Chassidim Head South to Start New Kollel in Baltimore

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asifa2In a quiet, yet electrified, meeting held in the Beis Medrash of Monsey on Sunday, 7 Iyyar, an outstanding group of chassidishe yungerleit and their wives committed themselves to join a new Kollel being established in Baltimore, Maryland, which is set to open on Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5775.

This dedicated group of kollel men and their families will be joining K’hal Chassidim of Baltimore in the inauguration of the “Kollel Le’Horoah,” headed by the Rav and Rosh Kollel of the Chassidishe Kollel of Baltimore, HoRav Hershel Rosenfeld.

Rabbi Rosenfeld has decades of experience in chinuch and rabbanus. He was Rosh Kollel of the Sadigura Kollel in Eretz Yisroel; a Dayan in the Beis Din Mechon Le’Horoah in Monsey (HoRav Ezriel Tauber); a mechanech in the Belz Mosdos in Monsey and – most recently – Rosh Yeshiva and Menahel Ruchni of Mosdos Nadvorna in Bnei Brak for 15 years. Rabbi Rosenfeld has smicha from numerous gedolim, including the Makover Rov, the Debretziner Rov and HoRav Wosner, zt’l, and lhbch’l, HoRav Roth (Belzer Dayan), the Pupa Rov and the Klausenberger Dayan, shlit’a.

Rabbi Rosenfeld began recruitment for the Kollel last summer and since then has made numerous trips to Monsey, Boro Park and Williamsburg to meet with prospective candidates.  He has also visited Baltimore on a number of occasions, and met with the Rabbonim there, including Rabbi Moshe Heinemann (Agudath Israel of Baltimore), Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer (Shearith Israel / Glen Avenue Shul), Rabbi Yissochar Dov Eichenstein (Mercaz Torah U’Tefillah of Baltimore), Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger (Yeshivas Ner Israel), and many others.

asifaThe Kollel, to be housed in a warm and welcoming chassidishe Beis Medrash and soon to be ensconced in a new building, is slated to be at the epicenter of a growing chassidishe community in the Upper Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore.

According to Rabbi Rosenfeld, the Kollel’s goal is to, “build up Rabbonim” from yungerleit through an intensive five-year learning program.  The yungerleit of the Kollel are comprised of chassidishe b’nei Torah who have learned in many of the most prestigious Yeshivos in the world, including Me’or Yitzchok, Ohr Yisroel, Tchebin, Emek HaTalmud and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Rabbi Rosenfeld explained that learning is paramount for these yungerleit, who strive to grow in Chassidus and yiras shomayim.

The Executive Director of the Kollel, Rabbi Y. Zvi Weiss, who is and has been a Rov in Baltimore for 15 years at Bais HaKnesses Ohr Hachaim, has been instrumental in bringing the Kollel to this point, after many years of planning and months of hard work.  Rabbi Weiss, grew up in Boro Park, attended Yeshivas Karlin Stolin, Beis HaTalmud, Brisk and Lakewood, and is uniquely positioned to facilitate the growth of the chassidishe Kollel in the larger Baltimore community.

“The palpable excitement among this group of metzuyanim – in learning and middos – is evident,” Rabbi Weiss said after the “Signing Asifa.”  He explained further that “we had a prior asifa before Pesach to get to know each other as a group, and since that time, the yungerleit have come together to meet and become familiar with each other, and they have all visited Baltimore one or more times.”  The Baltimore kehillah has hosted Kollel families for Shabbosim throughout the winter, already igniting a warm relationship and infusing excitement and anticipation in the community.

Members of the Baltimore community – including the kinderlach – are excited as well, and are awaiting the Kollel and Beis Medrash with anticipation.  One futuremispallel in the Beis Medrash commented, “I cannot wait for the Chassidishe Kollel to open!   My sons ask me constantly when they will be able to be a part of the shul.”  Many are already planning on learning and davening in the Beis Medrash together with the Kollel yungerleit, who were hand-picked by Rabbi Rosenfeld and thehanholah of the Kollel.

The Kollel looks forward to inviting leading local, national and internationally-renowned Rabbonim to address the yungerleit and the members of the Kehilla in matters of halocha.  The Kollel plans to create learning opportunities for members of the Baltimore community, including establishing yarchei kallah and morning and evening learning.

For further information about the Kollel, inquiries may be sent to [email protected] or by calling 410-764-3200.


19 COMMENTS

  1. They may not have such an easy time. There is only one shul in Baltimore where the announcements are in Yiddish (and where most people in shul are dressed other than “modern”). No school where Yiddish is used – meaning new hedarim will be needed if one hopes to attract young hasidim. Unlike Brooklyn where many Jews are in the private sector, in Baltimore the primary parnassah involves working for the government and usually commuting to Washington – meaning you will have less money to fund an instituiton. — However the city has a benign (if incompetent) government, and low housing costs, and the majority of Jews within the city limits are frum.

  2. Amazing. Wonderful. Boruch HaMokom Boruch Hu. Hoidu LaShem Ki Tov. Baltimore is a community of chosheva families who value Torah and yiddishkeit above all else. Add to this the ahavoh and warmth of chasidish culture and you get a super community. As it says in Pirkei Avos, when 10 yidden come together to learn Torah, the Holy Shechina sits with them.

  3. What is the difference between a Yeshivish Kollel, halachic Kollel, White Kollel, Kiruv Kollel, Community Kollel & a Chassidish Kollel??

    An influx of Chassidim may find the infrastructure in Baltimore not up to its desires. Specifically certain hachsherim, lack of Yiddish speakers, Chadorim, etc. There is limited $&$$&$$& in Baltimore for support.

