A beautiful Hakhel concept to share and emulate was done in Chicago on Sunday.
Mrs. Tsyrl Turen, Principal of Bnos Rabbeinu High School, innovatively modeled her Shnas Hakhel event based on the very successful ‘Tupperware Parties’ that have been held worldwide.
Mrs. Turen explained the idea of Hakhel to a group of women who are on the road to increasing in their religious observance and attend her weekly Chassidus class. All types of women come to this class from someone r’l living with a non-Jew (who said this year was the first time she ever heard shofar) to women who completely cover their hair.
“We decided that monthly, one woman would host a Hakhel gathering. She would invite all of her Jewish friends and acquaintances, thus bringing the power of Hakhel to as broad a spectrum of women as possible by reaching out to through each of our varied contacts,” Mrs. Turen said.
At the first Hahkel event, over thirty women, most of them completely unaffiliated with anything Jewish, gathered in the beautiful home of Mrs. Menucha Goldman, who has been a loyal attendee of Mrs. Turen’s weekly Chassidus class for years.
The women were inspired by the beauty of the three Mitzvos Hashem entrusted to Jewish women. Challa dough was prepared in advance for all the women. Four women were selected by a raffle to do the mitzva of Hafrashas Challa.
“There was a tremendous air of sanctity and reverence in the room as the four women, for their first time ever, recited the bracha, with everyone listening intently. The power and holiness of the mitzva was palpable “said Mrs. Turen.
All the women washed negel vasser before touching the challa dough. As they were forming their challos, niggunim played in the background, creating an ambience of kedusha and tahara.
After the women connected through the “hands on” forming of their challos, Mrs. Turen spoke about Taharas Hamishpacha.
“I was awed to see how receptive these women were to something so private and foreign sounding. They all seemed to absorb the beauty of a marriage done in Hashem’s way,” noted Mrs. Turen.
After discussing the lighting of the Shabbos candles, the women went to a side room where a beautiful array of gift bags, ribbons, potpourri, confetti, cards, tea lights and sparkling markers were displayed. Each woman chose someone she would give a special gift of neshek, writing a personal note explaining why she wanted her to light the Shabbos candles.
“The room was full of Jewish women, seemingly so far from their heritage, sincerely writing to women they love to link them to the chain of three and a half thousand years stretching back to Sara. It was amazing to see power of Hakhel in action.” described Mrs. Turen.
If anyone would want to create such a Hakhel network of gatherings in her community, feel free to contact Mrs. Turen (773-965-7770) for more details on the program.