Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Tammuz 5766 - July 12, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Ten Lakewood Avreichim Arrive in Sydney to Establish a Kollel

by Yosi Fromer

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 result.

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 wider community.

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.


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