Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Final 2 weeks
By Shifra K.


Although our incredible year at Ohel Chana had almost come to an end, the last few weeks as usual were full of excitement and inspiration. In preparation for Shavous, we were lucky enough to have Mrs Wilhelm give us a Shiur where she enlightened us towards complex concepts regarding the upcoming Yom Tov. Her dynamic and enthusiastic nature captivated us all and the brilliant insights that she relayed ultimately made our Shavous more meaningful. On Shavous night we had a learning program for the whole high school with three excellent speakers who all shared their unique wisdom on the Yom Tov. We were lucky to have Raizel C, one of our fellow dorm mate as one of the speakers. Raizel shared her own personal story and what's it is like being on Shlichus. She relayed how meaningful it was to witness people with very little Jewish knowledge become excited and inspired by the Jewish stories and learning that we may all take for granted. Further, she discussed that although she enjoyed learning at school her seminary learning by far surpassed all her school learning experiences and really brought Yiddishkeit to live for her. To conclude the learning program, each High school grade had the opportunity to wish a final thank you to their madrichot. Following this learning program, we had another more intimate program just for the OC girls in the dorm. Whilst munching on some delicious milchig treats from Leah, we heard the amazing Nomi Kaltman speak. Nomi spoke about the importance and Halachik implications of marriage pre-nuptials and about the role of a Yoezet Halacha, a woman who is certified as a Halachic advisor for women regarding Taharas Hamishpacha.

 

The Shlichus aspect of Ohel Chana has been an integral component this year and something we have collectively loved being part of. The Lipskiers made a special appreciation event for us with delicious crepes and ice cream. Mimi S amused us all with her experiences throughout the year and Mina G spoke about the transition from being on the receiving end to the giving end as a Madricha. The running theme throughout their speeches was the rewarding nature of the Shlichus and how special it is to be able to act as a lamplighter, inspiring other girls through the various Chabad Youth programs. We also heard a fun song from the Mishmor and Bnos Roshes and then everyone was called up to receive a personalised card and little gift from Mrs Lipskier. Following this, we heard a speech from Moshe and Dina Kahn and played an interactive game of scrabble where we reflected on our Chabad Youth related memories throughout the year.

 

For the primary goodbye function, there was a special BBQ and drumming circle where all the girls were able to wish their madrichos their final farewells. There was also a really fun bowling trip that was to reward all the girls for coming to Mishmor each week. 

 

The Wednesday before we all left their was a farewell event for all our teachers in OC. Mina N spoke beautifully, emphasising that despite the teachers busy schedules they really put their heart and soul into their classes. Raizel G and Esther L shared an interesting story and also thanked the teachers for their devotion. We were also addressed by Rabbi Tenenbaum and a few of our teachers including Mrs Blesofsky, Rabbi Lang, Rabbi Hilel and Rabbi Glasman. To conclude the event, Sheina K and Rivka R gave a humours speech about each individual teacher and they were presented a personalised card and small gift by Chanie R and Amit B. 

 

On Thursday night Leah organised a special goodbye banquet with delicious food. Simi, our dorm councillor spoke about her experiences over the year with us. Following this, their was a special candle lighting ceremony where each girl had the opportunity to share what she found most meaningful throughout the year in Ohel Chana.  

 

For our final in Shabbos, we had Mrs Bracha Kantor come to farrbeng with us. She discussed how integral it maintain a strong connection with Yiddishkeit and Chasidishekeit once we leave seminary. On Motzei Shabbos, we had a really fun program, it was a Chabad style of prom with the catchphrase "no matter where you come from, everyone has a place at Chabad prom". During the program there was such an incredible sense of Achdus in the room as everyone danced together for one of the very last times. 

 

On Sunday night we had our final event, a Hakel gathering for the women of the Melbourne community. It was truly a beautiful and intimate event with a few hundred women bah! We heard incredible poetry from Chani N and Batsheva L. Rivkah B put together a video encompassing many of our treasured memories from the past year and Dina W and myself made a upbeat music video about the notion of being a lamplighter and the Shlichus aspect of seminary. To conclude the event, we had a group of us form a choir and sing 'Ani Mamim' a heart-warming song composed by the talented Esther L. All in all, the event was truly a success and a great way to conclude our OC chapter. Final farewells in the dorm were quite emotional to say the very least. After many songs, hugs and tears it was time to say goodbye to the most incredible and inspiring group of girls!









