Torah MiTzion established the Kollel in Melbourne in 1998 with the support of the L.A. Pincus Fund for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, Mizrachi – Melbourne’s leading Religious Zionist Organization, and Leibler Yavneh College.
The four members of the Kollel, known colloquially in the community as “Hesder Boys”, together with a female Shlicha who plays a leading role in the community’s Midrasha, are all graduates of leading Yeshivot and Midrashot in Israel. They are led and guided by a Rosh Kollel and Rosh Midrasha.
During the day, the Shlichim are based in Leibler Yavneh College, where they develop and run informal programing both inside and outside the classroom. As well as contributing a strong Israeli presence to the school, they serve as Torani role-models to the school body, many of whom are drawn to learn with them in regular chavruta sessions.
In the late afternoon and evenings, the Shlichim are located at Mizrachi’s Naftali Herc Beit Midrash. At the Mizrachi Beit Midrash, the Shlichim are available to learn in chavrutot with community members of all ages, creating a strong core of learning around which the Beit Midrash atmosphere thrives.
Torah MiTzion Melbourne also works closely with Bnei Akiva and the bachurim serve as madrichim in the local Bnei Akiva branch. The connections created in Leibler Yavneh College, Bnei Akiva and the Mizrachi Beit Midrash all contribute to the overall impact of the Shlichim and strengthening the ties between their different areas of activity.
In addition to the regular schedule of chavrutot, The Shlichim run special programming each week and around the Chagim. For example, every Thursday night, many people stay late at night to share words of Torah, inspiration and food at “Chill ‘n Cholent”. On Sunday mornings, the bachurim are joined by high school students for Shacharit followed by “Holy Bagel” – a bagel breakfast and words of Torah.
To date, the Melbourne Kollel has been led by seven Roshei Kollel: Rabbi Moshe and Hasida Pinchuk (1998-2001), Rabbi Noam and Rachel Himmelstein (2001-2004), Rabbi Aviya and Noa Rosen (2004-2006), Rabbi Yonatan and Ilana Rosensweig (2006-2009), Rabbi Elad and Odelia Dahan (2009-2011), and Rabbi Dudi and Chana Winkler (2011-2015), Rabbi Danny and Althea Mirvis (2015-2017).
The Kollel is currently under the leadership of Rabbi Yehoshua and Malki Asulin, with a group of five bachurim – Avichai Mishnayot, Hillel Amer, Amitai Berkowitz and Avishai Abboudi. The Midrasha is led by Dr. Michal Kaufman.