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NEWS FROM THE CHABAD – LUBAVITCH GLOBAL NETWORK | SEPT./ OCT. 2011
NEXT FRONTIER IN CHABAD OUTREACH: YOung JeWISh PROfeSSIOnALS
HOPE BEHIND THE HEADLINES: A YeAR of ShAke-UpS inSpiReS RefleCTion, ACTion Japan's 9.0 magnitude earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster six months ago left Chabad of Tokyo representative Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich with an unfinished building, a half-completed mikvah, and a whole lot of uncertainty.
ith a bevy of educational and social services dedicated to nearly every Jewish demographic, from preschoolers to senior citizens, Chabad representatives have in recent years, independently, and without much fanfare, cultivated another fast growing demographic with astounding success. continued on page 6
“ The idea of developing a network within this demographic, nationally and internationally is enormously promising. This is a community that is vital now and to the future of Judaism.”
or months we could not start building again because the ground kept shaking,” he said. support for the building project dried up as donors scattered around the world and struggled to make up for their own losses. “everything is functioning, but the earthquake changed everyone on a deeper level,” he said. Now he expects the mikvah, the first one in Tokyo, to be completed and open in time for rosh Hashanah. Until then, Japan's only mikvah is in Kobe, a four-hour bullet train
ride away from Tokyo, with a ticket cost of $350. Chabad centers throughout the world are not relying on the harrowing moments throughout the Jewish year of 5771 to bring in worshippers this High Holiday season. Crowds will be large, record breaking in some areas, but the message is hopeful, urged on by the momentum of new accomplishments. in California, an area that had its share of richter readout moments, rabbi Moshe continued on page 11
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hree rabbinical students rode their bikes to the finish line of a coast-to-coast benefit for Friendship Circle international this summer. The cyclists pushed oﬀ on the 4,000 mile trek on July 6 from Central Park in New York City, accompanied by their support vehicle. They arrived in los angeles on august 22. along the way they visited 20 Friendship Circle chapters raising awareness and funds for the humanitarian program. “We did an average of 110 miles a day over the seven weeks. at that rate, you need about 9,000 calories per day instead of the usual 2,400,” explains 21 year-old Zalmi Perlman, an avid runner. “We had to develop a special diet so we’d have enough energy.”
continued on page 7
YoUTH aT risK Recovering Lives, And Judaism
iNTerNaTioNal PM netanyahu Salutes Chabad of the fSu
israel Israel’s President Peres Opens School Year at Chabad School
Sun, Surf & Shabbos In Spain
In Jewish law, an event that repeats itself three times acquires a chazakah — a force or status of permanence and strength. A year that begins with a consecutive three-day festival, when Rosh Hashana falls on a Wednesday evening and the sanctity of the New Year is uninterrupted through the end of Shabbos [as is the case this year] has a special chazakah. It is a year that is imbued with compounded strength, giving greater potency and permanence to the blessings we elicit on Rosh Hashana, and the achievements of our individual and collective service of teshuva, tefillah and tzedakah.
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it is around this time of year, when we return to the awful tragedy of 9/11 and uncover in the embers of debris and destruction incidents of great courage and gallantry, that our faith in the transcendent capacity of the human being is newly restored. it is also around this time of year that we pray—among other things—to be blessed with that capacity. in the rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur liturgy, following the priestly blessing, we sing a prayer asking that on this day, G-d grant us strength and courage. That we should pray for blessings of life, good health, children, peace and prosperity is plainly obvious. but in asking for courage, we presume a challenge that will call on extraordinary resources of strength. apparently, the composers of the rosh Hashana liturgy dating back many centuries had no illusions about the persistence of the existential threat to the Jewish people, and included a prayer for something we need now as much as ever: the courage to prevail. The recent unleashing of unbridled hostility and hatred towards israel and the Jewish people, if striking for its savage energy, is nothing new. The hysterical calls condemning and vilifying israel at every turn, so strident and loud and insane, have made inaudible the still small voice that speaks with truth. in this din of madness where the discourse about israel has been hijacked and scripted to satisfy a selective audience, we find lead-
ers who are followers, leaders who at their best, are resigned to silence. it is times like these that give new impetus to our prayers in which we ask that along with all the other blessings, G-d bless us with courage, or at least with courageous leaders. Today there are precious few leaders such as Canada’s stephen Harper who speak out fearlessly in support of israel when it is so unpopular to do so. Harper proves that courage is indeed a rare commodity among players in the theater of international diplomacy, and worthy of our mindful prayers on rosh Hashana, when so much hangs in the balance. but it is not only presidents and prime ministers who need to pray for courage. No matter our place in life, at home or in the workplace, as a parent, a college professor, student or neighbor, our actions and reactions are often diminished by louder voices of a muddled morality, and by a smallness of spirit that cripples our ability to respond with the courage of our convictions. i am reminded of the many times, when covering the story of a community celebrating a particular milestone, hearing its members tell of how they advised the eager, young Chabad couple not to waste their time; that laying down roots in this or that town would yield no fruits; that they were perfectly content in a community with no Jewish infrastructure, and anyhow, there weren’t really enough Jews to warrant the investment. i am reminded of the many times that young Chabad shluchim were not even
welcome; of the instances where they scraped together on their own, living courageously, creating communities—one individual at a time—despite a complete absence of local support. and of the flowering, vibrant, comprehensive Jewish centers they have cultivated despite these early caveats. before Joshua led the Jewish people in their historic conquest of israel, G-d gave him a few succinct words of advice: chazak v’ematz, take strength and courage. More than a blessing, it was G-d’s instruction to Joshua for achieving success in the battles he would have to fight to secure the Jewish people in their homeland. The year draws to an end with Jewish people feeling besieged on many fronts, but we cannot aﬀord to become discouraged now. Courage is born of challenge and, as the lubavitcher rebbe taught, it is the sinequa-non of successful leadership at every level, in every sphere—on campus or in world aﬀairs, at home or in the workplace. rosh Hashana is rich with symbols of leadership and blessings for a year in which we lead (rather than follow) with success in our respective concerns. May we take strength and courage in the new year, and may it bring peace, prosperity and life to am Yisrael. Wishing all of our readers a good, sweet year.
– Baila Olidort
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 | WWW. LUBAVITCH . COM
YOUTH AT RISK
RECOVERING LIVES, AND JUDAISM: CHABAD IN UTAH REACHES OUT TO TROUBLED TEENS viding the area’s Jewish population a host of Jewish educational and social programs at the hat’s how alan rubenstein describes the Chabad center, including Hebrew school, weekly lead up to his decision to send his son to classes and holiday programming. There are apdiscovery academy, a residential treatment proximately 5,000 Jewish people in Utah. center (rTC) for troubled teens in Provo, Jason Peloso, 23, met rabbi Zippel at his Utah. alma mater -- Telos rTC in orem UT. rabbi daniel rubenstein had severe behavioral Zippel became integral to his success in the prochallenges. His teachers had long despaired of gram. He began wrapping tefillin every day, “bekeeping him in check, and his parents were at cause it became a therapeutic ritual.” wits’ end. so at age seventeen, daniel was sent “There were many therapists at the school, but oﬀ to a camp in switzerland that catered to rabbi was diﬀerent,” says Peloso, a business other teens like him. major living in Fairlawn, NJ. “He brought so “soon after daniel began camp in switzermuch meaning into my life without forcing anyland, we got a message on our phone one satthing on me, so that motivated me to look forurday night that daniel was already on a plane ward to his visits and get through the semester.” back to america and would be arriving increasingly, disconnected Jewish students shortly,” says alan rubenstien, an accountant. who have encountered rabbi Zippel are discernbut at discovery academy, a boarding ing a winning combination: Jewish involvement school that spares no expense for parents who as a significant component of their rehabilitation “ There were many therapists at the shell out a small fortune in a last ditch eﬀort at rTC. at times, even this rigorous program to redirect their teens, there was a piece missschool, but Rabbi was diﬀerent. he “feels like a temporary fix. There’s no guarantee ing from the program. While daniel found brought so much meaning into my life that you won’t relapse somewhere down the himself in a setting where love, care, and thertrack,” explains adam Finkel, whose parent’s without forcing anything on me, so that apeutic rehabilitation were physically manifest, sent him from home in New York to island motivated me to look forward to his Jewish ideals and faith were nonexistent. view rTC in syracuse, UT when he was fifteen. enter rabbi benny Zippel, Chabad reprevisits and get through the semester.” To reach their goals, it is essential for students sentative in Utah since 1992, together with his “to know that they aren’t in this alone, that G-d wife, sharonne. For the past nineteen years, he has not forgotten about them,” says Tami Harris, has reached out to hundreds of teens in various a chaplain at Heritage schools. in 2010, Harris assisted Zippel in his eﬀorts to kosher residential treatment centers through Project H.e.a.r.T (Hebrew education for atthe kitchens at her school, creating more Jewish infrastructure at rTCs in Utah. risk Teens). Zippel hits the road at least four days a week to visit rTC’s across the state, rabbi Zippel dreams of the ultimate care for these teens: he hopes to found a resififty-two weeks a year. dential treatment center that would rival other rTCs in quality standards geared specifi“rabbi Zippel reminded me that i’m a Jew, which is easy to forget, living with noncally to Jewish teenagers. With today’s challenges for Jewish youth, “such a center,” he Jews,” says daniel who went on to study in Yeshiva in israel for six years. Today, he’s a believes, “is desperately needed.” proud husband and father. When lynn rubenstein recalls the turbulence of her son’s formative years, she wishes For teens on the road to recovery, rabbi Zippel oﬀers something diﬀerent. after meetthat this had been an option. ing with them at rTCs, the rabbi invites them to spend shabbos and Jewish holidays at “There is definitely a need for this. Parents who are going through what i went through Chabad. and when students’ parents come to visit Utah and join them at Chabad, says would feel so much better about sending their child to a school with other Jewish chilZippel, “their biggest joy is to share what they’ve learned with their parents.” dren,” she says. The only Chabad representative in Utah, rabbi Zippel balances a tight schedule, pro*Several names have been changed upon request “We were past Plan Z.”