Chodesh Iyar Part 2
By Raizel C.


Besides for all of our guest speakers, there was a lot of excitement going on outside of the classroom. Lag B’Omer was also packed with community and seminary activities. The volunteers running the different booths at the Chabad Youth celebration was the smiling and patient faces of OC girls, as we gave out fairy floss, painted faces, and navigated the clown machine. The high school counselors left early to join their Bnos girls at the Groners for a bonfire and Kumzitz. These extra programs, and the effort invested on both ends, helped cultivate relationships that I’yh are sure to have a lasting impact. The rest of OC joined them afterward for their own singing session. We Davened for people and shared what we gained from each other throughout the year. Girls sang songs they composed and poems they had written, which captured the fire of their Yiddishkeit and the essence of Lag B’Omer. In those moments of singing and sharing of ourselves in the late night hours, we felt an overwhelming sense of pride, love, and respect for each other, and for what we could accomplish together. We woke up the next morning fully aware that the festivities were far from over. Despite the bleak prediction of the weather that day, we hopped on a charter bus and headed out to the mysterious Hanging Rock hiking site. Leah Groner helped us brave the muddy start and a wild kangaroo we encountered with her enthusiasm, and by constantly supplying us with food. After we found shelter under a shed in the middle of the park, she sat us down and helped us start our day properly with a Chassidus shiur. Armed with inspiration, warm sweaters, and portable speakers with music blaring, we began the intense climb up the mountain. To our luck, girls had creepy myths and stories to share just to keep us on edge as we trudged up stairs and steep pathways. The nature we were surrounded with was vivid and breathtaking. We finally made it to the top, after strategically jumping from boulder to boulder, and experienced the outdoorsy aspect of the day. Groups of girls settled on different little cliffs and nooks, taking in the misty mountains and fields that cast a magical glow on the scenery. Before we knew it, we were back on the bus and heading toward the Gutnick home for one last bonfire to end off the day. We ran towards the warmth of the fire and the delicious smells of BBQ food. Just when we thought we would have a calm and relaxing singing session after an exhausting day, G-d showed us that He had other plans. The heavens opened up and rained poured down on a reenergized group of OC girls who danced around the fire and sang with their heart and souls despite being soaked.

 

The farbrengens were a perfect setting to gain more from teachers that we have during the week. Rabbi Szmerling farbrenged for us with his usual chayus and love of all that is spiritual. He took the Chassidishe Yom Tov of Beis Iyar and brought it to life with stories and props (an amazing coin printed especially for that day). His vivid details of standing at farbrengens and hearing different things the Rebbe said, combined with his vast knowledge of the background and history of each of these special days lifted our spirits. Rabbi Hilel made us care about a day that happened many years ago in a way we hadn’t before. His grasp on what we struggle with in this generation and the apathy that sometimes takes hold of us was so accurate. With his never ending patience, humor, and a mind that can grasp an overwhelming amount of subjects and stories, he made us think about what we care about and what we stand for. On the Sunday of Pesach Sheini, two women let us in on their own accounts of second chances. We gathered around a couch at OCLC and were faced by our panel of Ba’alas Teshuvos, Dr. Jablonski and Mrs. Devris. Together, we heard their stories unfold before us. They were very open and direct with us, answering questions and challenging ideas that people take for granted. It was an evening of laughter and self reflection, leaving us with the feeling of “Ashreinu, Mah Tov Chelkeinu.”

 

