News & Developments

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

Passover Australia Prepares

Passover Australia Prepares

Passover-Australia is a project of the Rabbinical College of Australia & N.Z, and is organized and conducted by its Shluchim. Inspired by the call of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to ensure that every Jew has a place at the Pesach Seder, the Shluchim reach out to Jews in remote locations across the country, providing them the means to experience and celebrate Passover. Last year alone, over 370 Jews attended the Passover Seders, close to 90 house visits were conducted, and countless men laid Tefilin. For some, the activities of Passover Australia are their only connection to Yiddishkeit throughout the year.

This year, Passover-Australia will be servicing Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Darwin, and Fremantle. In addition to the Passover Seders, the Shluchim will be travelling through the Great Australian Outback, offering vital Jewish services such as Tefilin and Mezuzot to all those in need.

If you would like to pass on our details to someone you know living in the “Australian Outback”, or you would like to donate, or request further information, please visit the Passover-Australia website at: www.PassoverAustralia.com.au.

Passover Australia Prepares

Passover Australia Prepares

Regards from Brooklyn, NY

Dovid Staples is an alumnus of the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand, 5771 (2011). He is currently studying for Semicha (Rabbinical ordination) at Chovevei Torah, in Brooklyn, NY. In this letter, Dovid shares with us his current experiences, and the indelible impression that Yeshivah Gedolah has had on him.

Hello Rabbi! I must say it was really nice to receive a message from you. Sorry for not writing back until now. I have been meaning to, but I didn’t get around to it until now.

Congo-MapBoruch Hashem the learning is great, and I certainly have Yeshivah Gedolah to thank for that! Ah, how I miss it. You surely know that us former Bochurim get together and reminisce about the good ol' Yeshivah Gedolah days and how other yeshivahs just aren't the same. They aren't! Where's the enthusiasm, the noise, the awesome Shluchim, the great Hanholo, the occasional Mivtzah, the Friday night meals, the Melava Malkahs, the Fabrengens, the communal satisfaction, and the joy of learning that one naturally breathes in the Melbourne air? Aye, if there's one thing I still carry with me from Yeshivah Gedolah, it is, "keep on truckin’; don't drop till you stop," courtesy of Yakov Backman.

Perhaps I am beginning to rant, but I don't think I ever properly expressed my appreciation for everything that the Shluchim and Hanholo of Yeshivah Gedolah did for me. In fact, I didn't fully appreciate it until after I found myself outside of Yeshivah Gedolah’s environs, and I realized how much I progressed there. I could hardly open a Gemoro when I first arrived, and I certainly could not decipher even one paragraph of a Ma’amar. By the time I returned home, I started giving evening Shiurim on the Gemoro that I learned in Yeshivah Gedolah, accompanied of course with some of Rabbi Cohen’s signature intonations. I also wound up being a little ahead of my current Semicha program, thanks to Shliach Moshe Wolvovsky who took the time to learn the fundamentals with me every day. I also find myself learning Ma’amar after Ma’amar in the mornings. Being able to do all of this really makes me glad, and my success accurately reflects what I tell everyone; that going to Yeshivah Gedolah was the best decision I ever made in my life. Believe me when I say that I use every opportunity to boast about Yeshivah Gedolah! (And I sure miss the absolutely superior food, which is much better than what I have had at all my other Yeshivahs. Would you believe it? I have not had lamb chops even once since I left Melbourne.)

I am doing well in all other respects as well, thank G-d. I recently took up a job at HASC, which provides educational and clinical services for children with special needs. G-d willing, I am starting to work with a special-needs boy this week. I also took up a position as a fundraiser for a special-education program in Crown Heights. It's nice to be able to make a positive influence.

Send my best to all the other members of the Hanholo, and to all the Bochurim. I wish you a super successful year!

All the best,

Dovid Staples 

Roving Rabbis Update

The Purim outreach activities of our students were not limited to Melbourne, and several Shluchim travelled to Brisbane and Cairns. Even when things seemed to be going wrong, they were really working out for the best, as seen in the following incident:

Shliach Moshe Backman travelled to Brisbane in order to help the local Shluchim spread the joy of Purim. After spending an action-packed Purim day in Brisbane, he set out for the airport bright and early the next morning, with enough time to catch his return flight to Melbourne. On his way to the airport, he tried to call his fellow Shluchim back in Melbourne to confirm that they would be picking him up from Melbourne airport. However, he was not able to get through to them.

After Moshe landed at Tullamarine Airport, he again tried to contact his fellow Shluchim, but was still unsuccessful. Without much of a choice, he made his way to the taxi rank. Suddenly, he heard a holler above the din of Melbourne airport, “Rabbi, where are you going?” Moshe turned around to face an elderly Russian Jew, who was only too happy to offer him a ride.

During the ride, Moshe learned a little about his new-found friend, who was returning from a business trip to Singapore. Moshe used some of the time to discuss Judaism, and Tefilin specifically. The Russian businessman was initially not that interested in laying Tefilin, but slowly warmed to the idea. By the time the car arrived at Rabbinical College, our Russian friend eagerly put on Tefilin. Now Moshe understood why he been unable to arrange a ride!

