By Mushkie K
The new month of Sivan was heralded with a Rosh Chodesh trip and picnic to Ripponlea Gardens, and the launch of a new Hachlata initiative at Rebbe Time to encourage growth, especially prior to Shavuos, the first night of which we were lucky enough to spend coordinating an inspiring and enlightening Hafotzah program for High School girls. Replete with fun Achdus programs and Spa night in the dorm, our week ended with our very last farbrengen with Rabbi Tenenbaum for the year, where we reflected on the past few months and were guided on how to fully take advantage of the time we had left in Ohel Chana.
Our weekly Farbrengens are always a highlight; and we were joined the next week by Rabbi Abenaim, who emphasized the importance of acting as a role model for the students and kids we interact with at Chabad Youth in our Hafotzah work, who look up to us as OC girls. This was followed by a beautiful In-Shabbos hosted by Rabbi Menachem Wolf and his family at the Spiritgrow Centre, where we were regaled with stories of Hashgocha Pratis and insight. The inspiration and discussion of the impact we can have continued the next week, at a special trip to Bowling and Bonfire at Moorabin Hebrew congregation with Rabbi L Greenbaum, followed by a session with Rabbi Y Devries, whose interesting stories and experiences gave us much to think about.
Although the introduction of lockdown for the last 2 weeks of OC prevented classes in person, our learning never stopped, with classes over Zoom in addition to various guest speakers: Mrs Esther Malka Groner, whose inspiring and emotional story of her family journey to Chabad Chassidus left us with a deep appreciation for Chassidus and our way of life, Ms Esther Althaus, who shared her tips and experience as a financial advisor for 15 years, and Mrs Shainy New, who provided us with important insight from her work with the Jewish Task Force for Family Violence.
While lockdown prevented the usual Teacher-Farewell night, the end of the Ohel Chana Program for 5781 was marked by a catered dinner in the dorm beginning with the reading of the Rebbe’s letter to OC, Rabbi Tenenbaum farewell message all the way from NY, a humourous grammen detailing dorm life presented by our very own dorm counsellor, and presentation of the Rabbi Groner and Shaina Rochwerger awards to Chani Dadon, Bluma Moss and Malka Bondar.
We were lucky enough to spend our last In- Shabbos for the term with the Groner Family on Friday night, ending the meal with a Farbrengen with Rabbi CT Groner, who shared many of his own personal encounters with the Rebbe. Joined by Mrs Groner and Leah G for Seder Niggunim and Pirkei Avos Shiur, Motzei Shabbos was also marked by a special Melave Malka of pizza and sushi, signing of yearbooks and reflection over the past 4 months.
In keeping with the spirit of the Chassidishe Yom Tov, OC’s Gimmel Tammuz Hachana encouraged unity and teamwork, as the whole dorm worked to complete group Hachlatos together, with the reward of a drink from Chocolatine!
Gimmel Tammuz was an especially powerful day to mark the ending of Ohel Chana 5781, the Rebbe’s Mosed. In commemoration of the Rebbe’s passing, we were privileged to have a special guest over Zoom, Rabbi Aron Moss from Sydney, whose inspiration helped us to properly appreciate the significance of the day. Speaking about how we can achieve Hishkashrus even after the Rebbe’s passing, the greatness of the Rebbe in so many areas including leadership, Torah study and Ahavas Yisroel, and what it means to be a Chosid of the Rebbe, he provided much food for thought. Included in the program was a video presentation of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks telling over his own personal story of the Rebbe’s great impact on him, watched over a beautiful lunch in Ohel Devorah Shul.
The program ended with a set time to write Panim, and presentation of gifts to our dorm mother Mrs Groner, our program director and teacher Leah G, and dorm counsellor Tzivi G for all their hard work and effort during the year. We will never be able to thank you enough for the amazing experience we’ve had at OC!