by: Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin
Almaty, Kazakhstan – Hundreds of Jews traveled to the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan to commemorate the 75th yartzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zt”l.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was Chief Rabbi of Ekaterinoslav (currently Dnipro), and was arrested and exiled to Kazakhstan by the Stalinist regime as a result of his work to preserve Jewish life in the Soviet Union.
Visiting his kever during Communist rule was almost impossible. In recent years, a growing number of Chassidim and Jews from all backgrounds have been visiting the kever in the Muslim populated country.
Among the visitors were Rav Leibel Schapiro, Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Wolfson, son of the mashgiach Harav Moshe Wolfson, Rabbi Chaim Shaulson, and Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. This was Rubashkin’s first visit to the country.
Accommodations for visitors on the yartzeit has been generously organized and fully donated by businessmen and baalei tzedaka R’ Avi Shaulson of Miami and R’ Shmuel Stern of Brooklyn.
The hotel Ramada by Wyndham Almaty was rented out to provide a central location for davening, learning and farbrengens, as well as sleeping accommodations. The Kazakhstan hotel, the Shera Park hotel and Astana International Hotel were also made available for visitors.
The highlight of the yartzeit was when visitors joined together at the kever of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok and sang Chassidic melodies. A kvitel was read by Rabbi Moshe Kotrlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch – Chabad Shlichus network.
The many Yidden present expressed their wishes that their tefilos will be heard for the sake of klal yisroel.