Rabbi Isser Lubecki, now married and serving as a Chabad Shliach in Paris, France, will make a stopover in Toronto on his way to the Kinus Hashluchim in New York this year. The purpose of this stopover is to pay a visit to his former Yeshiva, Nefesh Dovid – a Yeshiva that caters to Bochurim who are deaf – where he will make a Siyum on the entire Shas in front of his beaming former teachers and classmates.
Nefesh Dovid is a lifesaving resource for hard of hearing people everywhere. Nefesh Dovid has taken its place as a glowing beacon of light, unadulterated truth and holiness within the darkness and challenges of today’s world. All those who come into contact with the Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Chaim Tzvi Kakon, and his devotion to his talmidim are able to take home a little bit of that light, demand for excellence and unconditional acceptance and make it a part of themselves.
Many alumni return “home” to replenish their stores of strength and clarity of vision and Reb Isser Lubecki is no exception. An alumnus of Yeshivas Nefesh Dovid, Reb Isser hails from Paris, France and attended Nefesh Dovid for several years before moving on, with the encouragement and blessing of his Rosh Yeshiva, to learn at Yeshivas Oholei Menachem Mendel, also situated in Toronto. He barely knew how to read Chumash at the beginning yet was determined and spent tireless hours each day to achieve the incredible accomplishment of completing the Shas as well as Nach.
Reb Isser and his wife and family are in shlichus in Paris where he is actively involved in the Chevra Kadisha and gives shiurim among his other myriad duties. Reb Isser had a special, close relationship with his mentor, Rav Samuel Azimov, ztz”l, the rosh shluchim in France. He currently maintains a personal connection with Rav Korsia, the Chief Rabbi of France.
He is returning to Canada on his way to the Chabad Shlichus convention in New York. During his stopover in Toronto, he will be commemorating the siyum on the entire Shas and Tanach at the home of his very first Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Kakon. Many rabbanim andaskanim are expected to be attending this very unusual event to partake in the nachas and sweetness of the hard earned and well deserved Torah of a shining young man with hearing loss who is well on his way to securing his place among the dedicated shluchim of Chabad.
Nefesh Dovid was founded fourteen years ago to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing young men who travel to Toronto from all over the globe to achieve and grow in ways they never thought possible. It is the only full time yeshiva for young men with hearing loss in the world. Nefesh Dovid may be based in Toronto but it is truly a yeshiva that is part of every Jewish community.
Hearing loss to any degree is crippling in that its impact can be misleading especially within the realm of emotional influence. The emotional, spiritual and social tortures endured by those living with hearing loss are very private and something many are not aware of.
The backbone of the yeshiva, the Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Kakon, is hearing challenged as well. Rav Kakon, by his powerful example, gives strength to all of his talmidim, his devoted staff, as well as all his supporters, and enables them to believe that given the right tools, the hearing challenged are capable of great achievements. One can see how lives are being saved one after another as Nefesh Dovid fulfills a desperate need in the global Jewish community.
Many students find relief in being able to start from their own beginnings and dismantle the house of cards they have built around themselves. The yeshiva is in the unique position of being able to address complex issues while dealing with boys who are highly intelligent and accomplished or capable of such. The Rosh Yeshiva does not profess to know all the answers or try to make his talmidim into people they are not. He works with what there is and helps each boy, one soul, one life at a time. The students note that being in the yeshiva gives them a second chance at living. Those wise parents who have the courage to send their sons are rewarded by watching their sons face the realities of their situations with grace and bitachon while excelling in their studies and developing excellent interpersonal skills.
Nefesh Dovid, located on the campus of the Yeshiva Gedolah of Toronto and one of Toronto’s treasures, provides an excellent Judaic studies curriculum as well as a solid secular studies program with an emphasis on English language skills and computer literacy that are so crucial to the job market. The program is completely recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education. The young men can choose to learn b’chavrusa with students from the Yeshiva Gedolah as well as join the regular bais medrash, davening, lectures and meals. In this way, lifetime networks and friendships are forged.
The Talmidim, ages 13 and up, hail from the United States, Canada, Israel, France, South America and Europe, each with his own incredible story. The boys come from various backgrounds and different academic levels and form a cohesive unit through which they grow. Graduates move on to study atyeshivos in Israel and the United States, get accepted to universities, go into business, learn trades, join kollelim, get married and raise families. They, in turn, have impacted their own communities and have become strong role models for others.