By COLlive reporter
If there is one place in the world to be for Yud Shevat this year (besides for New York, of course) it would surely be the booming Chabad community in the Los Angeles area.
While located a stone’s throw away from the epicenter of American culture, members of the community are clearly focused on advancing themselves spiritually as they mark the day the Rebbe assumed leadership of Chabad Lubavitch.
The 10th of Shevat is also the anniversary of the yartzeit in 1950 of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, whose dedication and self sacrifice for Judaism and Torah in Communist Russia and later in the United States are legendary.
Events in the most populous city in California began on Thursday with a Yud Shevat Farbrengen and Siyum Harambam ceremony at the Moshe Ganz Hall on North LA Brea which was co-sponsored by 15 Chabad shuls and centers and intended for both men and women.
Addressing it was Rabbi YY Jacobson, one of the most sought-after orators in the Jewish world and Dean of virtual study center TheYeshiva.net.
Chabad of South La Cienega (SOLA), run by Rabbi Avraham Zajac, will be holding a special Shabbos day farbrengen with the title “Bringing heaven down to earth.”
The special guest will be Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of the Mill Hill Synagogue in England, whom the Jewish Chronicle called “one of the most outspoken Rabbis in the world.”
On Shabbos, Congregation Bais Bezalel Chabad on West Pico Boulevard will be hosting Rabbi Yaakov Lieder who has been involved in education for the past 28 years in a variety of positions in Israel, the U.S., and Sydney, Australia.
Then on Monday evening, one of the top Chabad officials will be on stage at the Congregation Shaarei Tefila on Beverly Blvd. for an interview conducted by Rabbi Moshe Weiss, Shliach in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, who served as the Rebbe’s secretary for over 40 years and Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Machne Israel, Chabad’s educational and social services arms, will also take questions from the crowd.
FIRST EVER CONVENTION
Perhaps most exciting of all is the Unzere Kinder Convention, the first ever Chabad children’s conference taking place over the weekend in Los Angeles with 456 children from all over the State of California.
For the last six weeks, dozens of volunteers have been working overtime to prepare for this convention which serves to salute and empower the leaders of tomorrow, says the organizer Rabbi Mendel Duchman.
Organizers secured various shuls and catering halls in order to accommodate all the boys and girls (with proper separation as required in halacha).
“We are so grateful to the entire Anash Community from Los Angeles who have opened their homes (literally) to take in these children who are coming to the Orthodox Hancock Park neighborhood for a Shabbos experience they don’t get in their smaller communities,” says Mrs. Nechama Munitz, coordinator of the Convention Housing Committee.
The 35 hour convention will be featuring rabbis, educators and experts in youth upbringing who will be presenting lectures and workshops. Its guests are Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, program director of Tzivos Hashem International, and his wife Mrs. Zeldie Weinbaum, who grew up on Shlichus in Long Beach, CA.
The children will be divided into various bunks with the Head Counselor for the boys being Arye Perlstein, former Head Counselor of Camp Gan Israel of Florida, who will be flying in specially from Montreal.
Head Counselor for the girls division will be Mrs. Srula Chaiton, coordinator of the Convention and Youth Director of the Ezras Noshim.
Culminating the convention will be a musical Melave Malka Farbrengen by Shmuly and Bentzi Marcus, the lead singers of the world renowned 8th Day Band, which will take place in the beautifully designed sanctuary of Sharai Tefilah congregation.