Relatives of students gathered at Machon Chana in Crown Heights this past Shabbos for a family Shabbaton to understand the choices their sisters, daughters and granddaughters have made in becoming Torah observant.
Family members travelled from as far away as Denver and came from as close as Brooklyn to learn more about the courageous move these young women have made in deciding to devote a semester or more of their time to intensive Torah study.
The women and students were welcomed by student Yaffa Fabbi from Las Vegas, after which the women let Shabbos candles and then sang songs and niggunim.
After attending services in “770” at Lubavitch World Headqarters, students and their guests returned to the dormitory for the Shabbos meal, led by Rabbi Shloma Majeski.
Malki Presti, a student from Tempe, Arizona, spoke at the meal, as well as Nancy Weintraub from Tennessee, the grandmother of student Gabrielle Weintraub of West Palm Beach, Florida.
After the meal there was a question and answer session led by Machon Chana staff.
Students and their relatives were hosted for the Shabbos day meal by families in the extraordinarily hospitable Crown Heights community.
Braving the frigid and icy weather after Shabbos, Shabbaton participants reconvened for a Melave Malka at the home of Alumna Adina and Nissim Adrei. Student Chanaliza Zinger from Daytona, Florida, who started attending Machon Chana at the beginning of winter semester, spoke about her journey to Machon Chana. Liala Tassano of Brazil, whose mother was also present at the Shabbaton, also spoke.
Everyone then watched the video “Sensitivity,” about the Rebbe’s extreme sensitivity to people in various situations. Unbeknownst to the staff member who chose that video, by Divine Providence it was connected with Machon Chana.
One of the featured stories is about a Machon Chana alumna who the Rebbe invited to celebrate her Sheva Brochos at the farbrengen on Yud Gimmel Tishrei so that she and her Chosson would not feel in any way that the Rebbe’s farbrengen compromised the participation of guests or simcha at their Chasuna.
In the clip from the actual farbrengen, in the presence of the Rebbe and the thousands assembled at 770, Rabbi Majeski is honored with the bentshing and Rabbi J.J. Hecht honored with reciting the sheva brochos.