Last night, hundreds of women gathered in the Mayanot Shul to eat, dance and be merry in celebration of the Mayanot Women’s Program’s 5th anniversary. The energy in the air was palpable, as women greeted each other, embraced and reveled in each other’s company. The evening, which was organized entirely by Mayanot students, included a reception hour, followed by a buffet dinner and entertainment.
As MC, Rachel Willins introduced the first speech, which was given by Mayanot student Dayna Driscoll. Dayna thanked the women who host Mayanot students for Shabbat, saying that “they physically and emotionally welcome Mayanot students into their homes” and “feed our neshamas (souls) with their generosity and warmth.”
Afterwards, a video of the Rebbe was screened, wherein the Rebbe articulated the importance of a Torah education for women.
Mayanot student Rachel Bennov gave a Dvar Torah on this week’s Parsha, Parshat Va’era. She explained that according to the Alter Rebbe, the Exodus from Egypt was also an exodus of the soul from the material world. Rachel spoke about how Mayanot helps its students make an intimate connection with Hashem through Chassidus. She raised a glass and made a L’chaim saying, “I hope that every one of us can take the lessons we’ve learned and the people we’ve met and the conversations we’ve had and lead us to a place that we take our souls out of exile.”
Later, a video that was produced by Mayanot student Natalie Itzkowitz was enjoyed by all. The crowd was laughing and cheering as Mayanot students explained what Mayanot means to them on screen.
The student choir sang an originally composed song that was written by Zisi Wolf called “Lighthouse”, accompanied by a live guitar and drum. The song caused the entire room to break into song and dance. There was a real feeling of celebration in the air. All of the guests were up on their feet, dancing and singing niggunim together.
Mayanot Gemara teacher Adi Silverman said a few words, articulating why Mayanot can be compared to a lighthouse. She said that Mayanot, like a lighthouse, is a source of light, and gives a sense of direction for people. By fostering relationships with the text, teachers, peers and G-d, Mayanot students create meaningful bonds that endure and serve as a reference point that they can look back to, long after they have left Mayanot. Adi proudly declared that, “At Mayanot, everyone is searching, everyone is passionate, and everyone cares”.
Tzippi Glick, a frequent Mayanot student hostess, spoke about her memories of the early beginning of Mayanot and her involvement in its development. She shared her admiration of Mayanot and her delight with hosting Mayanot students in her home.
Rabbi Meir Levinger delighted the crowd with an impromptu speech about what makes Mayanot special. He said that Mayanot women have a duality to them, that they appreciate the beauty of “being within while staying above, being grounded while being lofty.” A special thank you was given to Mayanot’s many partners and supporters, most notably Mr. George Rohr, founder of the Mayanot Women’s Program, whose significant contribution made all of this possible.
The night concluded with a spiritually uplifting Farbrengen, led by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, which left all those involved with a sense of accomplishment and growth.
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