By COLlive reporter
Members of the new Lubavitch Kollel in London that is beginning its operation this year were welcomed to Great Britain by over 150 men and women in a festive Melave Malka meal.
Held this past Motzoei Shabbos at the Davidoff hall of the Lubavitch Boys School in London, the evening was hosted by families Raskin and Muller in memory of the respective yartzeits of their fathers, R’ Sholem Ber Raskin and R’ Yosef Muller.
The kollel was a brainchild of Rabbi Nachman Sudak OBM, the late Head Shliach of Great Britain, and was founded within the Shloshim of his passing, by his son-in-law, Dayan Levi Yitzchok Raskin, Rov of the Lubavitch community.
Speaking on behalf on the Board of Directors of Lubavitch UK, Rabbi IH Sufrin recalled the many meetings and discussions held with Rabbi Sudak over the years about the need to provide a framework whereby graduates of the London schools could return and contribute to the Shlichus and community in England.
With a call to action, Rabbi Sufrin called upon families of Anash to adopt individual kollel couples, support them and guide them in practical ways to help them integrate into their new life and surroundings.
Rabbi Michoel Lebhar, one of the kollel members, described the welcoming and studious atmosphere he has encountered. “The Rebbe wanted that we should be ‘Kochen zich in Lernen’ (immerse ourselves completely in learning). With each Chavrusa supporting and encouraging the other, the environment created gives us all the more motivation and desire to learn ever more.”
While Kollel is usually associated with people learning for themselves, Dayan Raskin explained the Rebbe’s idea that the two Lamed’s of כולל are for Lilmod uLelamed – to learn and to teach.
“The purpose of the Kollel is to also go out and reach to those around you. In this spirit, Chavrusas have already started with members of the community, the Yungerleit are working to expand this initiative,” he stated.
In this spirit, Rabbi Moshe Muller drew from this week’s Haftara. Elisha tells the Shunaimite woman “Don’t overlook the empty vessels,” each and every person has the potential to grow and advance their knowledge and learning skills. This behaviour exemplifies the people whose Yartzeits are being commemorated.
Visiting from Melbourne, Australia was Rabbi Mendel Raskin. Back in 1981 he was one of the last people to go in to the Rebbe for private Yechidus, before moving to Melbourne through their Kollel.
Speaking at the event, Rabbi Raskin shared some guidance from the Rebbe about his work with the community. “You and your wife’s parents are from Russia,” the Rebbe said. “Work with the Russian immigrants, bring them into your house and they’ll want to replicate your behavior.”
Rabbi Raskin went on to describe the tremendous impact that the Kollel in Melbourne has had on the local and broader community, an impact which continues and grows on until today. He expressed his confidence that this new Kollel will have similar impact on the London community.