NEW ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM ANNOUNCED AT fRIendShIP CIRCLe COnfeRenCe
new anti-bullying program named defeat The label (dTl), recently announced at the annual Friendship Circle conference in West bloomfield, Mi will empower teens to stand up to bullying and social labeling. The initiative was launched by bassie shemtov, Co-director of the Meer Family Friendship Circle. To date, 1,300 teenagers around the world have signed up at defeat The label.com where they record the results of weekly missions, to do one specific act of good for a friend. “We have many volunteers at Friendship Circle who give special needs kids unconditional love and respect for who they are, not how they look,” says shemtov. but socially, things weren’t adding up: “They go to school the next day and the eye-rolling, name-calling and bullying continues.” shemtov took her idea to fifteen local schools, where she presented a curriculum of classes on anti-bullying themes and an
array of hands-on and interactive activities. students hung up posters that said “Nerd,” and “dork,” under images of kids with glasses followed by the motto, defeat The label, sending a clear message of acceptance of all people despite outward appearances. Four public schools accepted the pitch for a pilot program with 100 students (at each school), who will enroll in an eightsession course over the course of the coming school year. bradley scheck, student activities director at Walled lake Western High school says this program sets itself apart with a “focus on being proactive and changing kids’ views of others, unlike reactive programs that deal with bullying problems only after the fact.” “defeat The label is more than just anti-bullying,” explains scheck, who will coordinate the program. “it’s about getting kids to understand that people are more alike than unalike, about general accept-
ance of every person.” in Farmington Hills, Mi, twelve yearold blair bean works to promote defeat The label at her school. For years, she’s been the victim of bullying, but today her leadership role in this program has brightened her life considerably, says her mother, stacey. a social worker who is employed in schools, stacey has found that her daughter’s “involvement in this program has strengthened her,” and is grateful, especially because she’s found that children today are “much meaner” than they were when she
was a schooler. “it used to be that generally the person being bullied was a special-ed child, or someone who had an obvious diﬃculty, but today it seems that anyone can be bullied because of appearances or behavior.” rabbi bentzion Groner, director of Friendship Circle international is currently working to determine how other Friendship Circles could successfully implement this program. defeat The label will be available for adaptation by other Friendship Circles around the world by the end of 2012, he says.
INTER Chana Silberstein has been the Chabad representative to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and surrounding areas since 1984. She has created and implemented Jewish educational programs in a variety of formal and informal settings. She is currently dean of curriculum for the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. A graduate of Gateshead Jewish Teachers Training College, Chana holds a PhD from Cornell in Experimental psychology. Chana is also a proud mother and grandmother.
You've been with the community and on campus in ithaca for many years, and have, in a way, watched the community grow up. how has Jewish identity there evolved over these two decades?
one of the shocking moments came for me over 25 years ago when we were new here, in a conversation with a Jewish student. He identified as Jewish but he didn’t observe or engage in any Jewish religious practices. in the course of conversation, my husband said to him “but of course you will marry Jewish.” His response was, “Well, with only a 5-20% Jewish student body on campus, what are the chances that i’m going to meet and fall in love with someone who happens to be Jewish?” Now, sad as it is to see Jews who were not necessarily planning on marrying Jewish, this wasn’t news to us. but to this student—representative of many Jewish students on campus—marrying Jewish was something to be left to chance. That was hard to assimilate, though in retrospect, not so surprising for someone whose Jewish education had been left to chance. More recently, however, i have spoken to parents of college-age children who have taken great pains over the years to educate their children Jewishly, nurturing a love of Torah and israel. Yet they seem to have resigned themselves as well to the possibility that once their children go oﬀ to college, there’s a good chance they’ll intermarry. and though they do hope that their children will marry Jewish, they have also braced themselves to support their children’s choices, to accept and love whoever they bring home as a prospective spouse. These are parents who have been grooming their children since early childhood to get into an ivy league school. and while they know it is possible that their child may disappoint them, get into trouble or just drop out, they are not preparing themselves to accept this. of course it’s a possibility, but not a possibility they would accept with equanimity. They are prepared to push hard to make sure their children make the right educational decisions. and yet, for some reason, when it comes to Judaism, even the most Jewishlyidentified parents have given up on expecting that the next generation will share their Jewish values. There is a way in which Jewish parents today have thrown in the towel. They don’t believe they can influence their child’s Jewish future—and maybe they don’t believe they have a right to.
Some of us yet remember a time when intermarriage, even among non-observant Jews, was indeed considered a tragedy, a loss. What do you attribute this change in attitude to? it is perhaps part of a larger societal phenomenon, where so often parents say, “all i want is for my child to be happy.” so they’ve thrown away the possibility
that there’s something more important, or perhaps something that precedes happiness. Happiness is not a cause, it’s an eﬀect. We haven’t necessarily brought the good life any closer by placing happiness as the first thing on the list. if the goal of everything is happiness, if we can be anything we choose to be, but our happiness depends on our making the right choice, well, we’ve only complicated life because there are way too many possibilities that we have to choose from. With so much to choose from, choosing becomes diﬃcult. decision fatigue sets in, and people are left with very little energy for pursuing the important things in life. or they walk away without having made a choice. What we have is a surfeit of possibilities today, but a deficit of commitment. We are more educated today—we have more information, more Jewish education available to us at our fingertips than at any other time in history. and yet that doesn’t necessarily foster commitment.
