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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Lauder Foundation’

Polish Chasidic Student Returns to Poland For Pesach

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Mati Pavlack, a rabbinic student studying at Yeshiva University, returned to Poland for Pesach to help the local population prepare and celebrate the holiday. Mati Pavlak is one of two young Jewish men from Poland who came to the U.S. to study for the rabbinate with the hopes of becoming full-time rabbis in their homeland. Mati Pavlack hopes to receive his ordination in the coming year. Mati Kos, the other Polish rabbinic student, was recently ordained at the Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Monsey.

Polish Haggadah

For many years, professionally produced Jewish educational material for Polish Jews has been scarce. It has only been since the fall of the Communist regime that the Jews have been able to practice Judaism openly and freely. Four years ago the community, with the help of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, published the first Haggadah Shel Pesach since the Shoah exclusively for Polish Jews. Along with the traditional text and Polish translation there is a well-thought out commentary and guide to the laws of Pesach written by Rabbi Sacha Pecaric. Rabbi Pecaric had worked for the Lauder Foundation in Krakow, where he produced much of the Jewish educational material used by the various Jewish communities in Poland. The material includes a set of Chumashim, a guide to learning the Talmud, a book on the 613 commandments, a Zimiron for Shabbat and festivals as well as other much needed practical items. Before the Shoah it was rare to find Jewish books translated into Polish, as Hebrew or Yiddish was the language of most of the Jews, but today there is a need for Polish translation, commentaries and even transliteration.

‘Chasidic Jewish Trail’ In Poland

Polish groups are developing a tourism route tracing the country’s Orthodox Jewish past. The Institute for the Preservation of Jewish Culture and the Carpathia Institute are developing the project, according to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. The trip will pass through towns that were centers of chasidic Judaism. Plans are to extend the trail into Ukraine and perhaps other countries.

Toronto Synagogue To Be Modeled After Polish Shul

A Toronto congregation plans to model its new synagogue after a destroyed shul in Poland. The Forest Hill Jewish Centre, a 100-family congregation whose current home is in a low-rise office above a Starbucks, plans to build a new synagogue that will recreate the exterior of a synagogue in the town of Jaslo that was destroyed by the Nazis.


“Putting up this building is really an opportunity for us to tell ourselves and the world that the spirit of Judaism will never die,” said Rabbi Elie Karfunkel, the congregation’s spiritual leader. The building is expected to cost $9 million. The congregation hopes to break ground next year and move in to the building in about two years.

New Jewish Institutions In Poland

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

New Chabad House In Warsaw

The opening of the first full-time Chabad center in Poland, under the direction of Rabbi Shalom Ber and Dina Stambler, was made official at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchim earlier this year. A variety of factors, not least of which is the growth of Poland’s Jewish population (placed at 10,000 according to census figures, and double that according to Stambler), have contributed to the decision by Lubavitch to open its activities there.


Poland joined the European Union last year. The country has also become increasingly open to Western trade and influences. Jewish traffic has swelled, bringing a need for services for the many thousands of Jews who come to discover the alte heim - the old home from where they can trace their family history. A new generation of Polish Jewry is also beginning to look at their Jewish roots with curiosity and interest.


The new Chabad shluchim, (emissaries) and the 10 rabbinical students who will be studying at the newly-formed Lubavitch yeshiva in Warsaw will help fill the roles of “instructors, teachers and leaders.” With the generous support of the Rohr Family Foundation, Joseph Neumann of New York, and the Stamblers, Chabad will offer Poland’s Jews all the opportunities for Jewish growth.


In a telephone interview Rabbi Stambler said he looks forward to working with Rabbi Michael Shudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, and at the same time add a new dimension to Jewish religious life in Poland. “We hope to rekindle the long chasidic heritage in Poland,” he explained.


For many years Poland was known as the only country in the world with a Jewish presence that did not have a Chabad House. The Rebbe was asked to send a shaliach to Poland more than 10 years ago and he said no. Most people give as the reason for the refusal that Poland is one big cemetery. But Rabbi Stambler explained that “the Rebbe didn’t think a permanent Jewish community should be reestablished in Poland, but now that there is a growing community, with the local Jews as well as the many people coming for business and tourism, the situation has changed and a Chabad presence is needed.”


Poland was never abandoned by the Lubavitch movement, however. Whenever there was an event happening in Poland there were always a few Chabad men talking to people and offering them tefillin to put on. For a few years the head of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, Rabbi Joseph Kanafski, was a follower of Chabad and often gave classes in Chabad Chasidut.When asked if he was a shaliach he said, “No, I am here as an employee of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. The difference between me and a shaliach is that I am here on a job I can quit or be fired from. It is a temporary position, while a shaliach goes to a posting for life.”


The new center includes a library, study rooms and kosher restaurant, a particularly welcome development for Jewish businessmen and travelers, who number well over 20,000 each year. Chabad of Warsaw is located at Slominskiego 19-508.

Lublin Community Office Opens

The Jewish community of Poland will dedicate its first community offices in Lublin since World War II. The office will open on the premises of the Yeshiva Hachmei Lublin, one of the most famous yeshivas in Europe before the Holocaust.

The return of the building to Warsaw’s Jewish community in 2004 was “the first step in restoring not only the building to Jewish hands, but Jewish life,” said Michael Schudrich, Poland’s U.S.-born chief rabbi. Up to 50 people registered as Jews live in Lublin, but Schudrich says there may be many people of Jewish heritage who did not come forward after the communist regime’s anti-religious repression ended more than 15 years ago. The Lippman family of New York gave a Torah scroll to Polish Jewry in honor of their daughter’s bat mitzvah last year, and it will be on permanent loan to the community office in Lublin.

The yeshiva was built by the renowned Rabbi Meir Shapiro, who was a leader of the fledging Agudat Yisrael and originator of the Daf Yomi program. During the Holocaust the massive building was used as Nazi headquarters; afterwards it housed a Polish medical school.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/new-jewish-institutions-in-poland/2006/02/08/

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