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News & Developments

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

YG Kinus Torah 5781

The Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah – Melbourne) hosted a communal Kinus Torah on Sunday the twelfth of Sivan (May 23rd, 2021). The Kinus was convened in conjunction with Shavuos, as per the Rebbe’s directive that a Kinus be held immediately after, each Yom Tov.

The Kinus was coordinated and chaired by Shliach Zalmy Gurary, who began the event with a sicha explaining the true meaning of the days following Shavuos – the Yemei Tashlumin.

The Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Binyomin Gavriel Cohen delivered a Pilpul explaining the dinim regarding an individual lending out seforim, and the consequences of them becoming damaged.

Rabbi Mottel Krasnjanski of Ohr Chadash – Caulfield Shul discussed the proper time of lighting Shabbos and Yomtov candles, and the unique case of Shavuos night.

Yehuda Leib Kaye, student at Yeshivah Gedolah, explained the machlokes between Abaye and Rava currently being learned by the bochurim, and a lengthy discussion on the case of Yiush Shelo M’Daas.

Rabbi Shlome Kohn, Rov of Adass Yisroel, spoke about the proper way to approach Limud HaTorah, and the greatness of Chiddushei Torah.

Schneur Zalman Groner, student at Mesivta Melbourne, discussed the Rebbe’s novel way of learning the beginning of Perek HaSho’el and the four categories of a guardian, and the lesson in Avodas Hashem derived from it.

Rabbi Moishe Donnenbaum, Rov of Heichal HaTorah, discussed the laws of doing business with foods prohibited to eat, and its practical ramifications.

Rabbi Zvi Telsner, Rov of Anash, explained and defined the obligation of saying Hallel based on the count of the Mitzvos from the Rambam.

Lastly, Rabbi Yonosan Johnsohn, Rosh Kollel – Kollel Menachem Lubavitch, explained a machlokes regarding the sequence of an ox’s goring, and what constitutes the status of “mu’ad”.

Students Shluchim Mendel Dubrowski and Levi Paltiel, and bochurim Berel Cyrulnik, Yosef Lesches, Menachem Mendel Stern, Mendel Greenbaum, Yisroel Gutnick and Yossi Goldberg, transcribed each of the Pilpulim as they were being delivered, in order to publish them in the near future.

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

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

Kinus Torah Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne 5781

From the Desk of Rabbi Cohen

 

It is exactly one year since Australia, together with the rest of the world, received its first taste of COVID-19, thus entering new and uncharted territory. Most people’s lives were significantly disrupted by a range of restrictions and precautions, many of which are still with us. No-one is certain as to how long all this will last.

The Jewish world has been similarly shaken. Shuls were closed for months on end. Schools and yeshivos found themselves unable to function in their normal manner. Celebrations, and the opposite, have been majorly curtailed. COVID-19 has effectively ensured that the lives of individuals and communities have been turned upside down. We are fairly certain that we will be paying, in many senses, the price for all of this for a long while.

In the midst of this turmoil, we are happy to report that Yeshivah Gedolah continues to function (almost) as normal.

As a result of the initial fears and uncertainty of one year ago almost all of our overseas students returned back home. The subsequent closing of Australia’s borders has inevitably led to a sharp reduction in the size of our student body and a corresponding loss of income. However, despite all of this, the Yeshivah continues as before.

Throughout the past year we have continued to provide the same strength and inspiration to our Talmidim as during pre-COVID-19 times. For the last few months learning and davening have been completely unaffected and the voice of Torah resonates loud and clear. Mivtzoim (Mitzvah Campaigns) are once again functioning at full strength, and warmth and enthusiasm have dispelled doubts and misgivings.

If every cloud has a silver lining, ours has been that which we have been able to assist Talmidim of various backgrounds, who have due to COVID-19 been unable to travel to their overseas Yeshivos, to maintain organised learning in Yeshivah Gedolah. We have opened our doors and done our best to accommodate them with shiurim and chavrusos. From its very inception, one of Yeshivah Gedolah’s roles has been to encourage even part-time students to participate in our programmes. This extra degree of community service is a win-win situation. The Yeshivah is happy to host more learning, while those who avail themselves of its facilities and environment are obviously benefiting.

As mentioned above, the inevitable reduction in the number of overseas students is financially challenging for the Moisad. Please help us to help all those who benefit in one way or another from Yeshivah Gedolah and its activities. We aim to provide a sound, advanced Torah education to all of our students, and to spread a love for Torah learning and the observance of Mitzvos to all levels of the Jewish community.