Speaking of the great variety of choices, it seems to me that Jewish people today can locate themselves in so many diﬀerent places—places that were never on the radar of Jewish identity—and still feel that they are legitimately within the parameters of Judaism. What are the dangers in this kind of fluidity? The phenomenon of divergence from tradition is not new to Judaism. but what’s interesting is the notion that you can take the tradition and not just create an emphasis of your choosing, but feel that you can both break the rules and keep the rules. Choice is an implication—it represents a commitment to a particular pathway. Jews always struggled with tradition, indeed Jews were the first to promulgate new “isms” of every kind. but when someone chose to reject some aspect of Jewish life, they generally did so fully aware of the consequences. There was a time when people often chose to convert out of Judaism—but they made that decision and committed to its consequences. down the line they may have decided that it was worth it, or not, but at least they had some kind of clarity as a result of a choice that they made. Today, there’s a notion that we can choose anything and everything. We want to enjoy the benefit of choice but we are not prepared to make the commitment. We don’t want to shut down any of the possibilities. When elijah stood before the Jews on Har Carmel and asked them, “How long will you jump back and forth?” and believe in both G-d and the baal, he was telling them that what they were doing was worse than choosing the baal. because as long as they hadn’t made a commitment, they could not even see the consequences—they had no insight. as long as you straddle both sides of the fence, there’s no opportunity for epiphany.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 | WWW. LUBAVITCH . COM 5
VIEW You are on the board of your local Jewish federation. You know of course that although proportionally, Jews donate the most dollars to charitable causes, only a tiny percent of their giving goes to Jewish causes. in fact something like a mere six percent of the total dollar figure they give goes to specifically Jewish programs and causes. donations are down in Federations all over. People are much less likely to give to an umbrella organization, instead choosing the boutique needs of the month, and it’s usually not a Jewish need. it is tempting to try to woo these donors back by broadening our mission, by giving to causes that are not necessarily Jewish but which are attractive to potential donors. Yet as one of a small number of exclusively Jewish charities, we must be proud of our commitment to funding Jewish causes, and we must be prepared to speak cogently and convincingly about the importance of Jews supporting these causes. This does not preclude Jews giving directly to humanitarian causes. but when a small town Federation is pulling in fifty or a hundred thousand dollars a year, and Jewish communities that are crying for education, for rejuvenation, for resources to help them inspire their youth in Jewish involvement, why are we afraid to say that we see our first mission as building and forging the Jewish future? Why are we afraid to make this commitment? i’m not arguing against being aware of what’s going on next door. i’m not arguing against supporting your local disaster relief eﬀort. but we need to be willing to make the argument for Jewish living, and to stand up for its inherent value.
how does your Chabad worldview inform the positions you take whether on the board of your federation, or with students on campus where standing up for israel has become so unpopular and politically incorrect? one of the things the rebbe highlighted more than anything is having a global view that engenders feelings of responsibility, connection, commitment to the world at large. being Jewish is not about being partisan and ignoring everyone else. The rebbe gave us a broad vision of life; he was concerned not just with the inclusion of the entire Jewish people, but of our mandate to inspire all people to observe the Noahide laws. He shared with us an image of integration— of all people, all generations— from the beginning of time to the end of time: a responsibility to all existence. He taught us that we are working for something larger than ourselves, larger than community, larger than humanity and the world as we know it. and yet, the rebbe also taught us that that we can only bring this kind of change if we never lose sight of our personal commitment which is made one step at a time. it starts with personal integrity, an inner wholeness, a clarity about our fundamental values. rather than pursuing happiness, we have to know ourselves, make peace with ourselves and pursue integrity. if you love israel, but you love israel’s enemies equally, you don’t really love anyone. People who are ready to help the whole world but don’t have time for their own, for their children, have not figured out their values. and if you don’t know what your first values are, you can’t figure out your basic responsibilities and you’re not going to be there for your family. if you haven’t figured out how to be there to your family, you’re giving is skewed.
You are a mother of a large family. how have these thoughts translated into your own parenting? as parents we are afraid to demand of our children, we are afraid of risking disappointment: theirs and our own. We need to trust in their resilience, in
CHANA SILBERSTEIN BAILA OLIdORT WITH
their ability to figure it out, to do amazing things, though sometimes it takes more than one attempt to succeed. We also need to have to have the confidence in our own parenting to know that we have made mistakes—and we can survive them and our children can survive them. Part of life is dealing with imperfections. if you cushion the surface, a child will never learn to walk, because they have to feel resistance to learn to walk. i waste very little time on guilt over my parenting. if there’s love, caring and investment, then the other stuﬀ works itself out. Part of our children’s lives is working out the challenges of an imperfect childhood, and we must trust that they are up to it. i believe in the value of discipline. i think it proves a greater commitment than love. as parents we are afraid to ask, afraid of being turned down. We are afraid to test the relationship. but if you never expect anything of your children—they’ll never dissapoint you and you’ll never risk seeing them fail. but the point is that it is okay for the to fail, we need to trust that they can pick themselves up and continue. My father died when we were very young, but my mother raised us never to make excuses for ourselves, never to ask for any special accommodation. We were taught there was nothing more demeaning than self-pity, and never to use our circumstances as an excuse for the inability to move forward. and what we learned is that we were capable . . .that we could draw upon our inner strength.
After so many years on campus, you seem to have sustained your enthusiasm for your work with students. it’s always been exciting for me to work with students on campus because they are at the cusp of life. They are passionate and idealistic, so it’s very exciting to engage with them. They have the freedom to explore. They are open to change and have the flexibility to follow through on what they believe in. i often tell them: Think about how you want to make a mark. if you know what your primary values are, then you’ll find a way to bring unity into the diﬀerent parts of your life and weave these strands together. and that is deeply satisfying.
The high holidays are a busy time of year for campus shluchim. What are your thoughts as you prepare to bring the in the new Year? in some ways, it is easier to capture the essence of the season while one is involved in community work. We often summarize the theme of the Jewish High Holidays as one of repentance, soul-searching, self-analysis. and that is certainly a part of it, though i have always felt that when we focus exclusively inward, it can be a somewhat depressing time of year. Too much focus on the self can be isolating, and it can be disheartening to realize how little we have really changed over the past twelve months. but in fact, a major theme of rosh Hashanah is focused outward. it is a time to reflect on the world around us, and to see how it calls to us to respond. according to Jewish tradition, rosh Hashanah coincides with the day that humans were created—the day in which adam and eve looked around them and saw a world with purpose and meaning—and sought a relationship with the Creator. it is not so much that on rosh Hashanah we are granted life as that we choose life. We make the decision to pursue that which is right and good. i am always moved by how we come together on rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as a community. The very fact of our gathering together speaks to strong sense of shared mission. The sound of the shofar is one that cuts to our essence, a pure and simple sound that reminds us that sometimes, doing what we need to do does not have to be complicated.
NEXT FRONTIER IN CHABAD OUTREACH: continued from cover page
Now gaining the attention of many Jewish organizations for their attractive, vibrant profile, young Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s, out of university but not quite settled, have long had to find their footing in communities oriented towards families, university students, or not at all. This past July, the Machne israel development Fund facilitated and sponsored the first conference with a dozen Chabad shluchim, each a leader of a community of young Jewish professionals. Hosted at the oﬃces of roger Hertog, Chairman of the Tikva Fund, the conference was groundbreaking, giving leaders the opportunity to share their best practices, map out priorities and streamline their programs and services towards the development of an interna-
tional program, the Chabad YJi. it also gave them an opportunity to compare notes with Michael steinhardt. Well known for his philanthropy and sponsorship of programs that promote Jewish education, like the popular birthright israel, steinhardt engaged the shluchim over lunch in a lively discussion exploring core values and outreach methods. “What i care about,” he said, “is making [this population] Jewishly educated. We need a common noble vision of what it means to be Jewish.” at the end of two hours, any diﬀerences between steinhardt and the shluchim were eclipsed by their mutual passion for Jewish education, and a set of shared values driving them to engage young Jewish profes-
“ What I care about is making [this population]
Jewishly educated. We need a common noble vision of what it means to be Jewish.”
sionals through suitable opportunities for Jewish education. in Chicago, boston, Miami, dallas, New York, and Montreal—among many other cities,, these shluchim have been working to fill the gap. it is, says rabbi avraham berkowitz of Chabad-lubavitch Headquarters and co-director of the MidF, “the new frontier of Chabad’s outreach.” berkowitz credits its growth to the success of Chabad on campus. “so many young Jews benefited from a Chabad-on-Campus experience and want to follow it up after they graduate.” rabbi Mayshe schwartz who leads the Chabad Chai Center near boston with his wife shifra, says this development is not the result of formal study and strategy. rather, he explains, it emerged as a result of Chabad shluchim being out in the field, and discerning a population that did not have opportunities for engagement with like-minded peers. Chabad Chai Center which is located in brookline, located in Coolidge Corner—a one-stop go-to source for young Jewish professionals, has been sought out by about 2500 such individuals in the greater boston area. “While many Jewish organizations have recently begun to notice and address this gap,” says schwartz, his program, like that of his colleagues, has grown organically. “Chabad shluchim have been dedicating resources and programming to them for almost a decade.” in downtown Miami, rabbi Chaim lipskar focuses much of his eﬀorts on this community. “With the urbanization of
downtown Miami which has attracted thousands of young, unaﬃliated adults, the program has become a main focus of our work,” says lipskar, 29, who together with his wife deenie, counts 4000 young Jewish professionals who’ve connected with them over the last five years. Chabad’s YJi leaders will roll out a number of programs this fall, a result of the summer conference. JMiami, a discrete matchmaking service will also connect with YJi’s matchmaking services s in other cities in the U.s. and Canada. also on the launching pad is a national Chabad YJi website, and a humanitarian food program that will engage the services of young Jewish professionals to help food distribution to shut-ins. rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the Chabad-lubavitch social and educational divisions, met with the young Jewish professional leaders at the conference and expects the program to grow rapidly. “The idea of developing a network within this demographic, nationally and internationally is enormously promising. This is a community that is vital now and to the future of Judaism. as educated professionals, they will have great influence within their respective communities. investing in their Jewish education so that they take ownership of their Jewish identity will make an important diﬀerence to the future of our people.”
