By COLlive reporter
One Shabbos day 23 years ago, Mrs. Henya Laine sat on her front porch on Montgomery Street in Crown Heights and noticed many of her friendly neighbors doing the same.
They had just come back from Lubavitch Headquarters 770 Eastern Parkway, where the Rebbe had led a well-attended Farbrengen that began at 1:30 pm, and didn’t wrap up until 3:00 pm.
As she sat there outside enjoying the Brooklyn breeze, “a thought struck me – maybe we should have a Pirkei Avos Shiur for women, since the Shabbos days are so long,” she recalled.
Laine was quick to act on that thought, printing out flyers for an English Pirkei Avos Shiur, customarily learned during the summer months, and handing them out on her block before the next Shbbos arrived.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming crowd that showed up,” she told COLlive.com this week. “We held the classes in the block Shul, Congregation Anash at 770 Montgomery Street (we call it ‘little 770’).”
A further push for the initiative was the warm response she received from the Rebbe after writing about the immediate success of the class.
“The Rebbe gave us beautiful brochos and spoke a full Sicha on Shabbos about the importance of learning Pirkei Avos from Pesach on,” she said.
Many other Pirkei Avos classes have been established since, with Laine’s class drawing a crowd of 50 and higher.
After the passing of her brother Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok Kazen, “Father of the Jewish Internet,” they added a Halacha class delivered by Rabbi Michoel Seligson.
“What a treat to have such a Mechanech and knowledgeable teacher who selflessly gives of his time to the participate at the shiur,” Laine says of Rabbi Seligson who begins the class at 5:30 PM on Shabbos day.
Delivering the Pirkei Avos class are various local and visiting rabbis, educators and individuals. Among them: Rabbi Dovid Laine, Rabbi Eli Wolf, Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Rabbi Mordechai Gurary, Rabbi Nochum Kaplan, Rabbi Yossi Hurwitz, Rabbi Motel Berkowitz, Mrs. Sara Junik, Mrs. Rivka Kotlarsky, Mrs. Sara Leiberman, Mrs. Chaya Fraklin and others.
When a Shliach is in town, Laine hurries to book them for the class. They have included Rabbi Aaron Eliezer Ceitlin from Tzfas, Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum from Pittsburgh, Rabbi Shea Rubinstein from Florida and Rabbi Raleigh Resnik from California.
Shluchos who have graced them with their appearance and incredible stories of Shlichus were Mrs. Reizel Raskin fom Morocco, Mrs. Dini Greenberg from China, Mrs. Chanie Rosenblum from Pittsburgh, Mrs. Rivka Hazan from Italy, Mrs. Pearl Krazinansky from Hawai, and many others.
“Many times we hear inspirational stories from different people,” Mrs. Laine adds. “Chana Leah Nunez told us her life story of her return to Yiddishkeit. Moshe Nunez shared with us his incredible work on the seven Noah laws.”
Classes are from 5:30 until 7:00 pm every Shabos at 770 Montgomery Street, beginning the Shabbos after Pesach until Rosh Hashana.
Anyone who knows of a good speaker, feel free to call Henya Laine 718-909-2169.