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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Chabad Lubavitch’

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.

Chabad Says ‘No Way We Won’t Make a Seder’ in Katmandu

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Chabad-Lubavitch officials say “there’s no way in the world, come Passover we will not make a seder for the thousands of Jews who are relying on us” this year in Katmandu, Nepal.

The statement comes in response to the statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor earlier in the week that there would be no seder this year due to the inability of Israel’s embassy to provide the supplies in time.

The embassy, along with every other Israeli Foreign Ministry facility, is closed to due to a general labor strike. The action follows a year-long struggle by ministry workers to convince the Finance Ministry to raise salaries and pension levels, particular for those who must work abroad.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, director at the New York-based World Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters, reassured concerned travelers the internationally-renowned ‘Largest Seder in the World’ would take place as expected.

Actually, there are three: the main seder, held in Katmandu, hosts some 1,500 guests. Another 800 people generally show up for the Passover meal held in Pokhara, and a third seder is held by Chabad of Nepal in remote Manang, some 11,614 above sea level. Seder provisions and rabbinical students are airlifted to that location – inaccessible by road – by helicopter for the occasion.

A second seder for several hundred guests is held at the Chabad House in Katmandu on the second night of the holiday, during which special “kosher for Passover” foods are consumed.

At least 10,000 people will have joined emissaries Rabbi Chezki and Chani Lifshitz in Nepal for a Passover meal by the time the holiday is over, they estimate.

New York is backing the effort all the way.

“We are sending rabbinical students as we do every year to assist [the emissaries] and we are confident that we will find some kind of solution to this crisis so that the seders will take place as always,” Rabbi Kotlarsky told Lubavitch.com.

A shipping container filled with $40,000 worth of matzohs, wine, grape juice, haggadahs, kosher-for-Passover foodstuffs and other holiday necessities is sitting in the port at Calcutta, India but has yet to be released, according to Chabad officials.

Nevertheless, emissary Chani Lifshitz is confident things will work out as they do each year. “Anyone who knows us and the kinds of miracles that we survive on, knows that there’s no way in the world, come Passover, we will not make a seder for the thousands of Jews who are relying on us,” she said. But this year’s miracle will have to be extra-special – if the container is not released this week, supplies will need to arrive another way.

“Two weeks by sea from Calcutta, and two weeks by truck to Nepal,” Lifshitz explains, adding that Chabad of Nepal is also being billed $150 per day in holding fees at the port.

The “Largest Seder in the World’ has been taking place in Nepal for the past ten years – and the Chabad House in Katmandu has been likewise been the place to go for Israeli backpackers moving through Nepal. The Lifshitz couple was the inspiration for the popular Israeli television series “Katmandu” in 2012.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Says ‘No Choice’ on Closing Chabad’s Nepal Seder

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A general strike by Israel’s Foreign Ministry this year is having an unexpected effect on Jews thousands of miles away.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, the labor action has prevented the far-flung Israeli embassy from providing the much-needed goods for the Chabad-Lubavitch seder in Nepal — a world-famous event that draws nearly a thousand people annually to Katmandu. Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in Israel and New York could not be reached for comment.

Palmor said in an interview with The Jewish Press today (Monday), “The window is closed. I spoke with the ambassador yesterday and he explained they need a full month to be able to prepare for this event, and we are just three weeks away from Pesach.

“There is nothing that can be done about it,” he said.

But it’s not only the embassy in Nepal that has been affected by the strike. “Every embassy around the world is closed,” Palmor said.

“This means that every diplomatic function has been shut down. There are no diplomatic cables, no intelligence analyses or negotiations that we handle are being carried out, no visas or passports being processed, no public relations or other statements being made to foreign media in countries around the world – anything that has to do with foreign relations is stopped.”

The strike follows a year-long effort by Foreign Ministry workers to persuade the Finance Ministry to raise shrinking salaries and dropping pensions to “realistic levels.”

According to Palmor, the average gross monthly salary for a ministry worker hovers at around NIS 11,000 (approx. USD 3,000) – less than that of an experienced secretary in New York City. “In fact, an analyst makes less,” he said pointedly. “And if you add the expense of raising a family and the loss of a second income when the employee’s spouse must leave their job in Israel, for many of our staff it is simply not worth it to go abroad anymore. We are losing some of our best staff, and we have been unable to make government finance people come to their senses about this any other way.”

While ministry workers are struggling to wake up the Finance Ministry – and their own boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – Chabad emissary Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz still has a problem. Regardless, he will have to figure out how to feed 1,000 people on the first night of Passover, April 14, in Katmandu, with all the kosher-for-Pesach supplies necessary to grace the longest seder table in the world.

IDF Soldiers Clean Up Desecrated Hebron Monument

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
The monument after IDF soldiers cleaned it up.

The monument after IDF soldiers cleaned it up. Photo: Tazpit New Agency

Shimshon Battalion soldiers, posted in Hebron, on Sunday, Israel’s Memorial day, cleaned up a monument in memory of a Jew who were murdered in Hebron in 1980. The monument is situated in the city Casbah, an area of shops and Cafés that’s off-limits to Jews nowadays. After cleaning up the monument, which had been defaced by Arabs, the soldiers lit a memorial candle.

The Casbah in Hebron has been closed to Jews in recent years. But in consideration of the fact that there are many houses and property inside the Casbah which belong to the Sephardic Jewish community “Magen Avot,” to Chabad Lubavitch and to the Jewish families, such as the Hausmans, that built their home in Hebron more than a century ago, the army permits a guided tour of the area every Saturday.

