Melbourne, Monsey, Ottawa, Montreal, Bal Harbor, Sunny Isles Beach, Worcester, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Kensington and of course, Crown Heights.
From these locations and more, came 40 delegates to our International Shidduch Group Network Shabbaton this past weekend, Cheshvan 10-12/October 23-25, Parshas Lech Lecha.
The V.I.P. Invitation Only Shabbaton took place in Crown Heights to unite Chapter leaders and shadchanim and strengthen their resolve to work together to enable our singles to get to the chuppah, incorporating the directives of the Rebbe.
Together, they learned, farbrenged, and networked, inspired by guest speakers, hosts and hostesses. Friendships were renewed and strengthened, infusing all with a feeling of empowerment as we strive to help one another, friends and neighbors to make shidduchim.
The weekend kicked-off with a royal catered Shabbos dinner at the home of Choula and Leibish Nash. Rabbi Nash gave a dvar Torah, and regaled us with a story of the legendary shadchan Shimshon Stock who made many matches in Crown Heights a few decades ago. Sara Tova Best spoke about the power of Hakhel Year. "According to the Rebbe, by taking advantage of every opportunity to make Hakhel gatherings, we can 'upgrade' from Golus to Geula," she told us.
Rebbetzin Toby Leider, of Melbourne, inspired us with stories. The most poignant gave over an experience from many years ago that occurred at a Kinus haShluchos convention. At a farbrengen at 2 am, women were asking for brachos for whatever they needed, to which everyone answered “Amen.” One pregnant woman turned to her family on either side of her and confided that her doctor had forewarned her that tests revealed she was carrying a Down's Syndrome baby. She asked that they ask for a bracha to give her the strength and wisdom to raise this child. Instead they asked for a bracha that she would give birth to a healthy baby – to which 600 women answered, “Amen!” Several months later, the woman gave birth and right afterwards she asked her doctor, "Please tell me, “How am I to take care of this child?" To which the doctor replied, "I don't know what you mean--you just gave birth to a PERFECTLY HEALTHY BABY."
Toby led our whole group in giving brachos to one another enthusiastically—for refuahs and yeshuas and for shidduchim for the singles in our lives. Tears were flowing as hearts opened in shared requests. It was a magical experience that surely will be remembered by all who were there. We hope that those heartfelt requests will be speedily answered, in the merit of our achdus and ahavas Yisroel!
Ayala Moshiach (and family) were our gracious hosts for a gourmet Shabbos lunch. Ayala leads a large Shidduch Group in Crown Heights for mostly Hebrew-speaking ladies. They meet every Tuesday night, learn many inyanim of the Rebbe regarding shidduchim, and give regularly as a group to Hachnossas Kallah.
Our Shabbaton reconvened for the afternoon session at the home of Shaindy Gutnick. Dr. Elka Pinson--therapist, shidduch coach, and shadchan--gave a seminar on "Shidduchim: Past, Present and Future," openly dealing with several pertinent issues in shidduchim. Sara Tova Best, a personal coach and EFT therapist, spoke about how to get successfully"unstuck" in relationships, especially singles who seem to be "blocked" reaching their goal of getting married.
Motzei Shabbos we were feted with a delectable Melave Malka meal, prepared by Mindy Lokeinsky and Raizy Brownstein, at Rayim Ahuvim shul. Thanks go to Chapter Leader Chavi Katzman, whose husband is the Shul gabbai, for hosting. The program for the evening was musical entertainment by singer Rivkah Eilfort, followed by a "Q & A: Ask the Shadchan" panel discussion. Moderator Leah Bergovoy interviewed the panel of experienced shadchanim, consisting of Chana Miriam Hubener, Toby Lieder, Fayge Rapp and Shandel Malka Blasberg.
"Let's Make Matches!" The Grand Finale
The Shabbaton concluded at the home of Sharona Sternbach on Sunday morning, with a delicious brunch, sponsored by Tamar Stone's Crown Heights Shidduch Group. Shoshana Lerner of "Chabad Shidduch" fame led a grand networking/profile-sharing session. Shoshana hosts a monthly Chabad Profile Sharing Meeting at Chabad of Midwood which attracts participants from the tri-state area. Her knack for efficiently leading a roundtable networking session, interspersed with a sprinkling of shidduch jokes, has led to many matches being made. Our event was no exception! Names were "flying" around the table as participants put on their "shidduch antennae" and compared notes to suggest shidduchim to one another. We understand "from the grapevine" that shidduch dating resulting from this session is already underway!
By the time 1 PM came and the Shabbaton came to a close, every delegate left feeling inspired and empowered, ready to reconnect with her local Shidduch Group and get back to the work of learning the Rebbe's directives for shidduchim and putting them into practice; networking locally and internationally with ISGN members to make matches; davening for one another, and much more.
At the conclusion of the Shabbaton, International Shidduch Group Network President Elana Bergovoy made a plea to the group for tax-deductible donations to be made to the Network, a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization. "Please help us to help you," she said. "We can only continue this important work with your help."
For more information, please go to shidduchgroupnetwork.com/donate.