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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Chabad’

Sydney Chabad Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Canceled ‘Out of Respect’

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The public Hanukkah candle lighting at Sydney’s Martin Place was canceled for the first time in 30 years following the terror attack that killed two Australians.

Chabad, which has erected a giant 33-foot Hanukkah menorah in downtown Sydney for the past three decades, issued a statement Thursday, saying: “Due to the very recent terror attack in Martin Place and with sensitivity towards the families of the victims of terror, the Hanukkah commemoration scheduled for this evening has regrettably been canceled.”

“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the lights of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation,” the statement concluded.

The giant menorah was scheduled to be erected Monday night, but the 16-hour siege inside Lindt chocolate café, just yards away from where the menorah is normally erected, was still underway.

Two hostages, café manager Tori Johnson, 34, and barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, were killed around 2 a.m. Tuesday when special agents stormed the café and killed the lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Iranian cleric who had forced hostages to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada – the testament of the Islamic creed – in the window.

Instead of the public candle lighting, Johnson’s father Ken was greeted Thursday afternoon at the memorial site – a sea of tens of thousands of bouquets of flowers – by multi-faith leaders, including Levi Wolff and Zalman Kastel, both Chabad rabbis.

“We have people from all faiths coming together to show that we are a very strong united people and a strong country,” Rabbi Wolff said. “A small, little bit of light distills a tremendous amount of darkness.”

Rabbi Elimelech Levy, from Chabad Youth of New South Wales, told Haaretz earlier this week, “We haven’t cancelled it [and] we are waiting to hear back from authorities. We’d like it to go ahead, and to pay tribute to the victims of terror.”

And what about Christmas?

Sydney is toning down the public festivities for the holiday but not banning the lighting of trees. The usual colorful decorations and pictures of Santa will not be displayed, the London Telegraph reported, but two Christmas trees will be put up at the central train station.

Rabbi Levy said concerning the ban on the public lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, “If we cancel the event we are giving terrorist exactly what they want. We want to do it compassionately for the victims.”

The Chabad.org website wrote that after the siege of the Lindt coffee shop, the local Chabad rabbi placed a plaque affixed to the menorah that stated, “The Jewish Community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the light of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

A little bit of darkness dims the light.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sydney authorities ordered that the menorah not be lit.

Joe Biden to Light ‘National Menorah’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden will assist in the lighting this year of the Hanukkah menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House.

Biden’s participation on Dec. 16, the first night of the holiday, marks the 35th anniversary of the first lighting of the “National Menorah,” an event sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch, the Washington office of the Chabad movement.

It has become a tradition for Cabinet-level officials to assist in the lighting.

‘770’ Stabber Kept Saying ‘Kill the Jews’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The stabbing of 22-year-old Israeli rabbinical student Levi Yitzchok Rosenblat at 1:37 am Tuesday morning in the synagogue at Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters was a hate crime, and not a random attack, according to Chabad officials, but nevertheless, leaders urged the community to remain “calm” and “keep the peace.”

The stabber, 50-year-old Calvin Peters attacked Rosenblat, a resident of Beitar Illit, in the downstairs sanctuary of the Chassidic movement’s world-famous building “770” Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Officers in a mobile police base directly across the street from “770” saw the attack unfold on the security screens in front of their eyes before racing to stop the bloodshed.

A spokesperson for Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters told JewishPress.com Tuesday night the young Israeli rabbinical student was studying in the synagogue when the attacker approached him and stabbed him.

“According to witnesses he was heard saying repeatedly “Kill the Jews,” said Rabbi Motti Seligson, a spokesperson for Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters. “Several other individuals immediately intervened.”

By then, Rosenblat was in critical condition from multiple stab wounds. His condition has since stabilized and he is currently hospitalized at Bellevue Medical Center in Manhattan, where he is listed in serious but stable condition. During the day he underwent emergency surgery at the hospital.

A team of police converged on the perpetrator and ordered him to drop the weapon. Initially the attacker did, in fact, drop the knife, but within seconds he retrieved it and continued moving towards the officers with the weapon in his hand. When  after 12 requests to drop the weapon Peters tried to charge the officers, escalating the danger, an officer drew and fired one shot from his own weapon to neutralize that threat. Peters later died of his wounds at Kings County Hospital.

“While we are very pained by everything that has unfolded, we are very grateful to the police for their quick response and are working closely with the authorities in their ongoing investigation,” Seligson said. “We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action, if not for their intervention the outcome could have been, G-d forbid far worse. We continue to pray for the young man who is in stable condition,” he added.

New York City activists and politicians called for unity and calm at a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon, where they joined in commending the responding police officers for their restraint in handling the attack. Jewish Community Relations Council leader Michael Miller noted that a synagogue “should remain a safe place.” Another Jewish leader commented that the attack on a worshiper in a Jewish house of prayer echoed the recent terrorist massacre that took place at a well-known synagogue during morning prayers in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Other leaders expressed concerns the incident would trigger racial tensions and urged residents to “keep the peace.”

The news conference, organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, was held just a few steps from where the attack took place. Politicians and activists of all races, including city public advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Laurie Cumbo and city council member Mark Levine underscored their approval of the police officers who had only opened fire when no other choice was left. Running footage from a 24-hour security camera monitored constantly clearly substantiated police accounts of the encounter.

A reader on the Crown Heights.info website commented on the officer who shot the stabber: “In this political climate, a lot was on this policeman’s shoulders – more than just the incident in front of him, but the very real worry about sparking a race riot, justified or not!… I phoned the non-emergency number of the 71st precinct and I thanked them for handling things the way they did. And I told them to keep up the good work. And I’m proud that I did! I think everyone should phone the police department and thank them when they do a good job.”

