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Each year, at the Pesach Seder, we enumerate the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon our ancestors. Has there ever been a population of slaves that was redeemed in so glorious a way - their oppressors punished, their physical exertion remunerated, their system of beliefs revealed Divinely, their nationhood established in the land they were promised centuries before?
Most of you, my dear readers, are aware that many moons ago I was privileged to establish Hineni -the first kiruv (outreach) -movement, with the exception of Chabad. However, what many of you may not know is the extent to which Hineni mushroomed throughout the years and how it has expanded its activities to include many areas of outreach that range from beginners' Torah classes to in-depth study of the Talmud, from small tots programs to shidduch introductions, from young couples to parenting seminars, from Shabbatons to High Holy Day Services, and from in-house to office and home study classes, to live webcasts that reach Jewish communities throughout the world.
When I was considering making aliyah, I was aware of how challenging the move might be, especially since much of my family stayed behind in the U.S. But the deep longing to be in Israel was too strong. It was like a giant magnet pulling on my soul, until I finally let go and came home.
The 10th Annual Rebbetzin's Conference sponsored by the Task Force on Families and Children at Risk, which took place last week, was one of the best ever. Rebbetzins come from far and wide to participate in this yearly program and leave with newfound strength.
So often, when it comes to furniture in a home with children, there is a tug of war between functionality and beauty. Either get the industrial strength dining chairs that are ugly but never stain, or the elegant chairs that will force you to exercise your vocal cords all the time. There are those, of course, who get the beautiful chairs and cover them with industrial strength plastic, but they're not fooling anyone. I personally prefer the happy children.
Shavuot marks the birthday of King David and for this reason it is customary in many communities to read Megillat Ruth since Ruth was his great-grandmother.