From a young age I have always felt empowered and committed to standing up and making a difference in my community and in the world at large. Throughout my life, I was fortunate to have so many wonderful opportunities to volunteer and give to the community. My family imparted to me the importance of giving to others and carving out time for causes that mattered. I was privileged to attend Beth Rivka, where giving of oneself and making an impact were values that were treasured and highly valued. I was a part of a youth organisation, where we were afforded opportunities of leadership; running camps, volunteering with youth and running fundraisers for important causes.
Being a religious and Lubavitch female further influenced my life choices. The Torah is replete with stories of wonderful, inspiring women who shine and make such an important difference to society. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was someone who believed so strongly in the power of effecting change, and especially the role that females must play. The Rebbe saw the changes that were sweeping throughout the modern world; the feminist movement, the cries for gender equality and women returning to the workforce. He listened to the vibrations, and took notice. He sent couples, Shluchim- emissaries, out to different parts of the world, and empowered the Shluchos, the wives, to lead the way, to be involved and make a difference. He did not want them to stand on the side, or behind their husbands. He encouraged them to go out, greet the people, make connections, invite guests, give public lectures and be on the forefront. The Rebbe understood the power of the woman and her place in society.
It was with little deliberation that I decided that I wanted to embark on a career path that would include volunteering, giving and leadership. I was blessed that my husband, Rabbi Moshe Kahn, upheld the same values and shared my vision. Twenty-Three years later we feel very fortunate to be running Chabad Youth, an organization that has expanded tremendously over the years, with 11 employees and hundreds of volunteers, incorporating multiple divisions such as Chabad Sparks, Chabad Campus, YJP and Daminyan.
Moshe and I are both members of a wonderful organization, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria. The RCV caters for our every need, and provides us with the tools needed to be successful in our roles. We are offered regular PD’s on a wide range of important and informative topics, support, guidance, team building and empowerment. The RCV values the Rebbetzins and the fundamental role they play in their respective communities.
One of the highlights of the RCV’s offerings, for me, is the annual Rebbetzins Retreat. I look forward to this event for months in advance and leave the retreat recharged, reenergized and invigorated.
I just returned from this years’ retreat and I am already counting down until the next. Words cannot describe just how much the 48 hours away, gives me and my fellow Rebbetzins. Together with 25 other Rebbetzins we spent the two days immersed in life changing workshops, informative lectures, sharing circles, team bonding, laugher and camaraderie. We were spoiled with luxurious accommodation, care packages and delicious catered meals. We laughed, we cried, we shared, we connected and we left uplifted and inspired. We are now ready to return to our communities with strength and power.
I feel proud to be part of the RCV, and to be part of a religion and society that places women in such high value, and recognizes their importance and the tremendous impact they make on the wider community, and the world at large.
Dina Kahn, Co-Director of Chabad Youth