B"H. Beis Moshiach Magazine is powered by:




Marking The Yahrtzeit Of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok In Alma Ata

The yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, the Rebbe’s father, was marked in Chabad communities around the world with farbrengens Sunday evening, the 20th of Av. The Rebbe MH”M accorded the day great significance and held a special farbrengen each year, during the course of which he concluded a maseches. The farbrengen was an expression of kibbud av for his father, who passed away in exile on the 20th of Av 5704 (1944).

The main events took place in Alma Ata, where Rabbi Levi Yitzchok is buried. This is the fifth year in a row that the yahrtzeit is celebrated in Alma Ata on a grand scale. About a thousand Jews filled the Levi Yitzchok Shul in the Beis Menachem Jewish center.

Celebrating the yahrtzeit in Alma Ata is especially moving. It is near the resting place of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok and in the shul named for him.

The event was a particularly happy one this year because an announcement was made about the opening of seven shuls in Kazakhstan and the renovations of two additional shuls, bringing the total up to ten shuls. This success is thanks to the efforts of the energetic Chief Rabbi of Kazakhstan, Rabbi Yeshaya Elazar Cohen.

A press conference with the rav of Kazakhstan took place with representatives of television and radio stations, as well as the print media. It is miraculous that in the very place where the government officials of yesteryear strove to eradicate the spark of Judaism, their grandchildren are publicizing the greatness of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok in all the media.

Despite news warnings of floods and strong winds predicted for that Monday, an enormous crowd showed up to participate in the event. The shluchim had written a Pa’N asking that the event be successful despite the inclement weather. Preparations for the event continued and about an hour before the event, a miracle took place. As people arrived, the rain suddenly stopped and the skies cleared.

Even before the official start of the event, hundreds of Jews came to the tziyun. The director of the fund to aid the Jews of Kazakhstan, Rabbi Moshe Dovid Cohen, reported that many Pa’Nim and letters of support for the dedicated shluchim were sent by fax to be read at the tziyun.

In addition to local Jewish residents, diplomats and ambassadors from various countries, as well as businessmen came in honor of the baal ha’hilula and the Jewish people. After Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen explained the significance of the day, the head of the community of Kazil-Arda (where Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was exiled) was invited to light the memorial candle. As he did so, the band played Rabbi Levi Yitzchok’s “Hakafos Niggun.”

The deputy mayor of the local government noted that the event was a great joy for the Jewish people and an historic event that contributed to the glory of the country of Kazakhstan. He praised Chabad of Kazakhstan, citing his awareness of their dedicated work on behalf of the Jewish community from up close.

The Israeli Ambassador in Kazakhstan and Kirgizia, Mr. Yisroel Mi-Ami, a friend of Chabad, spoke next. Born in Kazakhstan, he expressed his appreciation for the work of Chabad, aware of the extent of the revolution that Chabad has wrought there.

Mr. Richard Johns, the American ambassador to Kazakhstan (who delayed his flight to Estona, the capitol of Kazakhstan, in order to participate in the event) was the next speaker. He said, “I am thrilled to rejoice with you at the inauguration of a network of synagogues in Kazakhstan. This demonstrates that within a relatively short time, the central shul of Alma Ata has managed to spark a Jewish revolution the likes of which has never been seen in Kazakhstan.”

“This success is partly due to the freedom of religion with which the president of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nusultan Nazarviev, founded the country shortly after the fall of communism. I am happy to see the great work you are doing, for through a little light in the community you are pushing away a great deal of darkness. May your work serve as good example for all rabbis and for all countries.”

Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen spoke about Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, who fulfilled mitzvos with mesirus nefesh, and about the Jewish revolution which the Rebbe MH”M is creating throughout the world.

Outreach activities in Alma Ata increase from week to week. Recently, the talmidim of Yeshivas Chabad of Kazakhstan successfully concluded a long hafatza trip extending over 20,000 kilometers throughout Kazakhstan. In the wake of the trip’s tremendous success, Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen began opening a string of shuls throughout the country. The trip’s itinerary was to approach at least twenty cities within Kazakhstan and to establish Jewish communities.

“Kazakhstan is a huge wilderness,” Rabbi Cohen told Beis Moshiach, “and sometimes the shluchim spent days in the wilderness on wretchedly broken-down roads and byways in order to reach a city to find Jews and arouse their G-dly souls. They traveled in places where you really say the T’fillas HaDerech with great concentration because there are dangerous highway robbers. Sometimes they even kill innocent passersby. The police don’t deal with these brigands and sometimes they even join them. There’s no doubt that this trip, like any shlichus, is done only with the koach of the meshaleiach.”

Wherever the Tmimim went, the local community arranged a large gathering where the Jews gathered to listen to the shluchim. The shluchim were warmly received and were interviewed by the media.

In their brief visits, the shluchim-Tmimim Moshe Sirolnik, Moshe Pesach Finkel, Meir Yechezkel Holtzberg, Meir Levin, Shneur Gol, and Yaakov Leiter scouted out opportunities for hafatza in each city and left material about Judaism, booklets, Shabbos candles, etc.

Throughout their trip, hundreds of Jews put on t’fillin, dozens of them for the first time in their lives. Many hundreds of Jews who hadn’t seen a rabbi in decades were amazed by the sight of the boys’ beards, tzitzis, and Chassidic garb. They received a personal letter from the chief rabbi in which he called on them to strengthen and unite in establishing a Jewish community.

Wherever word got out that the rabbis had come, Jews came from their dachas, from work, or from neighboring cities to hear what they had to say.

The shluchim can relate dozens of stories about neshamos that were ignited to Yiddishkeit. One woman, after hearing that a Jew cannot eat non-kosher meat, stopped eating meat. It has been seven years since she last ate meat. There was an old woman who hadn’t eat meat for 35 years since she couldn’t obtain kosher meat. Then there was the Jew who could only remember the HaMotzi blessing by heart, and he asked the audience to say the bracha after him, word by word.

Wherever the shluchim went they were greeted by the local community leaders. In Merkei, for example, which had no signs of Judaism at all, the mayor promised the shluchim to help open a new shul within a month. The mayor helped pay for the welcome party for the first rabbis in Merkei.


Dancing at the event

Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen, Chief Rabbi
of Kazakhstan


Home | Contents | Archives | Contact Us | Subscriptions | Submissions | Interactive | Chat | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.