Thanking you in advance,

Yours

Rabbi Binyomin Cohen
Rosh Yeshivah 

YG Melbourne Resumes Full Seder Virtually Amidst Coronavirus

YG Melbourne Virtual Seder

The Communists in Russia were not able to shut down Tomchei Temimim, and COVID-19 won’t shut it down either. The challenge today is different, but the mission remains the same, in what is surely Tomchei Temimim’s final frontier before Moshiach’s arrival. The Rebbe Rashab, the Frierdiker Rebbe, the Rebbe, and all the Temimim of old are looking to us, the final generation of Temimim, to carry the baton over the finish line.

To that end, YG Melbourne resumed full Seder today via online platforms Zoom and Google Classroom, with the aim of supporting each Bochur in keeping a regular full day of Seder. Instead of reducing Torah study, YG’s full-service virtual Zal resumed Seder two days ahead of schedule. Seder was also opened up to all Bochurim enrolled in overseas Yeshivos who are stranded in Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The regular daily schedule packed with interactive Shiurim is conducted via the Zoom platform. Efficient Chavrusa study is facilitated via Zoom breakout-rooms, allowing each pair to see each other whilst learning together. During Chavrusa-time, the Zoom breakout-rooms structure augments quality individual interaction between the Bochurim and their learning staff, allowing each Chavrusa to connect instantly with their respective Maggid Shiur, Mashpia or Meishiv. This state of connectivity also provides an extra layer of accountability, with the Maggid Shiur and Mashgiach being able to “pop in” and participate at any time with any Chavrusa. Meforshim and Shiur material, as well as revision content and tests, are all distributed via Google Classroom.

YG’s incredible Shluchim are fully engaged, supplementing the program with one-to-one Chavrusa and mentoring support, and also coordinating a revolving panel of topical Shiurim for one hour each day. The highly acclaimed Mivtzah Torah is continuing in full, and even YG talmidim stranded overseas have resumed their involvement in this rigorous but rewarding learning project.

Especially heart-warming was the exceptional enthusiasm of the Bochurim, and their genuine excitement to re-engage with the energy of Torah learning and the camaraderie of their peers. The Bochurim are very keen about the merger of millennia-old study with the power of modern mobile technology. The parent body also expressed a great deal of admiration for the new learning environment, as well as the decisive action and agility of Yeshivah Gedolah in maintaining their programming for students in such difficult and uncertain times.

A number of sensible online etiquette measures were implemented, such as recommending that Chavrusos break up computer time with a short break each hour, as well as expecting them to remain on video the entire time. The well-organised online Seder is the product of all the experience gleaned in the two weeks of online shiurim and farbrengens hosted by YG prior to Pesach, as well as feedback from Bochurim, Shluchim and parents.

The present situation is a remarkable opportunity for the Talmidim and their Hanholo to collaborate in unimagined ways, and together to give the Rebbe much Nachas. We hope and believe that the present situation is a short prelude to the immediate arrival of Moshiach now!

YG Melbourne Virtual Seder

YG Melbourne Virtual Seder

YG Melbourne Virtual Seder

YG Ground Breaking Ceremony

After many years of planning and fundraising, the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne) conducted a ground-breaking ceremony to launch Stage 1 of its most ambitious project yet – a multi-stage extension and redevelopment plan of its Alexandra Street campus.

The weather was a perfect backdrop for the historic event, which was well attended by local politicians, rabbis and lay leaders, supporters, students and friends who all participated with great excitement in this important initiative.

The event was opened and chaired by Cantor Dov Farkas (Caulfield Shule) who described many of Yeshivah Gedolah’s milestones over the last five decades of its existence, as well as the magnitude of its contribution to the spiritual infrastructure of Jewish society in Australia, and indeed, around the world. He then introduced Rabbi Binyomin Cohen (Rosh Yeshivah) and Rabbi Shmuel Lesches (Maggid Shiur / Young Yeshivah) who discussed the lessons and religious significance of the ground-breaking. They were followed by Shaya Liberow, Shliach and student at Yeshivah Gedolah, who illustrated the unique impact of a Yeshivah which incorporates the study of Chassidus, and the connection to Yud Tes Kislev.

The success of this project draws upon the loyal support and partnership of the Tatarka Family, in memory of Ronnie Tatarka OBM, past member of the executive. Representing the family was Shmuel Tatarka who shared how his father deeply cared about all aspects of Yeshivah Gedolah. Sarah Tatarka and the rest of the Tatarka Family were then invited to unveil the foundation stone and cover it with earth, followed by other community leaders, dignitaries and benefactors.