On Rosh hashana, a ram’s horn is blown during the prayers, emitting a total of 100 wails. The shofar sounds are like the cry of a child, wordlessly evocative of desire for contact, protection and love. On the day of Judgment, the Jewish people call out to g-d, hoping to elicit his love, protection and forgiveness. The shofar has a bend in it, symbolic of the Jewish people’s preparedness to bend their will to that of g-d. The shofar is narrow at one end and broad at the other. Before the traditional blasts are sounded, the congregation recites Psalms 118: Out of the strait (narrow) I call You, You answered me with (broad) abounding relief.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 | WWW. LUBAVITCH . COM 7 article
BIKE ACROSS AMERICA Bar mitzvah in Natchez 1:15 am
>>We passed through Jackson, mS on our way to Natchez. We hit rough patches on the road and wore out four tires during the forty-mile stretch. In general we've been keeping a tight schedule, but now we were running late for our appointment with the city mayor. >>When we finally arrived, we joined a round-table discussion with the mayor and local members of the press. The conversation turned to the purpose of our trip—Friendship Circle—and its goals: raising awareness for special-needs children. >>During the discussion, the mayor mentioned the local Jewish community and made arrangements for us to meet the owner of Lehman’s Cash & Carry and two other members of the community who would give us a tour of the city’s historic synagogue. mr. Jay Lehman chatted with us for a good while. We asked him about the mayor's reference to the synagogue, an “old temple,” and learned that Jews had been in Natchez since before the Civil War. >>Shortly before sunset, two additional members of the community joined us. We quickly helped them don tefillin –an unusual sight in Natchez! The synagogue, we were told, was built in the early 1900s after the original one had burned down. >>as we posed for a group photo, someone called out in Hebrew,“mah Nishmah? How are you?”
COAST-TO-COAST continued from cover story Perlman came up with the idea of biking across america to benefit Friendship Circle last year while helping at Chabad’s Mayanot Yeshivah in Jerusalem. With his friends shmuel rothstein and dani saul, both 22, the trio spent the year preparing for the summer’s journey. Training in the early morning and evening hours, the men completed their rabbinical studies and received their ordination before strapping on their helmets. Peddling cross country can be daunting even for a fit person. shmuel, concerned “how [his] body would handle the stress,” said that careful planning and team work put them all “in good shape.” The trip took the bike 4 Friendship team along the east coast and across the south. Crossing the southwest was daunting, with recordsetting high temperatures scorching states such as Texas and arizona. but dani said he took a rewarding life lesson from these diﬃcult stretches. “There were days we knew we had only a short amount of time to cover 140 miles in 120 degree weather. it seemed overwhelming,” he recalled. “but by breaking the route into ten mile sections, we managed to surmount the diﬃculties.”
Training in the early morning and evening hours, the men completed their rabbinical studies and received their ordination before strapping on their helmets.
>>Itzik, the father of an Israeli family touring Natchez on their own cross-country trip joined us. We wrapped tefillin with him, and he and his family came along with us on a tour of the synagogue. along the way, one of the men told us it was the first time he’d ever fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillin. We broke into joyous dance. The man’s two sons joined in the dancing, with Itzik accompanying us on the synagogue’s old piano! Who would have thought that after all these years, there’d be a Bar mitzvah celebration in the old synagogue of this city on the mississippi River once again? >>We watched a video about the Natchez Jewish community. During the cotton trade boom, we learned, there was a large Jewish community that contributed significantly to the local economy. But as the cotton industry declined, most of the Jews left. There are now only thirteen members in the Jewish community, the youngest ones in their 60s. >>Like many of our experiences on this coast-to-coast trip, our stopover in Natchez was an illuminating detour that gave us insight to life in the historic South, and the dramatic changes in american Jewish life over the last two centuries.
PM NETANYAHU SALuTeS
CHABAD OF THE FSU
CHABAD IN ISRAEL: MORE REPRESENTATIVES TO LEAD SMALLER COMMUNITIES
habad-lubavitch has long blanketed israel with representatives in major population centers. Now it is allocating more human resources to narrower areas, opening neighborhood Chabad Centers within regions with established, larger
Photo Credit: Meir Alfasi
sraeli Prime Minister benjamin Netanyahu was guest of honor at a Tel aviv banquet in august, celebrating 20 years of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the FsU. addressing the crowd of Chabad emissaries and friends, Netanyahu praised Chabad’s work in the Former soviet Union. “You stand atop of the mountain,” the Prime Minister said poetically. “and the Jewish people gathered at its base salute you. i am the first [to do so.]” Philanthropist lev leviev, President of the Cis Federation of Jewish Communities, also in attendance, was recognized by Netanyahu. “lev has given his all to the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. The Prime Minister enumerated many of Mr. leviev’s philanthropic activities for the benefit of Jewish life in the FsU. even by Western standards, Moscow’s Jewish infrastructure is impressive. in the Marina roscha part of the city, a complex of buildings houses the community's comprehensive social and educational institutions catering to Moscow’s Jewish population. The erosion of Jewish life during communism makes it diﬃcult to know just how large the country's Jewish population is, but according to its Chief rabbi's estimates, there are approximately half a million Jews in this city of 10 million. on average, 1000 Jewish people visit the shaarei Tzedek Chesed Center daily. a magnificent architectural space with stateof-the-art facilities, seniors come here for free medical and dental care, hot meals, recreational activities and educational opportunities. The adjacent Chabad ohr avner school building is designed for maximum natural light with walls of windows. inside, children from pre-school through high school enjoy a lively academic setting where Jewish history is taught alongside russian history, and students participate in a rich oﬀering of extra-curriculars including
You stand atop of the mountain, and the Jewish people gathered at its base salute you. I am the ﬁrst [to do so.]
swimming, drama and choir. Nearby, about 1600 people a day-parents and children, teenagers, singles and seniors--come through the doors of the JCC. Known as the Marina roscha synagogue from Communist times, the sevenstory building, renovated and expanded in 2000, is a vibrant hub of Jewish life. its facilities are in constant, simultaneous use, including the sanctuary, a gym, ampitheater, social halls, classrooms, a computer/internet café and oﬃces. There are 160,000 Jewish members at this JCC, and membership is free. Food is plentiful, with kosher meat and dairy restaurants, and an endless schedule of social events. on any given shabbos, hundreds of Jewish men and women fill the majestic sanctuary. The transformation is reflected in 425 communities in the Former soviet Union. From estonia to Tadjikistan, and in russia, 160 cities from Khabarovsk in the Far east to leningrad in northwest, Chabadlubavitch representatives are hard at work growing a vibrant Jewish reality. at the helm is 46 year old rabbi berel lazar. a Chabad emissary, father of 13, lazar arrived in 1990, during the days of perestroika and glasnost. With his american wife Chanie and a baby in tow, rabbi lazar, an italian native who spoke no russian, embarked on what would prove to be a historic mission with a bold agenda. rabbi lazar was among hundreds of Chabad emissaries from the former soviet Union who filled the exhibition hall of Telaviv’s Ganei Ha’tarucha, in august, where a video of the Prime Minister’s personal visits with the lubavitcher rebbe, rabbi Menachem Mendel schneerson, of blessed memory was shown.
