In honor of Chof Av, the Hillula of the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, a new expansion and beautification of his holy Ohel in Alma Ata (Almaty), Kazakhstan, is being completed.
Large crowds from around the world come to honor the Rebbe’s father and pray at his holy resting place on this holy day. The new marble, lighting and expanded Ohel will facilitate a more accommodating visit.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was exiled to Kazakhstan for his heroic leadership in spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit during the ruthless communist regime. After Passover of 1944, Chassidim miraculously succeeded to bring Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and his wife Rebbetzin Chana to Alma Ata.
The hardships of jail and exile affected Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s health. His passing was on the twentieth of Av, 1944. His holy resting place was secured with great self sacrifice by Chassidim in Alma Ata.
A dedication ceremony honoring the new expansion will take place on Chof Av. The dedication will coincide with the completion of a new Torah for the beautiful Levi Yitzchak Synagague in Alma Ata.
Philanthropists Avi Shaulson and Shmuli Stern have a special respect and gratitude to the Rebbe’s father. In addition to their regular philanthropy in honor of the Rebbe’s father, they have sponsored the new expansion.
The Rebbe’s appreciation to all those who have assisted his parents and cared for his father’s holy resting place is extraordinary.
When Rabbi Yosef Nimoitin came to the Rebbe while the Rebbe distributed dollars for charity, the Rebbe said ” thank you for your caring and maintenance of my father’s resting place”. When the Rebbe was notified that a Yeshiva student in Leningrad is working with the authorities in Moscow to secure permits to build a Ohel in Alma Ata, the Rebbe said “many things are changing now in Russia”
Rabbi Dovid Nachshon and Rabbi Avi Taub had the merit of building the Ohel in Alma Ata. They were helped by a then Russian Yeshiva student, Rabbi Nochum Tumarkin who utilized his Russian citizenship to secure the permits. Upon their return to New York, the Rebbe asked for them to come in to his private Yechidus room and to personally give the Rebbe the key to the newly built Ohel of his father.
Rabbi Nachshon and Rabbi Taub entered the Rebbe’s room and gave the Rebbe the key to the Ohel. The Rebbe looked to the heaven and said “this is the key to my father’s Ohel.”
The Rebbe proceeded to bless them with many blessings. They recall the Rebbe saying ” fortunate is your portion, much is your reward and great is your merit. You have inspired Russian Jewry, you have accomplished with them and you have involved yourself with the Ohalim of the Rabeiyim, righteous and holy. May we not need it for we will merit the fulfillment of the verse “and those who dwell in dust shall rise and sing.”
In 1996, Rabbi Moshe Gurin was significantly instrumental regarding the Ohel and in 2008 a local community member Avrohom Michalov was involved with the Ohel.
The new expansion will greatly help in accommodating the large crowds. A special pathway for Kohanim has been arranged. A new additional door was installed in order to facilitate a smooth flow of entering and exiting.
On the auspicious occasion of thirty days prior to the Hillula of the Rebbe’s father, the Shluchim of Kazakhstan invite all who want to honor the Rebbe’s father , to join in the special scheduled events honoring the day of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s Hillula, join the Torah celebration and sing the famous Hakofos Nigun of the Rebbe’s father in close proximity to his holy resting place.