The Yeshivah Gedolah students are, of course, the heart and soul of the institution, and they presented a hearty and soulful rendition of Padah V’Shalom with musical accompaniment. The event concluded with remarks by Josh Goldhirsch, member of the executive, who brought the event to its close.

Established in 1966, the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah) is Australia’s first and largest fully residential institute of tertiary Jewish studies. It caters for both Australian and international students. Its graduates are found in all areas of professions, industry and commerce, education, the Rabbinate and outreach work, serving communities here, interstate and overseas.

The first stage of the new and exciting world-class development focuses on the construction of a new two-storey wing which will include an extension to the study hall (Zal), new staff offices, five new bedrooms to accommodate fifteen students, and restoration of the Dining Room to its original grand size. The development was enabled in large part due to the successful Charidy campaign conducted half a year ago, and Yeshivah Gedolah remains profoundly grateful to the matchers and 1,100 donors who generously and enthusiastically contributed over one million dollars to the campaign, showing their appreciation and support for the institution which has given so much for more than 50 years.

YG Ground Breaking 5780

YG Ground Breaking 5780

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YG Expansion Set to Begin!

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5780 marks 70 years to the day from when the Frierdiker Rebbe wrote to Reb Zalman Serebryanksi, accepting his proposal to establish a Yeshivah in Australia (originally located in Shepparton), and in fact, urging him to do so without delay.

On this same day 70 years later, and after receiving final approval and building permits, Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne signed a contract with a construction company (represented by Ari Schachter) to begin building its most ambitious project yet – a major extension and redevelopment of its Alexandra Street campus. On hand for the signing were Rabbi Shmuel Gurewicz (Director), Mr Avrohom Procel (Executive Director), Rabbi Binyomin Cohen (Rosh Yeshivah), Rabbi Sholom Ber Engel (Mashgiach), and Mr Mendel Serebryanski (Executive). Afterwards, Lchaim’s were poured and Rabbi Gurewicz addressed all the Bochurim in the Zal about the significance of the event.

Established in 1966, the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah) is Australia’s first and largest fully residential institute of tertiary Jewish studies. It caters for both Australian and international students. Its graduates are found in all areas of professions, industry and commerce, education, the Rabbinate and outreach work, serving communities here, interstate and overseas.

The first stage of the new and exciting world-class development focuses on the construction of a new two-storey wing which will include an extension to the study hall (Zal), new staff offices, five new bedrooms to accommodate fifteen students, and restoration of the Dining Room to its original grand size. The development was enabled in large part due to the successful Charidy campaign conducted half a year ago, and Yeshivah Gedolah remains profoundly grateful to the matchers and 1,100 donors who generously and enthusiastically contributed over one million dollars to the campaign, showing their appreciation and support for the institution which has given so much for more than 50 years.

YG Expansion Set to Begin

YG Expansion Set to Begin

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YG Celebrates Double Siyum Hashas

On the 15th of Elul, (14th September) the day on which the Yeshivah Tomchei T’mimim was established in Lubavitch one hundred and twenty two years ago, a special Melave Malka took place in the Yeshivah Gedolah of Melbourne.

The occasion was unique. Two of the Yeshivahs Talmidim, Shneur Schapiro and Mendel Lider, had each concluded their study of the entire Talmud Bavli. The Yeshivah felt that despite their actual learning having taken place in private, the celebration of their achievement was something in which the whole community should share. The honor and recognition which we give to Torah and its students, directly impacts upon our own connection with learning, and encourages us to continually improve and enhance our study of the Torah.

An awareness of the fact that two boys have, over a period of years, spent countless hours diligently studying the whole Talmud is surely an inspiration for all of us. The additional fact that all of this was done in their own time, not at the expense of the normal seder observed by all other Talmidim, makes their achievement truly remarkable.

At the Siyum (public celebration of the conclusion), which was attended by many Rabbonim, Baalei Batim and Bochrim, a large crowd heard Shneur Schapiro conclude the Shas. After reciting kaddish D’Rabonon he delivered a Pilpul (Scholarly discussion) concerning the Mitzvos of Shiluach Hakan (Sending away the mother bird) and Kibbud Av V’em (Honoring Parents).

