By COLlive reporter
Mr. Peter Kalms, longtime supporter of the Jewish community of London who was involved in running, assisting, and representing Lubavitch from the earliest days of Chabad in England, passed away.
He was 89.
Mr. Kalms, a prominent businessman and accountant, served as Deputy Chairman and Finance Director of the Dixon’s Group – a major electronics retailer in the UK.
He later served as Chairman of Solmecs Flo-Ice Systems Ltd. and TFC Power Systems Ltd.
In 1984, Solmecs built a 50 KW magnetohydrodynamic generator at Ben Gurion University, a project in which Mr. Kalms sought much guidance from the Rebbe, and the progress of which “seemed to myself and my family to be a kind of mission from the Rebbe,” he later wrote.
Mr. Kalms’s first contact with Lubavitch was in 1961 when he placed an announcement of the birth of his third daughter, Penina, in the Jewish Chronicle. This led to a meeting and long friendship with Rabbi Nachman Sudak obm and Rabbi Faivish Vogel, and long-standing support of Chabad of England from its earliest years.
Mr. Kalms was involved in many different Jewish organizations, and in this way he represented the Rebbe and promoted the Rebbe’s directives in numerous forums and fields.
Mr. Kalms merited to be in yechidus by the Rebbe a total of nine times, for a span of thirteen hours and on a wide range of topics, such as Lubavitch London affairs, Israel, Soviet Jewry, family matters, and his business affairs. He also carried on a lengthy correspondence with the Rebbe, many of his writings shed light on the Rebbe’s campaigns and activities over the years.
He took brief notes during his yechidus meetings, and documented them in their entirety immediately upon leaving the Rebbe’s room. In 5754 he published his transcripts in a book called “Guidance from the Rebbe,” one of the most accurate and detailed descriptions of yechidus that was ever published.
Mr. Kalms was involved in setting up the SHAMIR organization, a center for Russian immigrants to Israel, where they would be able to congregate, learn, and grow together.
In 5731, he planned to make Aliya to Israel, however the Rebbe insisted that he remain in England and continue to influence the larger Jewish community.
He is survived by his wife Esti and children: Tanya Canvasser (Jerusalem, Israel), Miriam Fehler (London, England), Penina Efune (Brighton, England), and Chavi Epstein (Columbia, South Carolina), grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The levaya will take place today in London, with burial in Israel.
Shiva will take place after Yomtov.
The family has set up an email for nichum aveilim and to share stories: [email protected]
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes