Special Events & Activities

Student reports about our recent extra curricular activities and programs.

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Chodesh Sivan
By Chenya L.

Last month of seminary.

Looking back on the last few weeks of seminary. I notice how sadly, an amazing year of growth and spirituality is ending. We will miss Australia, cars driving on the wrong side of the road, currency exchange, and of course Nogga sushi. Learning from amazing teachers that gave over more than their subject but life lessons.

So what happened while these weeks were flying by?

Well we ventured out two hours outside Melbourne to the Australian countryside. To have a shabbaton of a lifetime. As the bus roared down the dirt road leading to the camp, we put away our food that was illegally eaten throughout the ride. After getting settled and attentively listening to all the rules. We went exploring the different activities that the campsite offered. Shabbos began with rabbi Wolf giving us a meditation on Hashem's name, giving us just a preview of just what was going to take place. The meal had a strong sense of achdus with dvar torahs, laughs, quizzes (by none other than peppy), and beautiful singing that brought chills to many arms.  As the meal was coming to an end the night was just beginning. We all got comfortable and settled down as rabbi Wolf Farbrenged with us well into the early hours of the morning, that this year was just a stepping stone, now that we're leaving our little sem bubble it's up to us to take everything we learnt and utilize it. It opened up our eyes  and led us to make the most of these next few weeks. 4 hours later, we were all up bright and early eager for morning Chassidus. Without a beat we learnt Chassidus, Davened, and actually managed to eat Seudas Shabbos. Rabbi Wolf and family then joined us for a game put together by our amazing committee. Which quickly became a question answer marathon and with Rabbi and Mrs. Wolf, which really taught us what to expect next year and tools to help us. Late Shabbos afternoon despite a storm and blackout we laughed and talked the Shabbos away ending off with seder niggunim around the fireplace all night long. Sunday we chilled at the site following a chassidus shiur and an intense Davening session and packed up refreshed for the final few weeks left.

That Monday night following evening classes an ordinary night became an exciting one as drums one by one were being brought into the room. We had a kumzits with everyone singing and dancing with everyone relaxing and having an amazing good time.

Shavuot a holiday filled with good food and learning was the highlight of the month. The community graciously invited us into their homes and we shul hopped through all the programs that were being offered. the big debate in yeshiva to Rabbi Glassman in daminyan. The DC’s made a program which enabled learning throughout the night.

Mrs Sheiny New delivered an important lesson on domestic abuse, on behalf of the Jewish Taskforce, giving us practical tips on how to identify such signs and keep us educated for the future. We were privileged for one of our favourite teachers Rabbi Abeniam came to farbrengen with us. It left us with numerous lessons to take with us as we enter the real world with a very warm atmosphere that deeply impacted us all. Later on that same week, we had another teacher of our teachers, Rabbi Hilel farbreng with us. Again he inspired us with his messages and left us empowered to move out into real life next year.

The dorm counsellors packed in many extra programs for our last weeks of school, including a fun game identifying things in OC, and a nigun night. We were privileged to hear from Mrs Rochwerger, a sister in law of the late Mrs Rochwerger who the Rochwerger Award is named after. She inspired is with the life of her sister in law, and gave us the task of voting on a girl we thought deserved this award. We had our last Hiskashrus shiur with Rabbi Tenenbaum, and left empowered by the messages we had learnt and strengthened in our Hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

Shabbos we had our final Bnos, and farewelled the high school girls in a program after Shabbos where they thanked us for all our work this year and we said farewell to the girls we have bonded with this year.

The Chabad youth farewell was very emotional and bittersweet. All the roshes got together and decorated the room just like Carlisle Street, signifying our love to eat. There were stations of different foods from different “shops” and it led us down the street as we looked back and watched a video of everything that has happened. Pictures from camps, posters for old events, and a ceremony for awards were given out. We had speakers and a parent from the community gave an emotional speech on the impact we had on the community. We all left on such a high note. 

We heard from Mrs Krasnanski about the mystery of the 18 minutes in a fascinating talk. For our final Farbrengen, we had our very own Rabbi Tenenbaum. We reflected on our learning and growth this year and made practical hachlotos for taking what we had learnt into the future. It was inspiring to hear how much OC had changed everyone, and how much we had all grown from our experiences. After a very late night, we woke up refreshed for our second to last day of classes. We were so lucky that we got Mrs R Schusterman all the way from California to skype in and talk to us about really relevant information now that we're leaving sem which is dating. She gave us practical tools and explained what is okay and what is not. She gave us steps to help us in the real world.

