Kehillas Kol Yehudah, named after Harav Ben Zion Yehudah Leib Twerski zy”a of Hornosteipel, is embarking on the next chapter in the journey of the Twerski family, Hornosteipel Chassidus, and the Jewish People – building a physical home and establishing a warm, welcoming community on the fertile ground of Eretz Yisroel.
A direct descendent of the Rebbe Reb Zusia of Anipoli, “Reb Leibele” was the son of Harav Mordechai Dov Ber, the first Hornosteipler Rebbe, an acknowledged giant in halacha and chassidus. Harav Ben Zion Yehuda Leib was rebbe in Hornosteipel – a Ukrainian shtetl north of Kiev – until the Bolshevik Revolution. Along with many of his chassidim, he fled, eventually reaching Eretz Yisroel. There, the rebbe formed the idea of starting a yishuv, and he returned to Europe to raise funds. With the outbreak of World War II, however, he was forced to abandon this objective. He barely made it out, leaving on one of the last boats to America. He ultimately settled in Chicago, where he led a small community until his passing. With him died the dream of building a kehillah in Eretz Yisroel.
The current Hornosteipel Rebbe, shlita, Harav Mordechai Dov Ber Twerski, now leads the kehillah in Flatbush, New York. Beis Medrash Ateres Shloime, established in 2001, has gained renown far and wide as a warm community in the heart of Brooklyn, with a distincly out-of-town sense of camaraderie. The Rebbe shlita is famous for being accessible, approachable, and able to relate to Jews from all walks of life. His shul draws families from across the broad spectrum of the Flatbush community.
The warm ambiance of his father’s kehilla ingrained heavily in the heart of his son, Harav Shimon, shlita. Rav Shimon was born in New York and raised in Denver Colorado, learned in yeshiva at Telz-Chicago, in Jerusalem at Tchebin and Bais Hatalmud, and then in numerous kollelim in Eretz Yisroel. He brings his rich family mesorah and the welcoming approachability that characterizes the atmosphere at his father’s Flatbush kehillah. With expected frequent visits by Rav Shimon’s father, Kehillas Kol Yehudah stands to be the bridge between the Rebbe’s shul in Flatbush and Eretz Yisroel, and also as the next generation’s link to the chain of tradition that leads back to Hornosteipel.
Just like his faher’s shul, residents from all walks of life – or “out-of-towners” have found Kol Yehudah “home” to them. From bris’s to bar-mitzva’s, sitting together on Tisha B’Av and the highlight of davening Neila on Yom Kippur, seudat shlishit for women with the Rebbitzen, and shiurim throughout the week, this kehillah is a unique commodity in this Israeli city. The vision of Reb Leibele of Hornosteiple to establish a community on the fertile ground of Eretz Yisroel is b’ezras Hashem on the verge of coming to fruition.