In accordance with the custom to immediately commence the next cycle of learning, Mendel Lider spoke at length about the first Mishnah in Shas (Maseches Brochos), and the principles of Takonos D’Rabonon (Rabbinic decrees) which can be derived from it.

Rabbi Binyomin Wurtzburger, the Rosh Hakollel of Kollel Beth Hatalmud, expressed his appreciation of the increased emphasis on Torah learning which is generated by such an event. He also wished the Yeshivah Gedolah much success in their continued effort to promote and spread the study and observance of Torah in the wider community.

The Rov of Kehilas Adass Yisroel, HaRav Shloime Kohn, spoke of his envy of that which these two Talmidim had accomplished. He emphasized, however, that the main achievement of one who completes a given amount of Torah study is that through this he is now elevated to a higher level of knowledge and understanding and is therefore now obligated to learn and attain much more.   

Speaking next, the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Gedolah, Rabbi Binyomin Cohen, pointed out that despite the fact that previous generations had not placed such emphasis on Talmidim finishing Shas, the phenomenal effort and focus invested in this should serve as an inspiration for all of us to utilize our spare time in the learning of Torah. Similarly, the completion of a medium -sized Maseches of Gemorah is something which is well within the capabilities of most Talmidim, who should be motivated to do this when they see how much these two Talmidim have managed to achieve. 

In addition to the speeches, Talmidim of the Yeshivah Gedolah sang during the Melave Malka uplifting Chabad Niggunim from the Tefilos of Rosh Hashono and Yom Hakippurim.

All present agreed that the Siyum had been a great Kiddush HaShem, honouring Torah and those who learn it.

May the Yeshivah Gedolah have many more opportunities to arrange such celebrations and to promote the study of Yorah within and outside of it walls. 

YG Double Siyum Hashas 

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Chassidus Essay Winners Announced

 Chassidus My Life Aharon Zev Moshel

The winners of the 5th annual MyLife: Chassidus Essay Contest 2019 were announced in April, chosen by an expert panel of judges from among hundreds of essay submissions; top prize was US$10,000.

Aharon Zev Moshel, age 17, a student at Yeshivah Gedolah, was ranked 8th in the world for his English essay on the topic: “Chassidic Lessons on Growing Through Trauma”.

Contest director, Rabbi Sruli Steiner, explained the remarkable experience of the entire process, from the submission stage to the evaluation stage to the final announcement of the winners. “The much-anticipated announcement came after weeks of intense deliberations by a panel of esteemed judges, who used a rigorous grading system to select the winners out of the hundreds of essays submitted in this year’s contest.”

Hailing from every continent around the world, the contestants spanned a wide variety of ages and backgrounds, attesting to the broad appeal of the MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest. Submissions arrived from men and women of the entire social spectrum, including rabbis, laymen, professionals, shluchim, educators, professors, yeshiva bochurim, seminary graduates, and high school students.

Rabbi Simon Jacobson announced the winners during a Sunday night broadcast of the highly acclaimed MyLife: Chassidus Applied series, which spawned the Essay Contest five years ago. The 257th episode of the popular series was a special Yud Alef Nissan edition honouring the Rebbe’s 117th birthday.

“What better way to honour and celebrate the Rebbe’s birthday than to have hundreds of people and thousands of readers invested in learning and applying Chassidus to contemporary life?” said Rabbi Jacobson.

Rabbi Jacobson explained that the auspicious days leading to Yud Alef Nissan is a “most fitting time for the culmination of this extraordinary contest, driven by our collective mission and quest to disseminate Chassidus. The MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest has proven to encourage hundreds of men and women to study and apply Chassidus to their, and our, personal lives. The contest has created an unprecedented surge and excitement in the core mission of the Rebbeim: hafotzas hamayonos chutzah. Surely the Rebbe is deriving much nachas from the study and the propagation of Chassidus that this contest has brought about.”

The MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest is a project of The Meaningful Life Center.

500 Attend Seders In Remote Australia

 Passover Australia 2019

Passover Australia, a project of Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne working closely with Chabad of RARA, hosted 5 seders around Australia for over 500 attendees, sharing the joy of Pesach and kindling Jewish pride.

“G’day and welcome to the Seder.”

From Townsville to Darwin, from Fremantle to Central Coast, from Byron Bay to Brisbane, Passover Australia 5779 was a tremendous success, over and beyond any previous expectations.

Passover Australia is a Merkos Shlichus program specifically for Pesach that helps run seders in some of Australia’s most remote locations.

