News & Developments

News & Developments

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See our blog for the latest news and developments occurring at Yeshivah Gedolah.

New Commemorative Project: Daas Elyon

This year marks 150 years since the passing of the Tzemach Tzedek. In honour of this historic milestone, the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand is proud to present a compilation entitled “Daas Elyon” (“Supernal Knowledge”), which highlights some of the enormous achievements of the Tzemach Tzedek, as well as brief biographies of the Tzemach Tzedek, essays on the topic of joy, and inspirational stories and teachings. This publication is inspired by the Rebbe’s call to mark every Chassidic milestone in a significant manner. This project was spearheaded by Rabbi Yaakov Winner, with special thanks to Shliach Elimelech Backman. Please visit this link to access this compilation.

50 YEARS: A YESHIVAH IN MELBOURNE?

Yeshivah Gedolah is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. In honour of this momentous occasion, we are pleased to reproduce a reflection written by the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Binyomin Cohen, and originally published in Hamodia.


Many years ago, Reb Zalman Serebryanski a”h described to me how he had, back in 1966, approached a staunchly religious member of the Melbourne Jewish community, in an effort to enlist his support for the Yeshivah he was planning to open. If Reb Zalman was expecting financial assistance, or at least warm words of encouragement, he must have been very disappointed. “Who,” asked the potential donor, “needs a Yeshivah in Melbourne?”

It should be pointed out that the one posing the question was not just looking for an excuse to save himself money. He could genuinely not see any need to establish a local institution where bochurim would learn Torah the whole day. His own sons had all studied in Yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, and he felt that there was no necessity to reproduce in Melbourne what would inevitably be merely a pale imitation of its more prestigious overseas counterparts.

Reb Zalman, however, was not the type to be overly concerned about the doubts or hesitations of others. As a Chosid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe זי"×¢ who continually emphasised that, “Even though good is good, better is even better,” he felt that the time had come for Jewish education in Australia to take the next step. He himself had been one of the major driving forces behind the establishment and leadership of the Yeshivah College during the past twelve years. There he had spared no effort in ensuring that it provided a sound Jewish and secular education. Now, however, the first class were matriculating. What would these graduating students be doing next year? Some would almost certainly go to overseas Yeshivos, but the majority would probably commence University in a few months. What a pity that these boys would never have the chance to engage in full-time Torah study. What a loss for them that they would never spend even a part of their lives immersed in an atmosphere where devotion to Hashem and His Mitzvos comes before all else.

Reb Zalman felt that he could not just stand idly by and do nothing to help the already good become even better. After consulting with the Rebbe and receiving his full support and blessing, he opened the doors of the first of several temporary premises in Sh’vat 5726 (1966). The Yeshivah Gedolah had started, and the doors have never closed since. After a few years of moving from one location to another, suitable premises were finally acquired. A spacious mansion on Alexandra St. was purchased in 1971 and the new Yeshivah at last had a permanent home.

As we celebrate fifty years of uninterrupted activity we can allow ourselves to focus on what has been achieved. Not in order to blow our own trumpet or to rest on our laurels, but rather with the aim of first recognising those factors which have contributed to the genuine growth of the Yeshivah, and subsequently enhancing and improving them.

First and foremost on the agenda of any Yeshivah is the study of Torah. Translations of all Hebrew texts are freely available, but nothing can compare with the study of the material in its source. The Yeshivah Gedolah has always aimed that its Talmidim should have the ability and desire to study any and all parts of Torah in their original Hebrew and Aramaic. Countless students have entered the Yeshivah with a limited ability to tackle any sort of Hebrew text. Their subsequent progress has enabled them, whilst still within the Yeshivah, to become conversant with the contents of several Masechtos (Talmudic tractates) as well as now being able to fully comprehend on sight the contents of almost any Sefer.

The significance of this achievement has implications far beyond the confines of the Yeshivah. Time and time again Talmidim, who have left in order to continue their studies in larger, overseas Yeshivos, have told us that without the foundations they established in Melbourne their progress overseas would have been seriously hampered. We, for our part, are happy to assist our Talmidim to construct a firm base for their further development elsewhere.

