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Rebbes of Lubavitch
1. Shneur Zalman of Liadi
2. Dovber Schneuri
3. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
4. Shmuel Schneersohn
5. Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
6. Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn
7. Menachem Mendel Schneerson
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Yeshivah Gedolah Zal (Hebrew: ישיבה גדולה זאל‎), Yeshivah Gedolah, The Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand, or colloquially, Y.G., is a government accredited yeshiva, an academy for young Orthodox Jews to devote themselves to full-time rabbinical studies. It is located in St Kilda East, Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, and is the only yeshiva of its kind in the continent. It is under the auspices of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. It offers the government recognised Diploma of Talmudic Studies.


Founding and naming

It was founded on 1 February 1966, under the auspices of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, who vigorously encouraged its founding, and gave guidance and blessings for its development at every stage. He wrote to Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, "such a Yeshiva must be founded in Melbourne." He declared that the Yeshiva is considered a branch of the Lubavitch Tomchei Temimim Yeshiva network, though not officially under that name. He added the title "Zal", which is Yiddish for "study hall," to Yeshiva Gedolah. When it became necessary to give the Yeshiva an English name, and it was suggested that it be entitled, "The Rabbinical College of Australia," he added the phrase, "and New Zealand." (Indeed, some youths from New Zealand eventually came to study there). The Rebbe also gave special attention to the students, sending them special letters of encouragement and good wishes from time to time.


The Yeshiva was originally under the primary administration of the late Rabbi Zalman Serebryanski, who also served as the Mashpia there, along with Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer Herzog, the Rosh Yeshiva. Throughout most of the years of its existence the late Rabbi ‎Chaim Gutnick served as honorary Rosh Yeshiva. He would come to deliver weekly lectures and examine the students from time to time.

In the summer of 1973 Rabbi Binyomin Gavriel Cohen joined the staff as the new Rosh Yeshiva, and the following year Rabbi Avrohom Glick began delivering regular classes in Chassidus. In 1977 Mr. Avrohom Procel, himself a graduate of the Yeshiva, was appointed as financial administrator. In 1984 Rabbi Mordechai Szmerling, also a graduate of the Yeshiva, was appointed as a teacher of Talmud. In 1989 Rabbi Yaakov Winner was appointed Mashpia. All the above still serve in their positions today. In more recent years Rabbi Sholom Ber Engel was appointed as Mashgiach and teacher, and Rabbi Shmuel Lesches was appointed as teacher.


At first there was disagreement over the ideal location of the Yeshiva--in a remote, quiet location, or beside the existing Yeshiva College day school. Rabbi Schneerson solved this by suggesting that the Yeshiva be located nearby, but not on the same site as the school. (It should be noted that the Yeshivah Gedolah is not under the auspices of the day school's umbrella organisation, the Yeshiva Centre.)

It began on Goathlands Avenue, St Kilda East, and then moved to Kalymna Avenue, St Kilda East. From there it moved to 11 Meadow Street, Balaclava. In 1971 a large building surrounded by gardens on Alexandra Street known as The New Alexandra became available for purchase. This property was officially recognized as historically valuable, as it had been built some hundred years earlier, and served as a lodge for distinguished government personalities. Despite the high price, the building was bought under Rabbi Schneerson's name on 19 Kislev, 5731, after a Melbourne Jewish philanthropist released his previously held bond to allow the purchase by the then leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch in Melbourne. Rabbi Schneersohn also contributed 4,000 Australian dollars towards the purchase of the building. He would therefore include it in the list of his properties whose chametz is sold for Passover. After Passover the students moved in and began their studies there. The Yeshiva has flourished there to this day.

Student Shluchim

Before Passover of 1967 student Shluchim (emissaries of Rabbi Schneerson) arrived from the U.S., the first of their kind anywhere in the world. These were unmarried students of advanced caliber sent to bolster the Yeshiva by studying and teaching the local students. After the resignation of Rabbi Herzog, the student Shluchim took over as teachers of Talmud in the Yeshiva. They also studied with Jewish university students, many of whom eventually enrolled in the Yeshiva. They opened up an English lending library of Jewish literature.

According to the current system at any given time there are altogether twelve student Shluchim on a two year stay, but six student Shluchim leave each year after completing their two-year period, and six new student Shluchim arrive, usually in the month of Cheshvan. This was done in order to prevent a gap in which no student Shluchim are present. Thus, at any given time there are six student Shluchim in their first year and six in their second. It is customary for the entire Yeshiva to travel to the airport to greet the newly arrived student Shluchim with traditional boisterous Chasidic joy.

See also




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