Joined by a slate of rabbis from across the world, former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau congratulated Poland’s first crop of rabbis to receive their ordinations since World War II.

In a ceremony at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Conference Center attended by community members – many of them Holocaust survivors – Lau pointed to the historic nature of the proceedings, which marked the conclusion of studies for nine students of the city’s Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva. The yeshiva, run under the aegis of Rabbi Shalom DovBer Stambler – director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Poland – sits directly opposite the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.

“There is no greater revenge for the Nazis atrocities than this,” remarked Lau. “Conferring semichah on Polish soil is an historic event,” he said, using the Hebrew word signifying a student’s mastery of Jewish legal texts. “These rabbis are continuing a chain of Torah transmission from Moses, and a more than 1,000-year history of Torah learning in Poland.”

Turning his focus to the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory – who during an address in 1991, urged that Polish Jewry be provided with Torah outreach, resources and personnel – Lau affirmed that his spirit is “alive and well.”

“The candles that he lit all over the world are burning today,” he said, “especially here in Warsaw, where thousands of Jews lost their lives.”

In his remarks, Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich asserted that the fact that Torah “is learned here, on land so full of Jewish blood, is proof that the Torah and the [Jewish] nation is eternal.”

Re-established two years ago, the Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva in Warsaw trains dozens of students from Israel and the United States. After a rigorous daily curriculum, the students learn with Jewish community members in the city and other locales.

Rabbis Yitzchok Yehuda Yeruslovsky, head of the Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical court in Israel, and Yitzchok Hertz, director of London’s central Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva, supervised the testing of the students in the June 29 ceremony.