By COLlive reporter
500 Jewish women from all over the United States and Canada converged on the Markham Hilton Suites Hotel this past weekend to attend Chabad’s 54th annual N’shei convention in Toronto.
This “Hakhel year” edition of the convention was particularly unique, in that it was a collaborated effort of all the 20 Chabad communities around the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Mrs. Goldie Plotkin, Shlucha in Markham, Ontario, the host city of the convention, said, “It was amazing seeing all the Shluchos and communities working together, which resulted in the incredible success of the convention.”
Plotkin saw it as an “incredible show of unity between Jewish women from all walks of Jewish life, representing the entire spectrum of the community; a true Kiddush Hashem and a most befitting event for the year of Jewish unity.”
Indeed, the theme of the convention was “Ke’ish Echod B’lev Echad – Women United, Communities Ignited,” and women from all backgrounds and communities, observant or not, were swept into the feeling of Shabbos, as one people with one heart.
The convention included meaningful davening, inspiring Torah words, personal accounts, gourmet meals and farbrengens that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.
Renowned speakers Rabbi YY Jacobson of Monsey and Mrs. Miryam Swerdlow of Crown Heights inspired and entertained participants with deep and meaningful talks, interweaving powerful lessons with entertaining humor.
The power of the Jewish woman was a recurring theme throughout the weekend, with speaker after speaker regaling the participants with Dvar Torahs and stories of self-sacrifice, love for Torah and Judaism and the unwavering faith of feminine Jewish luminaries throughout the ages, including women of today.
Plotkin noted that the Rebbe encouraged Chabad women to gather for these inspirational conventions 54 years ago. “The Rebbe thought about women’s self-improvement way before the feminist revolution, for spiritual life, family life and marital harmony,” she said.
At the Melava Malka event concluding an inspiring Shabbos, four women of various ages described the positive effect their connection with Chabad, inspired by the Rebbe, has had on their lives.
“Women have the intellectual strength and emotional power to accomplish anything,” said the emcee at Sunday’s banquet luncheon, Mrs. Tova Chazanow – Shlucha in Manalapan, NJ. “Go on to do what women do best – make a beautiful difference,” she told participants.
Mrs. Rivi Feldman, the convention organizer from New York, remarked that this year’s convention has “topped the charts” in success.
“A number of participants who attended other conventions at the most notable Jewish organizations confirmed that this convention stood head and shoulders over anything else that they had ever attended,” Feldman said.
Feldman said she is grateful for the dedication of the organizers, Ella Vorovich, Toby Bernstein, Faygie Kaplan and Goldie Plotkin as well as the hundreds of volunteers who helped organize the event which “transformed over 500 lives.”