14 Adar Bet 5779 , 21/03/2019

Five Ordained as Rabbis in a Series of Torah Events in Hamburg

24/05/2018 10 Sivan 5778

The “Yoreh-Yoreh” rabbinical ordination of five students of the Jewish Rabbinical Institute of Hamburg, Germany, and the circumcision of a local resident, were just two of a series of Jewish events celebrated this week in Hamburg, led by the city’s rav, Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky.
Five Ordained as Rabbis in a Series of Torah Events in Hamburg The events took place during the Hamburg visit of Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau; Rabbi Yehuda Jaroslavsky of the Nachalat Har Chabad neighborhood of Kiryat Malachi, who also serves as the secretary of Chabad’s rabbinical court; Deputy Minister of Education Rabbi Meir Porush; Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Havlin of the Chabad community in Yerushalayim’s Ramat Shlomo community, who also serves as the chairman of Heichal Menachem in Yerushalayim; and RCE deputy director Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg.

The delegation began their visit in the local Jewish primary school, where the young students greeted them with a grand reception, led by the school’s rabbi, Rav Shmuel Havlin. After touring the classrooms and speaking with several students, an official reception was held, during which the members of the delegation spoke of how impressed they were with the level of scholarship, the rich educational curriculum, and the broad knowledge that the children had displayed in their conversations with members of the delegation.
Afterward, the delegation went on to the semichah kollel, where they discussed halachah in depth with the avreichim who study there. Chief Rabbi David Lau delivered a lecture in the kollel on practical halachah, during which he clarified a number of halachic issues. Rabbi Lau expressed his admiration for the kollel members’ breadth of knowledge.

From there the delegation went to Hamburg’s Great Synagogue, located in Hamburg’s Jewish center, where a major event was held to coincide with their visit: Semichah was conferred on five students of Hamburg’s semichah institute, who will go on to serve in various European Jewish communities. The event was beautifully moderated by Rabbi Shmuel Havlin, a Chabad shaliach who also serves as rav of the primary school. The members of the delegation couldn’t hide their amazement at the tremendous respect the hundreds of local residents showed the graduates, as they had all come to participate in the ceremony and to rejoice with them and give honor to the Torah. The local rav Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky, Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau, Deputy Minister Rabbi Meir Porush, the mayor of Hamburg, and the head of Hamburg’s Jewish community, all spoke at this momentous event.
Rabbi Bistritzky stressed the significance of this event, which took place 19 years after he himself was ordained as a rabbi; that was the first time since before the Holocaust that rabbis had been ordained in Germany. “Now,” he proclaimed, “with the authority of that ordination, I continue that sacred tradition by ordaining rabbanim of the next generation. This is a symbol of the growth of Judaism in Germany over the years.”

Rabbi Bistritzky described the various forms of anti-Semitism he has had to face in Germany and in Europe in general in recent years, not the least being the continued resistance to accommodating religious/chareidi lifestyles in Germany. “Not only did the Nazis murder six million Jews, they also obliterated Judaism in Germany. Until the day when the sounds of Torah study reverberate once more in synagogues throughout Germany, the Holocaust is still here,” he asserted, adding, “We wish to tell those who oppose Jewish religious life in Germany that Jews have lived Torah-true lives in this country for many centuries. Adherence to halachah has always been fundamental to our existence; this is true today as well for a large percentage of Germany’s Jews, and so it shall remain.” Rabbi Bistritzky emphasized the important role of the Jews of Hamburg in the past, and their influence on the world, both then and now.
Deputy Minister Rabbi Meir Porush followed, saying, “This event was arranged by Hamburg’s Chief Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Bistritzky, an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l. Why did the Rebbe embark upon this sacred campaign of sending his agents to every corner of the world? It was so that there would be a shaliach in every location, dedicated to assisting every single person, both physically and spiritually, regardless of his or her affiliation. Those who follow the activities of these shlichim know firsthand that this is what every one of the thousands of Chabad shlichim does, wherever he might be located.
“Today we are in Hamburg, a domain blessed with the presence of Rabbi Bistritsky, who is actually continuing the sacred work begun by his grandfather, who was forced to flee when World War II broke out. We are gathered here now to show our appreciation for this mission as well as for all the chessed that results from it.
“Today, five young men were ordained as rabbis here, after having successfully completed the full required program. One shaliach here in Hamburg, Rabbi Bistritzky, has created a revolution, doing great chessed both for the living and for those who have passed on. Now, each of these five rabbis he as ordained will go on to help thousands more people, both physically and spiritually.”

Rabbi Bistritzky’s father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Havlin, was the next speaker. In introducing him, Rabbi Bistritzky thanked him for always standing by him and for his part in the growth of Hamburg’s Jewish community. Rabbi Havlin then delivered an emotional address, expressing how impressed he is with the community’s development, which is symbolized by the rabbinical ordination of five local avreichim who had been rigorously tested. He gave special thanks to philanthropist David Sitrow, a major supporter of the rabbinical seminary.
Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, rav of the Jewish community of Berlin, congratulated the newly ordained rabbis on behalf of the entire German rabbinate. He pointed out that the rabbanim who tested them were greatly impressed by the breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding these young men had displayed. He expressed his hope that the rabbinical seminary would ordain dozens more rabbis, who would serve the many communities that need them.

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg, deputy director of the RCE, congratulated the graduates on behalf of the RCE. He, together with Rabbi Bistritzky, awarded each of them a certificate certifying that they had been admitted as members of the RCE. Rabbi Bistritzky stressed that the RCE has been of great assistance to all European rabbis, and specifically to the rabbis of Germany.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Lipsker, director of the Meromim Chul Foundation, also attended the ceremony.

Afterward, there was a bris milah for a young Jew from the local community. Harav Yitzchak Yehudah Jaroslavsky was given the honor of announcing the Jewish name.

The delegation wrapped up their visit with a tour of Hamburg’s municipal parliament. Their guide was Tandrei Taripol, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.

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