by Rabbi Shimmy Klyne
An emotional farewell, but also a new beginning for the small community of Singapore.
The bustling island-city in Southeast Asia sadly does not boast a huge variety of kosher cuisine. Nonetheless, last year’s bochurim recently organized and hosted a cheese and wine banquet commemorating their departure after 12 months of dedication, as well as welcoming next year’s shluchim, handpicked by Rabbi Netanel Moshe Rivni to service the community’s various needs.
Rabbis Mordechai Abergel and Netanel Moshe Rivni have been giving older yeshiva boys a chance to devote themselves to shlichus in this small city state for 15 years; and this year was no exception. The 6 bochurim help to galvanize a community far removed from yiddishkeit, both spiritually and physically.
Departing shliach Menachem Spielman mentioned in his speech that the resounding impact of shluchim could be clearly seen in the room – there were 200 people attending, many of whom were there only because of the programs and initiatives introduced by the boys to involve them.
Despite their jam-packed schedules teaching Torah classes, organizing events for C-Teen, students and preschoolers, and managing two of the oldest synagogues in the Far East, to name but a few responsibilities, the bochurim still manage to balance their numerous commitments with a Smicha program as well as a vibrant chassidish lifestyle.
There was wine aplenty and the finest cheese to go around, as well as games and entertainment provided by last year’s shluchim who were hosting. A definite highlight was Shliach Sruli Myhill who gave an interactive wine tasting course, guiding us through the history and bouquet behind the many famous kosher wines present. Most notable was the tongue-in-cheek video presentation produced by Yisroel Rosenbaum that summarized the considerable efforts of the shluchim in all areas throughout the year. The Rabbis awarded each of them their Smicha certificates after wishing them success in their endeavors.
With every ending comes a new beginning however, and the current shluchim set the tone for the upcoming year. The new kvutzeh introduced themselves on stage, and Shliach Tzviki Rimler addressed the community with a charismatic keynote speech.
The night finished with lively dancing, the old boys merging with the new, and poignant farewells. “It’s bittersweet. I’m sad to see them go,” a community member said, “but excited to see what the fresh group can do.”