In this connection it is important to mention the role of the Shluchim. Starting in 1967, the Rebbe sent six hand-picked Talmidim to be his Shluchim in assisting the Yeshiva in every aspect of its spiritual development. These Shluchim have inspired others through being an example of diligence in learning Torah, and also provided assistance on an individual level through consistently devoting much of their time to learning with local Talmidim. Without the involvement of the Shluchim no such personalised attention could have been provided, and the growth which so many Talmidim have experienced is due in no small measure to their efforts.

Of course, there are, in addition to Torah learning, many other crucial areas of emphasis in a Yeshivah environment.

For example davening, which is obviously a basic necessity. As in all Yeshivos which are part of the Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch network, however, davening is seen not only as important in itself, but also as an implementation of all that has been studied in the Ma’amorei Chassidus (Chassidic discourses) concerning our relationship with Hashem, and how we come closer to Him.

Similarly with regards to Ahavas Yisroel and the ideas of Bitul (humility) and acquiring good Midos (character traits). These are dealt with at length in the Chassidus studied, and are certainly far easier to put into practice in a smaller, closer Yeshivah than in a larger, more impersonal environment.

So much for the internal aspect of the Yeshivah. With regard to interaction with the wider community much could, and probably should, be written. The constraints of space, however, force me to condense a wide-ranging topic into a few lines.

Firstly, the learning activities taking place in the actual Yeshivah Gedolah. Many students of all ages attend a variety of Shiurim held daily or weekly on the premises. These Shiurim have served as a bridge between the Yeshivah and several schools, with many high-school students deciding to study in the Yeshivah upon completion of their studies.

Secondly, the outreach activities. Every Friday afternoon nearly all of the Talmidim spread out across Melbourne for Mitzvah campaigns. It is impossible to quantify the results with any accuracy, but in any given week hundreds of Jews are provided with something extra to enhance their Jewish identity. Over the years, tens of thousands may have been affected. Similarly, every Pesach about half of the Talmidim, led by the Shluchim, travel to various small communities over Australia, and even Asia, to arrange Sedarim and more. On Chanukah menorahs are lit, and on Purim the Megillah is read, in many locations as a result of these efforts.

A more long-term contribution of the Yeshivah to the Australian Jewish community has been the training of rabbis. Although the Yeshivah has never had a formal Semicha programme, the fact is that a large proportion of the Rabbinate in Australia are alumni of Yeshivah Gedolah. We are proud of their contribution to the spiritual growth of the community, and are happy to have had a hand in all of their achievements.

So, after all said and done, who needs a Yeshivah in Melbourne?

I somehow feel that if the one who asked the original question were with us now, to see what has been achieved over the last fifty years, he would probably take a rather different view. May Hashem help the Yeshivah Gedolah to go from strength to strength, for the benefit of the whole of Australian Jewry.

Kinus Torah 5776

The Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah – Melbourne) hosted a communal Kinus Torah on Sunday, the thirteenth of Sivan. The Kinus was convened in conjunction with Shavuos, as per the Rebbe’s directive that a Kinus be held on, or immediately after, each Yom Tov.

The Kinus was chaired by Shliach Yossi Lipskier, and began with a Dvar Malchus, an in-depth analysis of a Sicha regarding the prohibition against forgetting any part of Torah, delivered by Shliach Shloimy Kesselman.

Rabbi Binyomin Cohen (Rosh Yeshivah) discussed the extent of a father’s obligation to teach his son Torah, to the point that he is proficient and self-sufficient in his learning.

Rabbi Danny Mirvis (Ohr David – Mizrachi) discussed the source and the reasons for the Ashkenazi practice of performing Birchas Kohanim only on Yom-Tov and not daily.

Rabbi Mottel Krasnjanski (Ohr Chadash – Caulfield Shul) delivered an intricate Halachic discourse on the dialogue between Moshe Rabbeinu and the Jews who demanded a second chance to offer up the Korban Pesach, rooting it in an analysis of the principle of “ho’oisek b’mitzvah pattur min hamitzvah”.

Rabbi Shea Hecht discussed the custom to eat Michigs on the first day of Shavuos, and the Rama’s emphasis that the loaves of bread eaten on Shavuos be placed on the table.

