The Belz community of London was privileged to host the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, during a historic visit to the city for Shabbos and Lag BaOmer.
The occasion was the chanukas habayis of the new central Belzer beis midrash and talmud Torah in the city. Approximately 1,500 visitors from Eretz Yisrael, Europe and the US came to spend Shabbos in the Rebbe’s presence.
Before arriving in London, the Rebbe, accompanied by a large group of chasidim, stopped in Eastern Europe to daven at the kevarim of his illustrious ancestors in Belz, Lizhensk, Shineva and Yaroslav.
The Rebbe led the Shabbos davening and tish in a large tent set up specifically for the occasion in the courtyard of the Yesodei HaTorah school.
On Thursday, the Rebbe was visited by many of the leading rabbanim of London, who discussed communal matters with him and received his brachah. Also on Thursday, the Rebbe went to visit the mara d’asra of London, Rav Efraim Padwa, in his home.
On Motzaei Shabbos, the Rebbe led the lighting of the bonfire in honor of Lag BaOmer in the courtyard of the Belzer beis midrash. The chanukas habayis, attended by thousands of people, took place on Sunday, together with a special tish for the historic occasion. The Shabbos of the Rebbe’s stay was called a “Shabbos Hisachdus”—a Shabbos of unity and camaraderie—and, indeed, the air was full of feelings of brotherhood and shared joy at this momentous occasion.
Members of the community described the atmosphere during the Belzer Rav’s visit as a joyous yom tov.