Tzivos Hashem ended off on mixed emotions. The girls and the counsellors were sad to be leaving, yet left off on a great high; each girl made an ice cream out of sand.  That evening we had a thank you and farewell for our teachers, and were privileged to hear a few different perspectives from students and teachers. We then thanked each individual teacher and ended off with a humorous song for Rabbi Tenenbaum. It was a bittersweet evening as we said goodbye to the teachers who had given us so much knowledge over the year.

Our Final day of classes began with a talk from a visiting renowned guest speaker, Mrs Shimona Tzukernik, who spoke to us about families in today's world and enlightened us with her knowledge. The day continued with all our final classes, as we packed up and said farewell to our learning centre. Later that evening there was a community Farwell, where we shared reflections on our year in Melbourne, accompanied by a musical presentation and a video reflection, finally we were all presented with a sefer, and said our farewells and thank yous to everyone who contributed to our year. It was a beautiful evening with many inspiring and moving words.

The farewells continued with our final Shabbos achdus Friday night meal, where we sat around enjoying the last meals cooked by our friends, and spent the final moments sitting, talking and spending time with each other. Shabbos day we had our final meals in Melbourne, and our last Shabbos together as a group. Motzei Shabbos was our final dorm program at Mrs Groners. We had a beautiful Melave Malka, and enjoyed a video put together by our dorm counsellors. The program continued in the dorm where we had a candlelighting ceremony, and shared our final thoughts and reflections on the year. Sunday, some flights were already leaving, and the tearful goodbyes and flurries of packing began. We spent the last day packing up, cleaning the dorm, signing yearbooks and spending our last few moments bonding. Monday we said farewell to the dorm and our friends, and began our lonely trips back home, equipped with all we had learnt over the incredible year. We will always remember our year in Ohel Chana 5777, and these memories we will hold dear in our hearts.

Chodesh Iyar
By Nechama Dina N.

When we came back after the few weeks of our Pesach break, we were eager to jump back into classes, and all of our shlichus programs. The first day Chof Ches Nissan we had a program where we were inspired to all that we can to make Moshiach a reality. Our first speaker after pesach break was Rabbi Dovid Morris. Rabbi Morris spoke about the fact that the Rebbe and his miracles are there to give us boosts and Sparks of Revelations. He also spoke about our job as chassidim, and how we don't have hiskashrus for miracles, but for our work, and that they give us confidence and courage to continue our Avoda. That Shabbos Bais Iyar we had an in -shaboss, and on Friday night Rabbi Shlomo Barber, and his wife Chaya came to join us for seudas Shabbos and to farbreng. They told stories about the Rebbe Maharash, and spoke about marriage. It was very inspiring and uplifting.

The following week we had the privilege of Rabbi Laibl Wolf, the father of our teacher Rabbi Menachem Wolf, come to speak to us about practical chassidus. He explained how in reality, chassidus is so ahead of the game, and can help us in so many practical things like bad traits within us and “moach shalit al helev”. We then had a farbrengen with Mrs. Menucha Cooper, who farbrenged about how our minds are so strong, that if we change our minds, we will change ourselves. We had an amazing pesach sheini panel Wednesday night with three women in the Melbourne community, who all had a life story in which they were granted a second chance at yiddishkeit being a Ballas Teshuvah after having grown up in a non frum home. They spoke about how they came to yiddishkeit through second chances and inspired us all. The next evening Mrs. Esther Malka Groner farbrenged with us on the concept of pesach sheini as well. And how she, who grew up Satmer, along with her family, came to Chabad.

We then went full force into preparing for lag baomer. It was an amazing experience getting to work alongside the Beth Rivka girls to create things for the parade. The parade was absolutely amazing, and it gave us such a sense of just how lucky we are to get to spend the year in such a warm, beautiful community. After the parade, Mrs. Groner invited to her house for a barbecue and bonfire. Her husband told beautiful stories of the Rebbe that were truly inspiring.

Upon returning to classes after lag baomer, we had the chance to gain a better understanding of our view, as frum Yidden, on same gender marriage, from one of our teachers, Rabbi Glassman. We than had the privilege of having a Skype class with one of our classmates mother, Mrs. Vail in NY. She gave us really practical advice regarding medicine, as well as speaking about birth. That Thursday evening We had a frabrengen with Mrs. C. Slavin, who spoke about the fact that we are at a point in our life, where we need to fully make yiddishkeit our own. Because we are nearing the end of the year, we need to take all of the amazing lessons we learned this year, and internalize them. One of our teachers, Mrs. Chaya Mushka Ben Shabatt, invited us over to her house for a farewell melava malka farbrengen. At which she explained to us the importance of living a healthy lifestyle according to Rambam.

