Now, two years after the fire devastated the Bnos Rabbeinu school and dormitory building, the reality of a fully renovated school is getting closer. Bnos Rabbeinu is blessed with miracles.
Backtracking to a year before the fire, Hashem already put into place a piece of the salvation before we knew we would need it.
Sometimes it seems Hashem is making life more difficult. As Bnos Rabbeinu is a legally accredited school by both the state and federal government, its building needs to be legally approved. When going through that accreditation process, first we were reviewed by the federal government, which was a grueling, bureaucratic nit-picking journey. In the thick of the review, we received an official letter that the state inspection was happening as well. We felt, ’Hashem, are you serious? All is crashing down at once. How can we handle this state inspection, when we are under water with every federal detail?’
But much Chassidus is taught in the high school, and the more we learn Chassidus the more we can live it. So we remembered – it’s all Hashem, every detail is Hashem, and no matter what seems to be happening, He loves you. And so Bnos Rabbeinu stepped up to the challenge and began the arduous preparation for the state review, but with calmness, it’s all Hashem. This energy of “Don’t stress; it’s all Hashem” has always permeated the school and helped us through all the details.
And we had a miraculous inspection! Having our building approved by the fire department was the most difficult, impossible detail for both inspections. In the city of Chicago, the rules are strict. They require sprinklers, exit doors and other specialized equipment for every floor, every door, and every closet. In awareness of lacking some of the listed equipment, we had an inspection… and the fire inspector gave us an approval on the spot! We were approved! It was overt Hashem – unbelievable kindness – revealed miracle.
But a year later, the morning after Bnos Rabbeinu’s catastrophic fire, we truly understood Hashem’s kindness in this fire inspection approval.
An authoritative and self-assured fire chief exclaimed: “This is an illegal enterprise!!! We didn’t know you were running a school. You are in such trouble that you can’t even imagine.”
Mrs. Turen responded in her usual collected manner, “This school and school’s building are completely legal. Please check your records; I believe mine are burnt.”
And now, two years after the devastating fire the first bricks of the new building are being put into place and the reality of a totally renovated school is getting closer. The School has continued to run out of temporary quarters. We are hoping the newly rebuilt school doors will be ready to open for the 2017/2018 school year, with the help of Hashem and with your kind donations.
Of course, we always need to add in holiness; even as we have been operating out of a rented location, we have expanded our programs to include an exciting new venture, possibly the first of its kind in the world of Chabad girls high schools. We have started a Sunday outreach program where local Jewish public school girls attend classes with our students, giving these girls a taste of real Jewish education and giving our students in-house shlichus. Baruch Hashem there has been a tremendous success. One of the girls said: “Before I didn’t believe in G-d. Now I do.”
In one of the Sunday classes a confusing subject was raised – how do you identify yourself, as American, as white, as Jewish American or perhaps as an American Jew? The next week, a girl shared that someone had confronted her with exactly that question and she proudly responded – “I’m Jewish!”
A father of one of the girls recently noted, “We tried many things to connect our daughter to Judaism. Nothing worked, nothing felt real to her – she doesn’t do Judaism. But with these Sunday classes, it is genuine. Now concepts from the classes come out of her mouth as her own!”
Thank you, Hashem, for creating miracles for the school that nourishes inseparable oneness with you. Every detail is always part of your love. We should all have the heart to Intuit and the head to understand and see your love manifest.