In 2011, Rabbi Ahron Kramer met with the Leeds community Rabbis and several community lay leaders. He encountered strong enthusiasm to the idea of establishing a Community Kollel in Leeds.
Over a period of three years, with thorough research and planning, painstaking persistence, against many odds and extreme challenges, the impossible happened! On May 11 2014 the Kollel celebrated its grand opening in the presence of Chief Rabbi Mirvis, local Rabbonim, community lay leaders, and committee members from Manchester.
The Rosh Kollel is Rabbi Ahron Kramer. The Rosh Chabura is Rabbi Noson Krausz. The Shoel Umeishiv is Rabbi Elchonon Cohen. The Rov of the Kollel is Rabbi Yaakov Wreschner. All the Avreichim reside in Leeds.
Aside from the Rosh Kollel, Rosh Chabura, and Shoel Umeishiv, there are currently nine Avreichim in the Kollel.
The internal standard of the Kollel is very high, with the Avreichim constantly growing in their learning. Initially they learnt Meseches Sukka, followed by Meseches Beitza, continuing on to Meseches Nida, also learning Hilchos Nida. They were tested on Hilchos Nida by Dayan Refson of Leeds z"l and Dayan Westheim z"l of Manchester, both who were very impressed by the knowledge and level of learning and understanding of the Avreichim.. This was followed by Meseches Chulin. For the "lockdown" period, the Kollel learnt Meseches Makkos, and presently they are learning Meseches Pesochim.
Many Rabbonim have come to speak in the Kollel. Amongst the notable figures who have come are Rabbi Gavriel Knopfler, Rosh Yeshiva of Sha’rei Torah in Manchester, and Rabbi Mordchai Yosef Karnowsky, Mashgiach of Yeshiva Gedola in Gateshead.
At the conclusion of Meseches Sukka, the Kollel published a kuntrus with Chidushei Torah which were said over in the Kollel by the Rosh Chabura, Rosh Kollel, and Avreichim.
The establishment of the Kollel was done through the “front door” of the community. As a vital component in the planning of the Kollel, connections were built up with the lay leaders in the community, both Rabbonim and askonim. This paved the way for the Kollel to be warmly accepted by the community from the time of its inception.
The Kollel families are all wonderful examples of true Bnei Torah, with modest and super fine character traits. By just being there, they are exposing the community to the pleasant lifestyle of religious Jews, and are a cause of great Kiddush Hashem!
Community members greatly enjoy being guests for Shabbos meals, and joining our events.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that many in the community truly cherish the Kollel. In addition, there is absolutely no animosity at all towards the Kollel.
The nucleus around us growing in snowball fashion. We should be recognised by the community as a whole, in a most positive way, as a generator of the warmth of Yiddishkeit, and of Torah knowledge and practice. As this happens, the Kollel will need to grow, and in addition outsiders will see Leeds as an attractive Frum community. This will automatically bring about the opening of appropriate schools and Shuls. This will have a spiral effect on continuing to build up the community.