This past Motzei Shabbos a Graduation and 'Tzeischem L'shalom' ceremony was held for the students of the Melbourne Smicha Program, also known as Machon Chaim. The program was founded seventeen years ago by philanthropist Rabbi Yoseph Gutnick.
The proliferation of Chabad Smicha Programs worldwide over the past fifteen years began after taking cue from Melbourne's novel idea.
The newly ordained Rabbonim learned Hilchos Yuchsin, Melicha, Taruvos, Bossor Becholov, Aveilos, and Shabbos under the guidance of Rabbi Feitel Levin (Rosh Yeshiva), Rabbi Dovid Leib Shmerling (Meishev) and Rabbi Zalman Shimon HaCohen Gutnick (Mashpiah).
The bochurim were tested orally at the year’s end by Rabbi Gavriel Tzinner (author of Nit'ei Gavriel) as well as by Rabbi Y. Y. Yaroslavsky, both of whom were flown in from overseas for the auspicious occasion. The Rabbonim were most amazed at the extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge that the bochrim displayed, with Basar B'chalav at their fingertips, from Gemara to Beis Yosef to Pri Megadim, Chhavos Daas, Yad Yehuda and much more. Throughout the year, they successfully took written tests given by Rabbi Levin. The bochurim were also privy to a hands on two day professional public speaking course which is a vital skill for Rabbonim.
Rabbi Gutnick opened the proceedings and was the MC throughout the night. Rabbonim from all over Melbourne attended and spoke at the ceremony. These included Rabbi Beck the Mora D'Asra of the Adass Yisroel kehila, Rabbi Werzcberger, Rosh Kollel of Kollel Beis Hatalmud, and Dayan Telsner from the local Lubavitch community.
Rabbi Tzinner also spoke highlighting the exceptional nature of this program. He remarked that during the test he was immensely impressed that whatever he asked a wealth of knowledge was given to him. Rabbi Levin then took the stage and spoke of the importance of maintaining the level of study attained by the newly ordained Rabbonim.
Two representatives of the student body, Isser Kluwgant and Yosef Ytichok Geisinsky addressed the audience. Rabbi Kluwgant spoke of the responsibility of a Rabbi. Rabbi Geisinsky thanked the Hanholo members including the Menahel Gashmi Mr. Shlomo Gurewicz and presented each of them with a gift prepared by the bochurim as a token of appreciation.
At the night’s conclusion, Rabbi Gutnick handed out the Smicha certificates and a group photo was taken.
In the group photo:
Top row (L-R): Chanoch Rosenfeld, Levi Yurkowicz, Doniel Huebner, Peretz Schapiro, Eliahu Eilfort, Shmuel Silcove, Meir Paris, DovBer Garelik, Yeshaya Farkash, Yosaif Geisinsky, Isser Kluwgant, Shlomo Geisinsky.
Bottom Row (L-R): Rabbi Zalman Shimon HaCohen Gutnick, Rabbi Yosef Yitchok HaCohen Gutnick, Rabbi Tziner, Rabbi Feitel Levin, Rabbi Dovid Leib Shmerling.