Kol Torah – Kollel Rabbonim BeBritania – edited by Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Lopian, Gateshead, 1947.

KolTorah1This publication was printed (in London, by the Narod Press) in 1947.

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The Gateshead Kollel had been founded at a meeting at the home of the Rov of the Gateshead Yeshiva (Talmudical College), Rabbi Shakovitsky, five years earlier.  The Yeshiva was itself relatively new.  The Shochet (religious slaughterer) of Gateshead, Rabbi Dovid Dryan, had written to  Rabbi Eliahu Eliezer Dessler in 1941 proposing that he should lead the new Kollel.  The word Kollel means a gathering, as in a gathering of scholars, and signifies an advanced Rabbinical college.  The Kollel, it was envisaged, would provide a place for Rabbinical Scholars who had escaped from Europe.  This was the first Kollel to be established in England, and gained world-wide renown.

The editor, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Lopian, was one of the sons of Rabbi Elya Lopian, who had emigrated to England in 1928 and become the head of the Etz Chaim Yeshivah in London.  Reb Elya was one of the most prominent rabbis of the Mussar Movement, a Jewish educational, ethical and cultural movement that developed in Lithuania in the nineteenth century. The movement was about conducting oneself in an appropriate manner, in the correct ethical and moral path.

Chaim Shmuel’s brother was Rabbi Leib Lopian, head of Gateshead Yeshivah, and his brother-in-law was Rabbi Leib Gurwitz.

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The first essay in the book is by Rabbi Naphtali Hakohen Shakovitsky.  He was the oldest son of the Minsker Maggid and studied in the Yeshiva at Radin, home of the Chofetz Chayim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan. He then studied at the Slabodka Yeshiva and joined the Kovno Kollel.  While he was at Kovno he saw an advertisement for a rabbi for a small town in northern England, applied for and was accepted for the job at Gateshead.  The Gateshead Kollel was established during his leadership of the community. He acted as the President of the Kollel and studied there.  Rabbi Shakovitsky was said to have seen his emigration to Gateshead before the war as a direct act of Providence, allowing himself and his entire family to survive the war intact. Nearly all of Kovno’s Jews were wiped out.

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This essay is by Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Lopian:KolTorah5

Rabbi Naftaly Friedler was born in Dusseldorf in Germany in 1921.  He was a member of the Gateshead Kollel.  Rav Friedler later served as rabbi of Kahal Adas Yeshurun in Monsey, USA and served as Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Yisroel in Toronto, Canada.

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Rabbi Kalman Zelig Pinsky (original surname Novak) was born in Sokoly in Poland.  He studied at the Montreux yeshiva in Switzerland and then moved to England, where he married a daughter of Reb Elya Lopian, and thus was a brother-in-law of the editor,  Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Lopian, his bother Rabbi Leib Lopian and also Rabbi Leib Gurwitz.

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