During a Passover tour, participants were shocked to see the monument of Joshua Salome desecrated with black spray paint, to the point where it was very difficult to read the inscription.

Joshua Salome grew up in an assimilated environment in Denmark, came to Israel as part of the Bnei Akiva training, and studied at the Hesder Yeshiva Nir in Kiryat Arba.

Thirty-three years ago, as he was walking among the stalls in the Hebron market (which back then was still open to everyone) to buy fruits for Tu Bishvat, Joshua was attacked and murdered by one Ibrahim Mahmoud Mohamed from Yeta village.

It was one of the first murders of a Jew in Hebron since the massacre of sixty-seven Jews in 1929.

Following the murder of Joshua Salome, then Defense Minister Ezer Weizman passed a resolution to establish a Jewish settlement in Hebron.

Wide public debate was aroused after Joshua’s kidneys had been transplanted into the body of a pro-terrorist Arab woman.

The terrorist who killed Joshua Salome was released as part of a gesture of good will by Shimon Peres.

Because the Casbah is barred to Israeli citizens, the monument had been standing dishonored until last Sunday.

The Jewish community of Hebron told Tazpit it was grateful to the IDF soldiers for the fine gesture.

Paris Jewish School Rabbi Indicted for not Reporting Sex Abuse

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The principal of a Jewish school in Paris was indicted for failing to report the sexual abuse of minors.

The television network RILL reported that a Paris magistrate indicted the principal, identified by RILL as Rabbi Benjamin M., 55, on Feb. 21 for “non-reporting of sexual abuse of minors under 15 years.”

Victims’ parents told the principal about the alleged fondling committed by a supervisor at the Chabad-Lubavitch Beth Hanna elementary school for boys last summer, according to RILL.

The supervisor was indicted in November after parents of the alleged victims filed complaints, the French news agency AFP reported, but the principal failed to also file a complaint as he was required by law.

The online edition of Le Nouvel Observateur, a French weekly, reported that the principal also is suspected of trying to dissuade parents from complaining to police — a claim denied by Chaim Nisenbaum, a spokesman for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in France.

“Legally speaking, he [the principal] committed an error,” Nisenbaum is quoted as saying, but “there was no attempt to conceal anything.” Nisenbaum said the school, which is Orthodox, views the actions of the supervisor as “extremely serious.”

JForum, a French-Jewish news site, reported that the principal confronted the supervisor but deemed it unnecessary to file a complaint because he knew the parents had already done so.

Chabad Women Rocking in ‘Bulletproof Stockings’ (Video)

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Rocking custom sheitels and opaque tights, and walking the sidewalks of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Dalia Shusterman and Perl Wolfe have the Hasidic world talking – and singing along to the tunes of their Hasidic alternative rock girl band, Bulletproof Stockings.

Featured in the New York Post and the Times of Israel in the last month, Shusterman, the recently widowed mother of four boys under the age of 8 and Wolfe, a young divorcee, appear the picture of Chabad normalcy.

But while their influences are rather “unorthodox” – Radio Head, Jane’s Addiction, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they are not.  While they do not appear to fill the conventional roles typically adhered to by the women of Chabad Lubavitch, and have raised concerns that they may be poor role models to young Jewish women, Shusterman and Wolfe maintain their commitment to doing things Torah-style.

Their soulful crooning is women-only, in accordance with the rabbinic prohibition of “kol isha”, making live singing performances by women off-limits to men.  They said they don’t view the restriction as a limitation, however, viewing it rather as an opportunity for women to commune in an environment of free expression.

In their interviews, the duo said they hope other Jewish women will get musical, and shed the misconception that Jewish women do not sing or perform.

Shusterman is a veteran percussionist on the indie rock scene who found Chabad Lubavitch in September 2001, when a chassid handed her a flyer for a Sukkot event in Crown Heights.  She fell in love with Jewish spirituality, and a man she met that night, and ended up the wife of a rabbi and mother of four boys.  Her husband passed away in the spring.

Wolfe was a rebellious teen who left the Chabad path her music-loving ba’al teshuva parents had forged for her. She came back to observance after a year in Israel, and ultimately returned to Crown Heights in 2008 after her marriage fell apart.

Wolfe, the singer and song writer, says her songs are inspired by the Torah and by her Lubavitch faith.  She says she prays before she writes lyrics, asking God to inspire her with messages which will be meaningful to her audience.

Listen to Bulletproof Stockings on Myspace.

Chabad of Westport Hoping for Town Approval at Long Last

Friday, June 15th, 2012

According to the Westport Daily Voice, the structure that used to house the Three Bears Restaurant in Westport, CT, will shortly officially become the new home of Chabad Lubavitch of Westport, which has been operating without approval out of the space since January.

On Thursday night, an attorney for Chabad appeared before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, seeking a change of use from restaurant to religious institution, as well as approval of interior renovations.

“We are planning modest renovations,” Weisman said. “We’re not doing anything to the outside of the building. We may paint it, we may do some cosmetic work, but it will look exactly as it does today.”

The building will be divided into a sanctuary, three classrooms, and office space.

Five months ago, Chabad was cited by the Planning and Zoning Department for occupying the building without a special permit.

The citation was issued after a complaint from a neighbor.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chabad-of-westport-hoping-for-town-approval-at-long-last/2012/06/15/

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