Adar II was another fun, busy and productive month at OC, peaking at Purim yet joyous from beginning to end.
Starting the month with a bang, the first ever OC colour war was held! After an unsuspected break -out by Rabbi Tenenbaum, seminary erupted with activity as Teams In-Reach and Out-Reach quickly mobilised. We headed to the Beth Rivkah gym to produce banners, cheers and compete in good ol’ egg and spoon, pass the orange, and three-legged races. The next morning everyone woke up to a brightly decorated blue-red dining room, and an extravagant breakfast of pancakes, yoghurt cups and other delicious treats prepared by their teammates (said teammates having woken up earlier to cook and decorate). A few hours later, the amusing skits, stirring speeches, catchy songs and one hilarious dance were presented, after which girls headed off to their weekly mivtzoim destinations. A week later, after much anticipation, Team Out-Reach was announced as winner, concluding an enjoyable and achdus-inducing activity.
Colour War was closely followed by an in-shabbos, hosted by Rabbi Yaakov and Toby Lieder. During the delicious meal, cooked by dedicated volunteers, Rabbi Lider shared incredible personal stories of miracles influenced by the Rebbe, accompanied by props to help dramatize his tales. After the meal Mrs Lider held an enjoyable and inspiring farbrengen, lasting till late.
Thursday night Farbrengens this month were few but worthwhile. Mrs C Slavin of Malvern Chabad shared her personal experiences and thoughts and ideas in a relatable manner. A few weeks later Rabbi DeVries led an extended farbrengen, relating incredible stories about his experiences as a Ba’al Teshuvah, campus Shliach and leader of tours to kivrei tzaddikim in Europe. He brought some water from the Ba’al Shem Tov’s spring for all in attendance to taste, and generated much discussion with his frank, open manner.
Purim was celebrated with much achdus and simcha, jam-packed with celebrations and activities. Purim evening, after a megillah reading at Beth Rivkah High School, students and OC girls boarded party buses bringing them to the Docklands where a party boat was waiting. The event organised by the high school Bnos roshes and madrichot was a resounding success. On Purim morning, OC attended the community megillah reading, all in matching costumes, and afterwards some students went to share Purim spirit with the residents of the aged care facilities they visit on mivtzoim. A delicious purim seudah was graciously hosted by the Reichers, followed by another party bus organised by OC, bringing the busy day to a close.
Post-Purim we began preparing for the next Yom Tov to follow in 30 days, beginning with a well-received Haggadah shiur by Rabbi Krasijanski, filled with interesting insights and amazing anecdotes. Rabbi Johnson of the Melbourne Kolel presented a fascinating shiur on the symbolism of the number 4 at the seder, corresponding to different concepts in chassidus. Our classes for few the first few days of Nissan exclusively concentrated on Pesach, with extremely informative sessions illuminating our often murky understandings of the origin, extent and importance of kitniyos and gebrokts, as well as other pesach halachos. In addition we studied part of Perek Mem Zayin of Tanya about leaving our personal Egypt, learned a sicha about the names of Pesach, had classes on the structure of the Haggadah and the true Torah view on freedom, as well as a halachic question answer-session with Rabbi Telsner, to prepare everyone for their exotic journeys during pesach break.
Near the conclusion of the term in honour of Chof Hey Adar, Rabbi Blesofsky held a shlichus banquet, catered and decorated by OC volunteers. We were given an inspiring address by Mushka D, who related how those she encountered on her shlichus had inspired her, and strengthened her own connection to yiddishkeit. A roll call followed, listing the many different cities of origin of our diverse group of students. Rabbi Blesofsky prepared an activity where groups of girls presented briefly about a mivtza they chose out of a bag, incorporating a random article they picked out of another bag, generating much creativity. This teaching exercise brought into practice all we have learnt in our shlichus class about reaching out and teaching all yidden.
On Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan there was another in Shabbos, hosted by popular teacher Rabbi Wolf and his family. Through thought-provoking questions, ideas and anecdotes, Rabbi Wolf brought us to understand the significance of our choices, and how to transform challenging situations to the best of our ability. He emphasised the need to make the most of the final few weeks of seminary by giving it our all, to push past our limits and finish off on a high.
For those in Melbourne during yud Alef Nissan, a farbrengen was held for OC girls and old collegians, led by Rabbi CD Wilhelm. He imparted the gratitude all of us owe to the Rebbe due to his profound influence on all of our lives and the responsibilities demanded of us as Chassidim.