Dramatic Video of Police Killing Knife-Wielding Man at 770 [video]

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Crown Heights Info website has released a dramatic video showing the entire attempted murder of Jews at the Chabad 770 Torah study hall in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday and a policeman’s neutralizing the man with a single bullet.

Footage shows the man standing in the Beit Midrash study hall with a knife. A policeman pulled out a gun and said, “Hands up.”

The man raised his hands but as soon as the police officer returned the gun to his holster, the man moved menacingly towards the police officer and then started running through the Torah study hall, yelling, “I want to kill a Jew” while policemen tried to trap him until a gunshot ended the chase.

The victim suffered serious wounds but his condition is not life-threatening. The attacker died in the hospital from his bullet wound.

Update 9:52 AM: Chabad 770 Stabbing Attack Victim in Serious Condition [video]

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

A man armed with a knife seriously wounded a yeshiva student at the Chabad “770” headquarters in Brooklyn around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning (EDT).

The attack occurred in the study hall, where security cameras transmitted the attack on line to police, who immediately arrived.

They ordered the attacker to drop his knife and then shot him in the stomach when he refused.
The knife-wielding man described as a black man, lost consciousness.

The victim was stabbed in the head, neck and abdomen. Prayers for his recovery should be made for Levi Yitzchak ben Raizel, reportedly an Israeli from Beitar Illit in western Gush Etzion.

Details to follow.

And the Only US State Without a Chabad Is…

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

by Gabrielle Birkner / JTA.org

Some 4,200 Chabad rabbis from more than 80 countries are gathering this weekend in New York for the annual conference of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.

In the year since they all last got together to attend workshops, listen to keynote lectures from the likes of former Sen. Joseph Lieberman and pose for their “class picture” — a “Where’s Waldo of rabbis,” according to a Chabad release — the Jewish outreach organization they represent has put down roots in five new countries and one new state, Mississippi.

That brings the number of American states with a permanent Chabad presence to 49.

Which had JTA staffers wondering: Which state is the holdout?

West Virginia? Chabad opened in Morgantown back in 2007

Idaho? They’ve been in Boise for more than a decade.

Montana? Wyoming? Alaska? None of the above.

North Dakota? Well, now you’re getting warmer (or, really, colder).

It’s South Dakota.

So why is the home of Mount Rushmore the sole Chabad-less state in America? Simply put: math. One of the least populous states in the nation — some 844,000 people live there — South Dakota has just 345 Jews, according to the 2013 edition of the American Jewish Yearbook.

Time was, there were more Jews in the state — somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,750 at the turn of the 20th century. Many of them had come to make their fortunes amid the Black Hills Gold Rush of the 1870s. And those who stayed on built the kinds of Jewish institutions that made the Great Plains feel like home.

South Dakota, to this day, is home to three historic Jewish congregations.

Synagogue of the Hills in Rapid City, near the “Old West” town of Deadwood, traces its roots back to the gold rush era, though it was established at its current location in 1957. Some 350 miles to the east, in Sioux Falls, is Mount Zion Congregation, founded as a cemetery society in 1903 and as a synagogue 16 years later. Both Synagogue of the Hills and Mount Zion are Reform, with services led by rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.

B’nai Issac in Aberdeen, the state’s sole Conservative synagogue, is closing in on its centennial, said Bea Premack, 81, a longtime congregant. Premack’s husband, Herschel, an 87-year-old South Dakota native, leads Friday night services every week they are in town.

“We rarely have a minyan, but once in while we have a minyan — especially if there are guests in town” said Bea Premack.

B’nai Issac also hosts a weekly Torah study group, which draws several of the congregation’s 12 members as well as some non-Jews in the area. In addition, the Aberdeen Jewish community has also played host in recent years to a group of cyclists who participate in the cross-country bike ride organized by the Jewish environmental group Hazon.

It’s been decades since any of these three South Dakota congregations have been large enough to support a full-time rabbi. Already, by the early 1980s, the state’s lone rabbi made his living selling light bulbs, according to an Associated Press report.

There’s also a tiny Hillel at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., and it draws a mix of Jews and Messianics, as reported earlier this year in New Voices and the Forward. Messianic Jews identify as Jewish and engage in Jewish ritual, but because they accept Jesus as the Messiah, they are not considered Jewish by mainstream denominations.

And just because South Dakota is the only American state without a permanent Chabad emissary doesn’t mean that the Brooklyn-based Hasidic movement doesn’t serve the state. Rabbi Yonah Grossman, Chabad’s Fargo, N.D.- based emissary, visits the state on occasion. So, too, does Chabad’s “Roving Rabbis” corps, which makes periodic trips to South Dakota.

When Rechavam Ze’evi Met the Rebbe

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Friday, the 30th of Tishrei is the Yartzheit of Rechavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi who was murdered by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem.

Ze’evi was an IDF general and a minister in the Israeli government, and who had tremendous love for the Land of Israel.

In this video, Ze’evi visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe and asked him for advice on what more and what else he could do to protect Eretz Yisrael.

The Rebbe advised him to help spread Torah in Israel, and to uncover the Torah that already exists in each one of us, especially to the children. He advised Ze’evi that not only the land of Eretz Yisrael, but also the Torah of Eretz Yisrael should be as natural for us as breathing air.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/video-picks/when-rechavam-zeevi-met-the-rebbe/2014/10/23/

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