On May 25th, the 2nd of Sivan, we lost a precious young baby, Meir Shlomo Zaltzman OB”M, the son of Rabbi Mendel and Chanie Zaltzman. Mendel is Zalman’s brother and Chanie, Perla’s sister.

First of all, we'd like to thank you. Thank you for your love, thank you for your warmth, and thank you for your outpouring of support.shlo.jpg

We are taught from an early age, that we often cannot know the answer to the resounding question of “Why?”  Only Hashem can know that. The pain is felt  in our collective hearts, as it echoes through the ages of our nation’s history. Another question, however, can, and must be asked: "What?" What are we supposed to do in the face of this tragedy? How are we to respond to Hashem’s Will?  How do we transform our pain into growth, our tragedy to new momentum?

As my sister got up from Shiva minutes before the holiday of Shavuot, the question was: now what? Is life going to continue without Shloime’le? How are we going to manage? How will Chanie and Mendy rise above this pain which doesn’t seem to be getting any less severe?
After the passing of his wife of sixty years, the Rebbe repeated time and again the verse from Kohelet, “And the living shall take to heart.” Each one of us must become better, must change, must do more good.

When five young children were murdered in their classroom in Kfar Chabad in 1956, the Rebbe responded by building. He expanded the school, sent more Shluchim to Israel, and founded more institutions. To this day, those institutions and the lives they have touched stand in everlasting memory to those who passed on.

On so many occasions, we were taught by our beloved Rebbe, that the only way to confront tragedy, to overcome and persevere - is to persist with even more energy and increased joy.

As I was thinking about the beautiful life Chanie and Mendy had planned for Shloime'le, so full and rich with Jewish traditions, it occured to me that there could be no greater way of honouring him and eternalizing his life, than by bringing those values and excitement about Yddishkeit to even more children.

I thought about our work in Niagara, in trying to make Judaism a reality and accessible to all Jews from all walks of life, lead by the Rebbe and his philosophy that "No Jew should be left behind".  I thought about those young Jewish children in our region who are not yet getting a formal Jewish education.

Aleph Champ Niagara, the Meir Shlomo Talmud Torah is being established in memory of Shloime'le. We hope this exciting and innovative educational program with a particular focus on creative Jewish education, will be a place where Jewish children from all backgrounds and walks of life will be able to learn and appreciate the beauty of our Heritage.

Shloime’le, is no doubt looking on and deriving much Nachas from this project.

May we share only happy occasions together, and may we merit the coming of Moshiach, whom we shall greet, “With our young and our old, our sons and our daughters – a great multitude will return there.” And may it be now.

Perla Zaltzman,
Aleph Champ Niagara