Strings of flowers cascaded delicately from the ceiling and the tables were adorned with scattered lotus petals and candles. The center table was especially enticing, with a delectable assortment of tantalizing salads and diet-renouncing desserts. Soothing music softly played and pictures of stunning scenery flashed on the wall.
We were at Bais Chabad of North Oak Park, Michigan on the 17th of October – an evening dedicated to both the body and the soul, the spiritual and the mundane. Tonight was a big night for us – our shul kitchen was finally complete and was going to be unveiled. Everyone was excited to see the physical fruits of many people’s labors.
Once we were relaxed and pampered by different volunteer spa treatments, we settled down comfortably to some heart-warming speeches. Rebbetzin Hadassah Werner spoke emotionally about Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg, the Chabad Emissaries in Mumbai India who were murdered in their Chabad house by terrorists almost two years ago, and in whose memory the new kitchen is dedicated. They were well-known for their warmth, selfless devotion and constant giving. It is the hope that their renowned legacy of giving and kindness will live on in our new shul kitchen as our entire community will benefit from it.
Marcy Forta introduced her can-do, will-do aunt, Fran Rogers, who made the up-and-running shul kitchen her personal goal in honor of the Holtzbergs. Fran talked about the kitchen before (it didn’t even have a sink!) and thanked the people who contributed funds towards making the dream of a good shul kitchen a reality. She also talked about the importance of maintenance and then cut the ribbon, unveiling the brand new kitchen for the first time.
After we’d finished ooh-ing and aahing over the new appliances, tiles and sink, Hadassah Werner announced that an anonymous someone had been inspired by Fran Rogers and all her hard work and had decided to donate in her honor another $5,000 towards maintenance of the kitchen and whatever appliances it still required.
Lastly, Ita Leah Cohen, Rebbitzen of the Bloomfeild-Birmingham Chai Center took the podium. She regaled us with anecdotes from Chumash which highlighted the importance of taking care of our physical bodies in order to succeed in our spiritual lives.
It was a beautiful evening; we left relaxed, well-fed and happy, content in the knowledge that as we spared an evening to pamper ourselves physically, we were actually really rejuvenating ourselves to take better care of our families and ourselves.
Thank you so much to the hard-working organizers, Hadassah Werner and Feiga Bowick and all the many behind-the-scenes people who put all the little details together to make this memorable evening the spectacular success that it was.
If anyone would like to contribute to the ongoing project of the BCNOP kitchen, please call (248) 872-8878.