North West London has joined the Lechu V’Nelcha European scene, and what an opening night it was! Members of the NW London community had been expressing interest in joining the LVN global network for quite some time, but ultimately it was the untimely petirah of Suri Dubiner that impelled them to action. Initiated by our creative and hardworking volunteers, Bassheva Turkel, Bassi Freshwater and Shulamis Senderovitch, the LVN NW London branch eagerly began setting the stage for their inaugural event, which would be l’ilui nishmas Suri Dubiner, Sarah Chaya Bas Zeev Wolf, a”h, and timed to be on her sheloshim.
On Monday night, May 8, more than 80 girls assembled in the Ohel Dovid shul — the perfect location for this event and for the subsequent future weekly shiurim that are a key component of the LVN program. Mrs. Esther Pearlman, noted menaheles of Menorah High School and daughter of Rabbi Lord Jakobovits, zt”l, chaired the evening and began by welcoming everyone to a LVN evening they would long remember.
To give the girls a taste of what LVN is all about, they viewed a of LVN and Shabbatons around the world. To see girls just like themselves, on different continents, speaking different languages, in different locales, but all hearing the same message of aliyah and growth, truly resonated. Especially meaningful to those participants who were Gateshead seminary graduates was seeing Rabbi Todros Miller appear on the screen, addressing LVN members at their East Coast Shabbaton. It sparked their interest and drove home the feeling that the LVN ideal is universal; the thirst for knowledge and the Torah’s wisdom is relevant to every post-seminary girl, no matter where on the map she may find herself.
They heard the strong message emphasized by Harav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlita, Mashgiach of Bais Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, who described the vital necessity of Lechu V’Nelcha. “Lechu V’Nelcha is a wonderful project…upon which the future success of every Bais Yaakov depends…. It’s important. It’s vital. Without which I don’t think any girl can survive. And without which a family of bnei Torah will not be able to develop the way that the Bais Yaakov really wants them to develop….”
Rebbetzin Dinah Fink, founder and director of LVN, also sent her best wishes and brachos to this newest branch, highlighting the value of joining the weekly shiur on a consistent basis, and describing it as the best step to take in ensuring a solid hashkafic foundation.
The girls were then given the wonderful opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Rabbi Mendel Chissick, who spoke eloquently about the importance of having a safety net and anchor to maintain the principles so painstakingly achieved through their years in school and seminary. He expounded on the passuk, “Lechu v’nelcha b’ohr Hashem,” explaining that as bnos it is incumbent on us to stay within the ohr Hashem. Just as a person on a darkened street who is out of range of the light rays emanating from the lamppost has put himself in danger, so too if a bas Yisrael does not maintain exposure to the light of Torah, she is putting herself at spiritual risk.
In closing, Mrs. Esther Pearlman summed up: “LVN is your safety net!” And based on the feedback that LVN received, the participants apparently felt the same, having internalized the essence of the evening’s program. Comments included, “It was such an inspirational evening” and “Finally, LVN has come to London!”
The heart of the program is the weekly shiur, which is held every Monday night at the Ohel Dovid Shul in Golders Green at 8:30 p.m. The shiur is given by Rabbi Mendel Chissick.
The desire to maintain what was learned and absorbed in seminary is universal, and Lechu V’Nelcha enables the girls to do just that. So, come join post-seminary girls like yourself at a local branch near you, in an atmosphere that nurtures growth, warmth and real friendship. Because that, in a nutshell, is what LVN is all about!