The Shluchim of Yeshivah Gedolah Melbourne, led by Chaim Feigelstock, in conjunction with Chabad of RARA’s Rabbi Yossi and Malki Rodal, began preparing months in advance.

There were five locations across rural Australia: Darwin NT (led by Menachem Mendel Sorkin and Simcha Shneur), Townsville QLD (led by Heshy Wolf and Shmuel Kesselman), Fremantle WA (led by Shaya Liberow and Shmuel Gurary), Central Coast NSW (led by Menachem Mendel Shishler and Aharon Dovid Rappaport) and Brisbane QLD (led by Yanky Blasberg and Laibel Vogel).

The Shluchim, in an effort to involve the bochurim of Yeshivah Gedolah, offered them to join and be a part of the effort. Close to half of the bochurim gave up the opportunity to join their families for Yom Tov and chose instead to join in the spreading of Yiddishkeit and do outreach connected to Pesach.

The Shluchim all shared one clear goal. There are Four Sons that come to the Seder. Each with their own style and questions. But the Rebbe taught us that there is, in fact, a 5th son - the one that does not attend the Seder at all. In fact, he may not know there is a Seder in town, that is until Passover Australia representatives find him and invite him!

The Shluchim arrive and begin with home visits. Carrying Tefillin, Mezuzahs, Matzahs and Jewish books, the visits are to Jews from all backgrounds and drastically different affinities in the most far-flung areas, where hardly a religious Jew has ever been seen.

The look on the faces of these Jews as they open the door is first surprise, then unbelievable excitement. “How did you find me?” is always the question. The Shluchim sit down to converse with their newly-found friend, rekindling his soul and reawakening his Jewish pride. Again and again, home after home, the Shluchim find the 5th son. And time after time, he becomes part of the Jewish family.

As the guests reluctantly make their way home from the seders, each one stops to thank the Shluchim and Bochurim, and express their appreciation. As the evening closes, there ceases to be a 5th son. They’ve all joined in, they’ve all come home.

Passover Australia acknowledges the tremendous debt of gratitude, that is owed to Chabad of RARA and Yossi and Malki Rodal. Their tireless dedication and devotion to this holy endeavour is inspirational. The value of their careful technical planning and on-the-ground assistance to the Shluchim is unimaginable. This goes alongside their directing and arranging many other Sedorim throughout Australia.

Special thanks is given to the sponsors: The Werled Foundation for their constant support, year after year, generously sponsoring an abundance of Matzah and wine, to Sedarim all over Australia and many other countries beyond. Merkos Suite 302 and the Merkos Shlichus Office, for all of their support both financial and otherwise. To Lennoxx Pty Ltd, a huge thank you, for arranging the shipments and following up to ensure that everything was delivered promptly and completely. And of course, to every member of the Melbourne Anash community who donated their time, money or resources, we extend a heartfelt thank you.

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YG Builds for the Future - $1 Million Charidy Campaign Success

Established in 1966, the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand (Yeshivah Gedolah) is Australia’s first and largest fully residential institute of tertiary Jewish studies. It caters for both Australian and international students. Its graduates are found in all areas of professions, industry and commerce, education, the Rabbinate and outreach work, serving communities in Australia, interstate and overseas.

Today, Yeshiva Gedolah (YG) launched its most ambitious project yet – a major extension and redevelopment of its Alexandra Street campus. The first stage of the plans include the extension of the Study Hall (known as the Zal), new staff offices, five new bedrooms to accommodate fifteen students, and restoration of the Dining Room to its original grand size. The second stage will be a 50 bed dormitory, and a basement which will include a mikvah and gym.

We are profoundly grateful to all who contributed during our Charidy campaign on Sunday 7th April 2019 (2nd Nissan). Through your generosity, and the help of our matchers, $1,014,158 was raised in 27 hours for the Rabbinical College of Australia & NZ (Yeshivah Gedolah - YG) in Melbourne. Your gifts will enable us to build the first stage of a world-class facility for our college.

Alumni, parents and friends of Yeshivah Gedolah all over the world responded enthusiastically during the campaign, showing their appreciation and support for the institution which has given so much for more than 50 years. The campaign target was reached a few minutes before the deadline amidst a state of euphoria, dancing and celebration by the dedicated callers at the college. 

The campaign created much interest both here and overseas. A few statistics: 
Donors 1,110
Charidy page visits - 16,493
Users on Monday at 2.45pm - 734
Campaign video on YouTube - 3,183 views
Alumni videos on YouTube - 2,853 views

Thanks to you, Yeshivah Gedolah will be able to house more students, and continue to give bochurim from Australia and around the world a Torah education that will serve them for life.
We couldn’t have done it without you. 

Thank you for your generous support!

Rabbi Shlomo Kohn Shiur

Rav Kohn Adass speak at YG Melbourne

Three weeks before Pesach, students of Yeshivah Gedolah and members of the community were privileged to hear a shiur on Hilchos Pesach by Rabbi Shlomo Kohn, newly-appointed Rabbi of the Adass Israel Congregation.

Rabbi Kohn spoke on a wide range of contemporary issues and offered practical halachic advice. A question-answer session followed during which Rabbi Kohn responded to questions from the participants.

Rav Kohn Adass speak at YG Melbourne

Remembering Reuven (Ron) Tatarka ע"ה

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

A function to commemorate the first yahrzeit of Reuven (Ron) Tatarka’s passing was held at Yeshivah Gedolah on Wednesday evening 26th December 2018.

A wide cross-section of Melbourne’s Jewish community, together with family and friends, attended the evening.

The program commenced with mincha followed by an address to the crowd by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches, who spoke on the week’s parsha Shemos and lessons we can learn from Moshe Rabeinu and how they were emulated and exemplified by Reuven - caring enough to go out of his way to notice things that need to be addressed, caring about why others are doing nothing, and caring enough to do something when no one else will.

Rabbi Binyomin Cohen recalled Reuven’s parents who on arriving in Australia after the war, prioritised Jewish education for their children. Rabbi Sholom Ber Engel made a siyum and Rabbi Shmuel Gurewicz chaired the evening and referred to Reuven as a “genius” in giving tzedoko, always looking for ways how to give and people and causes to give to. Refreshments were enjoyed after maariv.

Reuven regarded Yeshivah Gedolah as his baby. He became a member of Yeshivah Gedolah’s Executive in 2003, a role he served with dedication for 15 years. He was one of the pillars of its supporters. Besides donating generously to the Annual Appeal, he sponsored many projects, often on his own initiative, which he felt were important to improve the college’s facilities. His concern and eagerness to get things done were exemplary. He took a keen interest in Yeshivah Gedolah’s management and future development and was always available whenever he was called upon by staff or students.

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The Rabbinical College is eternally grateful for Reuven’s tireless efforts on its behalf. May this zechus stand in his and his family’s good stead. He will always be remembered by those who had the privilege of knowing him. May his memory be blessed.

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Reuven Tatarka Memorial

Historic Menorah Parade Lights Melbourne

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

On Thursday, 5th night of Chanukah, Melbourne, Australia had its annual Chanukah Parade, organised by the Rabbinical College of Australia and NZ.

One of the largest ever in the city’s history, over 80 participating vehicles paraded through the streets of Melbourne to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. For some, this Chanukah parade is a highlight of the year. Announced weeks in advance, the annual parade brings light, inspiration and encouragement to all who witness it.

The program began with a Menorah lighting and children’s rally at the Caulfield Racecourse. The rally included a story relating to the power of Chanukah told by Rabbi Mordechai Szmerling, who had the children enthralled, followed by the recital of pesukim and giving of tzedaka (charity). Entertainment was provided by a Grand Bubble Show.

“These Chabad guys are so kind, it’s unbelievable!” children from the local Mount Scopus school were heard saying as they left the rally, inspired by the community coming together to fulfill the Rebbe’s grand mission of spreading light amongst the darkness.

As the rally ended, the parade began. A procession of cars bearing menorahs drove out onto the streets, playing Chanukah music. The Yids on Wheels Motorbike group, a stretch Hummer, various luxury cars, and a party bus, intensified the cheerful atmosphere that surrounded the parade. Onlookers marvelled at the sight, with many taking to the sidewalks to witness the event. At certain points, not being able to control the spiritual energy building up, spontaneous dancing broke out. Onlookers gathered and cheered in the streets, overjoyed with the incredible sight.

Credit goes to the amazing bochurim and shluchim of Yeshivah Gedolah, who put in weeks of effort to ensure that the parade was as smooth and successful as possible, making sure that every detail was looked after, and that everyone attending had a memorable experience. A special thank you to the sponsors for making the parade possible. A huge thanks to everyone who attended and came together to help spread the miracle of Chanukah and to bring Moshiach now!

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

Chanukah Parade YG Melbourne 5779 2018

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"ע 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.

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

YG Kinus Torah 5776

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