web analytics
May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Chabad House’

Chabad Prepares for Nepal’s New Nightmare – Monsoon Season

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Volunteers at Chabad of Nepal are working nearly around the clock as the dark clouds of the approaching monsoon season gather in the skies above Nepal.

Co-directors Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz and his wife Chani are working together with the volunteers to supply thousands of Nepalese with sturdy tents to shelter them from the coming storm.

“Just thinking of what the impending rains will do to those living in makeshift tents makes your heart tremble,” Chani Lifshiftz told Chabad.org on Sunday.

To make their lives easier, she and the volunteers, including many Israelis, are distributing water, food, medicine, warm clothing and waterproof tents throughout the area around the Chabad House in Kathmandu.

Monsoon season, which begins in June and runs through September, is likely to make life even worse for victims of last month’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

As for those who did not survive the earthquake, Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz and British volunteer Yehuda Rose are still working with foreign embassies and families of the missing to identify and honorably transport home those who are Jews.

Last Wednesday German rescue teams and diplomats helped recover and return the remains of two Jewish German nationals to ensure a proper burial.

But as many as 170 Western citizens – among them a number of Jews – are still missing.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ilan Shohat traveled to Nepal from the Israeli city of Tzefat (Safed) on a fact-finding mission. Shohat spent time at the Kathmandu Chabad House and participated in a Lag B’Omer celebration. He also saw first-hand the growing need for humanitarian aid.

For those readers who wish to help with the earthquake relief effort, Chabad of Nepal has opened a special fund for the purchase of tents and other desperately needed supplies. Click here.

Hana Levi Julian

Child Labor

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

No, these aren’t illegal child laborers making Matzah in some underground sweatshop. It’s a bunch of kids making Matzah in an underground Chabad House in Efrat.

Photo of the Day

Israeli Sherpa ‘Pony Express’ Saved Hundreds in Nepal Blizzard

Monday, October 20th, 2014

It was the next best thing to the Pony Express, and an outright miracle that appeared out of nowhere. Last week four Israelis died and at least a dozen others were injured; but at least 250 Israelis were saved and hundreds of others as well, because a group was resourceful.

Seizing a ‘window of opportunity’ when it came galloping by, a group of Israelis huddled in a tiny wooden shack – a tea house in the mountain pass of Thorong La — over writing a call for help in Hebrew as a Himalayan blizzard raged outside.

“There are Israelis trapped in the tea shop at the pass,” wrote Rotem Snir. “Lives are in danger. Help us. Thank you.”

A Nepali porter took their note and rode out on horseback into the storm, hoping to reach the camp they described passing on their way up the mountain. They themselves were stuck at 18,000 feet above sea level, and for the remainder of the storm would remain there – a decision that saved their lives.

The porter, meanwhile, found three Israeli hikers and delivered the note.

Upon reading it, they immediately contacted the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu.

The local Chabad House was transformed into a command center. The Kathmandu Chabad House sees hundreds – make that thousands – of Israeli backpackers every year; it’s the traditional pit stop on the way up or down the Himalayas. It’s also the venue for the biggest seder in the world – at the top of the world – one where the supplies literally have to be brought in on horseback.

Rabbi Yechezkel Lifshiftz, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Kathmandu and head of the Chabad House, responded to the flood of emails from worried parents and constantly updated a Google spreadsheet with data on Israelis who were out in the storm.

Israeli volunteers helped work the phones and exchange information with the Israeli Embassy.

More than 400 Israelis were on the “watch and pray” list, coded by trekking agency.

By Monday, search teams were wrapping up operations, and at the Kathmandu Chabad House, an Israeli psychotherapist was scheduled to lead a group session. The bulletin board showed that medical care was available from Israeli doctors.

Those who stayed in the teahouse discovered how miraculous it was that they had managed to reach shelter when they did.

