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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Chabad House’

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.

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.

The Oldest Story In The World

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

“This is the day of the beginning of your creation,” we read in our Yom Tov prayer books. According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the day of the creation of Adam and Eve, and on that very day they proclaim God as King of the Universe.

And yet, as we know from the very first story in the book of Genesis, the glory of that day is short-lived. Within hours, Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Their eyes are opened. They become aware that they are naked and they are ashamed.

In a recent essay in a secular-oriented Jewish weekly, a woman describes a modern re-enactment of this tale. Her faith in God is shattered when she reads the book Cosmos and discovers a “mind-defying universe where distances are so vast that they are measured in light years.”

She is sorry to have read it because now she knows “God’s terrible secret, that this universe is large, and that He pounds out worlds like matzo balls, as many as He pleases, without so much as glancing at Earth.”

Though she had once felt close to God, she no longer knows how to integrate a personal God into her world.

“I tried to understand God,” she writes. “I mean, we humans have always wanted a God that is all-great and all-powerful, but not quite like that. Just enough so we could pretend He is a lot like us and we are enough like Him, and that the universe is not much larger than our minds.”

The god she had created in her own image has been shattered.

The loss of her innocence is not unlike the loss of innocence we all experience as we travel from childhood to adulthood. Once upon a time, we knew that our parents were all knowing and all powerful, that they loved us more than anything, and that we were perfect in their eyes. We knew good people were rewarded and bad people were punished so they would mend their ways. We knew God had created the world and that He listened to our prayers.

And then one day, sudden as a death, we lost our innocence. We learned that our parents were not perfect and neither were we; that truth, if it existed, would not be simple, but convoluted and twisted and complex. We no longer knew if we mattered in this unfathomable world, and how God could really know us or wish to do so.

Like Adam, like Eve, like countless people who have crossed this earth, we taste the fruit and are banished from Eden.

But that is not the end of the story. All of our history is a journey to find redemption and recapture what was lost.

We cannot remain childish in our understanding but we pursue always the wish to be childlike in our knowledge. While a simplistic faith cannot sustain us, we still seek a place where our faith is simple.

There is a chassidic tale of an ignorant shepherd boy who came to the synagogue and, unable to read the prayers, pierced the heaven with his heartfelt cries and whistles. We do not envy his ignorance. And yet no matter how sophisticated and subtle our understanding, we long to be able to utter a prayer as sincere as his shepherd’s call.

The true Jewish “coming of age story” is not about loss, but about search. The search for a teacher, for a mentor, for a deeper and stronger faith – one as sure and unquestioning as the faith of a child, and yet bold enough, brave enough, to heal our fragmented world.

Perhaps that is why the Jewish New Year begins in the fall. As the gold and glitter of summer dims and fades, as the days grow shorter and the leaves crumble, there is a death of innocence. And yet from amidst the death, new life springs forth.

The shofar is simple ram’s horn, an instrument without subtlety or gradation. The sound, say the chassidic masters, is like the call of a child. It is blown on Rosh Hashanah in a rhythmic sequence. First a tekiah – a long, simple cry. Then the shevarim, a broken call, with three shorter blasts. Then the teruah, with nine staccato sounds, like a sob. And finally a longer tekiah, which goes on and on with a slow exhaling of breath.

Chabad House Hosts Joe Kaufman For Lunch & Learn

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Chabad House in Miami Beach hosted a lecture and “the best lunch in town” on Wednesday, July 11, at its location, 669 Lincoln Lane North. The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Zev Katz, started the program with a dvar Torah. The talk was followed by guest speaker Joe Kaufman, who spoke on the direction of political movements in the Middle East and the Maghreb. Kaufman’s presentation was titled “Arab Spring or Nuclear Winter?”

Kaufman is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, energy independence and Middle Eastern and Southern affairs. He has been a lecturer for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and his articles can be found at FrontPageMag.com, the Hudson Institute, Pajamas Media and National Review. Kaufman is also a candidate for United States Congress.

The riveting talk was followed by a delicious lunch sponsored by Scott Abraham in loving memory of his father, Shalom ben Chaim Menachem.

For more information about the Chabad of Miami Beach adult education series or other activities contact Rabbi Katz at 305-CHABAD1 or visit www.chabadonwheels.com.