Rabbi Zvi Telsner (Yeshivah Centre) discussed Eruv Tavshilin, and Rabbi Yonasan Johnson (Kollel Menachem – Lubavitch) analysed the Alter Rebbe’s opinion regarding straining on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

The Rabbonim were followed by a number of students who spoke clearly and succinctly.  Zevi Chaiton (Yeshivah-Gedolah) discussed the acquisition of “Oisios” as set forth in Masechta Bava Basra (76-77), Levi Engel (Mesivtah) spoke about the parallels between Torah and Kemach (coarse flour) as well as Soiles (fine flour), and Eitan Schachna (Yeshivah College VCE) examined the Rambam’s treatment of Maase Merkava and Maase Breishis.

The event featured a large and diverse crowd, who thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of subjects addressed at this year’s Kinus, as well as the refreshments and drinks.

Special thanks to the many Bochurim and Shluchim who helped organise the Kinus.

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Historic Hakhel Event - YG Shluchim

YG Melbourne Shluchim Kinus Hakhel Over two-hundred Shluchim to Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne spanning nearly half a century (1967-2015) gathered for an historic first-ever Kinus Hakhel on Thursday the 23rd of Cheshvan (5th of November). The Kinus was convened as per the Rebbe’s directive that, throughout the year of Hakhel, every opportunity should be used to conduct both large and small Hakhel gatherings in order to foster greater unity, as well as to increase the study of Torah and the fulfilment of Mitzvos through increased Yiras Shmayim (fear of Heaven).

The Kinus was also in memory of Reb Aharon Leizer Tzeitlin a”h, a renowned Shliach par excellence, first as a Bochur in Melbourne and later in the holy city of Tzfas.

The evening was chaired by Shliach Rabbi Mendel Dubov, and opened with a Dvar Malchus, an in-depth analysis of children's involvement in Hakhel, delivered by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches (Maggid Shiur in Yeshivah Gedolah).

A beautiful video presentation was then shown, prepared by Menachem Aron. It began with a recording of the Yechidus the Rebbe conducted with the very first group of Shluchim in 1967. The video then displayed a number of photos of Reb Aharon Laizer Tzeitlin, followed by a rousing speech Reb Aharon Laizer Tzeitlin delivered in 770 on the topic of Hallel, on Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5748. The video also featured greetings from Rabbi Binyomin Cohen (Rosh Yeshivah), Rabbi Yaakov Winner (Mashpia), Mr Avrohom Procel (Executive Director), and a current Shliach in Yeshivah-Gedolah, Shmuli Lezak.

Rabbi Yossel Minkowitz, a member of the first group of Shluchim in 1967, spoke of the uniqueness of this Shlichus and the great Kiruvim the Shluchim merited to receive from the Rebbe. Rabbi Yankel Reices began his address on the same theme, and then spoke passionately about his dear colleague and fellow-Shliach, Rabbi Tzeitlin. Rabbi Moshe New (a former student of Yeshivah-Gedolah) spoke of the great impact the Shluchim had on all of Australia in general, and the Australian students of Yeshivah Gedolah in particular, and how they changed him personally forever.

When the official segment of the program concluded, the Shluchim sat together with friends – some of whom they hadn’t seen in years – and farbrgenged until the wee hours on the morning. Almost all the shluchim were in attendance, and they thoroughly enjoyed the Kinus.

special Teshurah was distributed to all those present. It included the Rebbe's directives to the shluchim starting from the very first yechidus, as well as articles and photos of the three Shluchim who have passed away: Rabbi Leibel Kaplan, Rabbi Lipa Dubrawsky and Rabbi Aharon Leizer Ceitlin.

The Kinus was coordinated by a number of Shluchim, and spearheaded by Shmuli Slonim, Mendy Lieberman and Motti Rubin. Yeshivah Gedolah thanks the organisers, as well as the many Shluchim and sponsors who made the Kinus the major success that it was.

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Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

This past Sunday evening, groups of businessmen gathered to thank the Bochurim of Yeshivah Gedolah of Melbourne, who regularly visit them on Mivtzoim. The evening was scheduled for the day after Gimmel Tammuz in order to honour and pay tribute to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The evening was coordinated and chaired by Shliach Motti Rubin (director of Mivtzoim – Outreach Australia). The program began with a light buffet and exchanging of Lchaims, while warm Chassidishe Niggunim playing in the background.

