of Elul and Tishrei, and the power of leaders and community.

 

Sukkos is a particularly joyous holiday, especially with all of the community programs we got to take part in. A particular highlight was a glow in the dark dance party with the high school! With sparklers, neon decorated hats, and fog effects, it was a pretty insane event. We also went on a Chol Hamoed trip arranged by Mrs. Groner. It was so enjoyable to spend a fun day in the sun tubing down a mountain and finding our way through mazes, with lots of laughs and beautiful nature. On Simchas Torah, before the Hakafos, we walked with our Bnos grades to different Chabad Houses in the area and it was so meaningful to bring some liveliness into their Simchas Torah dancing. Simchas Torah itself was something else, and we got to take in all of the incredible energy and excitement of the evening. Sometimes it’s hard to go back to “real life” after the Yomim Tovim, but we’re bringing all of that enthusiasm with us and are ready to invest ourselves in all of the activities and learning that the seminary has to offer. We promptly had another seminary farbrengen prior to Shabbos Beraishis, this time with Mrs. Gourarie who was a previous dorm counselor in Ohel Chana. Her perspective was really valuable because she knew firsthand what impacts our year. She made a differentiation between making a donation to Hashem, not a contribution, and how to make the changes we make in sem a part of us. Later on, we will have to make decisions about the standards we want to set for ourselves and we will hopefully base them on what we’ve learned beforehand or the questions we made sure to ask. She also stressed the importance of taking on Hachlatos while you are in seminary even if you aren’t sure if you will keep them afterwards because whatever you do in seminary makes a difference to your future.




New Group Chodesh Elul 5775
By Raizel C.

Week 1:

 

Immediately upon my arrival at Ohel Chana I was greeted by the smiling faces of fellow students and year twelve Beth Rivkah girls that came by to say hi during their break. It was beautiful to see the Achdus and friendly environment, everywhere in the air you could feel an aura of new beginnings. So much yogurt! is what I thought next, following my tour of the spacious dorm. Rabbi Tenenbaum and Mrs. Groner, our dorm mother, welcomed us with warm words about how to make the most of our coming year. Our awesome dorm counselor, Simi, ran a nighttime program that helped us get a glimpse into each others’ personalities.

 

We were graciously granted a day to get over our jet lag, but after that we dove straight into the classes. We were in awe of the amount of knowledge the teachers possessed, and could already see that there would be a lot to gain from all of the classes. I took so many notes on the first day alone, there was so much I wanted to write down.

 

The week culminated with a really special Shabbos. We were hosted by Rabbi Tenenbaum and his wife for the friday night meal, and heard even more of his continuous words of Torah that always give us food for thought. Speaking of food, everything was delicious! Shabbos day, we were privileged eat by Mrs. Groner and experience once again her nonstop caring and concern for our well being. Shabbos afternoon we got a sneak peak into Bnos some of us would be doing in the upcoming year with a super fun program to get to know the girls from the community. We had Sunday night classes, including our first leadership training lesson. Our Sunday night zumba lessons definitely ensure that we start off the week on a positive note. In general, our dorm is always lively and full of music and dancing. We hadn’t even had all of our classes or began a lot of our programs but there was already so much to look forward to.

 

Week 2:

 

Week two was a blur of incredible classes and getting to know the neighborhood. One girl got lost on the way to class, but eventually we all figured out where to get our shampoo or make bank cards. We have a packed schedule, and this week we got experience our first Ohel Chana farbrengen by our principal, Rabbi Tenenbaum. He taught us how the Rebbe stressed the importance of certain skills that will help us maximize our time in seminary and our quality of life in general, such as Ahavas Yisrael and Shmiras HaZman. We were privileged to hear many different Rebbe stories, as sometimes they are the best way to bring out a point.

 

Our second Shabbos did not take place in the Melbourne community, but at a resort in Phillip Island. We got to stop on the way at a gorgeous, scenic viewpoint with cliffs and a boardwalk by the water. Shabbos itself was something else; we really got a chance to bond, sing, learn, and laugh together. It was run by the dedicated directors of Chabad Youth, Miri and Menachem Lipskier. They gave workshops and ran activities with us that really gave us a sense of focus and purpose for the coming year, as well as the mission statement of Chabad Youth in general. Each and every one of us will have the opportunity to contribute to the community in an exciting way, give over what we’ve learned, and hopefully accomplish as much as possible. They gave us real tools that are already shaping how we will go about making Chabad Youth this year the best ever! In OC we never stop, as soon as we got back from the Shabbaton we headed straight to a party hosted by one of the year twelve Beth Rivkah girls in order to get to know everyone. With the dorm as crazy fun as it is already, we are really excited for them to come and double our number of students!

  

Week 3:

 

Dorm girls woke up on Sunday morning to the delicious aroma of a brunch being prepared in honor of Tes Vov Elul, the day Tomchei Tmimim was founded. Every month has its own committee that puts together programs in honor of special days on the Jewish and Chassidishe calendar. Not only did we get to taste some scrumptious treats, we got to learn b’Chavrusah and then teach each other different points on the Rebbe’s view on the importance of education. After getting some time to explore Melbourne, we arrived home to our favorite dinner, Sunday pizza!

 

On Tuesday, we had our first opportunity to meet our partners from primary school that we will be learning with once a week. As Chassidim, celebrating Chai Elul in OC was the highlight of the week and will give us the energy to prepare for Rosh Hashana. We had a dorm program, during which we incorporated our learning into cookie decorating. At night we had an incredible guest speaker for our farbrengen, Rabbi Lever. He definitely left us with an U’VChein - the inspiration to change something and take action as a result of his words. He had a lot of wisdom to impart to us, and his stories were animated and vivid. Not only was our week packed with Chassidishe excitement, we also got to attend a concert held for the women of the community! Sara Hecht blew us away with her enchanting voice, as well as the lessons her songs were infused with.

 

Friday we had the incredible honor of hearing Rabbi Gluckowsky from Israel speak to us. He took time out of his short visit to Melbourne to really make us think about our views and uplifted us with anecdotes. Friday night we looked back at our week and were blown away by the amount we got to accomplish in just one week. We were hosted by Moshe and Dina Kahn, the Chabad Youth directors, and they made each of us feel special and welcomed by making a sincere effort to get to know every individual girl and what she wants to gain out of her year. Shabbos day we spread out around the community to different families for our meal. The hospitality of the community continues to blow us away! We went directly from our meals to our Bnos and Mishmor locations. The themes were revealed in awesome and clever ways, and each one of the Madrichot got to meet her group and discuss all of the spectacular things we will be doing this year!

 

Motzei Shabbos was packed with preparation for Selichos. Mrs. Groner prepared a massive spread for our Melaveh Malkah, and her husband gave over pertinent Meshalim and advice on our approach to Selichos. Through games and song we opened our hearts to feeling grateful and privileged for what we are going to be able to accomplish this year. We once again joined the Beth Rivkah High Schoolers in a pre-Selichos Shiur with our beloved teacher Rabbi Abenaim, who gave over a heartfelt message of our outlook towards Selichos according to Chassidus, and really made us contemplate what it is we are asking for. At long last, we reached the climax of the night with a poignant rendition of Selichos in the Yeshiva shul, followed by joyous dancing that displayed our belief to all that this year will truly be a sweet one.



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