By Chenya L.
Last month of
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!
By Bassie B.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.