Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Seminary Remains Open all Pesach
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Ohel Chana Seminary in Melbourne is remaining open for the full month of Nissan, holding its first program for students and guests.

Monday 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 every Yid.

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 Melbourne.











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.

            To 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.

            During 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.

            Leading 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.

            Last 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.

            On 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 Nursing Homes. 

            Yesterday 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 memories!

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 things clearer.

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 is.

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.

Just 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.

One 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.

This 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 was tangible.



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