Miriam Davids – Lubavitch.com
Chabad-Lubavitch of Wall Street will be opening a yeshiva in the world financial district this week. The new international Yeshivat Hakedoshim, named for the targeted victims of the recent Mumbai tragedy and those of 9/11, is set to open with 10 students who will train for the rabbinate.
“The Mumbai tragedy, in which our Chabad colleagues were murdered,” said Rabbi Shmaya Katz, director of Chabad of Wall Street, “leaves us wanting to do whatever we can to keep their legacy alive.”
Located at Ground Zero, the events of 9/11 are a constant in the lives of the Chabad representatives who survived the day with miracles.
“This place was hit by such great darkness,” said Rabbi Katz, referring not only to 9/11 but also to the current financial crisis that has cast a pall of darkness over the area, “that we felt it needed to be offset by the light of constant Torah study.”
Katz has appointed Rabbi Michoel Cohen as administrator, and Rabbi Shimon Sibuni as the yeshiva’s spiritual director or rosh yeshiva.
An expert on Jewish Law and a polyglot, Sibuni plans on teaching in various languages to help reach out to people from diverse backgrounds.
Rabbinical students will also be participating in community service, and will be available to study in chevruta, or traditional study pairs, with local business people and members of the community.
“This offers an exciting opportunity for community members or people working in the financial district who want to use their lunch break to study talmud or Jewish mysticism,” says Rabbi Katz.
The yeshiva will be housed in the Chabad center’s rented quarters on Fulton Street, between Broadway and Nassau, and, says Rabbi Katz, he expects it to grow in the coming months with greater numbers of students enrolling.
“It is one of many exciting projects we are developing that will enrich the opportunities for a vibrant Jewish life in the area,” says Mrs. Rochel Katz, co-director of Chabad of Wall Street.
The opening of the yeshiva will be formally celebrated Monday night, the eve of 19 Kislev, with a Chasidic farbrengen. The date is a benchmark in the development of Chasidic life, when the founder of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, was released from imprisonment in Czarist Russia on account of his Jewish outreach activities.
“This is the day that the R. Schneur Zalman was free to disseminate Chabad teachings,” says Rabbi Katz, “so it is an auspicious time to be opening this yeshiva.”