Ten Lakewood families arrived in Sydney early Tuesday morning
this week to establish a community kollel. Many of Sydney's
Jewish community were overjoyed at the sight of
yeshivaleit arriving in their city.
The rosh hakollel is HaRav Sholom Silberberg who
arrived few months ago to lay the groundwork for the
establishment of the new kollel.
This is the first kollel in Sydney, a city which has
approximately 40,000 Jews. Many observers believe that the
kollel with its chosheve avreichim will make a huge
impact on the Sydney Jewish community and its presence will
give prominence to the idea of learning Torah.
The Kollel held its first official function, an information
evening on motzei Shabbos June 10th, 2006, at the home of the
Robinsons in Bellevue Hill. It was certainly cold and wet
outside, but the large crowd that braved the weather was
warmed by the motzei Shabbos atmosphere, and the articulate
and compelling words of the rabbonim explaining the necessity
of a kollel, and the great benefits that it brings to a city.
It was a night to be remembered for its true kovod haTorah
and the wonderful atmosphere that was generated as a
The director of the Sydney Community Kollel, Dr. Geoff
Zeilic, spoke of the very obvious Hashgochoh protis
that has been part of the kollel since the beginning. It
started with his trip to the USA just a year ago, with the
sole intention of visiting his daughter. Within a few days,
however, through a series of events, he had met Rabbi
Goldstein of Lakewood, founder of six Lakewood kollelim in
the USA., who suggested Rabbi Silberberg — who just
happened to be available to take on a new position as of that
Shabbos! HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky happened to be in Lakewood
at that time and encouraged him to open a Kollel — the
rest is history. Within a year, a whole kollel was put
together and is about to be up and running. Dr. Zeilic
concluded that the entire affair was, "Quite miraculous."
Rabbi Silberberg , Rabbi Blackman (rov of JLC) and Rabbi
Nojowitz of Kollel Beth HaTalmud (Melbourne) all spoke about
how a kollel brings protection and blessing to a community.
Rabbi Silberberg spoke also of the how the kollel members
were chosen for their abilities to relate to others, that
they are warm and personable people, and their wives are of
similar high caliber. Rabbi Silberberg also pointed out that
the Kollel is a beis hamedrash, a House of Learning,
where whoever wants to can come and take part in the
learning. This will be a significant contribution to the
Rabbi Reich of Sydney has been instrumental in putting the
importance of a kollel for Sydney on the community agenda.
HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky was often consulted and he was also
active in encouraging three avreichim who once learned
in Philadelphia to join the new Kollel. He also set out the
program for the Kollel: two sedorim in the day should
be devoted to serious learning while the night seder
is to be open to the community.
A letter signed by all of the Lakewood Rosh Yeshivas and the
Mashgiach, HaRav Mattisyhu Salomon, wishes the avreichim
to go in strength and that their wells of wisdom be
blessed as they venture out to enrich a new place with Torah
and fear of Hashem. They also sent a blessing to the Sydney
Jewish community who welcomed them into their midst to make a
new dwelling place for Hashem and His Torah.
The avreichim with their families — who took
upon themselves to travel approximately 10,000 Kilometers to
set up a mokom Torah — are: R' Shlomo Zalman
Reisman and family ,R' Hillel Yitzchok Ferguson and family,
R' Sholom Mordechai Volk and family, R' Yehoshua Werther and
family, R' Boruch Steinharter and family, R' Akiva Wesbreich
and family, R' Mordechai Miller and family, and R' Shimon
Meir and family.
Individuals of the Sydney community have taken upon
themselves to support the Kollel, together with large grant
from the Wolfson foundation. Sydney now joins other Torah
cities around the world with its own kollel.