To get in the mindset for our last major Shabbaton of the year, Devorah Leah Shechter ran a Challah Bake program with us to prepare for our meal. We tuned in to the essence of this Mitzvah, and she pointed out the need to be mindful and appreciative at every moment. This is especially important for the woman of the household. Already pumped up with excitement, and with freshly baked Challahs to accompany us, packing for Shabbaton was a flurry of activity and excitement. Our campgrounds were level with the mountains surrounding us, so we could see the peaks of trees and forestry. The grass was luscious and sweet smelling; it was the perfect scenery for our Shabbos. With all the bright hues of color surrounding us, and the volleyball court and trampoline we had access to, Friday was a relaxing day of unpacking and settling in to the two bunk rooms. The theme of the weekend was “Shine a Little Light,” and our first Friday night workshop started off the learning aspect in a beautiful way. We were just starting to settle down from our hyper insta-lyric game planned by our Shabbaton committee, when Mrs. Lisker introduced us to some stunning pictures. She and her husband had joined us to farbreng and provide food for thought. Each of the pictures came with a caption based on Chassidus, and we had to match them up and connect them. She helped us see how a photographer can focus on a single moment and light it up. Each moment is a precious opportunity, we just have to tap into it. Our Friday night meal was accompanied by singing and Dvar Torahs from OC girls, as well as a Dvar Torah from Rabbi Tenenbaum. The meal was followed with a late night farbrengen and some treats. Rabbi and Mrs. Lisker kept as all enthused with their care for our reservations and uncertainties. Rabbi Lisker had the unique ability to address concepts that are very hard to grasp in such uncomplicated and coherent terms. The weekend was far from over and we were already thrilled to see what was in store. After the meal on Shabbos afternoon, Rabbi Tenenbaum eased us into the conclusion of our year by having us reflect on what we gained. We were so impressed with how each person zoned in on a different positive quality of Ohel Chana, and would make an attempt to carry it with her. Rabbi Tenenbaum discussed various ways for us to think about the importance of what kind of person we are as a result of this past year. Most important of all, he addressed our connection to the Rebbe and our views in general. We wrapped up the short Shabbos day with a mind blowing lesson from Mrs. B Tenenbaum about Yerushalayim based on Tehillim. The pictures she conjured in our mind were so alluring. Our yearning for Moshiach that resulted from her Shiur produced a heartfelt outdoor rendition of Seder Niggunim. Our Motzei Shabbos activities included watching a powerful Lamplighter Rebbe video and a heated OC Master Chef competition. We then pulled up a chair and shared special items and stories with each other for hours. It wasn’t over yet, with a Sunday roller skating trip to help us let out our last bits of energy. It was bittersweet to arrive at the dorm after our last OC Shabbaton, but it was an incredible way to lead us into our final week in Melbourne. The subsequent Friday night erev Shavous, we had a farbrengen at the home of Rabbi Wolf. He took everything that we built upon the entire year and summed it up to one thing we need to take with us, which is action. His words about what we would face in the years after seminary and how we would need to test all the tools and resources we gained over the past years as being students was so necessary to hear. That night felt like our last chance to make sure we were doing a reality check, and to push ourselves to see if we were prepared to utilize our next few vital years of growth.

 



We would really love to thank Leah Groner for her role as program director second half of the year. She infused our dorm life with chayus and learning, and her many programs were engaging and relevant. She constantly made information accessible for our various interests or concerns. We attended our last Rebbe Time with the sad realization that this was one of the last times we would be able to watch one of the videos that Leah put together, or throw around ideas about how to work on our Hiskashrus. We remembered the random fun activities Leah did with us, such as making mini tambourines to carry around with us all the time in anticipation of Moshiach’s coming. One of our major highlights of the year is when she asked her friend, Zehava Pinson, to do a workshop with us. When we entered the main room of OCLC, we were blown away by its calm energy and a display that made us want to quickly grab a paintbrush. Along with the tea and biscuits, there were various paint colors, stencils, and texture materials lined up against the wall. Each girl got to contemplate how she would classify her past, present, and hopefully what lies in store for her. We thought about how it inspired us, what we admired about it, and how it all connects. Then, each of us got to take up some space to express these three stages on a massive canvas, one for each category. It all blended together into three colorful and vibrant journeys. These canvases will hang on the walls of OCLC to share a glimpse to future groups of OC into the beauty and passion of each and every one of us. It will tell a tale of persistence and struggle, what each of us went through to get to Ohel Chana and the person we were at the start. It will share the light we gained from learning and growing, and the fun we had along the way as we laughed and cried together. It will hint at a legacy that will effect people we meet way beyond this year, as the third canvas displays promise, hope, and inspiration.




Chodesh Iyar Part 1
By Raizel C.


