Recruitment drive in Israel for Leeds kollel
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Ten families will be funded to relocate from Israel to Leeds to undertake further Jewish educational studies and teach within the community as part of a learning initiative spearheaded by Manchester rabbi Ahron Kramer.
A post-Pesach opening date has been set for the Leeds kollel, which will operate initially from the city's three Orthodox synagogues.
"Our target is to be very broad and unifying," said Rabbi Kramer, "and will involve community members regardless of age, gender or affiliation". Backers include businessmen, rabbis and community activists.
Negotiations are ongoing with the synagogues over the space they are able to allocate.
We will involve people regardless of age, gender and affiliation
There are also plans to hold sessions in private homes as "some people are uncomfortable coming to a shul. This may also be more suitable for group sessions."
Rabbi Kramer estimated that the annual cost of having the 10 families in Leeds would be £250,000.
"If we don't feel we can reach this figure, we will start with a smaller number of families."
Funding is being raised primarily in Leeds and Manchester.
Rabbi Noson Krausz, son of the Manchester Beth Din's Dayan Gabriel Krausz, will head the studies department.
A previous kollel, sponsored by Leeds Lubavitch, closed some years ago.
Philadelphia-born Rabbi Kramer, 44, has lived in the UK for 12 years. He said he had "put in tremendous effort over the past two years to bring this initiative to fruition.
"Worldwide, nu-merous programmes such as this one have proven that they have the strength to rejuvenate communities."
In a letter of recommendation, Chief Rabbi Emeritus Lord Sacks wrote that the project "will be the jewel in the crown of the Leeds Jewish community".