Yud Shvat carries special significance for Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA) and the Jewish community of Springfield, MA. The Frierdiker Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn sent the first shliach, Rabbi Sholom Ber Gordon, to Springfield in 1945 to open a yeshiva. In the ensuing years, several rabbis were sent to Springfield.
In January 1950, less than three weeks before Yud Shvat, Rabbi Dovid Edelman ob”m received a call late at night from Rabbi Shmarya Gourarie, the RaShaG, telling him that the Frierdiker Rebbe wanted him to take over as principal of the yeshiva. After a few weeks, just days prior to the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Rabbi Edelman stabilized the shaky situation that he discovered upon arrival. When he informed the Frierdiker Rebbe that the Yeshiva is going to remain open, he replied, “Reb Dovid gave me Nachas Ruach.”
Rabbi Edelman led LYA for 65 years until his passing in 2015, faithfully following the directives of the Rebbe’s son in-law, our Rebbe, in fulfilling his shlichus. Rabbi Edelman would relate that after Yud Shvat 5710, he immediately turned to the Rebbe for advice and guidance in running the school. According to his family, Rabbi Edelman woke up every morning hearing the same message from the Frierdiker Rebbe, “The Rebbe wants you to go to Springfield,” motivating him forward. Now in its 74th year, LYA is located in suburban Longmeadow MA under the direction of Rabbi Noach and Esther (Edelman) Kosofsky.
LYA hosts a Shabbos dinner every year in honor of Yud Shvat, titled One Shabbos / One World. This year, Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, founder of www.InsideChassidus.org, spent Shabbos with LYA, inspiring the community with speeches and farbrengens.
Rabbi Paltiel remarked that his prepared speech would not do justice to the large, diverse crowd. Instead, he related that the Rebbe noted that Americans don’t like being told what to do; “you can’t make them (American Jews) do anything, but you can teach them to do everything”. The Rebbe changed the landscape of American Jewry by bringing Yiddishkeit to them in a manner that would resonate.
Another element of the Rebbe’s approach is the focus on the individual. When a shliach made an event for Taharas Hamishpacha and was disappointed that only one woman showed up, the Rebbe responded, “how many mothers did Moshe Rabainu have?” Rabbi Paltiel pointed out that this approach holds true especially in smaller cities like Springfield, where each Jew is valued more, and less likely to be overlooked. The shluchim in smaller cities each have to fill more roles than shluchim in larger cities.
Rabbi Paltiel noted that this point was also evident in the diverse crowd, which numbered 150 people ka”h. There were members of Anash, Young Jewish Professionals, members of the Russian speaking community, and many members of the general community. Mr. Stewart Bromberg, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, also attended. LYA is one Lubavitch moisad in the community that reaches, and unites, many Jewish demographics.
LYA was proud to host Mr. Harold Grinspoon and his wife, Diane Troderman. Mr. Grinspoon is the founder of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which runs a number of regional and international philanthropic initiatives, including PJ Library and JCamp 180, and is a major funder of Birthright Israel.
One Shabbos / One World was a collaboration of the shluchim and shluchos who work at LYA under the leadership of Rabbi Noach Kosofsky.
LYA is accredited by The New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC). LYA serves the Jewish community throughout the region, providing a Jewish education for Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School, as well as Chabad Hebrew School and CTeen/Hachai Teen Club. In addition, LYA offers more than a dozen weekly shiurim for adults, programs for holidays, and many events for the community. Rabbis of LYA make regular pastoral visits to homes, offices, and senior facilities.