Monday, May 16, 2005

Speaking real to the Jewish soul

By the grace of G-d

Speaking real to the Jewish soul

By Steven Rosenberg - Boston Globe

For the last 17 years, Rabbi Shmuel Posner has been singing Hebrew and Yiddish melodies every Friday night in the basement of Chabad House, his educational center that sits between a funeral home and a tanning parlor in the heart of Kenmore Square. Step out of the streets and into the warmth of the room, and you'll find up to 75 people sitting at long row tables, welcoming the Jewish Sabbath with Hasidic songs as they eat challah, sip wine, and pass along trays of gefilte fish, chicken, noodle pudding, and sweet cake.

The people at the table represent a microcosm of the Jewish diaspora, with emigrants from the former Soviet Union, South Africa, Iraq, and South America mixing with students, professionals, and seniors from the Boston area. Few are strictly observant of Jewish laws or customs, and for many, their initial appearance is motivated by interest rather than spiritual hunger.

Down in the Commonwealth Avenue cellar, where Old World meets the 21st century, Posner sits surrounded by his wife, Chani, and their ten children. ''My dear friends,'' he says, and within seconds the conversations in English, Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish cease. Part Billy Crystal, part drummer Max Weinberg, and part Baal Shem Tov, he draws people into the conversation with a combination of one-liners, music, and Torah. At the end of his talk, the rabbi will invariably raise his cup of wine and offer a toast to a time when people will recognize the world as a place where God dwells. Then he will start a song, leading to clapping and singing.

''It's much more than just coming here once to experience Shabbes [Sabbath],'' Posner says. ''People are looking for meaning, and there's something inherent in the Jewish soul that drives them to connect with who they really are.''

A fast-talking former New Yorker, Posner descends from the branch of Lubavitch Hasidism, one of the only sects dedicated to outreach among secular Jews. Posner fields dozens of calls each day, balancing his cell phone on his shoulder while replying to e-mails from the thousands who have proclaimed him their rabbi. When former congregants return to visit, they take their place along with students and neighborhood residents who file into his second-floor office, presenting their personal dilemmas before Posner offers up his own remedies.

''He's an in-your-face guy in a nice way,'' explains Alan Wilensky, who first met Posner 15 years ago. ''He shoots out questions to students and older people like a Las Vegas emcee or a group therapist, but when he senses that someone's getting uncomfortable he breaks the tension with a piquant anecdote.''

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., 150 of Posner's congregants will gather for a Megillah reading to mark the beginning of Purim, which documents a Persian king's last-minute revocation of a death decree for all Jews. Down in the basement, a Hasidic jazz group will perform, and Posner and his Hasidim will dance and offer up a L'Chaim (usually a Crown Royal) to celebrate the miracle.

''It's a time to get real,'' he says, before excusing himself to take another call.

To visit the Chabad House of Greater Boston check out

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Chabad of Japan

Almost in every point in the world, that you will land, you will find a local Chabad House center. The Chabad House serves as a lamplighter, for Jewish people, anywhere, where one can get a taste of what Judaism is all about. This is the goal of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach, when he began in the early 1950’s sending out his “soldiers”, to establish Chabad Houses around the globe.

Over 50 years ago, when the Lubavitcher Rebbe, became the 7th Rebbe, in the Lubavitcher Rebbes dynasty, he emphasized and reiterated that our generation is” the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption”. The purpose of our generation is to prepare the world for the imminent coming of Moshiach. That is why the Rebbe sent his emissaries, to the farthest reaching corners of the world. To fulfill our generation’s mission.

We find a parallelism with Moses. Moses was the 7th generation, after Abraham. Abraham was the first person in the world to recognize G-d, and spread G-dliness. After Abraham, his son Isaac continued spreading G-dliness. Every leader in the following generations followed suit, in their own unique way, until the 7th leader, Moses, who finally took the Jews out of Egypt, and gave the Jews the Torah.

We too are the 7th generation. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, being the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe, has a similar mission to Moses. To take the Jews out of exile, and bring the whole world to a time of eternal good and prosperity. The care and concern the Rebbe has for every person in this world, is emphasized by the Chabad Houses that were established by his directives.

Chabad Houses around the globe, care for the Jewish necessities of their communities, and are like a second home to Jewish travelers.

Chabad Houses also teach the Seven Noahide Laws, which were given by G-d to all the nations of the world, to make the world a civilized and peaceful place to live in.

In December 1999, after receiving a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach, Rabbi Binyomin Edery, was sent to Tokyo, Japan, to establish a Chabad House there. Today he lives in Tokyo, with his wife and 3 children.

Rabbi Binyomin says: generally, our work is focused on the local Jewish people, the Jewish businessmen that come for a short time, and travelers.

Every Shabbat, many Jews, from different backgrounds, sit together in a warm, festive spirit, singing together, telling stories, and feeling as one big family.

During the week, the door is always open, and we try to help, if necessary, in every way possible. Some come to learn Torah, and taste a little of Judaism.

Many times, people ask us, how do you have the strength to do this? You are so far away from family, friends, your community, in a foreign country? The answer lies in the fact that we are emissaries of the Rebbe King Moshiach. Any difficulty that we encounter we write a letter and ask for a blessing. We have seen countless miracles, as a result of the blessings that we received.

The push to go out and establish a Chabad House, specifically in Japan, I received from Rabbi Zimroni Tzik, who is the director of the Chabad House of Bat Yam, Israel.

We offer a Jewish kindergarten; study Torah with the local Jews, or travelers. Jewish festivals are celebrated in great holiday spirit, with many Jewish people attending.

We also have many Japanese who help us a lot, with our work here and of course are happy to hear about the Seven Noahide laws that are pertinent to them.

I want to thank the young Rabbis that come to help us from time to time, during festivals.

("Beis Moshiach" magazine)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Shalom! Welcome to

By the grace of G-d
Shalom uBrocha!
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Brocha veHatzlocha!
Ariel Sokolovsky
Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!