The amount and varied nature of our guest speakers sprinkled throughout the final month of seminary was absolutely incredible. Each one focused on a very different aspect of preparing us for what we might deal with in the future. A main theme of many of the speakers was inspiration to act as Shluchas in the future, whether it be with a Chabad House or without. Rabbi Moss from Sydney got us to exercise our critical thinking, having us come up with hypothetical solutions for a challenge he had faced in his Shul. He then explained the beautiful reasoning behind all of the steps he took to deal with it. His approach to the Yidden he reaches out to really inspired us to consider our attitude toward different types of people and their struggles. Once we were armed with that message, Mrs. Slavin of Chabad of Malvern told us practical ways to stay focused once you are out there, and how to have the confidence to pull off the amazing goals you can accomplish. We truly got to see how Shlichus affects not only the community but the Shlucha herself, and her eloquent words conveyed that.

 

We later heard from Rabbi Cooper, also of Chabad Malvern, who described the successful working dynamics of the multiple couples that work there. He told us what gives him his passion and drive to continue channeling all of his energy and capabilities into his Shlichus. He made us reflect upon what the real purpose of Shlichus is and what our motivation should be. Our final speaker on the topic of Shlichus was Rabbi Walasow from Massachusetts, whose great sense of humor combined with insightful reflections gave us food for thought about what’s petty and what is real. His words stayed with us long after he left the room, and we dwelled on the encouragement and tools we received to further fulfill what the Rebbe wants.

 

Another set of speakers addressed the responsibility of relationships, finances, and such. We were happy to be educated by people with years of experience for areas that we have yet to seriously deal with. Mr. Kalman Rubin delivered an extremely informative series of talks on healthy communication within marriage. We discussed what it means to dedicate yourself to something greater than you. All of the opinions everyone shared, and the guidance and tips from his expertise, were reassuring and critical for building our future homes. Mrs. E Goldberg also concluded her practical and thought provoking five part workshop on dating. So many of her valid points, that were mentioned because of years of experience in dealing with Shidduchim, even included steps we could take at the stage we are in now to contribute to a healthy and successful Shidduch experience. We were very grateful to her for her forthright method of teaching us, and the realistic picture she painted. Ms E Althaus a professional finance manager addressed the financial aspect, with a clear breakdown of the importance of financial involvement and awareness from women. She introduced some concepts to us that we are not equipped to handle yet, but thanks to her advice, we will further look into. Another topic that was covered that were are sure to either receive questions on, or question ourselves, is Torah’s view on “same gender marriage” and other relationships in that category. Rabbi Cowen provided sources from the Torah and secular world that addressed our concerns. It was a unique opportunity, especially to hear it from someone so knowledgeable in the subject.

 

Our last weeks were greatly enhanced by the trips and celebrations we took part in. We spent a cold and cozy afternoon in Kangaroo Park for some nature viewing, and we got to hang out right next to the kangaroos! After we were done trekking through the rolling grassy hills surrounded  by our jumpy, furry friends, we settled down for some dinner. The mixture of smoke from our BBQ filling the veranda, girls singing (screaming) the 12 Pessukim, and the light drizzle surrounding us really completed the evening. That Motzei Shabbos our fabulous Mrs. Groner hosted an OC Talent Show at her house. It was amazing to see everyone’s creativity in writing songs, poems, and raps to joke about and summarize our incredible year. Not to mention, the food at the Groners’ is always delicious!

 

The next set of speakers continued to add to aiding our development in our seminary year. Mrs. Lederberger graciously opened up to us about her dealing with illness and what she went through. She addressed, due to her being commonly asked, how it affected her relationship with Hashem. Her reply was incredibly eloquent and full of faith. She shared some of the words of Torah and perspectives that she held onto. You could feel the words sink into everyone in the room, as they thought about the issues they were grappling with and how her words on Emunah could apply to them. Another personal account we got to hear was from Dr. Krinsky, who inspired us with the retelling of her journey. She embodies someone who really turns her workplace into a Shlichus, by using lessons and tools from Torah to help the mental health of her patients. Any of us that want to pursue careers thought about how to emulate how she elevates her atmosphere and brings Torah as well as healing into changing people’s lives. Changing lives is achieved through true belief and passion in what you stand for. Rabbi Devris exuded this “alive” state of being, in which knowing that you’re a soldier of the Rebbe and what you are on this earth to accomplish seeps into every conversation and emotion. His conversations and mentorship of teens and young adults on birthright trips and campuses are a massive Kiddush Hashem, and exemplify that Torah applies to all areas of your life. A Rabbi is not just there to stand at the pulpit when you are in shul, but can advise you on day to day challenges you come across and your questions about the world. Speaking of questions, there are some we don’t think to ask. When Rabbi Stern came to speak to us about many Segulos or Ayin Haras that we practice, we never thought to think about their validity. It was fascinating to think about a lot of them that we take for granted, and to hear about the source and the Lubavitcher minhag.