In a previous article, we described the experiences of Hirschel Gourarie and Shmuel Lipskier, who spent their mid-winter break reaching out to Jews in Campbelltown and Parramatta, New South Wales. In particular, the Shluchim spent several meaningful hours visiting a young family on the outskirts of Campbelltown. Over six months later, the connection still continues, with the following email recently received.

Hi Hirschel,

Just letting you know that we spent last night watching the DVD of Purim that you sent us. The whole family munched on the Purim treats from you and your friends, and watched the movie. It was such a great DVD for all ages. We couldn’t stop laughing at the humour of the jokes at Haman and his family. Even his wife looked evil. Some two hours later we all went to bed.

Then I gave the boys a quiz … what does the name Ester mean? What does the word Purim mean? And so on and so forth. It was so much fun, we even play acted some of the roles. I was the beautiful Queen Ester. Jakie, well he always plays the evil fellows… It was so much fun!”

Thank you again.

Purim 5772

Purim 5752 Programs

Purim 5772 (2012) was celebrated on Wednesday evening, March 7, and Thursday, March 8. The students of the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand brought the joy of Purim to a wide variety of businesses, eateries, residencies, hospitals, old age homes, markets, schools, childcare centres and prisons. They also assisted and participated in various events conducted by local synagogues, Chabad Houses and community organizations. Aside from hearing Megillah, the commandments of Purim include Mishloach Manos (gifts of food), Matanos L'evyonim (giving charity), and participating in a joyous feast.

A tally of the students’ efforts yielded the following results:
Number of Mishloach Manos packages: 1,100
Number of Megillah readings: Approximately 85
Number of attendees at these Megillah readings: More than 1,000
Number of people who fulfilled Matanos L’evyonim: More than 50
Number of people who donned Tfillin: More than 200
Number of Purim parties: 40

Pictured below is a small sampling of their activities. [Please click here for pictures of the students packing Mishloach Manos.]

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Purim Mivtzoyim 5772 

Packing Mishloach Manos

In the weeks prior to Purim 5772, the students of the Rabbinical College devoted much of their free time to preparing thousands of Mishloach Manos packages for distribution within the community. These Mishloach Manos packages help the recipients facilitate their observance of the Purim commandments. [See here for a full report of Purim 5772 activities.]

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

Mishloach Manos Packing - 5772 

New sets of Seforim

English Rambam Donation

In honour of the recent Siyum HaRambam, two sets of Hebrew-English Mishneh Torah were donated to the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand, by Marlene Gail Wolsh (of Vestal, NY), in memory of her mother, Krindyl bat Aaron Mordechai (Claire Feldman-Palnik).

The Rabbinical College of Australia & NZ also recently purchased three sets of Shas (Oz V’hodor), which will be well utilized by our students. We thank Rabbi Shmaya Glick for his generous grant, as well as the other donors who made this possible.

English Rambam Donation

Siyum HaRambam - 5772

Siyum HaRambam

This Sunday, hundreds of men and women attended a grand Siyum HaRambam celebration in Melbourne Australia, at Yeshivah Centre’s Werdiger Hall. The event marked the completion of the 30th cycle of three daily chapters of Rambam, and the 10th cycle of one daily chapter of Rambam.

Rabbi Leor Broh (of Congregation Bet Haroeh)was honoured with completing the Rambam, and Rabbi Zvi Telsner (of Yeshivah Centre) began the new cycle of Rambam.

Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner (of Ohel Devorah) chaired the event, and introduced Rabbi Yaakov Sprung (of Mizrachi Congregation). Rabbi Sprung focussed on the Rambam’s introduction to Mishneh Torah, explaining that the ultimate objective of Torah study is to merge and become one with the unbroken chain of Torah tradition.

Guest speaker Rabbi Yossi Chaikin, visiting from Oxford Shul in South Africa, spoke about the tremendous unity brought about through the study of Rambam, whereby Jews of every background and every level of learning connect with their fellow Jews in communities around the globe. Rabbi Chaikin also observed the significance of the Siyum HaRambam occurring between the auspicious days of Zayin Adar – which is connected with the revelation of the Torah through Moshe Rabbenu, and Tes Adar – which is connected with the dissemination of Torah and Chassidus in the Western and Southern Hemispheres.

Rabbi Avrohom Jacks (of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation) elaborated on the emphasis of “Halachos Halachos” (laws upon laws) as the backbone of Klal Yisroel’s relationship with Hashem.

Rabbi Leor Broh noted that the 30th cycle of Rambam commenced in the week of Parshas Terumah, which begins with the words “Vyikchu Li Terumah”. The Zohar explains that the letters of “Terumah” spells “Torah” which was given in “Mem” (forty) days. The letters of the word “Li” – signifying thirty and ten respectively – represent the 30th and 10th cycles of learning the entire Torah over the past 28 years – the numerical value of the word “Koach” (strength). Rabbi Broh encouraged all to increase their dedication to the study of HaRambam, and concluded with heartfelt prayers for the coming of Moshiach.

The event was organized by the Shluchim of the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in conjunction with Yeshivah Centre.

Photos by: Dovi Straiton 

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

Siyum HaRambam

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