Writing A Torah In Memory Of Rabbi Dovid Bryn

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Usher Bryn, brother of Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, fills in a letter together with his son Jonathan.

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday, April 29, at Chabad Chayil Synagogue in Highland Lakes to pay tribute to South Florida’s Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, and launch a project of writing a new Sefer Torah in honor of the rabbi’s 10th yahrzeit. Community members and local rabbis shared their memories of the legendary leader and his amazingly personality and accomplishments.

All in attendance had a chance to write a letter, filling in the first few pesukim of a Torah that will take a year and a half to complete. Every two weeks or so there will be a siyum completion ceremony of a parshah in another home, enabling the host/parshah sponsor to invite their friends and give them all a chance to write a letter.

The completion of the Sefer Torah will be celebrated together with the completion of the new Chabad House building, scheduled to break ground soon. A documentary of the rabbi is also in the works.

If you have a story you would like to share or if you would like to get a letter or parshah in the Dovid Bryn Sefer Torah, go to www.RabbiDovidBryn.org or call 305-770-1919.

Israeli Foreign Minister Visits Muslim Azerbaijan, Chabad House

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Israel marked twenty years of diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan on Sunday, with a visit to the 95% Muslim country by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who also visited the capital city’s Chabad house, according to a report by Lubavitch.com.

Azerbaijan, which borders Iran to the south, has pursued increasingly warm relations with the Jewish state, in contradiction to the will of Tehran.  In January, Azeri authorities arrested an Iranian national who allegedly plotted to kill two Israeli Chabad emissaries working at the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish School in the capital city of Baku, including the Chief Chabad Emissary of Azerbaijan, Rabbi Shneor Segal.  The Chabad complex, “overlooking the scenic Caspian Sea”, according to Lubavitch.com, was established by philanthropist and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the CIS and Baltic Countries, Lev Leviev, in 2010.

Rabbi Segal played in an integral role in arranging Foreign Minister Lieberman’s visit.  During his two-day stay, Lieberman met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and other high-ranking officials, as well as Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan,  Michael Lotem and Israeli Consul Ron Schechter.

Mumbai Doctor, Wife Complete Conversion In Israel On Holtzberg Yahrzeit

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

JERUSALEM – An Indian couple completed their halachic conversion and remarried in a Jewish ceremony at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron last week, on the first anniversary of the murder of their friends and spiritual guides, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg.

Dr. Aharon Abraham left his position as director of the ICU Medical Center at British Kennedy in Mumbai, India, after terrorists killed the Holtzbergs.

Abraham was born Vagirds Frads to a Hindu cleric who worshipped idols, and a mother who prepared food for them. Like the biblical Abraham, young Vagirds could not understand why his father honored a man-made statue, or why his mother would cook for them.

Unlike the patriarch, however, he waited until after graduating high school to confront his father, asking how he could believe “such nonsense.” But when there was no reply, his anger led him to take a hammer and smash the idols, exactly as Abraham had done.

“The gods are angry!” his father shouted at him, he recounted, and recalled his reply: “If they’re angry, let them do something .”

It was while studying medicine at the University of Mumbai that he first read a Bible, given to him by Christian students. “A new world opened before me,” he said.

The woman he married, a nurse, was equally interested in his Bible studies, and after their wedding the couple changed their family name to “Abraham” to honor the patriarch. Vagirds became Aaron, because “the priest was a wonderful person, full of glory,” he explained.

Eventually the couple decided to convert, and began studying Judaism in earnest with the Holtzbergs, Chabad emissaries in Mumbai.

“Our whole life centered around the Chabad House,” said Abraham. “It was the only place where we could get kosher food. Gabi and Rivky were our guides, we did not move without them. We began a process of true conversion and found the extraordinary beauty of the Torah commandments.”

It was the brutal murder of the Holtzbergs and their four guests at the Nariman Chabad House that changed their lives forever, however.

“They took away my Master,” said Abraham. “But what we learned from Gabi and Rivki will accompany us and our children forever.”

(INN)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/mumbai-doctor-wife-complete-conversion-in-israel-on-holtzberg-yahrzeit-2/2009/11/25/

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