ments and israel. The Chabad position continues to be that the land of israel is one united whole,” said rabbi ender. More worrisome to ender is the state of inter-Jewish relations. anti-religious voices in israel are few but strident, vocal and
“It's a much more logical ratio, and we expect the new representatives to reach an exponentially greater number of people.” ones already in place. rabbi Moni ender, director of media relations for the Chabad of israel says that last year saw the appointment of 69 Chabad representative couples in israel. With smaller areas to focus on, the new representatives can better evaluate and respond to the needs of their respective communities. The trend will continue in the coming year, with more centers saturating smaller populations. “instead of expecting one Chabad representative to reach 40,000 Jews in his city, the new representatives have an area with four to five thousand Jews to reach,” said rabbi ender. “it's a much more logical ratio, and we expect the new representatives to reach an exponentially greater number of people.” in the Kiryat Haim suburb of Haifa, rabbi levi oirechman is one of the newer micro-Chabad representatives. Kiryat Haim had no publicly funded religious schools. “Parents are looking for a warm, Jewish environment for their children,” said rabbi oirechman. This week, Chabad of Kiryat Haim celebrated the opening of a prenursery school for children ages three months to three years old. enrollment is limited by law, and this year's class may not break ten, but rabbi oirechman sees the pre-nursery as the beginning, to grow in time to a kindergarten and beyond. “Why should children have to travel outside Kiryat Haim for a Jewish education? The population is ready for change.” Notwithstanding the United Nations vote regarding recognition of a Palestinian state scheduled for september 20, Chabad is also sending more representatives to Judea and samaria. “We do not diﬀerentiate between settle-
adept at attracting sympathetic media attention. Facing oﬀ against a fellow Jew in open debate would do more harm than good. Chabad would rather overcome opposition by focusing on areas of mutual agreement in Judaism. every Friday night, even before college classes begin in Tel aviv University, rabbi Yeshayahu “shai” Gerlitzsky works on overcoming the divide. The Gerlitzskys' tables are ringed with TaU students willing to sample a taste of shabbat. among them are visiting students from North america who seek out the lively Chabad atmosphere. “at our table, no two minds are the same. The one thing that unites us is that we are all Jewish, and that's what we keep in mind. No matter what our diﬀerences are.”
KOL NIDREI The Yom kippur services begin dramatically with the recitation of the kol nidrei, an Aramaic declaration of a legal formula in which all personal vows that one makes between him/herself and g-d, are retracted.
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Credit: COL Photographer Mendy Hechtman
ISRAEL'S PRESIDENT PERES OPenS SChOOL YeAR AT ChABAd SChOOL “ LIve YOuR LIveS ACCORdIng TO The 10 COMMAndMenTS. LeARn WeLL, fOR STudY IS The keY TO PROgReSS.” — from President Peres’ address to schoolchildren
srael’s President shimon Peres opened the school year in israel with a visit to Chabad’s elementary school in ir Ganim, Jerusalem. accompanying him was Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir barkat. The students, clad in t-shirts sporting their Chabad school logo, received a warm handshake each from Mr. Peres who then led them in line to their seats at the orientation. The President participated in a traditional, first-day-of-school ceremony for first graders. Under the canopy of the talit, he recited the biblical verses of Jacob’s blessing to his grandsons, efraim and Menashe and then oﬀered his own personal advice to the boys and girls of the first grade: “live your lives according to the 10
Commandments. learn well, for study is the key to progress.” Mr. Peres went on to tell them that there is great Torah and knowledge in the world, and that their study must also reflect itself in their behavior. according to the President’s oﬃce, the Chabad ir Ganim school was chosen because of its exemplary achievements. “it is a model school that has succeeded to integrate a highly diverse student body,” reflecting the cross-section of israel’s Jewish population: ethiopian immigrants, FsU immigrants study side by side with israeli children, sefardic and ashkenazic, non-religious and from all streams of religious aﬃliation. it is a school that deserves to stand as a model for other schools to follow, said the President’s oﬃce.
“ We BeLIeve ThAT When
ChILdRen PRAY IT enhAnCeS SeCuRITY, nOT OnLY fOR OuR STudenTS BuT fOR The enTIRe CITY AS WeLL.”
our out of Chabad's 24 preschools in the coastal city of ashkelon, a target of Gaza rocket attacks, remain without secure shelters. The municipality is oﬀering pre-fab concrete shelters at a price of 70,000 shekels a piece, and Chabad is feverishly trying to raise the money. recent escalation of bombing raids have parents worried. Fifteen children were pulled from Chabad's pre-schools and enrolled in public schools as a result. “To see a child's Jewish education ended before it ever began is a sad way to begin the year,” said rabbi Menachem lieberman, director of Chabad in ashkelon. back-to-school jitters of a life-or-death variety were allayed in ashkelon when the local Chabad boys' high school moved into
its new, secure building. The old location had a tin roof which oﬀered no protection from rockets or missiles launched from Gaza. The new multi-storey school is constructed from reinforced concrete. “News of the new building has brought enrollment up by 100 students,” said rabbi lieberman. Chabad of ashkelon's celebration of its new building together with the troubling lack of security for its preschools oﬀers a snapshot of the complex situation faced by many of israel's Chabad representatives. This year, getting ready for the new school year and rosh Hashanah's renewal with a vision of progress, comes with an asterisk. While Chabad of ashkelon is working to obtain the shelters, school bells are ringing in the new school year. From a spiritual perspective, opening Jewish preschools, elementary schools, high schools and vocational programs on time generally contributes to a safe environment, according to rabbi lieberman. “We believe that when children pray it enhances security, not only for our students but for the entire city as well.”
Photo Credit: 4unews.com
COPING WITH UNCERTAINTY, WORkIng fOR unITY, CHABAD IN ISRAEL GREETS THE NEW YEAR
Gaza terrorists launch rockets into Israel
SeAMLeSS TRAnSITIOnS fROM COLLege TO ISRAeL And BACk
MAKES IN-MARRIAGE HAPPEN CHABAD'S EXTENSIVE NETWORK OF PROGRAMS MEANS MORE JEWS MARRY JEWISH
top Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, dancers at Pascale Gozlan's wedding pulsed to a sephardic middle eastern beat. Grooving along with the radiant groom, Tomer Chazan, was rabbi Yossi Witkes, director of israelinks. He held his two-week-old baby daughter in one hand and a skype-enabled videophone in the other. Watching on the other end of the videophone connection was rabbi Yisroel bernath, director of Chabad of NdG and loyola Campus in Montreal. Thousands of miles away, he stayed up to odd hours of the morning to be part of the wedding, vir-
tually, at least. Gozlan's wedding was an emotional passage for the rabbi, “like marrying oﬀ a child of my own.” The two rabbis extended themselves to be part of the celebration because it was through their programs that the bride turned her minimal Jewish cultural identity into a knowledgeable one, a Jew committed to marrying Jewish. The international span of Chabad has made its centers a home base for Jewish travelers of all aﬃliations for decades. Now the menu of programs oﬀered by Chabad has deepened to address the needs of Jewish people throughout the life cycle, particularly at the crossroads of adulthood and marriage, when Jewish continuity hangs in the balance. Chabad's programs carry young adults seamlessly as they transition from young adult to college student to marriage and beyond. The new Mrs. Chazan first encountered Chabad in Montreal's young and trendy NdG neighborhood. Fresh out of college, working in a real estate development company, and searching for more spirituality, she attended classes given by rabbi Yisroel and sara bernath. a dream of going to israel was realized when she joined Chabad
on Campus's israelinks program. at the end of three weeks of intense study, she wanted more. Chabad's Maayanot Women's program fit the bill. she studied there and later met Tomer Chazan, a south african who made aliyah to alon shevut. The Chazans will be living in israel. “Marrying a Jew, marrying an involved Jew, living in israel, if other students on israelinks achieved but one of these three, i would be happy, but Pascale did all three,” said rabbi Witkes. There are about 400 israelinks alumni, a program that started four years ago, and of the 20 that married, he hasn't heard of one intermarriage. Chabad on Campus's executive director rabbi Yossy Gordon says that marrying Jewish is a facet, not a focus of israelinks. “our emphasis is on Jewish growth. israelinks is for students ready to reach for the next level of a healthy, happy Jewish life,” said rabbi Gordon. For some that means keeping kosher. others are ready to keep shabbat, or at least stop checking Facebook on the day of rest. For rabbi bernath, it means marrying Jewish, and several months ago he launched a matchmaking site, JMontreal.com, which counts 120 matches so far. Personalized and more private, JMontreal.com is limited to Montreal residents. More than 1,000 people have signed up, and rabbi bernath estimates that three or four couples are getting close to popping the question. at the University of illinois at UrbanaChampaign, rabbi dovid and Goldie Teitchtel have also spent their summer attending students' weddings. as a result, a new trend is emerging at illini: couples brought together by Chabad programs are returning to campus to round out their degrees or pursue grad and post-grad work. rabbi Teichtel, proud and pleased, acknowledges, “it is a very big responsibility to be there for the couple's emotional needs, diﬀerent from those of the other students on campus.” With three couples on campus, and more to come, the Teichtels are adding classes in Jewish family laws and traditions to the Chabad's schedule. shimon and Gila Zimbovsky are well prepared to teach those classes. shimon, who is back at illini pursuing a Mla in landscape architecture, met the Teichtels six years ago at the Chabad illini table on the quad. in much sunnier Florida, a friend brought Gila, then Caitlin asprinio, to Chabad of West Palm beach. she stayed in touch with the Chabad student Center in boca raton, and spent vacation on a Chabad on Campus snorkel and study. at a regional shabbat weekend for Chabad students in Florida, she signed up for israelinks. shimon signed up for the same trip. The two met, became friends, lost touch and reconnected a few years later when they were studying in israel, he at Tech-
nion, she at University of Haifa. They married in the summer of 2010, spent a year at the rabbinical College of america, and came back to illini this september. While shimon studies, Gila is serving as an associate Chabad representative alongside the Teichtels. looking out across
OuR eMPhASIS IS On JeWISh gROWTh. ISRAeLInkS IS fOR STudenTS ReAdY TO ReACh fOR The nexT LeveL Of A heALThY, hAPPY JeWISh LIfe.