  4. I guess not everyone is jumping for joy because the new kollel’s gain means that other shuls will be losing mispallilim. And as akuperma implied,another institutioin to support means there will be less resources available for existing shuls and institutions from limited community funds.

  5. To build up a hasidic population in Baltimore, which has been growing on its own, would require a Yiddish school (or a Yiddish tract in existing schools -limited to students who speak Yiddish at home), and would require moving some businesses the provide employment for Baal ha-battim (not absurd, for while Maryland is relatively anti-business, compared to New York it is a capitalist’s dream).

    The housing costs in Baltimore are very low. Also remember that Baltimore-Washington are a single metropolitians area (Baltimore in many ways is similar to Brooklyn, relative to Washington being Manhattan).

  6. 6,

    you think too low of chasidim. do you think they haven’t checked it all out already before deciding to open a kollel in that holy town?

    Hechsherim? First of all, for some reason many people worship the local hashgocha. Second, I know you may not understand this, but it CAN be possible to live in baltimoron and not use the local hashgocha.

    Yiddish speakers? Since when do chasidim care about that when they are moving out of the dalet amos shel NYC? Chasidim adapt quite well when out in the fruited plain.

    Chadorim? THESE ARE KOLLEL PEOPLE HELLO!!! They dont have anyone in school yet and if they do, I am sure they will survive well with the current chinuch until such time, if it is needed, they will have their own.

    I’m sure the locals who can support will and if they dont, I am sure there is a war chest where funds are coming from anyway.

  7. I love how the same guys respond when they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    1. They are coming for Kollel not jobs.

    2.They have their own be is medrash so don’t have to worry about finding a Yiddish speaking shul….which there are actually a few of in Baltimore

    3.They are opening a new school/cheder as well.

    4.They have their support already so don’t worry about having to stick your hand in your pocket. Most of the community does not support the current system as is just cause they aren’t able.

  8. As one who is familiar with Baltimore, I can tell you, Akuperma that what you are saying is nowhere close to fact. The majority of employed yidden in Baltimore are not Federal Govt. Workers.

  9. Baltimore, Shmaltimore
    Eretz Yisrael is where you need to be
    The redemption has started dont miss the boat

    Peolpe dont know how much tumah there is in Chul. See the Ohr Somayach, Rav Kook, Rav Zonnefeld

  10. Akuperma, I wonder if you really live in Baltimore or if you live on the outskirts of the frum community, maybe along the perimeter like closer to Reisterstown Rd. or Glen Ave. because those of us in the heart of the community are thrilled that there will be a chasidishe community here albeit small. We don’t see the Baltimore you’re seeing. Baltimore is diverse with every stripe and type but the leanings are generally yishivish. I grew up in Brooklyn so I have what to compare to. In many ways Baltimore has become a mini Flatbush minus the Chasidim and the focus on gashmiyus. Don’t miss the pressure for one second of having to keep up with everyone else but do miss the chasidishe taam and heimishkeit of Brooklyn. Half of Baltimore now is NY transplants anyway either because their husbands were/are learning in Ner or because NY costs of living have skyrocketed. In fact I think this will be a sort of renaissance for the PH community, a big draw to bring younger families back to the area as most of them have been flocking to Greenspring/Ranchleigh/Beazer areas.

  11. #12 – Include contractors, and you’ll see its the major source of employment (excluding people selling goods and services to other frum Jews, which is convenient but doesn’t bring money into the community). Fortunately many of the Federal jobs have moved out of DC (e.g. Social Security Administration is in Baltimore, NSA is at Ft. Meade, and a lot of contractors prefer the Columbia area). What is lacking are business equivalent to (to use the most famous example) Adorama or B&H, which are selling things to goyim, or the jobs generated in the highly over-paid financial services industry (we only get crumbs, but they are very nice crumbs). The macroeconomic impact of all this is that while Baltimore lacks the poverty found in New York, it also lacks the rich people who are critical in fund raising.

    Also remember that the hasidic population in New York is much less “kollel-based” than the misnagdim, and that a large hasidic population requires jobs for the baal ha-batim, not just a kollel.

    And there is currently only one shul in Baltimore (the Beis Midrash founded by R. Yitshak Sternhell’s) where the announcements are made in Yiddish (and the last ten years they have been repeated in English) and where the people talking in shul are as likely to be using Yiddish as English. One could build up the Yiddish population in Baltimore, but it will be a challenge, but without a large Yiddish community it will never have a large hasidic population since most hasidim won’t move to a community in which few people speak Yiddish.

  12. Obviously people post when they don’t know what they are talking about. Most shuls people dress modern??? I grew up shtark and frum in Baltimore and now live in EY in a chassideshe community. The Baltimore hechsher puts most hechsherim to shame–it’s a known fact even in the chassidishe community. Baltimore is a hub of chessed and ahavas Yisrael as witnessed during the tense rioting of the last weeks. Perhaps it’s time that people realize there’s a frum world beyond NY.

  13. This whole article is just advertising, saying what the kollel wants to be said. It’s super cheesy and doesn’t accurately reflect the baltimore Kahilla. Most people never knew about this until the past two weeks. While the kollel is fully funded for now, many want to know what will be down the road? It’s a five year program minimum, and one guy can’t simply find it continuously. Most importantly, what is the purpose of this kollel. Is it for people who want to be part of the baltimore Kahilla and simply want their type of shul/kollel, or is it for a different agenda (making baltimore more chassidish)? There was huge politics already in baltimore when people wanted to start a Lakewood style kollel, something that there was people already living in baltimore and therefor for the people of baltimore. What is this chassidish kollel for? It would be like starting a Lakewood kollel in New Square.

  14. Unfortunately, the dati leumi community there has continued to shrink over the years. I’m so glad I made aliyah. I wouldn’t want to move back there.