The last week of the month we had Mrs. Cohen, a shlucha from chevron came to speak to us next. From the stories she told, we gained a true understanding of what shlichus is in the most difficult situations. The next day, Rabbi Shaul from India spoke to us about his shiuchus. And again, we gained a true understanding of what it means to be a shliach in the most testing circumstances. That Thursday night Rosh chodesh Sivan we had a special challan bake, which our dorm counsellors arranged for us in preparation for out final shabbaton. Mrs. Shachter joined us to speak about the importance of challah, and all the brachos it brings into our lives. Right after the Challa bake we had a farbrengen with Mrs. Sara Gutnick, who farbrenged about being a pnimi, and how it means being yourself, how you feel iñ the inside, and the outside as well as sharing some stories of the Rebbetzin with us. What a great month of Achdus and Inspiration! Can’t wait for the last month of Sivan IYH!

Chodesh Adar
By Bassie B.

Adar arrived, and with it numerous programs and exciting events to add to the joy and happiness of this busy month. We were privileged to pay a visit to the home of Mrs Werdiger, where she educated us on the proper etiquette and way to set a Shabbos table. The visit continued where we had the unique opportunity to view her collection of various Judaica items, including many pieces hundreds of years old. We all thoroughly enjoyed admiring the centuries old ketubahs, a beautifully decorated megillah, and various other works of art. It was a truly incredible opportunity to view such unique pieces of work. In preparation for the in Shabbos, we had Simmy’s grandfather, Mr R Kremnizer from Sydney as a guest speaker, who spoke on the very relevant topic of Simcha, and how to reach this state. This led us straight to our beautiful in Shabbos, filled with delicious food and inspiration. Being as it was the month of Adar, the theme of the in Shabbos was Simcha, which was represented through the décor and the entertaining Friday night meal and farbrengen we had with Rabbi and Mrs Y Lieder, in which they shared some incredible stories with us. The Shabbos continued with a lovely Shabbos Seuda, complete with Divrei Torah and an entertaining game.

The festive weekend continued with a special zayin adar picnic in the botanical gardens, hosted by our very own dorm counsellors. The beautiful weather made it a very pleasant afternoon filled with food and fun. That night we were privileged to hear from a recent returnee from the Kinus Hashluchos, Mrs Dina Kahn, who fabregened with us on some of the insights, ideas and stories she heard at the Kinus. Later that week, we heard from one of the first people in Melbourne to put on a shaitel, Mrs Assia New, and her communication with the Rebbe on this topic. As it was leading up to Purim, we were all very busy cooking, baking and preparing for our numerous Purim functions and commitments.

Purim was an incredible experience, where we were kept busy running from function to function. We started off with a high school function on a boat on Purim night, where we heard the megillah, ate delicious food and danced the night away. After a fun filled night we had to wake up early the next morning to attend the megillah reading in the Werdiger hall, and get a chance to see our Bnos girls all dressed up in their beautiful costumes. The whole OC dressed up as where’s wally, and made quite a splash walking all over town in our red and white stripes. Another highlight of the day was when we visited Emmy Monash, where we sang for the residents accompanied by Chavi on the guitar, where we were able to bring the Simcha of Purim to them. finally, we all headed off to our respective seudas, only to join back later for our final Purim program, a double decker party bus! It was the perfect end to fun filled day.

The learning and events of the month continued with a farbrengen by our very own teacher, Rabbi Telsner, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Our weeks were packed with many guest speakers including Rabbi Kaltmann from Ohio, who spoke about his shlichus on campus and shared some incredible stories from his experience. We were privileged to hear from Dr Yetta Krinsky, who spoke about her fascinating journey to yiddishkeit. In conjunction with the topic of fundraising we were learning in Rabbi Blesofsky’s shlichus class, we heard from a local shliach, Rabbi Menachem Stern, and some practical tips on the topic. Our next international speaker, Chavi’s grandfather, Rabbi Kahn from Israel, inspired us with his wisdom and Divrei torah.

In honour of Chof Hey Adar, the Rebbetzions birthday, we had many incredible programs. Starting with a dorm program on Wednesday night, where the High school shluchot joined us and ran a workshop on what everyone can contribute to the world. We were lucky enough to have a delicious barbeque and program at Mrs Groners the next day, where we were divided into groups by our birthdays, and each presented a story of the Rebbetzin. There were some very creative presentations including a puppet show and a song. Our final program of the day was a farbrengen by Mrs M Krasnjanski, who spoke about the significance of the day.