the quad, Gila sees young women just like the student she was a few years ago. “i see how much work there is to be done. it's an honor to give back.”
SUKKAH The makeshift structure of the sukkah, covered with cut greenery, is only used as temporary dwelling. The festival oﬀers a challenge to human dependence on material comfort, and tells us to leave behind our possessions and accumulated wealth, and relocate, if only for a week, to the far simpler, uncluttered, spiritual world of Torah.
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CHABAD OPENS PERMANENT HOME AT WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY W ith one of the highest proportions of Jewish students at any campus, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, finally has its on-site Chabad representatives. rabbi levi and Chanie schectman joined new students this fall as Chabad’s full-time representatives at this New england liberal arts school, where roughly 25-30% of the 2,766 member student body is Jewish. as early as 1979, rabbi Yosef Gopin, today director of Chabad of Greater Hartford, began a weekly Talmud class at Wesleyan. Chabad has since expanded its social and educational oﬀerings. as the number of interested students grew, rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, who ran programing at Wesleyan and serves as executive director of Chabad east of the river in nearby Glastonbury, felt “the time was ripe” for a full-time representative. The schectmans, are excited to tap into the school’s atmosphere of independent study and personal discovery. “during our previous trips to Wesleyan, we were struck by the inquisitive and open nature of the students,” levi says. “We’ve found their desire for personal study and discovery similar to Chabad’s passion
for Jewish study and identity building.” dr. vera schwarcz, the Freeman Professor of east asian studies at Wesleyan, welcomes this development. since coming to Wesleyan in 1975, schwarcz says, the school’s Jewish studies department has grown, but Jewish practice has been less vibrant. “The nature of academia is such that the pursuit of knowledge can be entirely isolated from one’s personal life.” With her own academic work “greatly enriched by living a more observant Jewish and by Chabad teachers whom i have encountered from New York to beijing,” schwarcz says she is grateful for the schectmans move to Middletown to serve Wesleyan’s sizable Jewish community. The new Chabad center received a grant from the rohr Family Foundation in conjunction with Chabad on Campus and rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of lubavitch World Headquarters.
“We’ve found their desire for personal study and discovery similar to Chabad’s passion for Jewish study and identity building.”
HOPE BEHIND THE HEADLINES: brisky, executive director of Chabad of the Conejo said he will be addressing the shake ups – geological, economical and otherwise – from the perspective that “G-d is in control of the bigger picture and our job is to focus on things within our control” such as interpersonal relationships and mitzvah observance. His congregation will strengthen bonds of community as they walk together, a procession of 1,200 worshippers, to perform the Tashlich service on the afternoon of the first day of rosh Hashana. rabbi shraga sherman, director of Chabad of the Main line in lower Merion, Pa, is hoping for sunny skies during his community's Tashlich walk. Hurricane irene's wrath, which wiped out bridges, commuter trains, and power lines in Pennsylvania, exacerbated his community's anxieties, already high due to financial struggles. When he steps up to the lectern on rosh Hashanah before an expected crowd of 200, rabbi sherman will address living with faith. “We need the ability to put our trust in
G-d, so he will give us the strength to carry pre-WWii era. last year, when rabbi Kaon in the face of things we can't control,” plan was appointed chief rabbi of albania by Prime Minister sali berisha and Chief he said. The financial troubles in Greece, on the rabbi of israel shlomo amar, he helped other hand, have been molded by human organize the first minyan there in 70 years. touch. stores are closed, real estate mag- The Torah is the next step in bringing Jewnate have gone belly up, but life continues, ish life back to the country which has had a Jewish presence says rabbi Joel Kafor over 1,300 years. plan, a Chabad albania's forrabbi in Thessatunes are rising on a loniki and chief “We need the ability to tsunami of investrabbi of albania. put our trust in g-d, so he ments, but the lone but Kaplan will not bright spot for be dwelling on will give us the strength Greece over the strategies for cop- to carry on in the face of past year appears to ing with income things we can't control” woes on rosh be upsurge in Hashanah. tourists stretching “Jews need Jutheir vacation daism. There is a great amount of Zionist budget by visiting the isle. Traﬃc in Thespride in Greece, but many Jews were not saloniki's airport grew 23% this June over educated about the basics of prayer, bless- last. Two months ago, PaP corp’s astoria ings, the nature of the Jewish soul.” Hotel in the city opened a full time glatt Within the week, rabbi Kaplan will be kosher kitchen with rabbi Kaplan's assistraveling to Tirana, albania's capital city tance. Mayor Yiannis boutaris has disto dedicate a new Torah, a first since the cussed capitalizing on salonika's rich
Jewish history, whose port was once so dominated by Jews that it closed on the Jewish sabbath, to bring in more visitors. The ripples of economic edginess have reached comparatively prosperous areas like the Flamingo community of Thornhill, ontario, Canada. rabbi Moshe Kaplan, director of Chabad of Flamingo, expects more than 2000 people will attend one of three full services, a youth minyan, and children's programs, not counting the 250 walk-ins during the Kol Nidre or Yizkor services. like his colleagues, rabbi Kaplan will encourage his community to enrich their experience in the year ahead through mitzvah observance. it is, he says, the most reliable scaﬀold to steady people during trying times, whether brought on by paltry bank balances or extreme weather. better yet, it is a perfect way to embark on the promise of a new year of great blessing.
