A Community Within a Community

by Adina Lapine

Meet Sarah

Originally from sunny California, when Sarah moved to Crown Heights seven years ago, she was interested in attending shiurim and forming new friendships within the community. Sarah joined a maamer class she had heard about from friends and really enjoyed it. The shiur was hosted by an organization called Living Chassidus and Sarah kept going to their programs. With the help of Living Chassidus, Sarah made lifelong friendships and grew her hiskashrus to the Rebbe during her time in Crown Heights. After getting married, starting a family, and moving to Florida, Sarah is still a part of Living Chassidus. Despite not being able to attend in person, Sarah feels that the online events and community continue to shape her life. Sarah is very active in the organization’s WhatsApp group for married women and has joined some of the shabbatons. Both of Sarah’s parents support Living Chassidus’ activities and her mother has become friends with director Michal Weiss.

Meet Chaya

Chaya is a born-and-bred New Yorker who joined Living Chassidus three years ago. With family and friends in the neighborhood, Living Chassidus is a welcome part of her personal and social life. Chaya’s favorite Living Chassidus program is the Life Skills series, which incorporates speakers on a wide variety of practical topics, including health, finances, and homemaking. Speakers for this year have included Sarah Chana Silverstein speaking about how to stay healthy in the winter, Alana Cohen on gut health, Midwife Judy Ribner on taking charge of common childbirth issues, Certified Financial Planner Stephanie Genkin on financial management for the frum family, and Rivka Caroline on how to organize the home. The Life Skills series is consistent with the organization’s vision of living with Chassidus. Chaya values the Life Skills workshops because they help her proactively prepare for life experiences like marriage and birth. When she mentions Living Chassidus to friends, Chaya commends the tastefully done events, the speakers that are both knowledgeable and relatable, and the fun community.

Meet Eliana Aviva

After moving to Crown Heights from North Carolina three years ago, Eliana attended a Sicha and Dinner shiur hosted by Living Chassidus. Through the community, Eliana was introduced to new friends and her current roommate. Eliana notes that being involved in Living Chassidus has helped her develop and refine her personal and professional life. In particular, the SAI (Systematic Avodah Initiative) programs which help women prepare for yomim tovim by organizing speakers, individual learning, and prizes for participation have had a tremendous impact on Eliana’s life; through her engagement in the program, she has earned many sefarim that help her further her learning. Aside from participating in programs, Eliana Aviva also has the opportunity for professional development through her work on the Living Chassidus Leadership Committee. Her notable accomplishments include coordinating and preparing meals for shabbatons, and managing the SAI (Systematic Avodah Initiative) programs. This year she spearheaded the Make It Count program which took place completely online and helped participants achieve growth during the Sefira period through personalized goal setting, speakers, and prizes. When describing Living Chassidus to friends, Eliana says the organization is a safe and encouraging space within which someone can grow. Eliana’s parents and shluchim are happy that she is part of an organization that fosters her own growth while giving her the opportunity to help others.
Living Chassidus was founded in 2013 by Michal and Sharon Weiss with the aim of helping people apply the lessons of Chassidus to their daily challenges. Beginning with maamer classes and farbrengens for yomim tovim, the scope of the organization has grown to encompass comprehensive programs for the yomim noraim, Kislev and Sefira, the Life Skills series, daily maamer shiurim, meal placements, shabbatons, Motzei Shabbos activities, programming for Pesach, and an active Whatsapp group.
The young women that make up the Living Chassidus community are a diverse crowd but they are unified by their appreciation for the sense of community this organization builds. Living Chassidus has been described as a community within the community of Crown Heights by both lifelong inhabitants and new residents. Living Chassidus is a safe space that provides the tools and information young women can use to guide their material and spiritual lives. The community members support each other by providing advice on parenting and preparing for yomim tovim, and assistance with finding jobs and roommates. Living Chassidus is constantly changing to meet the needs of its members. The organization just created a chicken soup gemach with volunteers to deliver “Jewish penicillin” to people who are not feeling well.

Living Chassidus has something for everybody, whether one is looking for a shiur to energize their day, a farbrengen to celebrate a yom tov, or to become more informed about healthy living. Living Chassidus has offered its classes on Zoom for several years and continues to do so at present as an option for people who are unable to attend in person. Living Chassidus’ YouTube page and podcasting platforms are updated daily with new content so that people can listen (or re-listen) to the recordings of lectures and farbrengens.

The yearly fundraising campaign is happening now! To support Living Chassidus’ vital work please donate generously at LivingChassidus.RaiseGiving.com

Learn more about Living Chassidus here:

LivingChassidus.org

Watch Living Chassidus on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/c/LivingChassidus

Listen to the Living Chassidus podcast:

https://anchor.fm/living-chassidus

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