The dedication of the Kollel Yad Shaul Beis Medrash in
Gardens, Johannesburg took place on Sunday, 4 Nisan. This was
the culmination of the move of the community from the
Yeoville area where it was located for some 25 years. The
deteriorating social environment of that area resulted in a
growing exodus of Jews to other areas and overseas. The
leadership of the Kollel took the courageous step some three
years ago of buying a new property in the northern suburbs of
Johannesburg and built a new home for their community. Many
members followed the lead and they have established a vibrant
Torah community in the new location.
At the head of "The Kollel," as it is known, is HaRav Boruch
Dov Grossnass, who took over when the late HaRav Mordechai
Shakovitzky zt"l moved to Israel, and has been at its
helm for over 20 years. In the early years, Rav Shakovitzky
brought avreichim to a city which had very little
Torah. They planted seeds which grew to be the revival of
Yiddishkeit in South Africa. Today the Kollel is both
a mokom Torah and a growing community. It has a
lending library and a bookshop and continues to bring Torah
to the wider community.
At the ceremony, the new building was dedicated in the name
of Rudi Frankel z'l, a successful businessman who in
his later years developed a strong commitment to
Yiddishkeit. At the same time a new sefer Torah
was dedicated by the Horwitz family who have been
instrumental in providing five sifrei Torah to
Johannesburg mosdos over the years.
A crowd of hundreds accompanied the Torah through the
adjacent park and to its place in the beautiful new beis
medrash. Ma'ariv with the recital a Tehillim
followed. The Chief Rabbi of South Africa addressed the
gathering and warmly praised "The Kollel" for the special
davening, the talmud Torah and the middos
of its members. After a plaque was unveiled by members of
the Frankel family, Rabbi Grossnass spoke. He told of the
great difficulties of relocating a community. His main
concern was that the excellence in Torah learning achieved in
Yeoville would be transplanted, and he believes that they are
well on the way to attaining this.
At the buffet dinner, he thanked all who helped in the past
and those who are still working with him now. He expressed
special appreciation to the Brozin family who had given the
impetus to this project by making the first major
contribution. There was also an anonymous donor and then
David Frankel who made the project possible by his
contribution in the name of his grandfather.
Chazonus and music accompanied a wonderful meal to
celebrate the event.