Rabbi Moshe Kahn (director of Chabad Youth) opened the formal part of the evening by sharing several amazing stories that happened to him in his youth, and which led him to dedicate his life to the Rebbe's mission of Shlichus. He described the manner in which he lives with the Rebbe, and spoke of the Rebbe's global impact.

Representing the businessmen and professionals that are visited on Mivtzoim, Dr. Jack Saks spoke of how he values and appreciates the weekly visits. “Mivtzoim is unique in that it is the only Jewish program that comes to your own turf, to your own workplace, and brings a little truth and Gā€‘­dliness into your mundane life. Even though my clinic is very busy, I make sure to create an island of time when the boys visit. My secretaries know that no matter how many people are waiting, the boys are to be let right through. We lay Tefillin and share words of Torah each week.”

Akiva Vallins, representing the Bochurim, spoke beautifully regarding what the Rebbe seeks to achieve through Mivtzoim – adding one Mitzvah at a time in order to bring Moshiach. He related some interesting stories from his own Mivtzoim route, and how he is personally inspired each time his “clients” commit to increasing their Mitzvah observance.

After an array of desserts and fruit, a special video presentation followed, including clips of Mivtzoim encounters as well as a powerful depiction of the Rebbe and the influence of his world view.

At the conclusion of this inspiring evening, a new program was launched. "Chavrusa Program" is a great opportunity designed to allow its participants to explore and discover any part of the Torah or Jewish Tradition in a one-on-one setting, be it over the phone, via skype, or in person. The launch was the perfect way to channel the evening’s inspiration into practical commitment.

All in all, the Bochurim and their Mivtzoim friends enjoyed spending quality time together. The event was a big Kiddush Hashem, one which will certainly bring closer the imminent Geulah with Moshiach now!

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Yeshivah Gedolah Mivtzoim Evening of Inspiration

Kinus Torah 5775

The Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah – Melbourne) hosted a community Kinus Torah on Sunday the 13th of Sivan (May 31, 2015). The Kinus was convened in conjunction with Shavuos, as per the Rebbe’s directive that a Kinus be held on, or after, each Yom Tov.

The Kinus was coordinated & chaired by Shliach Motti Rubin. The program began with an in-depth analysis of a Sicha regarding the exact definition of the Torah studies of a child, delivered by Shliach Mendel Shuchat. This theme was further elaborated by Rabbi Binyomin Cohen (Rosh Yeshivah) with a Pilpul on the words of the Rambam elucidated with a Biur from the Rebbe.

Rabbi Mottel Krasnjanski (Ohr Chadash – Caulfield Shul) delivered an intricate Halachic discourse on the topic of whether a Mitztaer (someone in pain) is still obligated to perform Mitzvos.

Rabbi Moshe Donenbaum (Heichal Hatorah and Rosh Yeshivah – B'tzail HaChochmah) presented a detailed overview investigating the rights that an agent or proxy may have to transactional bonuses.

Dayan Katz (Adass Yisroel and Rosh Kollel Bais Yosef) spoke about the great enthusiasm with which one must learn Torah and perform Mitzvos, and he also enumerated the advantages of not utilizing a city-wide Eruv.

Rabbi Zvi Telsner (Yeshivah Centre) focused on the reasons and sources for making Kiddush on Yom-Tov.

Rabbi Yonasan Johnson (Rosh Kollel Menachem Lubavitch) analysed the Alter Rebbe’s unique opinion regarding tying a knot on Shabbos.

The Rabbonim were followed by a number of students who spoke clearly and succinctly. Berel Groner (Yeshivah-Gedolah) elaborated on a Sugya in Masechta Gittin, Yosef Shmuel Greenbaum (Mesivtah) discussed the various customs of the congregation’s response to the recitation of Kaddish, and Yaakov Smukler (Yeshivas Ohalai Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch - Yeshivah College) examined the efficacy of Geirus when there is no Beis Hamikdash.

A large and diverse crowd attended and they thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of subjects addressed at this year’s Kinus.

We would like to thank the many Bochrim and Shluchim who made the Kinus a true Kiddush Hashem and Kiddush Shem Lubavitch.

