Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rebbetzin answers the call to inspire others 

THOSE close to Rebbetzin Fruma Schapiro of Chabad North Shore often refer to her as a "super rebbetzin" or the queen of multi-tasking.

On any given day, she's running the shul's long daycare centre, teaching a shiur, mentoring bat mitzvahs, doling out advice to those in need – all the while raising her own eight children.

Her good work hasn't gone unnoticed. The 42-year-old rebbetzin was recently selected by her peers to be the keynote speaker at the annual women's International Convention for Chabad women emissaries in New York from February 16-19.

It is the first time an Australian rebbetzin has been bestowed with the honour.

"I'm humbled," Schapiro told The AJN.

It is expected that about 4000 women emissaries will fly in from all over the world to attend four-day convention culminating in a gala banquet, at which Schapiro will speak. The speech will be streamed live on www.chabad.org, while North Shore Chabad will also hold a live screening at its centre on Monday, February 20, at noon.

The rebbetzin said she planned to talk about life as a Chabad emissary and the concept of being a role model.

"It's a message to take home – the mandate of what it is to be who we are. It's inspiring in that vein."

Schapiro always knew that this would be her calling. As the daughter of Rabbi Pinchus and Pnina Feldman, heads of NSW's Yeshiva Centre, she grew up in a deeply religious and spiritual environment. Later, she married Rabbi Nochum Schapiro and for the last 22 years, the couple has served as directors of Chabad North Shore.

Among her duties, Schapiro delivers weekly shiurs in the new Chabad centre  in St Ives, and prepares girls for their bat mitzvahs. She also offers marriage and family counselling to those in need and serves as director of  the Ganeinu Long Daycare Centre, a pre-school for children up to the age of four.

Meanwhile, she is busy rearing her own children aged from four to 22. "It's a juggle," she admitted, "but I feel I get help from above.

"It's getting strength from a higher place. I believe very strongly in the value of giving back to the community. As rebbetzins, we're very fortunate to give to others because that's the biggest gift we can give ourselves and our families in life."


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