One of the group, Jacob Megreli, 24, told the Wall Street Journal that he and another man rescued an Israeli buried in snow that rose higher than his head. Only the tips of his upraised hands showed above the sparkling white trail, tipping off the searchers. After that, he told the New York-based newspaper, his group found at least one body every 20 minutes along the trail.

Of the hundreds who made it to safety that Monday in the storm, 200 to 250 were Israelis, according to embassy figures. Hundreds more were from other nations. Nepali villagers, mountain guides and helicopter pilots worked tirelessly to rescue whoever they could.

By Wednesday, when the storm cleared out, 33 people had lost their lives, according to Nepal’s Home Ministry. Four were Israeli.

Had it not been for the miracle of a tiny wooden teahouse, a piece of notebook paper and a Sherpa pony express, who knows how many more …

Hana Levi Julian

I know My Son in Nepal is OK because VISA Israel Told Me So

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

The VISA credit card company in Israel last week noted that one of its clients withdrew cash from Nepal after the disaster that killed several Israeli trekkers and called the hiker’s father to tell him his son was safe.

The father in this case is yours truly. The trekker is one of our sons, whose trip to India and Nepal was delayed for a week because he was busy shooting at terrorists from his tank as a reserve soldier serving in the Protective Edge campaign against Hamas.

Our son called on the morning before Yom Kippur to say he was leaving India after the fast and traveling to Nepal.

He routinely calls just before Shabbat or a holiday from a Chabad House, where there usually is mobile phone reception and where he joins hordes of other Israelis for Shabbat.

I was writing and listening to the radio last Wednesday morning, several hours before the Shemini AtZereth-Simchat Torah holiday began in Israel, when I heard on the radio that three one or more Israeli reportedly were killed in an avalanche in Nepal.

My first thought was that our son was okay. I don’t know why but I was not too worried. Just to be even calmer, I called my contacts at the Foreign Ministry.

The ministry knew no more than I knew – unconfirmed reports from foreign news agencies, and we agreed to update each other as we gathered information.

Within a minute, our son called from Nepal to wish us Chag Samayach – a happy holiday.

He did not mention the avalanche, but as soon as I asked him about it, he revealed that he was near the area and that there were missing Israelis who went on a hike out of the tourist agency with which he also is registered .

Our son reassured me that although he was “close but far” from the disaster, explaining that he was at a low level in the Himalayas while the trekkers caught in the landslide were much higher.

After trading information with the Foreign Ministry, which was happy to hear our son was safe, I went back to writing about the tragedy, the ISIS and whatever other horrid news there was.

The phone rang again, and after I picked it up and said “Shalom,” the voice on the other stated, “Are you Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, father of “E—“?

“Nu?” I asked.

“I am calling from VISA,” he said, “and I just wanted to let you know, in case “E’’’ has not been in contact with you, that we know he is safe because we noticed he withdrew money from Nepal today.”

I was overwhelmed.

Can you imagine an American credit card company calling Joe Blow’s father in East Podunk to tell him not to worry about the Blow family’s son because it knew he withdrew some money from his credit card, so everything must be all right?

I asked the VISA representative, “Who decided to call me?”

He answered that it was a management decision when an inspection of withdrawals revealed that one of their clients withdrew money from Nepal two days after the tragedy, when the names of missing and dead Israeli trekkers still were not known.

I and hundreds of thousands of other Israelis routinely damn the credit companies for being legal “thieves,” renewing credit cards that require monthly payment but without informing the client after a year of free service, or for providing misleading information on conditions for using a credit card, or simply sending a credit card in the mail.

That is what happened last week when my wife received a credit card without asking for it. It was another gimmick to tempt people into making unnecessary purchases.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

FM Spokesperson Yigal Palmor Resigning, Joins Senior Staff Flight

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

According to a report published Tuesday in the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, veteran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor plans to resign in the near future.

If the report is true, Palmor’s resignation will be the latest in a series of flights by seasoned professionals from the office that is the face of the State of Israel, representing this country to the world. Palmor, 53, speaks numerous languages and has worked at the ministry for 28 years, serving as a deputy spokesperson since the mid-1990s and as official spokesperson since 2008.