BOOkS In RevIeW
THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY CHUMASH DEVARIM THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY
Brooklyn, NY Kehot Publication society 2011
hen faced with the challenge of translating the bible, perfect intelligibility is a high and worthy goal, but it runs into a challenge. on the one hand, the distinguishing quality of scripture is the holiness of each word, even of each letter. as Jewish law notes, while one cannot fulfill the mitzva of learning Torah if one reads a rabbinic text without understanding, one can indeed fulfill the mitzva that way with the Written Torah, Tanach. as the mystical masters have pointed out, the holiness of scripture permeates even the letters. on the other hand, however, scripture’s holiness is not limited to the letters, but fills other realms as well. Classical understanding speaks of four categories of understanding—the simple, straightforward meaning of the words; the legal and homiletical meanings encoded within the texts; the allusions the texts hint at obliquely, with connotations and other means; and finally, the esoteric meanings uncovered by mystical contemplation and tradition. so how must the translator of scripture proceed? one person who succeeded was onkelos, the author of the aramaic translation of Torah that was accepted by the rabbis as the standard translation. onkelos’ translation is lean and focused, hewing close to the simple meaning of the text. even so, it will often choose a short and clear rabbinic interpretation over a literal translation of the original Hebrew. There are other translation traditions, however, that choose to leave the simple sense much farther behind. in rabbinic times, the Targum Yerushalmi is noticeably longer than the Targum onkelos. and some translations see as their task the incorporation of a vast body of interpretive material that were passed down by the oral tradition and cannot be directly derived
from the words of the text. The Kehot Publication society’s translation of Chumash devarim, the book of deuteronomy, chooses an expansive style of translation. it is explicitly aiming at a certain kind of reader; in the words of the introduction, it “is geared to adult readers who may be well-educated generally but who are newcomers to the traditional study of the Torah.” its goal is to spare such readers the work of understanding how the traditional understandings of the texts (as epitomized in rashi’s classic commentary, at some occasions as seen through the eyes of the lubavitcher rebbe obM, in his famous studies in rashi) are derived. While understanding derivations might be a fine goal of scholarship, the introduction points out that there are already quite a few translations of the shorter sort as well as translations of rashi into english. What Kehot is oﬀering is something new – even as it follows in a long tradition of interpretive translations. although the translation reads as one smoothly flowing text, it does accentuate the words which are direct translations of the Hebrew with bold-face type, so that the reader can have a sense of where the commentary begins. it is a good way to try to pool the advantages of both the easy and accessible reading of an integrated single text along with a commentary’s honesty of stating its own opinion. and this latter is important, for such stellar figures as ramban and ibn ezra, among others, often disagree with rashi, so it is well not to set his opinion, as great as it is, as the only way to understand the text. That is accomplished to some degree by the artful use of diﬀering typefaces. one is free to consider the translation as a coherent view, reading the text through the eyes of rashi and the lubavitcher rebbe. let us take the verse third to the end of
the entire Torah (deut. 34:10). This edition oﬀers a simple translation of the Hebrew in bold-face type: “There never arose another prophet in israel like Moshe whom G-d knew face to face.” as striking as the image is, it is starkly anthropomorphic; to accept it literally would smack of idolatry. This translation incorporates the essence of rashi’s answer to that question by adding, in a regular face: “i.e., allowed to communicate with Him whenever he desired to do so.” rashi’s answer, given here in a plain-spoken summary, decodes the imagery of face-to-face as signifying not G-d having a body but Moshe being constantly in communication. along with the translation/commentary, this edition also provides a digest of Chasidic thought in the texts, both in the form of a running commentary and in the form of an occasional box that will explore a more complex or mystical concept that is relevant to the biblical text at hand. as an example, the Chasidic insight commentary distills a thought of the rebbe’s on smallness and power in a commentary on deut. 7:7 (“G-d did not delight in you and choose you because you are more numerous than any other people, for you are the least of all the peoples.”) The question that this verse can raise is: how can a people who are so small make a significant diﬀerence? The rebbe’s timely and powerful response is paraphrased here beautifully: The decisive answer to this question has been discovered only in modern times. as science has learned how to unleash the power of the atom, the world has learned that size is not always an indication of power, What matters is knowing how to access the energy latent in the smallness; once that knowledge has been discovered, even the smallest particle of matter can release incredible amounts of force. The basic process used to release this force is nuclear fission, in which the atom is broken down into smaller components. as Jews, this teaches us that the key to releasing our latent, infinite potential is by breaking our egos, allowing our inner, divine essence to shine through. each Torah portion is prefaced as well by a concise overview, which serves to make the larger picture clear, and allow what follows to be easily grasped as part of a whole. The occasional maps or charts are
clear and helpful as well. (The chart used on page 35 to elucidate some parallel yet diﬀering ideas embedded in two diﬀerent verses is a fine case in point.) The full Hebrew texts of devarim, onkelos’ aramaic translation and rashi’s commentary make this useful as well for following along in synagogue or for a more advanced student. The appearance of the book is pleasing and inviting. More than just occupying a place on the shelf, this edition aims to be read. it ought to give a wide audience a real sense of how deeply believing Jews have understood the book of deuteronomy throughout the centuries by making that understanding clear, attractive and intuitive. its inclusion of the rebbe’s insights make this concluding volume of the Torah immediately and piercingly relevant to the central issues of our lives.
NEILAH As 25 hourYom kippur fast winds down, the spiritual intensity of the day reaches a high point with the ﬁnal prayer service, the neilah, right before the gates of heaven are said to close. The moment is packed with opportunity, opening access to even the most interior dimensions of the Jewish soul and its bond with the divine. neilah ends with the Shema Yisrael: “hear O Israel, god is our Lord, god is One.”
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A PETITION TO QUEEN WILEHLMINA IGROT KODESH VOLUME 17 (HEBREW ) LETTERS BY SIXTH LUBAVITCH
THE FOUR SPECIES
A Petition to Queen Wilhelmina for Jewish Orphans
The four species taken together on the festival of Sukkot are compared to the major organs of the human body.
Library of Congress. Prints & Photographs Division
Publisher: Kehot Publication society Format: ?, 484pp isbN: ?
THE MYRTLE LEAF is shaped like an eye,
THE ESROG like a heart, both of which, when appropriately employed, enhance our life and our interaction with others and with g-d.
THE WILLOW LEAF
Queen of holland, President falliËres of france
Versailles, June 1912 on March 29, 1948—approximately three years after much of european Jewry was annihilated—rabbi Joseph i. schneersohn, sixth rebbe in the Chabad-lubavitch dynasty, wrote to queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on the matter of Jewish children who were placed in foster homes in Holland during the war. in his letter, now published in a new volume of his correspondences, the rebbe acknowledged with gratitude the humanitarian kindness of the people of the Netherlands in saving “hundreds of Jewish children from the hands of their would-be murderers.” in fact, 4000 children were saved by the dutch. but the rebbe appealed to her with concern for some 350 children who, three years following the end of the war, have not yet “been returned to their people.” He writes: “i am informed that of the Jewish children saved by the merciful dutch people (whom G-d will surely recompense with good) there are many who have not, as yet, been given an opportunity to return to their own people to whom they belong . . . “Thus these children are in danger of being condemned to a fate which is regarded by us as a severance from the source of their souls, that is—spiritual death. “it is inconceivable that the dutch people would wish to have upon its conscience the guilt of denying this elementary humanitarian right to the victims of the war, by withholding from the unfortunate Jewish orphans the opportunity to return to their own people and faith.” The letter, written both in Yiddish and in english (presumably, the english version was the one sent to the queen) is one of the 500-plus letters newly published in volume 17 of igrot Kodesh, letters by the rabbi Joseph i. schneersohn.
Most of the letters in the volume are in Hebrew, and reflect the rebbe’s correspondences during the years 1929-1950 on a wide range of concerns to the Jewish people: the plight of russian Jewry at the time, the rebbe’s move to Poland, his immigration to the Us, his founding of Kfar Chabad, the Chabad village in israel, and his involvement in the growth of various american Jewish communities. The book reflects his contacts with a similarly wide range of individuals in leadership positions, among them Mr. Henry Morgenthau, then Chairman of the UJa, the Minister of Justice in the Hague, the family of israel’s Chief rabbi avraham isaac Kook. readers curious to know how the rebbe’s letter to queen Wilhelmina was handled would have to search the Chabad library archive to find a reply from the Ministry of Justice in the Hague who was instructed by the queen to respond. in a lengthy, three page response, the Minister of Justice argues that “whenever the Commission [for War Foster Children] took a case into consideration religious motives formed a point of extraordinary importance . . .” and that of the 4000 children, only 350 were placed in the guardianship of non-Jews. lost on the Minister of Justice was the rebbe’s concern for the spiritual heritage and continuity that were the right of these children. He wrote, “one can hardly speak of spiritual liberty with children under 6 years of age. The greater majority of the above mentioned 350 minors exists of children who came to their foster parents at the age of not yet 4 years.” on page 400 of igrot Kodesh, a Hebrew version of the rebbe's subsequent reply appears: "i cannot agree that the Commission has fulfilled its duty to protect the spiritual life of these 350 orphans. by virtue of his or her Jewish birthright, every Jew deserves
the chance to be educated as such. a sixyear old may indeed not have the ability to choose, and it is precisely for this reason that no one has the right to impose a change of this nature in the direction of the child's life. born as Jews, these children are now being delivered to a non-Jewish upbringing. This is a grave travesty of justice towards the children, their parents and the Jewish people." The letters in this volume of igrot
“ It is inconceivable that the dutch people would wish to have upon its conscience the guilt of denying this elementary humanitarian right to the victims of the war, by withholding from the unfortunate Jewish orphans the opportunity to return to their own people and faith.”
