Final preparations are currently underway for another major
chizuk tour, led by HaRav Mattisyohu Salomon, to the
countries of the former Soviet Union. The Vaad Lehatzolas
Nidchei Yisroel which, over the past two decades, has
pioneered the miraculous renewal of Yiddishkeit in
those lands, has organized a mission that will be visiting
some of the centers of its activity. The mission will be
following an itinerary very like one followed three years ago
by a similar group.
HaRav Salomon, mashgiach of Lakewood Yeshiva, will be
heading a group of prominent community leaders, activists and
laymen from the United States, Europe and Eretz Yisroel. As
well as participating in the special events that have been
coordinated for this visit, the mission's members will be
meeting the Vaad's resident shelichim in Georgia,
Azerbaijan and Russia, to discuss each community's particular
needs and the challenges that its members face. The
mashgiach is scheduled to deliver words of
chizuk at each event.
The tour plans to arrive be'ezras Hashem on Tuesday,
December 10 (5 Teves) in Tbilisi, Georgia. A special communal
chizuk assembly is planned. A new sefer Torah
will be dedicated al sheim HaRav Abba Freedman
zt"l. The party will also tour the city of Gori
(birthplace of Stalin) visiting the Vaad institutions there
and the Jewish community.
The next day is to be spent in Azerbaijan, first in Kuba, to
see the revival of Torah life there in what is an ancient
Jewish community, and in Baku, the capital, where a
kenes and concert for chizuk for the entire
Jewish community is planned. Thursday morning is also to be
spent in Baku, visiting the day school, mesivta, Bais
Yaakov high school, the newly built mikveh, and
community shuls. That afternoon the party is to leave
for St. Petersburg.
As three years ago, the final stage of the tour is to be St.
Petersburg, Russia where, on Friday December 13 (8 Teves),
they will participate in the dedication of the Aron
Hakodesh at Yeshiva Pri Yitzchok by Dr. Yoel Rosenshein.
The yeshiva is named after HaRav Yitzchok Blazer zt'l,
one of the closest talmidim of HaRav Yisroel Salanter
zt'l, who served as rov of the city's then-large
Jewish community until his departure for Yerushalayim, around
one hundred and twenty-five years ago. Pri Yitzchok
was the name given to one of the works which HaRav Blazer
wrote during his tenure as the city's rov.
The group will then visit St. Petersburg Jewish sites and
Shabbos and Sunday, December 14-15 (9-10 Teves) parshas
Vayigash, will be spent at a "Yarchei Kallah" with
the talmidim of yeshivas Pri Yitzchok. On motzei
Shabbos there are plans for a festive melave malka
with Reb Abish Brodt and Ephraim Hasenfeld who are expected
to participate in the trip.
In a letter publicized four years ago, the geonim
HaRav Eliashiv and HaRav Shteinman speak of the obligation
that is incumbent upon each and every Jew to work towards
saving the Jews of these lands who, through no fault of their
own were absorbed by the gentiles and lost all Torah and
yiras Shomayim. Although the progress that has been
made to date in drawing them closer to Torah and mitzvos is
nothing short of incredible, we must not allow our efforts on
their behalf to slack when their need is still so great.
This important and historic trip will be'ezras Hashem
pave the way for even greater involvement in the spiritual
rebirth of the Jewish communities of Russia, Georgia,
Azerbaijan and the other countries of the former Soviet