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

Kinus Torah 5775 2015 - Rabbinical College of Australia 

A Word from the Mivtzoim Coordinator

Chanukah Outreach

Dear Friend,

We are privileged to run one of the largest Jewish outreach programs in the Melbourne Community. One of the many operations we conduct, aside from weekly and other festival programs, is the Chanukah Outreach Campaign. This involves distributing all one’s Chanukah needs; including Menorah kits, fresh doughnuts, Chanukah Gelt, holiday guides, and most importantly … the warmth and light of Chanukah!

We reached thousands of Jews over the greater Melbourne area who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to celebrate Chanukah on their own.

We thank our sponsors for all their assistance in making this year’s Chanukah Mivtzoim a reality. For more information about Mivtzoim, or to participate in our programs, feel free to contact outreach@rabbinicalcollege.edu.au

May the many lights and mitzvos that illuminated homes all over Melbourne this Chanukah bring about the ultimate illumination of the darkness in our world, with the coming of Moshiach now!

Mordechai Rubin
Mivtzoim-Outreach Coordinator

Stats:
875 Jewish Homes Visited
1150 Hours Volunteered
1200 Menorah Kits
40 Car Menorahs
2200 Doughnuts

A Window of Opportunity!

Miracle Candles

With Yeshivah Gedolah Students Motti Rubin, Mendel Stock & Tzali Reicher

It was the last night of Chanukah. We set out on a home visit, with the aim of inspiring a family in the outer suburbs of Melbourne who had specifically requested our presence in order to help them celebrate the final days of Chanukah in a genuine and meaningful manner. It turned out to be a night full of Hashgocha Protis –seeing Hashem’s plan in every step of our experience. We hope you enjoy hearing the story. It is just one of the many stories that occurred on Chanukah Mivtzoim this year.

This is how it all started: Earlier on in Chanukah, two bochurim visited a home where a young couple happily greeted them. They said, “Last year, Mordechai and Mendel visited us; we have such great memories! This year, our little three-year-old son was waiting all the while for them to come back!” After lighting the Menorah, the couple begged the bochurim to please ask Mordechai and Mendel to come and visit them again in order to celebrate Chanukah with the little boy who remembered them so well from last year.

Although we were very busy spreading the light of Chanukah in other areas, we went out of our way to visit this family on the last night of Chanukah. It was the obvious thing to do, after hearing that the boy remembered us and how much he wanted to see us. We put tefillin on the father and celebrated Chanukah with the overjoyed family.

As the visit concluded, we went back to our original plan. We returned to the leafy suburb of Caulfield and began looking for an appropriate street in which to start our work. There were so many options to choose from owing to the fact that this part of town is full of Jewish people craving an authentic Jewish experience. Our car slowly rolled forward as we looked for a signal, a place to start.

A middle-aged couple was taking their daily stroll, talking animatedly as they walked. We saw the opportunity and rolled down the window.

“Excuse me! Are you Jewish by any chance? Happy Chanukah!” The couple looked up, surprised, and affirmed that they were indeed Jewish.

We asked, “Do you have a Menorah for Chanukah?” They responded, “We do, thank you for asking.”

So the couple continued walking and we continued looking for a place to start our work. After much debate, we hopped out of the car, but we still had not decided exactly where to begin. So there we were, three bochurim in hats and jackets, with two sets of tefillin and three bulging Mivtzoim bags full of Menorahs, doughnuts, dreidels and other assorted Chanukah paraphernalia.

“Excuse me, rabbis!” We turned around to see the man we had just met breathlessly running towards us. “I have this question every year. Do we light from left to right or right to left?” We explained to our new friend that we light from left to right, but we set up the Menorah with the oldest candle first, from right to left.

Then we asked him: “Have you put on tefillin yet today?”

“I did – last Friday”, he answered.

“There’s still forty minutes to sundown, and it will take just two minutes. Let’s do it!”

The Mivtzoim machine ran smoothly: One Bochur unpacked the tefillin, another held the bags and took pictures, while the third rolled up the sleeve of the gentleman who introduced himself as Richard, or Reuven Adam.

He knew most of the Shema and seemed comfortable around us as we spoke about Chanukah in relation to the tragic incidents of the previous week in Sydney. His wife ambled up to us, wondering with whom her husband was talking. She told us that although they had two sons – one over Bar Mitzvah – they were already in pyjamas, and they wouldn’t want to come out and meet us in the street. Before we could even ask, she also told us that her boys would definitely feel very uncomfortable if we came into the house for a visit.

