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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Chabad’

Chabad-Lubavitch CTeen Int’l Convention Feb. 27

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

More than 1,500 Jewish teens and 100 Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis who operate teen programs around the world are set to gather in Brooklyn, NY this weekend for the “Cteen International Convention.”

The event is intended to honor teens who have made a significant difference in the local communities through the group’s humanitarian and social service projects.

Teens are expected to arrive from as far away as Brazil, Hong Kong, France, England, Australia, Israel, Canada, Germany and Singapore as well as local teens from the U.S.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recorded a video message to address the teens. Two large screens in the Big Apple’s iconic Times Square will be playing Cteen-related footage on Saturday night, Feb. 28, Chabad officials said.

36 Bereaved Girls Treated to Bat Mitzvah Celebration in Jerusalem

Friday, February 13th, 2015

The Jewish welfare organization Colel Chabad this week hosted a Bat Mitzvah celebration  in Jerusalem for 36 girls who have lost a parent.

Most of the parents died from illness or terror attacks, and one Bat Mitzvah girl’s father was the first Israel Defense Forces casualty during last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas.

“Family milestones can be much more stressful and difficult, both financially and emotionally, without a parent,” said Rabbi Amram Blau, director of Colel Chabad’s bar and bat mitzvah program for bereaved youths, known as Chesed Menachem Mendel. “It’s heartwarming to see the joy on the faces of these young women and their families in reaching this momentous occasion.”

“The world gains strength from you young women,” said Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, a popular Torah scholar who spoke at the bat mitzvah event.

“When we see your beautiful smiling faces, glowing from this special celebration, and we know all the hardships you have been through, we can’t help but feel that we must smile and be happy as well,” she added.

 

Jews Struggling to Survive as Fighting Intensifies in Eastern Ukraine

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

In eastern Ukraine, Jews are scrambling to survive as fighting intensifies between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukraine army.

At least nine people were killed this morning (Jan. 22) when a civilian bus was shelled in the city of Donetsk, capital of the province bearing the same name. The Ukraine defense ministry told the BBC that its troops have retreated from the main terminal of Donetsk airport, which is not in use. The facility still has symbolic value for both sides, however, and the army’s loss of the terminal is a major victory for the rebels.

More than 4,800 have died and some 1.2 million are homeless since the rebels seized control last April over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The move followed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March, a peninsula which belonged to Ukraine.

In the Lugansk (also called “Luhansk”) Jewish community, things have remained relatively quiet, according to local Jewish sources who asked for anonymity. But one can hear the sounds of war not far away, and a family can lose all its food if the house is left alone for more than a day.

Hungry neighbors feel no shame in foraging for anything they can find – anywhere – even in the homes of others.

Trains no longer go into Lugansk, a community member explains, and “the connection with Ukraine is growing dimmer by the day.”

For the Jews in the city, a major lifeline of support has been thrown by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. The organization funds Chabad-run refugee camps in the region, and sends thousands of care packages to needy Jewish families in the battered Donbass region. Likewise, Ohr Avner and the Rohr Family Foundation have been continued pillars of support essential to helping the Jews of eastern Ukraine survive.

Some Jews from the region have managed to reach Israel via aliyah already, but many still remain in Ukraine. Those who have chosen to escape the horror — even if it means moving to a strange new land and learning a new language — at least have a familiar face to greet them: exiled Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Lugansk, Rabbi Sholom Gopin and his wife Chana are in Israel too.

The Gopins were forced to move temporarily to Kfar Chabad due to the intense fighting in the region. Gopin told Chabad.org recently that he makes the three and a half hour flight back and forth to Ukraine often in order to visit community members and ensure that help gets through to those still living in Lugansk.

In Donetsk, not so far from Lugansk, the Jewish community is also struggling but has seen more violence. Last September, just before Rosh HaShanah, the community lost one of its prominent members to rebel banditry.

Garik Zylberbord, 47, was shot to death while trying to stop pro-Russian rebels from robbing his neighbor’s home. Zylberbord was a community leader and a long-time friend of the exiled chief rabbi and co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Donetsk, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski.

Having made plans to meet the rabbi in a few days in Kiev where Vishedski had been forced to flee with his family just two weeks prior, Zylberbord appeared earlier than planned, the rabbi noted sorrowfully: to attend his own funeral.

Vishedski and his wife Dina have set up a Donetsk Jewish community office in Kiev to help the lost and struggling Jews of his city who found refuge there and in other parts of Ukraine. “Calls start at the crack of dawn and don’t stop the entire day,” said Vishedski, “not only from poor families but now also from regular, middle-class people who also have no money or food right now.”

Kfar Chabad Rabbi Ashkenazi Buried in Tiberias

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, the rabbi of Kfar Chabad in Israel, was buried in Tiberias on Thursday, two days after he died on his way to the city to visit a cemetery.

He was 71.

Rabbi Ashkenazi was driving on Tuesday to his father’s grave for his yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death, when he felt ill and pulled his car to the side of the road.

He died shortly after being rush to Tel HaShomer hospital in Tel Aviv.

