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Shavuos was smashing!

 One Team One Dream Promo.JPGShavuos is one of Strathavon's most exciting festivals (well, they're all exciting) and this year was no different. 

Shavuos 5773 was built on the theme "One Team, One Dream", which is code for "One person with one heart", the way the Jews are described at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Everything about the holiday focused on the theme of Jewish unity.

Some eighty people booked for our Shavuos dinner- which was a record! The rebbetzin laboured away, shopping, gathering decor, cooking and setting up what was a delicious dinner. Rabbi Avtzon's parents joined us from the US for the first day of Shavuos, which added special flavour to the experience.

During the dinner some of our locals ad-libbed a special broadcast of "Nile Network News" reporting on the "Event at Sinai". Rabbi Yona Avtzon  shared his experiences working on the Rebbe's publishing team (he heads "Sichos in English"), which was really enthralling. Rabbi Shishler then presented a shiur on the oft-debated question of why, if all Jews are meant to be on the same "team", we have different customs, dress and templates of prayers.

After dessert, the all-night learning began in earnest. During the first session, the crowd split into groups to research the intriguing (and highly contorversial) topic of dealing with Jews who endanger (or cast a bad light on) other Jews as well as the Halachic dilemmas around reporting Jewish criminals to the secular authorities. 

After that, Uri Marks presented a shiur on the origins of the custom to stay up through the night on Shavuos (including the "coffee theory" that tickled everyone's funny bones). Jonathan Hurvitz then shared an insight into the value of a mitzvah and Nami Falkson spoke on the significance of Shavuos. Elchanan Yach wrapped up the "teamwork" session with a fascinating letter from the Rebbe on astrology. 

As the night flew by (which is a great sign), Rabbi Levi Avtzon gave a shiur about Moshiach. To give a shiur at that time of the morning and keep the crowd's attention is quite a feat! And then we wound down the last hour with an informal farbrengen.

As every year, our children's mega ice cream party reeled in dozens of kids. It was a treat to have all those youngsters gather around the bimah and enthusiastically answer the rabbi's questions about the Giving of the Torah. Amazingly, they stood quietly as the Ten Commandments were read and then dashed off to eat topping-covered ice creams, sponsored by the Jaffe family.

Not to be outdone, the adults dug into decadent dairy delicacies (compliments of the Meyerowitz family) at the kiddush after Shul. 

What really broke all records was the amazing turnout on second day Shavuos (usually a non-starter for many). The Children's Service kids ran out of cupcakes in their "decorate a cupcake" project and had to improvise with biscuit decorating for about a dozen children. Shul was certainly fuller than it had ever been on second day Shavuos, which is an encouraging sign. 

All in all, it was a smashing Shavuos! 

Women's wellness breakfast

08.jpgOur Women's Circle pulled off another smashing event on the public holiday, Wednesday 1st May. 

Hosted at the five-star Moloko hotel, right across from our centre, the Women's Wellness Morning drew in over fifty women. The morning started with a delicious healthy, yet hearty breakfast, prepared by the Women's Circle team. Each lady who came received a beautiful goodie bag with skincare products, reading material and a pocket Tehillim booklet.

The ladies chatted, socialized and enjoyed the sumptious food before settling down to an excellent talk on nutrition, presented by dietician, Janine Weinstein. Larry Krug, of Evox, then gave a highly-professional and informative presentation on healthy eating, exercise and skin-care. Chaya Avtzon wrapped up the morning with an innovative and meaningful spiritual approach to personal health and body-soul balance.

Half a dozen lucky ladies walked out having won skincare products and spa treatments that were raffled off. The morning was a spectacular success and the Women's Circle team is already looking ahead to their next event.

Click here to see photos from Wednesday's event

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