In celebration of the recent marriage of Uziel Minkowitz and Chaya Tevardovitz that took place at The Shul in Bal Harbour, Florida, the families chose to celebrate Shabbos Sheva Brochos at the Agam Retreat in Cooper City.
All day Friday, family and guests who arrived for the wedding from Israel and across the United States, began strolling onto the beautiful and sprawling 6.5 acre campus.
The nearly 100 guests were warmly welcomed, offered pre-Shabbos delicacies and shown to their spacious rooms for check-in.
Prominent guests included the bride’s grandfathers, Harav Avrohom Michoel Halperin, member of Israel’s Beis Din Rabbonei Chabad and Rav of Givah Hatzarftit in Jerusalem and noted author and Rav in Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Dov Tevardovitz.
Distinguished guests on the groom’s side included, grandfather Rabbi Leima Minkowitz of Crown Heights and uncles Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, spiritual leader of the Aleph Beis Gimmel Center in Jackson, NJ and Crown Heights activist Moshe Rubashkin.
Guests were taken aback at the beautiful campus and amazed with all the amenities the retreat offered. Some of the visitors chose to hop into the refreshing pool while others opted to take out kayaks on the gorgeous lake.
After a spirited Friday evening Kabbalas Shabbos led by Rabbi Schneur Halperin, the Rebbe’s Shliach to the Hermon settlements, a gourmet Shabbos dinner was served in the tastefully decorated, luminous main sanctuary of Chabad SW Broward.
Father of the bride, Rabbi Sholom Minkowitz welcomed all his guests and shared an inspiring Torah thought connecting the special simcha to the parsha of the week. His talk was followed by several other relatives, most of whom serve as prominent rabbis and community leaders in their respective Chabad centers around the globe.
For Shabbos morning services, the wedding party joined the large community minyan of Cooper City. The beautiful suburb west of Hollywood is one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in South Florida under the leadership of Rabbi Pinny Andrusier.
After introducing the Torah portion with a short, humorous but powerful message, Rabbi Pinny announced to the near capacity crowd that a unique format would follow for the duration of the Torah reading
Prior to each Aliya he would call up one of the guest rabbis to offer a quick insight on the upcoming reading, but they had to deliver their message in two minutes or less.
Though quite challenging for rabbis to condense their thoughts into less than 120 seconds, Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz of Alpharetta, Georgia and his brother Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz of Fort Myers, Florida were first to give it a go. To the delight of the large crowd, they and each subsequent rabbi lived up to the challenge, delivering a concise, impactful, inspiring and heartfelt message. Before the Mussaf prayer began, R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was then called upon to deliver an inspiring guest sermon.
Following the morning services, all in attendance gathered for an extravagant kiddush luncheon and an afternoon long Chai Elul Farbrengen. The 18th of Elul commemorates the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov (1698), founder of the Chasidic movement, and the birth, 47 years later (1745), of the Alter Rebbe, founder of the Chabad Chasidic philosophy.
Shabbos concluded with the groom Uziel reciting the Havdala and in tradition, was showered with tossed napkins and tablecloths.
Sprightly Jewish music then filled the night air on the campus wide surround sound system, while a dairy Melave Malka of personal pizzas, a colorful array of pastas and salads, and a delicious display of baguettes, cream cheese and lox was served.
The Motzoei Shabbos event took place on the decorated outdoor patio which is nestled amongst beautiful giant oak trees, overlooks the serene lake and is adorned with festive lights.
Fascinating stories of the Rebbe and traditional tales of chassidic masters of yore were shared, including one of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and the holy Ribnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Zanvil Abramowitz.
“I must thank Rabbi Pinny and Gitty for hosting us so graciously on their pristine campus,” exclaimed Meir Lerman. “The space, accommodations and community are 5 star! This was the perfect venue. It’s a hidden gem, perfect for family reunions and Simchahs.”
Mother of the groom, Chana Zeldy Minkowitz complemented, “I was so nervous having to organize a Simcha away from home. What to me was most amazing, appreciative and meaningful, you and your community, made us feel the entire time like family and that we were at home.”
“And this Shabbos could not have been possible without the dedicated work of Koby Lerner, Agam’s Director of Operations,” added Sholom Minkowitz.
On Sunday morning, following Shacharis and a gourmet breakfast, Rabbi Pinny offered a grand tour of the campus. The tour included seeing the newly constructed and soon to be opened Reggio inspired JEMS Preschool and the construction site of the fascinating new Mikvah being erected.
Rabbi Avrohom Michoel Halperin, who is a recognized expert on Mikvaos, inspected the boros and overlooked the building plans. Extremely impressed and satisfied, the senior rabbi gave his stamp of approval.
Basya Rubashkin who arrived for the Simcha from Postville, Iowa with her husband Heshy and family said, “This Shabbos was so special and what Chabad SWB is accomplishing on this magnificent campus is literally the Rebbe’s vision of preparing for Moshiach.”
“To witness all the growth, achdus and ruach is incredible,” continued Rubashkin.
Commenting on the outstanding success of its TAG Academy yeshiva for boys she said, “How you have created an inviting environment for teens to feel excited about yiddshkeit is so special.”
Moshe Rubashkin was also asked to describe the weekend and his overall experience on Chabad’s beautiful campus. He grinned from ear to ear and exclaimed, “I’ll sum it up in two words – Wow oopahhhh!”
To learn more about the Agam Retreat and what’s the latest going on Chabad SW Broward’s Campus, visit ChabadSWB.com/Agam or call Koby (858) 334-9969.