1st Shabbaton in Australia!

As Lechu V’Nelcha branches continue to dot the map, we have become acquainted with different states, new countries and languages, and foreign continents. The latest Shabbaton was held in a location halfway around the globe and generated great excitement for a relatively new LVN group.  It was a heart-warming reminder that regardless of where in the world we may find ourselves, a Bais Yaakov graduate is just that: someone who wants to remain true to all that she has learned in high school and seminary, and who desires to continue to grow and expand in her avodas Hashem.

The place: Emerald, Melbourne, Australia. The season: Winter!

LVN Australia is coordinated tirelessly by Hindy Present, with the constant encouragement of Rebbetzin Wurzberger. And this Shabbaton was her brainchild. She turned to Mrs. Dassi Ernst, who gladly did whatever she could in order to make this dream a reality, and baruch Hashem all their efforts and hard work bore fruit.

Twenty-six Australian Bais Yaakov girls participated in the first LVN Shabbaton on their continent. And an hour and a half before Shabbos two more girls made last-minute arrangements to join them. It was an opportunity that they had determined could not be missed. And they were right.

With Rebbetzin Fink having flown in all the way from New York to lend her trademark warmth and words of stimulating inspiration, every girl who had made the effort to participate was guaranteed a LVN Shabbos filled with uplifting inspiration and stirring memories. Every girl experienced LVN Shabbos far beyond her expectations.

Shabbos brought in a feeling of unity and serenity with a shiur on Bein Adam L’atzmo to set the tone. The seudah, replete with zemiros and divrei Torah, only amplified the feeling of achdus and ruchniyus, a combination that gave the kumzitz at the end a special ruach all its own.

Shabbos morning began with Shacharis and Kiddush, followed by another thought-provoking shiur, this one focusing on Bein Adam L’makom. After the seudah, the girls participated in shiurim and nature walks, culminating in Mincha and shalosh seudos, with a special panel offering words of wisdom for all the participants.

Before the Shabbaton drew to a close, the girls had one last crescendo moment to enjoy. Melaveh Malka, with delicious food and an edible LVN memento at each place setting to mark the occasion, was a lovely affair. The girls heard the LVN theme song, were taught the lyrics, and then watched footage of another recent LVN Shabbaton held on the East Coast in the U.S. The charged atmosphere was felt by all who were there. In the words of one attendee, “It was decided then, that come what may, we must do this every year.” The girls danced and sang together, trying to draw out the moment as long as they could, until they were forced to board the buses to head home.

Like that which is experienced by participants of LVN Shabbatonim worldwide, the combination of the dynamic program and the camaraderie of like-minded peers gave the Australian girls a weekend they are sure to remember for a long time to come. A bonus for the entire Australian community was their opportunity to benefit from Rebbetzin Fink’s words of wisdom on important topics such as shalom bayis and chinuch habanim. Which goes to show that when LVN ignites the spark, the fire burns strongly far beyond what we can imagine!

Tzippy Zager