“G’day and welcome to the Seder.”
From Townsville to Darwin, from Freemantle to Central Coast, from Byron Bay to Brisbane, Passover Australia 5779 was a success.
Passover Australia is a Merkos Shlichus program specifically for Pesach that helps run Sedarim in some of Australia’s most remote locations.
Merkos Shlichus Australia Pesach (under the auspices of the Shluchim to Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne) of 5779, saw growth and success over and beyond any previous expectations.
The Shluchim of Yeshiva Gedolah Melbourne, spearheaded by Hatomim Hashliach Chaim Feigelstock, in conjunction with Chabad of RARA’s Rabbi Yossi and Malki Rodal, began preparing months in advance.
Five locations across rural Australia were slated to be conquered by the Rebbe’s foot soldiers. Darwin NT (led by Shluchim Menachem Mendel Sorkin and Simcha Shneur), Townsville QLD (led by Shluchim Heshy Wolf and Shmuel Kesselman), Fremantle WA (led by Shluchim Shaya Liberow and Shmuel Gurary), Central Coast NSW (led by Shluchim Menachem Mendel Shishler and Aharon Dovid Rappaport) and Brisbane QLD (led by Shluchim Yanky Blasberg and Laibel Vogel) were the targets.
The Shluchim, in an effort to involve the Bochurim of Yeshiva Gedolah, offered the Bochurim to join and be a part of the effort. Close to half of the Yeshiva Bochurim gave up the opportunity to join their families for Yom Tov and chose instead to join in the spreading of Yiddishkeit and the Mivtzoyim connected to Pesach.
The Shluchim all shared one clear goal. There are Four Sons that come to the Seder. Each with their own style and questions. But the Rebbe taught us that there is, in fact, a 5th son. The one that does not attend the Seder at all. In fact, he may not know there is a Seder in town, that is until Passover Australia representatives find him and invite him!
Even before the Shluchim arrived, the groundwork had been laid by Chabad of RARA. The hotels, cars, houses and flights all perfectly planned and synchronized, waiting for them to arrive.
The Shluchim arrived and began with home visits. From Teffilin to Mezuzahs, Matzahs and Jewish books, the visitations are well underway. The visits are to Jews from all backgrounds and drastically different affinities in the most far-flung areas, where hardly a religious Jew has ever been seen.
The look on the faces of these Jews as they open the door is first surprise, then unbelievable excitement. “How did you find me?” is always the question. The Shluchim sit down to converse with their newly-found friend, rekindling his soul and reawakening his Jewish pride. Again and again, home after home, the Shluchim find the 5th son. And time after time, he becomes part of the Jewish family.
A few days later the Bochrim arrived to each of their designated locations, and being Yud Aleph Nissan, the Shluchim arrange to conquer the Australian continent through Limmud Hatorah by hosting a country-wide video conference “Learning Hour”. All five groups of Shluchim and Bochurim, call in at the same time and experience a virtual Yeshiva, delving into a Sicha of the Rebbe. Following which, the Bochurim all attentively listen in to a shiur by Hatomim Hashliach Laibel Vogel. This is their birthday gift to the Rebbe. After such unity and camaraderie, the Shluchim and the Bochurim sit down and Farbreng the night away, bringing the Hiskashrus and feeling towards the Rebbe, to these far and distant areas.
But soon enough, early the next morning, the Bochrim are back to work. A few days of intense working, sweating, cooking, baking, shopping and cleaning, and the Seder is ready.
Friday afternoon, Erev Pesach, the Shluchim arrange an early start to the festivities to allow their fellow Jews an opportunity to lay Tefillin and light Shabbos and Yom Tov candles before the Seder. The Sedorim begin, and slowly but surely the mood develops. As the Hagodo continues, sprinkled with insights from the Rebbe and Chassidus, the Jews of Rural Australia warm up setting off a new vibe. Matzah, Maror, Korach, Shulchan Aruch, the Seder flows on with ecstasy and new found contentment. Continuing with Niggunim and songs lasting way into the night.
As the guests reluctantly make their way home, each one stops to thank the Shluchim and Bochurim, and express their appreciation. As the evening closes, there ceases to be a 5th son. They’ve all joined in, they’ve all come home.
And the Shluchim and Bochrim on their part, turn towards their Meshaleach, their Rebbe, to express their appreciation for the honour he bestowed upon them to be his representatives in these five remote locations.
After Yomtov, as each group heads off to their respective airports to return and reunite in Melbourne, there is but one thought on their minds collectively: Thank you Rebbe for giving me the merit. Thank you for giving me a Pesach that is truly meaningful, a Pesach of giving to others. Of bringing home the 5th son.
Passover Australia acknowledges the tremendous debt of gratitude, that is owed to Chabad of RARA and Yossi and Malki Rodal. Their tireless dedication and devotion to this holy endeavor is inspirational. The value of their careful technical planning and on-the-ground assistance to the Shluchim is unimaginable. This goes alongside their directing and arranging many other Sedorim throughout Australia.
Special thanks is given to the sponsors: The Werled Foundation for their constant support, year after year, generously sponsoring an abundance of Matzah and wine, to Sedarim all over Australia and many other countries beyond. Merkos Suite 302 and the Merkos Shlichus Office, for all of their support both financial and otherwise. To Lenax Pty Ltd, a huge thank you, for arranging the shipments and following up, making sure that everything was delivered promptly and completely. And of course, to every member of the Melbourne Anas”h community who donated their time, money or resources, we extend a heartfelt thank you.