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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘emissaries’

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.

For 5,200 Rabbis and Guests, a Night of Inspiration

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Eleven-year-old Levi Leibowitz couldn’t wait to tell his friends and family back home in Tokyo about his experience Sunday night. He was a guest at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries banquet at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in New York, thousands of miles from Japan, where he lives.

“I’m going to tell everyone about it, that it was really fun, and the food was very good,” he said. Seated in Chiavari chairs under grand chandeliers, he and thousands of others involved in the organization – 5,200 emissaries and lay leaders from around the world – gathered for an evening of camaraderie and inspiration.

It was the culmination of four days of learning, togetherness and inspiration that the Lubavitcher Rebbe first encouraged his shluchim to convene back in 1983.

“I like talking to all the different Jewish people in my family all over the world,” said Leibowitz. He was there with his father, David Leibowitz, also of Tokyo, and his grandfather, Alan Leibowitz, of Miami.

The theme, “Through Darkness a Shining Light,” prompted speakers to focus on the impact Chabad continues to build through its global outreach and varied programs.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, director of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries and vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, Chabad-Lubavitch’s educational arm, charged those gathered with connecting with more Jews and inspiring even more mitzvahs.

They heard from former U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman, who thanked the emissaries for their work and spoke of his personal connection to the organization, which often made sure he had Shabbat provisions and kosher food during his political travels.

Rabbi Dov Greenberg, co-director of Chabad on Campus at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., took to the podium as a representative for the emissaries. He talked about the 86,000 Jewish students who visited 200 Chabad centers around the world.

Rabbi Greenberg defined a Chabad House as a place “where every Jew feels at home.”

Businessman David Leibowitz agreed. He connected with Chabad a quarter-century ago when he was walking down the street in Bondi Beach, Australia. Wearing a tank top and no kippah, he just so happened to run into a man with a black hat and a beard.

The rest, he said, is history.

“Chabad embodies everything about my heritage and what I want to pass on,” he said.

Leibowitz, who moved to Japan 20 years ago and wound up staying, said Chabad continues to be key to his Jewish life there.

“To have an organization like Chabad and a rabbi like Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich, who gives us all this Yiddishkeit in such a vacuum, is such a blessing.”

As for the Kinus, he said, “we already booked our tickets for next year.”

Josh Wonder, head of finance at the Yeshivah Centre of Melbourne, Australia, attended the Kinus for the first time this year. Coming to New York and taking part in the weekend, he said, represented a chance for him to envision how he fits in to the bigger puzzle.

In the past, like many living overseas who haven’t been able to fly in for the events, he watched the main proceedings online.

“It’s always like you want to be there,” he said. “That’s what brought me here this year.”
He enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and said he leaves wanting to do even more to bring people closer to Judaism: “I come away with my batteries recharged. I’m pumped up and ready to take it all on again.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/for-5200-rabbis-and-guests-a-night-of-inspiration/2013/11/06/

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