Among the others who left over the past several years are: Lior Weintraub, chief of staff at the Washington bureau; Yaki Dayan, head of the Los Angeles office; Ran Curiel, vice-director at the European office; Ilan Maor, Israel’s envoy to Shanghai; and Amos Nidai, former ambassador to Beijing. Each allegedly left “for his own reasons,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

But it is no secret that relations between ministry employees and “upper management” have been strained at best. Over the past year they carried out a worldwide strike – an unheard-of move by envoys and people at the foreign ministry – due to a long-unresolved contract dispute with the Finance Ministry over wages and benefits.

Palmor was left to explain that to the media, including having to face the unenviable task of dealing with the fallout over holiday supplies not reaching the famed Nepal Chabad House in time for its annual Passover Seder in the Himalayas due to the strike.

Further complicating the picture are the reduced numbers in the ministry’s lower echelons due to the wage and benefits dispute, which has meant there are fewer younger officials to rely upon.

There is also a great deal of confusion about exactly who represents this country to the world. The establishment in 2006 of the prime minister’s National Information Directorate alienated many at the foreign ministry; at that time, the ministry already was contending with the issue of its releases simultaneously arriving in editors’ boxes with those of the Government Press Office, those of the IDF, the Defense Ministry, and those of the Prime Minister’s Office – not to mention releases from the spokespersons of individual politicians and members of Knesset.

It has never been clear to most journalists exactly who, precisely, represents the views of the State of Israel as a specific, sole entity. If as a journalist one calls the prime minister’s office to ask that question, the answer often depends upon the question itself – “exactly what is this about?”

One cannot ever get a straight answer to a straight question in the State of Israel, as a journalist – and this may be the greatest problem for this country’s public relations, if not perhaps the impetus behind the exodus of the foreign ministry’s senior staff.

Hana Levi Julian

Hundreds at Bangkok Chabad Passover Seder

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

More than 400 people sang their way through the Haggadah on the first night of Passover at the first seder held this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

Dozens of children ascended special stage set up in the hall where the seder was held in order to sing the traditional “Ma Nishtana” – the Four Questions that launch the story explaining the reason for the celebration of Passover.

For those with slim budgets, the Chabad of Bangkok website stated clearly that everyone was welcome regardless of ability to pay. “Please contact the Rabbi in confidence if the charge is beyond your means,” the statement on Chabad’s “JewishThailand.com” site advised. “‘All who are hungry may come and eat’ is the theme of Passover and it will be our pleasure to host you regardless of financial ability.”

A seder for the second night was made available with the Kantor Family according to the announcement, sponsored by the Jewish Association of Thailand. “No charge but please RSVP,” the notice read.

Hebrew-language Passover seders were conducted in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Phuket.

Hana Levi Julian

Indian Jewish Owned Businesses Warned to Tighten Security

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Amid a terror threat, Jewish establishments in India have been instructed by police to tighten security in and around their businesses.

The call came following the interrogation of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal by the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi, as well as in the wake of the Islamist attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to New Delhi Television (NDTV), Bhatkal told investigators that Jewish establishments in Mumbai have been surveyed by Indian Mujahideen members for possible terrorist strikes. The Islamist militant group reportedly was trying to seize Jewish hostages to trade them for terrorists, the Hindustan Times reported.

Indian police called on Jewish establishments to hire security guards, install security cameras and issue ID cards for admittance to the businesses, according to NDTV. They also have been instructed to not allow parking around their buildings.

There reportedly are 12 Jewish establishments in Mumbai, including four in the southern part of the city. One of the buildings, the Nariman Chabad House, was the site of a November 2008 terror attack in which six people were killed.

Following a nationwide alert issued ahead of Rosh Hashanah in early September, security was increased around the 20 Chabad houses in India, the Hindustan Times reported.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/indian-jewish-owned-businesses-warned-to-tighten-security/2013/09/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: