Amidst the deep snow and freezing temperature of northwest
Ukraine, a magnificent three day residential seminar was held
recently on the outskirts of Lvov. This was the first of its
kind since the collapse of communism to take place in this
once famous ir vo'eim beYisroel -- formerly known as
The seminar comprised a group of thirty professional women,
whose only prior knowledge of Yiddishkeit came from
their young children who attend the local Jewish school. The
event was organized by the Rav and Rebbetzin of Lvov, Rabbi
and Mrs. Mordechai Bald. They are responsible not only for
the kehilla and the various chessed
organizations connected with it, but also for the Jewish
school and kindergarten, with a total of 150 children.
The theme of the seminar, led by Rav and Rebbetzin Meir
Roberg from Yerushalayim, was "Towards the Year 2000: The
Miracle of Jewish Survival." Dynamic lectures and inspiring
shiurim where given on a variety of topics, including
"Shabbos and Modern Man"; "Interpersonal Relationships -- a
Torah Perspective"; "Israel and the Nations"; "The Eternity
of the Torah"; "Prayer -- the Potent Path"; "The Fulfillment
of the Prophecies" and "The Role and Status of Women in
Above all, it was the warmth and radiance of Shabbos which
gripped the participants and brought about an amazing
transformation in every heart. The Shabbos spirit was evident
in the "open forum" discussions held at melave malka,
which lasted well into the night.
At the closing session on Sunday, members of the group were
invited to comment on what the seminar had meant for them
personally. Many responded with moving words.
Olga, a pharmacist, remarked how she had been very much in
doubt whether to attend the seminar, since it coincided with
her daughter's birthday. She was so grateful that she had
decided to participate after all. Had she stayed at home with
her daughter she would have given her a gift for a day, but
by joining the seminar she was now able to give her a gift
Natasha, a dermatologist, mentioned that her parents could
never give her any Yiddishkeit during the communist
era, but now she was able to pass on our holy traditions to
her children and hopefully also to her parents. Tanya, an
economist, spoke emotionally of how she had experienced her
first Shabbos and that she would do all in her power to keep
Shabbos in the future.
The conclusion of the seminar appropriately coincided with
Rosh Chodesh Shvat, the month of renewal and
rejuvenation. The feeling uppermost in the participants'
thought was how to hold on to their newly found Jewish
identity. A follow-up seminar is being planned for the
beginning of Iyar, to ensure that the inspiration and the
warmth of the first seminar will be continued.