Kollel scheme is set to bridge educational gap in Yorkshire

A free, adult Jewish learning facility is being planned for Leeds.

The intention is for the Leeds community kollel to mirror projects in London and Manchester by funding 10 Orthodox families to move to the city to undertake rabbinic studies in a dedicated venue. The scheme would also support weekly lectures and text-based learning within Orthodox synagogues.

Independent Manchester rabbi Ahron Kramer is behind the proposal, which has the support of Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and ministers of the three Leeds Orthodox synagogues.

Rabbi Kramer hopes to open the kollel within 12 months.

“For 20 years, there was a Lubavitch kollel in Leeds, which unfortunately closed some years ago, and there has been no facility since,” he explained. “Financial support will come from outside Leeds. The hope is that within a number of years the local community will see the value in the kollel.”

The Philadelphia-born 42-year-old has lived in the UK for nine years, administering a Salford kollel with his English wife Esther, a teacher. They plan to move to Leeds with their six children.

At the city’s United Hebrew Congregation, Rabbi Daniel Levy enthused about “this fantastic venture, which not only brings advanced Torah study to Leeds but also tremendous outreach opportunities”.

Chazan Yossi Saunders was last month appointed to work with families in a joint programme run by the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue, outreach organisation Seed and the Leeds Talmud Torah.

    Last updated: 11:53am, October 18 2012