Kodesh were compiled by Chabad scholar and historian rabbi shalom dovber levine, editor of the voluminous igrot Kodesh series, which contains the letters of the seven Chabad-lubavitch leaders. The 484 page volume, complete with an index of names, places and subjects, is dedicated by prominent philanthropist, Mr. ben Federman. The book is available for purchase at kehotonline.com.
is shaped like a mouth, the organ of speech. This is the tool of Torah, prayer, teaching and words of kindness. THE straight, tall LULAV resembles the spinal column, the organ through which all the brain's impulses are conveyed to the rest of the body. This represents an individual who lives a principled life. Conversely, these organs can be abused. The eye and the heart sometimes unite in a perverted partnership of sin. The eye sees and the heart lusts, leading to unchecked temptations. The mouth may sometimes utter words that cause damage and hurt. Arrogance is the negative side of pride. But when we take the four Species together to fulﬁll the mitzvah of Lulav, we dedicate these organs to their positive and constructive purposes, elevating our existence and rejoicing in Sukkot with heart and limb alike.
OLd duTCh SYnAgOgue OPenS fOR fRIdAY nIghT SeRvICeS:
A FIRST SINCE HOLOCAUST
hough the debate about a bill banning kosher slaughter continues in the dutch parliament, the Jewish community of amsterdam enjoyed a historic experience when the old Gerard dou street synagogue, located in downtown amsterdam, opened for Friday night services this summer for the first time since the Holocaust. Hidden between two row-houses on the narrow street, the synagogue was overlooked by the Nazis, and so it remained intact. after the War, it was the first synagogue in Holland to reopen. shifts in the Jewish population from the synagogue’s home in the de Pijp neighborhood to residential areas in the south of the dutch capital caused the synagogue to fall into disuse. For the past fifty years, it has remained closed during the week, opening
only for shabbat morning and High Holiday services. The location of the Gerard dou street synagogue in the city’s center makes it ideal for the work of Chabad emissaries, rabbi akiva and Taiby Camissar. arriving last fall to serve the dutch capital’s community of 9,000 israeli expats and the estimated 50,000 Jewish tourists that visit the dutch capital each year, the Camissars have seen a steady uptick in their work. during oﬀ-peak season, the young couple host shabbat meals for some 30 guests in their living room. This summer tourist season, numbers swelled to upwards of 70 dinner guests, while monthly programing for israeli women attracted some three dozen participants. With High Holiday services expected to draw a crowd of 300 israelis, the Camissars have been forced to
look for a larger space to accommodate the numbers. When akiva approached rabbi shmuel Katz of the Gerard dou synagogue about renting its event hall, the subject of expanding prayers services was broached. Currently the Camissars only oﬀer shabbat evening services, but in the coming months they expect to conduct weekday services as well. “outside of shabbat services held in the historic spanish-Portuguese synagogue, there is little in the way of kosher and Jewish observance in the city’s center,” Camissar says. “We hope to fill that void.”
UN, SURF AND SHABBOS On SPAIn’S Sun COAST
For the kosher traveler, vacationing often requires careful packing and planning. Outside of well-traveled Jewish destinations, kosher restaurants—prevalent and popular as they are today—are still few and far between. And staples like glatt kosher chicken, meat, and even dairy products (of strict kosher certification standards) are not readily available in local supermarkets. so kosher vacationers to andalusia’s sun coast were thrilled learn that Chabad opened a fully stocked kosher supermarket this summer in Marbella. ideally located in the center of the 83 mile coastal stretch that runs from Malaga to Gibraltar, the supermarket made news in europe’s Jewish communities. a breezy two hour flight from most points in western europe, spain’s southern coast is a popular vacation destination. “every summer we get countless calls from travelers who want to know where they can buy kosher food,” Chana Goldstein, Chabad representative with her husband, Cheski, told lubavitch.com. The steady stream of kosher tourists coming from France, england belgium and beyond, challenged the Goldsteins to step up to the plate and fill it with the variety of kosher ethnic foods to satisfy diverse palates.
“We get people of sephardic/Mediterranean, ashkenzaic european, and american backgrounds, and the Costa del sol Kosher supermarket caters to them all.” so did a Jewish concert sponsored by Chabad that drew 2000 people to a bullring in
“We TRY TO ReACh OuT TO JeWISh PeOPLe In The enTIRe AReA. The kOSheR SuPeRMARkeT—A nOveLTY In ThIS RegIOn, WILL nOW ATTRACT MAnY MORe.”
estepona august. Three pop singers, and the eighth day band, each with their own Jewish influence and appeal, delivered a spirited musical experience in the town bullring— oﬀered by the municipality for the concert. in Marbella for six years, rabbi Goldstein and his wife planned the concert so that Jewish vacationers, backpackers and locals from New York to israel and all points in between, would have an opportunity to pull their energy together in song and celebration during summer’s high season when so many converge upon the area. "We're especially grateful to rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky for his help with this, the new supermarket and during every step of our growth here," says rabbi Goldstein. Things are slower during the winter months, but with a Jewish community of roughly 150 families dispersed along the coast, and some 600 Jews in Gibraltar, the Goldsteins— the only Chabad representatives in all of southern spain—keep busy. Hebrew school, adult education, bar/bat mitzvah services and women’s programs reach Jewish families along the coast and from seville to Granada. “We try to reach out to Jewish people in the entire area,” says rabbi Goldstein. “The kosher supermarket—a novelty in this region, will now attract many more.”
we need a caption here. concert goers enjoy kosher food?
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 | WWW. LUBAVITCH . COM 15
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KEREN HASHANAH was established by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, to enable people to have the mitzvah of giving tzedaka daily. Monies from the Keren Hashana fund are distributed twice daily, before morning and afternoon services, for charitable purposes.
SITE OF HOLY ARK UNCOVERED IN EXCAVATIONS OF GREAT SYNAGOGUE OF VILNIUS
he site of the aron Kodesh, or Holy ark of The Great synagogue of vilnius dating back to the end of the 16th century, was recently uncovered in the excavations of this historically significant synagogue. lithuania’s Prime Minister andrius Kubilius visited the site to view the synagogue’s excavated fragments as 25 Jewish lithuanian students of the local beis Menachem school prayed there. “For us it is very important to bring back an authentic part of lithuanian history which included the history of the Jewish community,” the Prime Minister told lubavitch.com in a phone interview after the modest ceremony. The findings so far, he said, “are important not only for lithuania, but for the global Jewish community. it is a powerful symbol of both a great Jewish heritage, a great tragedy when the entire Jewish community was destroyed, and it is a very powerful symbol for the Jewish future.” also uncovered was a part of the original floor, and the top of one of the four pillars surrounding the bima of the Great synagogue--a magnificent renaissance structure in this once great Jewish center of Torah study, widely known as “Jerusalem of lithuania.” “This is a very emotional discovery for us here and allows us to make a bridge to our authentic past,” emmanuel Zingeris, a Jewish Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Foreign aﬀairs Committee and President of the project to restore the Jewish quarter of the old town of vilnius told lubavitch international. “We now have the precise spot where the holiest part of the synagogue stood, and it is under open sky.” Partly destroyed by the Germans during WWii, and fully demolished by the soviet authorities in 1955-1957, these findings are some of the first after eﬀorts to unearth and restore the synagogue began earlier this summer, under archeologist Zenonas baubonis. Part of the synagogue sits under buildings constructed by the communists--including a large building that is now a kindergarten--and will be diﬃcult to get to, making the discovery of the site of the aron Kodesh unobstructed, precisely matched to drawings and photos of the synagogue’s interior, especially exciting. out of respect for regulations that forbade a synagogue building to stand taller than a church, the synagogue was constructed on a deep foundation with its floor well below street level, to allow for an interior height of five stories. according to legend, the synagogue was of such magnificent architecture, Napoleon is said to have stood at the door of the structure in 1812 in stunned admiration. Chabad-lubavitch representative to lithuania, rabbi sholom ber Krinsky, who led the students in prayer, said: “Holiness transcends time. To pray on this place today 60-70 years after this great shul was destroyed by the soviets, is a triumph for every Jew.” The excavations are part of a broad, government-sponsored eﬀort to restore the old Jewish quarter of vilnius, and include digs to uncover some the eight smaller synagogues in the area.
“for us it is very important to bring back an authentic part of Lithuanian history which included the history of the Jewish community, [the ﬁndings so far] are important not only for Lithuania, but for the global Jewish community. It is a powerful symbol of both a great Jewish heritage, a great tragedy when the entire Jewish community was destroyed, and it is a very powerful symbol for the Jewish future.”
Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius kubilius (left) looks on as a student from Beis Menachem recites a prayer. At the student's left is MP emmanuel Zingeris who inspired the excavation. At his right is Chabad-Lubavitch representative to Lithuania, Rabbi Sholom Ber krinsky