They walked away, and as we turned to wave our goodbyes, we noticed a woman standing at her front window across the road. She was waving at us, trying to attract our attention, in order to invite us in. We entered the home of Ray and Debbie who were about to light the Chanukah Menorah, and who ‘by coincidence’ had heard us saying Shema with Richard across the road through the open window. Ray and Debbie were also hosting Debbie’s mother and sister, and with their two young children, all were very excited to greet us.

Two Menorahs were pulled out of our bags and set up for the children. However, before we could start the ‘ceremony’, a knock was heard at the door. It was Richard and his two sons!

Despite being neighbours, Ray and Richard had never met before. As they introduced themselves to each other, Richard’s son (aged sixteen) put tefillin on for the first time since his Bar Mitzvah, using his very own pair which he retrieved from wherever they had been hiding for the past three years.

Twelve people were now assembled in the dining room by the window. After a brief explanation about the history and significance of Chanukah and its relevance today, the Menorahs were lit just as the sun began to set over Melbourne. The Mivtzoim Men’s Choir then made their debut, singing Haneiros Hallolu as everyone assembled clapped and sang along.

Everyone then settled onto the couches in the living area. A Dreidel was pulled out along with chocolate coins, and a lively game ensued. Doughnuts were served and the applicable blessings were recited. Soon enough, it was time for us to go, but not before contact details were exchanged and we assured each other that we would continue to keep in touch.

Chanukah 5775 Outreach Photos

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Rabbinical College Chanukah 5775

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG

Yeshivah Gedolah recently hosted the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Mayer Alter Horowitz, of the Har Nof, Jerusalem. Rabbi Horowitz delivered a captivating Shiur for the students.

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Bostoner Rebbe visits YG 

Kovetz Chidushei Torah

YG Kovetz Chidushei Torah

4 Menachem Av marks the 40th year (5734-1974) since the arrival of our Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Binyomin Cohen. In honour of this occasion, the students of the Yeshivah published a Sefer of Chidushei Torah (Vol. 20), consistent with the Rebbe’s directive that the Yeshivah Gedolah be a centre of Torah learning for Melbourne, and all of Australia.

Since Rabbi Cohen’s arrival on the shores of Australia exactly forty years ago, the Yeshivah has grown from a handful of students to more than seventy students. The Sefer is only a token of appreciation from the Bochurim and Shluchim for Rabbi Cohen’s exceptional dedication to each individual’s personal growth. May Hashem bless him to continue educating and guiding his students in the ways of Torah and Yiras Shamayim.

The Sefer was also dedicated in honour of the Rebbe, marking twenty years since Gimmel Tammuz. In the Zechus of this Sefer, may we be Zoche to reunite with our Rebbe and see the Geulah Shleimah speedily!

The project was spearheaded by Shliach Motti Rubin. Special thanks to Shliach Mendel Shpitzer and students Shmuly Meyers and Akiva Vallins for their assistance.

PDF: Kovetz Chidushei Torah

Rabbi Cohen: Forty Years at the Helm

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

4 Menachem-Av this year marks 40 years since Rabbi Binyomin Cohen arrived in Melbourne to serve as Rosh Yeshivah of the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand.

Born and raised in London, Rabbi Cohen entered Gateshead Yeshivah rather than university after completing his secondary schooling. While at Gateshead, he studied some of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s early Sichos (talks) and became attracted to Lubavitch. This led to a regular Shiur and developing relationship with the famed Chossid, Reb Mendel Futerfas.

It was not long thereafter that he went to Israel and joined the student body in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah at Kfar Chabad, under the tutelage of the widely admired and revered Mashpia, Reb Shlomo Chaim Kesselman. He then studied at the Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Brooklyn, New York, married and continued his learning for four years in Kollel, whilst at the same time teaching at Hadar Hatorah under the direction of Reb Yisroel Jacobson.

Some 42 or so years ago, Rabbi Cohen asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe for guidance as to which path his career should take, and the answer has guided him ever since. “The Rebbe told me that the more Torah, the more Brocho. That was all I needed to hear to set me on my career path,” he said.

