Ohel Yakov Melave Malka

Mrs. Judy Landman

Motzei Shabbos, Shabbos Parshas Yisro, Congregation Ohel Yakov held their inaugural Women’s Melave Malka. Long in the  planning,  Rebbetzin Yehudis Feldman was very excited to see her idea finally come to fruition! And what a turnout it was! Over 60 women from the shul joined together for a remarkable and uplifting evening.  The women were treated to a delectable post-Shabbos spread that included salads and soup, garlic rolls, fettuccine, ziti and quiche, with a delicious dessert following the group activity. The tables were set up beautifully with flowers to match in beauty and design, and candles to escort the Shabbos HaMalka.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting, very  much reflective of the shul itself, which is what Rebbetzin Feldman spoke about.  Ohel Yakov is a place where people are friendly and accepting of one another, especially to newcomers, thus creating a receptive environment to all.  The theme of the evening was based on the Parsha with the idea of VaYichan Sham Yisroel, that the Jewish People camped around Har Sinai  “K’Ish Echad B’Lev Achad”, as one person, with one heart.  A panel of three women from the shul, spanning the range of generations, spoke about what this  means personally to them.  One woman quoted from the sefer Living Emunah which quotes the Zohar that says that  we have to come out of ourselves and our comfort zones in order to look at others.  She  shared a great story about an entire community helping someone find their lost cash for a down payment on a house, in the garbage dump!

Another woman connected the Lev Echad concept  to Shema, in which we serve Hasem with our whole Lev, which includes both our Yetzer HaTov and Yetzer HaRa. The more we can love ourselves with all our parts, including the ones we’re uncomfortable with, then the more we can love others who we may not be comfortable with. The concluding thought came from the final panelist who asked the very poignant  question that we all want Geulah, but how do we get there?  She suggested using a roadmap that includes Emunah, Ahavas Yisroel, and Tikkun  HaMiddos.  

And then it was time to bake babka!  That’s right!  Brocha Shor, of Good and Sweet Caterers, explained that the word Babka is a Polish Yiddish word for Bubby!  She gave all those interested in baking their own bag of dough and the active participants  got busy rolling, smearing the chocolate filling, and finally braiding. Following this, it was dessert time, and time to eat some delicious cheesecake as well as other assorted pastries that the women had baked themselves.  What a nice way to end Shabbos!  What a nice way to begin a new week! Please check out Ohel Yakov for yourself and experience the welcoming community, with veterans of decades along with many young families newly moving in, that it contains.

On a personal note, I felt quite grown up attending the Melave Malka.  This was the shul of my youth, where I quietly sat as a little girl looking at the adults around me.   This time, I was the adult, enjoying the adult company and the ambiance of K’Ish Echad B’Lev Achad in the shul of Ohel Yakov.  Indeed, Ma Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov.

Judy Landman is the author of Seasons of the Rain available on Amazon. She leads the Write for You creative writing program for groups and individuals.

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