Rosh Chodesh Outing
By Batsheva L.

 

If you just so happened to be driving down Carlisle street at around 12:00pm you would have surely seen quite an interesting sight. 40 girls radiating with energy and spirit were bounding down the road eagerly anticipating their trip to Williamstown. The Achdus in the air was undeniable. Indeed it was the very first trip as one seminary; Aussies and oldies united as one. We boarded the ferry and were warmly welcomed by the Russian/ Arabic captain (still uncertain of his nationality). He joyously informed us that throughout our journey we must keep track of the number of bridges we pass. However, suddenly there was a dramatic shift in his prior friendly demeanour that sent chills up our spines. He launched a scathing attack on us, threatening that if we report back the incorrect number of bridges we will turn around back to the harbour and begin our journey again. Yet, the fact that we could follow the complex thought process of Rabbi Winner when teaching 'Basi Legani' fuelled us with the necessary  strength to accept the challenge. As the boat began to drift away from the harbor, the cool breeze created a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. Within minutes this much appreciated serenity was shattered. The booming voice of the captain echoed throughout the boat, "So girls, how many bridges were there?"  "5", "7", "10?"
Unbelievably we managed to guess every number except for the correct one. Luckily for us, there was another woman on the ferry who knew the correct number and thus we did not have to turn around. Finally, after an entire hour we arrived in Williamstown and were overwhelmed by its strange unfamiliarity. Well perhaps that was until we found our favourite 5 letter word: "C-O-L-E-S" After buying out the entire frozen berry section we decided to make ourselves comfortable in the middle of the shopping centre. After about an hour, we headed back to the harbor where we enjoyed some of the golden sun before heading back on the boat. On the way back some of us were fortunate enough to drive the boat and Baruch Hashem we made it back in one piece. But the day was far from over. When we got off the ferry we found out that our train was about depart. Suddenly, all of us discovered that we had a supernatural athletic ability. Let's just say we ran ferry ferry fast. Regardless we still didn't make it in time but gam zu l'tova. When we arrived back we went to Mrs Groners for a beautiful BBQ, which was really the cherry on top for such a fun filled day.




Kinus Hashluchos Banquet
By Mina G


Organised by Rabbi Blesofsky our shlichus teacher, Ohel Chana held their very own shluchims banquet last Sunday night 26 Adar I.


We dined on waffles with whipped cream, brownies, cookies, ice cream, and frozen berries, and while we all gained weight, we gained double as much knowledge. We were all privileged to hear Raizel C give us insight on what life is like for a young girl on Shlichus, and her seemingly never ending amount of stories illustrated the importance and value of Shlichus excellently. We learned that while the role of shluchim is to inspire, often through their Shlichus they get inspired as well. Following Raizels engaging and captivating speech, Rabbi Blesofsky ran a fun and entertaining activity which got everyone involved. As is common in his class ‘Sefer Hashlichus’, Rabbi Blesofsky incorporated creativity and originality to ensure everyone participated and had a good time.


We split into groups of 3 and were each given a mivtzah, such as Jewish Holy Books, and a random object, such as a stapler. In our groups, we were expected to link our mivtzah to our object in an original and exciting way. Some groups wrote short poems, others presented in the form of a video, or a chant. We all really enjoyed the activity.

 
Next, Manya D did roll call, and while knayin hara it took a while to get through everyone’s names and addresses, Manya livened it up by giving every girl an adjective to describe her personality, which kept everyone interested, and laughing. We cheered for ourselves and for our friends, and the achdus and chayus was incredible.
To wrap up an inspiring, interactive, and fun-filled evening, we gathered around to watch ‘Horizons’. We had a wonderful time cheering for places and people that we or our friends recognised, and gained a lot.




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