In the last 40 years, Rabbi Cohen has seen the Yeshivah grow from a handful of students to 70 students. They come not only from Melbourne and Sydney, but from all around the world.

Rabbi Cohen is known far and wide as a ‘no nonsense’ Rosh Yeshivah by whose schedule one can set a clock. “My adherence to time is a natural thing for me, and gives me a sense of order and stability,” he says.

His adherence to order has made its mark in the international Yeshivah world. According to the college’s administrator Avrohom Procel, many students seek to come to Yeshivah Gedolah because of Rabbi Cohen.

Rabbi Cohen sees himself as an educator and facilitator. Despite giving two to three Shiurim every day, including high-level Shiurim to Shiur Alef and to the Shluchim, he devotes some of his time each day to teaching and examining students on an individual basis as well. He has intentionally steered clear of other rabbinic roles and does not answer halachic questions.

Rabbi Cohen believes that his work at the Yeshivah has been enhanced because he had the privilege of working with and learning from the Yeshivah’s founder, Reb Zalman Serebryanski.

Yeshivah Gedolah is indebted to Rabbi Cohen for his dedicated efforts and tireless devotion as Rosh Yeshivah over the past 40 years and his major contribution towards its success. We wish him good health and continued success in his work for many more years to come.

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

Rabbi Cohen - 40 Years

Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

On Shabbos Shlach (June13-14), students of the Rabbinical College of Australia & NZ enjoyed the annual mid-winter Shabbaton, arranged by Yeshivah Gedolah. The Shabbaton took place at Log Cabin Camp, a rustic bush resort located at scenic Creswick, a two hour drive from Melbourne.

The Bochurim enjoyed some recreation when they arrived at the campsite, after which they made their final Shabbos preparations. Friday night began with Mincha and a moving Seder Nigunim, which was followed by Seder Sichos and a very lively Kabolas Shabbos. The Bochurim shared stories and Divrei Torah around the Shabbos table. Before long, the Shabbos meal turned into one of YG’s legendary “Hiskashrus” Farbrengens that went on late into the night, past 2:30 in the morning.

Despite the late night, Shabbos morning began bright and early with a refreshing Mikvah dip in the ice-cold lake, followed by pastries and a packed Shiur Chassidus by the fireside. One of the highlights of davening was the Aliyos auction, in which Hachlotos (good resolutions) were tendered as bids.

The Shabbos meal and Farbrengen was interlaced with inspired singing, and went all the way to Mincha. Shabbos concluded with a Seder Nigunim, Maariv and Havdalah.

At the Melave Malka banquet, the Bochurim viewed a special video collage of the current year at YG. There was also a bit of time for a grand game of Gaga before the Bochurim then boarded the bus for the ride back to Melbourne – refreshed and reinvigorated by the inspirational Shabbaton.

Special thanks to all who made this project possible, including the Shluchim for arranging and coordinating the Shabbaton, the team of Bochurim who helped make the Shabbaton the success that it was, and Mr Mordechai Joseph for overseeing the Gashmius and chaperoning the event.

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

YG Shabbaton 5774

MISHMOR & THE INTERNATIONAL CHIDON

Mishmor Melbourne Chidon

Every Thursday night (7:30-8:30pm), school boys aged 8-13 attend Mishmor at the Rabbinical College. In recent months, Mishmor participated in the Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos; an international tournament of the 613 Mitzvos, culminating in a live game show finals in New York. After months of learning and being tested on the “Yahadus” curriculum, school student Mendel Greenbaum was crowned Melbourne’s winning finalist, and travelled to New York as Melbourne’s representative to the Chidon.

Mishmor Melbourne Chidon

Mishmor Melbourne Chidon

Mishmor Melbourne Chidon

Chief Rabbi Visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

On his recent visit to Melbourne, Rabbi Shlomo Amar (former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rishon LeTzion) visited the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand. 

Arriving just before the conclusion of Friday’s study session, he addressed part of the student body in the Zal. Rabbi Amar did not wish to disturb the regular Shiurim that were still in progress, so he visited each of the Shiurim individually and presented brief words of blessing.

The Shluchim presented Rabbi Amar with a collection of Chidushei Torah published by Yeshivah-Gedolah over the course of the current year. 

Photo Credits: Menachem Aron

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

Rabbi Amar visits YG

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