Dear members of Anash,
The terrible tragedy of the passing of Chaya Spalter on Sunday has hit hard the Jewish community in Los Angeles and Lubavitchers worldwide who have been davening and doing Mitzvos in her merit.
It especially shattered the Kol Yakov Yehuda community, also known as the “Rebbe’s Diamond Daveners,” of which the 11-year-old Chaya was part of along with many of her friends and classmates.
Her heartbreaking passing caught us in the midst of preparing for the Bar Mitzvah – 13th anniversary celebration of ‘the shul for the kids by the kids’. At first, we put everything aside to participate in the mourning.
With the pain still raw and the wound still fresh, we listened to the powerful words of Chaya’s grandfather, Rabbi Ezra Schochet, Rosh Yeshivas Ohr Elchanan Chabad, who spoke at the levaya before flying to Israel for the burial.
Clinging to his deep Emuna in Hashem, Rabbi Schochet spoke about the proper way to move forward and called on all of us to emulate a middah, one of the special virtues and behaviors the defined the special soul of Chaya Mushka bas Reb Menachem Mendel and Haddasah Sheina.
At Kol Yakov Yehuda, we remember Chaya’s inner and pure simcha that was unbounding and contagious by all who know her. She was the life of every Kol Yakov Yehuda Ezras Noshim event. For this reason, we decided that it is this simcha that she will be immortalized.
We are therefore moving forward with the Bar Mitzvah commemoration as planned on Wednesday, the eve of Lag BaOmer (May 6), 6:00pm at Kanner Hall on Beverly Blvd. We will be making a special dedication to Chaya Spalter, of blessed memory, who was going to celebrate her Bas Mitzvah with us in less than a years time.
In light of this week, the evening will be as poignant as it is celebratory. The Bar Mitzvah of Kol Yakov Yehuda is more than anything else a celebration of the life of each and every Diamond that attends the minyan on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
It was 13 years ago that Kol Yakov Yehuda was a mere Shabbos fledgling operating out of the famed tent at Congregation Levi Yitzchok / Chabad of Hancock Park, and is presently under its auspices. 13 years later and Kol Yakov Yehuda is a household name in Los Angeles and throughout Anash communities.
This is thanks to Kol Yakov Yehuda’s fresh outlook on making Yiddishkeit inspiring, fun and vibrant for our own, Unzere Kinder. This week could not be a more poignant one to celebrate each and every of the Rebbe’s Diamonds.
Please join us in celebrating the Kol Yakov Yehuda community, the special memory of Chaya Spalter and our commitment to keep going in her merit. And on Thursday, please join the grand Lag BaOmer parade with the 8th Day Band and the Twins From France.
Our sages said “vehachai yiten el libo” (“the living shall take to heart”). We dare to add to that, those who knew “Chaya” should “yiten el libo,” commit their heart to what she held so dear.
Rabbi Mendel Duchman
KYY – The shul for the kids by the kids
P.S. To support the Bar Mitzvah celebration, visit gofundme.com/kyysbarmitzvah