A student at Ohel Sara
What’s interesting about a new seminary is that it is everyone’s first time. Everyone is a beginner. Us students are new to the structure of the seminary; the shluchos are new to taking care of twenty girls; the teachers and directors are new to teaching and directing a group of seminary girls on a daily basis.
Yet one thing that isn’t new, one thing that everyone has practice in, is learning.
Every day in seminary, we learn. We learn from our directors, teachers, classes, farbrengens, workshops, and shabbatons. And the staff learn and listen to us. There are no wrong questions, all are answered. Everyone here has a common goal, to become the best people we can possibly be. And here, in Ohel Sara, in the first year, we are learning to make that a reality.
An important aspect of a good seminary is definitely its teachers. I think it goes without saying that the teachers in Ohel Sara are incredible, for no other reason than everywhere we go, people tell us that they’ve seen “the list” and are extremely jealous, wishing they could come too. They are not exaggerating.
Every single teacher is a prestigious, well-known, busy figure in the Jewish world. And we are fortunate enough to be here, at Ohel Sara, where they have each taken some of their precious time, in the zechus and memory of Rebbetzin Sara Rachel Schochet OBM, the seminary’s namesake, granting us a chance to learn unbelievably deep and essential parts of Torah.
Whether it be Chumash, Halacha, Chassidus, Education-Didactics, Pirkei Avos, or Gemara, and many other relevant subjects, every single lesson is another hour infused with this energy, this, “What are you waiting for? Get up! Wake up and the smell the Chassidus!” kind of energy.
To be a chassid, one must go beyond- the- letter- of- the- law, above the call of duty in one’s Avodas Hashem. Two women who have really shown what is means to go beyond the letter of the law, are Mrs. Hadassa Spalter and Mrs. Chanie Pinson.
They are both so dedicated and supportive of every girls’ needs and wants. They show us that they care in so many ways. For example, Mrs. Spalter with all her responsibilities still manages to take out each girl individually, just to schmooze over coffee. There is no agenda or specific topics to discuss. She just makes some one-on-one time to get to know every girl on a more personal level.
Mrs. Pinson, even with her busy schedule, there is nothing that is too much to ask of her. Anything that can make us more comfortable she’s there at a moment’s notice to help us out personally. They work tirelessly to create a warm environment where we can ask, learn, and grow, and give us a good time. They both make themselves available to us so that we can call or text them if we have any questions or concerns, no matter the hour. They, along with our teachers, are an inspiration to what we hope to someday become.
In addition, we are privileged to get to know the Los Angeles community. People here are so warm and friendly. We have gotten countless invitations to Shabbos meals and even just to hang out. Many community members also farbreng with us and we’ve been inspired by them. Rabbi Ezra Schochet spoke to us about self-awareness while Rabbi Chaim Hanoka‘s talks were about Shlichus. Rabbi Mendel Duchman elaborated on Hiskahrus while Mrs. Chani Hecht and Mrs. Raizy Schmukler showed us what it means to be a Chassidishe woman.
We have also had fascinating workshops from Rabbi Greenbaum in chinuch, to Mrs. Robin Garbose in drama, to Mrs. Danielle Forer in time management and Mrs. Geula Newman in women’s mitzvos, we are only two months in and with many great ones still planned ahead. We’re really lucky to be surrounded by such people.
We are very busy between school, farbrengens, night classes, and workshops. But the time we do get to spend in the dormitory is very special. Everyone is so excited and happy to be here together, as we know how much effort went, and continues to go into making this seminary what it is. We have a few musicians in our group, so we spontaneously have a kumzitz in our huge spacious dining room. (O yeah, I forgot to mention, we live in a humongous house).
We have a cleaning lady once a week who upkeeps the basic cleanliness of the dorm. But we all pitch in to keep our house clean and neat. Sometimes we forget to do our jobs, but it’s OK, because we have two amazing shluchos who make sure everything runs smoothly. They are so dedicated to ensuring that we have an amazing seminary experience. They work hand in hand with our directors to put together all of our shabbatons trips, and Rosh Chodesh and Chassidishe Yomim Tovim programs, which are all so fun and meaningful.
All in all, our seminary is a really great place to learn, grow, make friends, and have fun, thanks to so many people who have put in so much time, money, and energy. But it is to the Aibeshter that we owe tremendous gratitude for it all…
We thank the Rebbe for giving us the understanding, motivation, and guidance to go beyond the letter of the law in order to strengthen the emunah, ahavas, and yiras Hashem in each and every one of us.
This seminary was built for us to not only learn and farbreng with incredible people, and make life-long friends and go on fun exciting trips, but to become chassidim. That’s what it all comes down to, why we’re all here. And so on this note, we are focusing on what our goals are and will IY”H make them a reality.
For more info, visit LAseminary.com