Monday was the start of our final week before pesach break, and we began to say goodbye to the girls returning home for Yom tov. We were treated to a thank you breakfast from Chabad youth, in appreciation of our hard work throughout the term. In preparation for pesach, we had a special week of classes devoted solely to ideas for Yom tov. From Haggadah insights, to question and answers about halachos of pesach, to the history of the Haggadah, the week was filled with many insightful and fascinating classes. We were privileged to hear from Rabbi Telsner about his experiences at the Rebbe’s Seder, and the various minhagim the Rebbe would adhere to by his Seder. We enjoyed a bais Nissan farbrengen by Rabbi Blesofsky, where we heard stories of the Rebbe Rashab and learned about Tomchei Temmimim. All in all, it was a month full of learning, inspiration and a lot of Simcha and fun. After a packed term, we are all excited to take a little break to recharge our batteries, and look forward to our final term after pesach.

Chodesh Shevat
By Hadassah C.

This month of Shvat has been very eventful in Ohel Chana. We kicked it off on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh with a beautiful ‘in-shabbos’ to welcome all the locals as they moved into the dorm. Kalman and Timmy Rubin inspired us with their stories on Friday night and Timmy kept us entertained later into the early morning hours with her exciting stories and bubbly personality. We then had a first orientation meeting on Sunday night to explain everything to the newcomers which was very informative and exciting. We were fortunate enough to visit one of Melbourne’s top attractions and went on the Great Ocean Road where we were shown beautiful sites like the 12 apostles, everyone was in awe of the beauty this city has to offer. We had fun in the bus singing and getting to know each other throughout the day.

That Friday we were treated to a very special talk by Rabbi Laibl Groner and heard amazing stories of the Rebbe and were able to ask personal queries on things that have boggled our minds and were given clarity by Rabbi Groner who was at the Rebbes side all the years of the Rebbes leadership on these matters which was incredible. Yud Shvat came around and Rabbi Lange Farbrenged with us, following a full day of speakers and events which was all filled with inspiring concepts, stories and ideas. Rabbi Weiss from Manchester came in to speak to us as well as one of the girl’s parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Rosenfeld from Miami. The following Sunday Moshe and Dina Kahn as a thank you for doing camp for them over the summer break hosted us for a  BBQ, we really enjoyed that. Mrs. R New paid us a visit from Atlanta who spoke about how meaningful her work is in Friendship Circle and how fulfilling her shlichus is.

To start our momentous Chof Beis Shvat weekend we had an intense Farbrengen with Rabbi Wolf on Thursday night until 2 AM, as we delved into various topics about Yiddishkeit. Friday morning arrived and we were off on our shabbaton to Warrata Bay with Mrs. Groner and her children, Rabbi and Mrs. Lisker. Our many farbrengens with Rabbi and Mrs Lisker were spiritually stimulating and thought provoking and we had a blast by the beach, which was across the road and we bonded with each other and really enjoyed the many activities and programs over the full weekend.  On our return home Sunday evening, we hosted Beth Rivka mothers and daughters for a night of inspirational learning. Later that week Rabbi and Mrs. Goldschmidt from Dallas were here to give us a full report of their life on shlichus which was extremely eye-opening.

We then had a beautiful Farbrengen with Josh Goldhirsch about the Rebbe and his personal experiences with the Rebbe over the years and were shown an amazing video which left us all speechless. To end of our month on a high note, Avraham Fried came to talk to us on Friday about his life as a singer and his connection to the Rebbe through his singing and how he remains true in his Chassidishkeit and epitomizes that through his songs. We rejoiced in a modest way at his concert celebrating the start of an amazing Rosh Chodesh Adar a prefect beginning to a month of Simcha!

Rabbi Groner Inspires in Australia
from collive.com
Photos: Shaina Krinsky

The Rebbe's Mazkir Rabbi Leibel Groner inspired the students of Ohel Chana Seminary -Werdiger Learning Institute in the lead up to Yud Shevat.

Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe's Mazkir, spoke at Ohel Chana Seminary -Werdiger Learning Institute on Friday morning, Zayin Shevat. 

Rabbi Groner spoke about his experiences and interaction with the Rebbe over the many years he served as one of the Rebbe's personal secretaries. 

He also shared many stories and words of inspiration in the lead up to Yud Shevat.

Rabbi Groner, along with his wife, are in Australia visiting the many Chabad mosdos in lead up to Yud Shevat and inspiring the entire Melbourne Jewish community.

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