Thousands of people, including the chief rabbis of Israel, walked in the funeral procession at Kfar Chabad before Rabi Ashkenazi was buried in Tiberias.

Chabad-Lubavitch Vows ‘Vibrant Jewish Life’ to Continue in Paris

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Chabad-Lubavitch Chairman of Educational and Social Services Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky said Sunday that it is with “profound outrage that we mourn all those murdered last week at the hands of terrorists in Paris last week, including four Jews at a kosher supermarket. Seized Friday afternoon as shoppers were preparing for Shabbat, the terror at the store leaves a Jewish community feeling vulnerable.

“With the largest Jewish population in the European Union, the safety of France’s Jews is of deep concern to us,” Krinsky continued. “Chabad-Lubavitch represents hundreds of thousands of Jews in France. In Paris alone, with some 35 Chabad centers, including schools, shuls, and yeshivas, our representatives serve Jews in every district of the city. Indeed, two of the murdered, Yoav Hattab and Phillipe Braham, had close affiliations with our institutions.”

Last Friday for the first time ever, following the attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery in Paris, Jews in the city’s La Marais neighborhood were advised by the rabbinical council to stay home from synagogue and remain safe, noting the city was “still on edge.”  Likewise, stores were shut down in the neighborhood to further discourage people from stepping out into the danger zone.

Krinsky maintained one should not have to sacrifice security for Jewish quality of life in France.

“Chabad representatives have, and will continue to further enhance security measures to protect the men, women and children who come to study, to pray, and to socialize at the city’s Chabad Houses. But they will not shut down the vibrant Jewish life that they have nurtured in Paris, and that its Jews have now enjoyed for many decades.

“Prime Minister Valls was right in acknowledging that France will be judged a failure if its Jews are forced to flee. We urge Paris’s city authorities and the French government to take decisive steps to ensure the safety and security of France’s Jews and of all its citizens.

“On behalf of Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide, our condolences to all the survivors and families of the victims,” Krinsky added. “May G-d comfort them among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Argentina’s President Adopts Jewish Godson

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son.

She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family.

He was adopted as a godson under a law passed in the 1920s in order to counteract a legend that the seventh son, born after six boys without any girls in between, becomes a werewolf whose bite can turn others into a werewolf.

The belief in the legend was so widespread that families were abandoning, giving up for adoption and even killing their own sons.

The law only applied to the biological children of Catholic families until the enacting of a presidential decree in 2009, which allows children from other religions to qualify.

The boys receive presidential protection, a gold medal and a scholarship for all studies until his 21st birthday.

Shlomo and Nehama Tawil, parents of seven boys, wrote a letter to the president in 1993 asking for the honor and were denied. But this year Yair wrote a letter to the president citing the 2009 decree and asking for the designation of godson.

Shlomo Tawil is the director of the Chabad House in Rosario, located in central Argentina

Yair Tawil on Tuesday became the first Jewish godson of a president in Argentina’s history. Fernandez received Yair, his parents and three of his brothers in her office, where they lit Hanukkah candles together on a menorah from Israel presented to the president by the Tawil family.

The president in her tweets and photos described to her 3.4 million Twitter followers the “magical moment” with a “marvelous family.” She described Yair as “a total sweetie,” and his mother a “Queen Esther.”

She tweeted that the Tawils “are a very special family. They have a sort of peace, happiness and a lot of love that is not common.” The tweet included a link to the presidential blog, which includes more photos from the meeting.

 

Giant Chabad Menorah Lit Without Ceremony in Martin Place, Sydney

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In Sydney, Australia, a public Hanukkah menorah still stands tall in the very same place it has stood in Martin Place for the last 30 years.

The 10 meter high menorah was not the center of festivities this year, however: instead, a message was prominently displayed for the public to read.

“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the Lights of the Festival of Chanukah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

The decision to cancel the annual Lighting Ceremony of the Hanukkah Menorah in Martin Place, scheduled for Thursday Dec. 18, the third night of the holiday, was made “after lengthy discussions and consultation with the authorities and communal leaders,” explained Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad NSW and coordinator of the annual “Chanukah in the City” celebration.

“While the event was canceled, the presence of the Giant Menorah sends a powerful message that light will always overcome darkness,” Levy said.

“As we mourn the loss of life and the atrocity that has taken place, people of goodwill will continue to shine the light of freedom and communal harmony, which is what the Chanukah Menorah is all about,” he added.

According to Chabad officials at the movement’s World Lubavitch Headquarters at “770” Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, the Martin Place Giant Menorah was indeed lit and cast its Light upon the area as it does each year. However, in deference to the memory of the victims, no public ceremony was held to mark the occasion.

The manager of the Lindt cafe and a local barrister were killed last Tuesday after being held hostage together with at least 15 others by a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis. The victims were shot as special agents stormed the cafe in an attempt to free the hostages. The self-styled Iranian cleric had forced his captives to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada — the Islamic creed, written in Arabic — in the window, for hours.

An earlier article about the Menorah contained an error about the lighting ceremony due to a misunderstanding which has since been clarified.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/giant-chabad-menorah-lit-without-ceremony-in-martin-place-sydney/2014/12/22/

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