By COLlive reporter
After visiting Rostov for the Rebbe Rashab’s yartzeit on Beis Nissan, Mashpia Rabbi Yossi Paltiel commented, “A lot of people feel that the direction of Lubavitch should be to look forward and not back, and for this reason, there is sometimes hesitancy about visiting the kevarim.
“If you are hesitant about visiting Rostov for this reason, believe me, you will find as much facing forward as you will find back. It will lift you up and project you forward. Few things will get you to grow as much as watching the shluchim who are so dedicated to the Rebbe’s work, and it is incredible to see what has been achieved and how alive the community is. It will excite you and enliven you, and visiting the Ohel will be the proverbial icing on the cake.”
Rabbi Paltiel joined the Jewish community of Rostov, led by Shliach Rabbi Chaim Danzinger, for a weekend of events leading up to Beis Nissan, initiating the start of the 100th year since the Rebbe Rashab’s histalkus.
Three special groups from America participated, including a group comprised of anash and friends from Pomona, organized by Geder Avos Jewish Heritage Group and led by Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, Rabbi Moshe Denburg, and Rabbi Dovid Weber. The crowd included shluchim, rabbonim, and young Chassidic businessmen and professionals. They were joined by a group from Toronto, led by Rabbi Mendel Zaltzman.
The entire weekend was uplifting and inspiring, with a tour of the Rebbe Rashab’s house and Mikva; a farbrengen in the Rebbe Rashab’s yechidus room; a performance by the local day school students; and a tour of the beautiful and historic Cantonist Synagogue.
On Friday afternoon guests attended a moving celebration, a bris milah ceremony for three community members ranging in age from 16 to 49, and Rabbi Denburg and Eliyahu Kholodenko were given the honor of sandek at this special event. Meeting the friendly people and touring the local Jewish sites brought history to life, and forged a deep connection between the visitors, the community, and the Rebbe Rashab.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip was the powerful davening at the Rebbe Rashab’s Ohel on Motzei Shabbos, which happened to fall in the same keviyas as the year of the Rebbe Rashab’s histalkus. Community members joined out-of-town guests as they united at the Ohel to daven and sing niggunim under the night sky. The visiting rabbis noted how respectful the Ohel area looked, and a sense of awe and connection permeated the air. A festive banquet/farbrengen was held afterwards with lively dancing lasting well into the night.
On Sunday, Beis Nissan, another large group from Israel arrived and joined a steady stream of even more community members and local students to visit the Ohel.
Rabbi Chaim Danzinger anticipates many more groups will visit during this 100th commemorative year, and plans are underway to host guests and offer an itinerary that will deliver a lasting impression for Lubavitchers and their mekuravim alike.
“Anyone who would like to discuss the possibility of arranging a trip to Rostov during this upcoming 100th year, can contact me at [email protected],” he said. “It is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime.”