Robin Levin from Lander, Wyoming, drove 3 hours to Jackson Hole to partake in the simcha of young Shlucha, Chayale Mendelsohn, the first Chassidic Bas Mitzvah in the State of Wyoming. Here’s how she summed up her experience in an email she sent to her Shluchim, Rabbi Zalman and Raizy Mendelsohn:
“Dear Mendelsohn Family,
What a night! Chayale gave the most eloquent and charming speech to her Bas Mitzvah gathering. Could you have been more proud? Thank you for inviting Jack and me to your family’s gala affair. The food was delicious, the décor was elegant, the [Mitzvah] raffle was thrilling and the dancing…uproarious! Above all, your children and the other youngsters provided a foundation for a hopeful future, with leadership in the offing.
The videos of the history of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin and their legacy were very informative, professionally done and engaging. We learned much. We feel honored to be part of the community.”
Chayale’s Rosh Chodesh Kislev Bas Mitzvah, was that and much more. Her theme was all about Mitzvahs and many in the community took Hachlotos to light Shabbos candles, give Tzedaka, learn about the Rebbe’s Mitzvah campaigns, bake Challah, put up a Mezuzah and cook Kosher. In a very small town like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Mitzvah project reached a significant percentage of the population of 500 Jewish people.
The celebration started with a reception at the Snow King Resort which included Chayale explaining to each guest all about the Mitzvah auction. Hors deurves were served and a children’s beverage station and an adult open bar helped put everyone in a happy mood.
Doors to the Grand View Ballroom opened and while guests ate appetizers, a beautiful video presentation was displayed about Chayale’s namesake, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson of blessed memory. The video turned to the voices of Chayle’s parents, Rabbi Zalman and Raizy Mendelsohn where they reminisced about the highlights and accomplishments of Chayale’s childhood.
As the video concluded and the lights went back on, Rabbi Zalman and Raizy Mendelsohn took the stage to bless their daughter and share their hopes that she continues to be the amazing, kind, creative and happy girl that she is. As soon as the speech was over the music was cranked up and the hall began to bounce with joyous singing and dancing.
During the soup course, Chayale took the stage to share her Dvar Torah. Chayale talked about the honor of being named after Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka and how strong Jewish women throughout history were the catalyst for Jewish survival and continuity. Chayale thanked the many guests who came to celebrate with her for her Bas Mitzvah including her online school friend, Devorah Rochel Rapaport from Shoreline, WA and her camp counselors Chayale Wilhelm, Chaya Sasonkin and Chayale Stroh from Crown Heights, all of whom surprised her! Chayale concluded her speech, “Please join me on the dance floor!” for another round of lively Chassidic dancing.
As the entree was served, guests enjoyed the pleasure of hearing a beautiful poem recited by Chayale’s two younger sisters, Chanie and Rochel. Dancing followed, this time with Rabbi Zalman doing cartwheels, handsprings and break dancing.
As guests enjoyed desserts, Chayale read out the winning tickets of the Mitzvah auction. Each of the winners were called up to talk about the Mitzvah they chose. The beautiful Bas Mitzvah concluded with Bentching and, you guessed it, dancing. This time on the tables.
In words of a community member Steve Leibler: “The Rebbe’s Shluchim have a way of bringing so much energy, education, and joy to our lives and I hope my new Mitzvah will make Hashem and the Rebbe proud.”
Chabad of Wyoming is currently hosting a year-end campaign to raise small monthly donations so it can grow its Shlichus of bringing the joy of Torah and Mitzvos to one Neshama at a time. Click this link to make a big impact in a small town and partner in the miracle of Chabad Lubavitch of Wyoming