Sunday, January 30, 2011

LIVE! ended

Watch Aliza in action tonight – LIVE

Watch Aliza in action tonight – LIVE

Tonight you can tune in live and watch thousand of Shluchot and community leaders for an evening of intense inspiration, culminating in a grand international roll call, where our own Aliza will be announcing all the participating leaders and their respective countries!

See Aliza in action! Cheer her on!

Here is the link to be a part of this online:


Watch it Live!

The live webcast of the gala Brooklyn banquet, presented by International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries, will be broadcast this Sunday evening, January 30th, at 5:45pm ET.

The banquet is the grand finale of a five-day-long conference attended by more than 2,800 Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos, who will be joined by their local lay leaders in New York City.

Log on to www.Jewish.TV to watch this extraordinary webcast.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Holocaust survivors revenge

Professors Aleksey Brick, a Holocaust survivor, and author of 14 historical works, winner of the esteemed Ukrainian prize of literature "kaztibinsky", revenge on the Nazis on International Remembrance Day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breaking News!

On January 30, 2,500 Shluchos (Chabad emissaries) and supporters will gather together for a massive banquet, culminating the end of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos.

Aliza will bravely be standing in front of the women-only crowd, and running the highlight of the evening - a roll call, naming all the countries that have Chabad centers.

The list is long, starting from Chabad of Cyberspace, and going through Asia (Cambodia! China! India! and on to Vietnam.) Africa, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, (Ukraine alone has 150 shluchim) and on and on.

Aliza has something like 85 countries to memorize, some with challenging names (Laos, anyone? Krygyzstan?)

Tune in for details and an online live feed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chernigov Jewish Community Experiences Steady and Inspiring Growth

A News story

Jewish children in Chernigov, Ukraine, take part in a class activity at the school run by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yisroel and Alizah Silberstein.
Jewish children in Chernigov, Ukraine, take part in a class activity at the school run by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yisroel and Alizah Silberstein.

Chernigov, Ukraine – situated north of Kiev on the Desna River – has spent the last several weeks buried under a thick blanket of fresh winter snow, its streets slick with ice, freezing temperatures and blustery winds rouging the bare cheeks of bundled-up city-dwellers.

But Chernigov’s Chabad-Lubavitch center evokes a far cozier atmosphere, where a re-emergent Jewish community is undergoing a spiritual and religious transformation of the most enthusiastic sort.

Misha Dudchin is among a core group of local residents who, with the help of Rabbi Yisroel and Alizah Silbertstein, are embracing a heritage undermined by generations of Communist leaders. Dudchin, whose two children attend the Silberstein’s new preschool, had never stepped foot in a synagogue before the city’s Chabad House opened.

“My son got a Jewish education,” says Dudchin. “And today, he is a proud Jew.”

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Jewish life in Chernigov – a city whose community dates back to the 13th century and before the October Revolution in 1917, boasted ritual baths, schools and 11 synagogues – has seen its ups and downs. A Jewish school finally opened its doors after the dawn of the new millennium, but the recent global financial crisis left it in tatters.

The Silbersteins moved with their children last year.

“When we arrived, we found a community where there was a lot of emphasis on Jewish education,” says Yisroel Silbertstein. “Unfortunately, the Jewish school had fallen apart and was closed down.

“We met people that had some interest and knowledge about Judaism,” he continues, “But the people here are very assimilated. Of the 40 families that have become active at the Chabad center, there is only one couple where the husband and wife are both Jewish.”

Establishing the preschool and a new kindergarten were among the Silberstein’s first steps. Through both institutions, parents are getting reacquainted with their heritage.

“After so many years of Communism, people are still embarrassed about their Judaism,” explains Alizah Silberstein. “They are scared to tell people about their Judaism. We are showing them that being Jewish is something fun and important and special.”

The school charges a modest “symbolic” tuition, which makes education accessible to any family in the area. The curriculum combines child-friendly Jewish activities – holiday art projects, learning the Hebrew alphabet – with secular studies such as math and reading taught by local Ukrainians.

Each time I walk into the classroom, I get chills,” gushes Alizah Silberstein, who runs the school. “It’s like, ‘Wow!’ It’s such a big excitement. You walk in and see Jewish souls learning about Judaism and it’s the most amazing feeling. This is our future and it’s a very beautiful thing.”

In addition to the school, the Silbersteins also host weekly Shabbat meals at their home, cooking classes for women to learn how to bake challah, and morning prayer services. They run a 350-square-foot synagogue, a summer camp for children and teens, and separate monthly discussion groups for men and women.

After attending informal classes and discussion sessions, one woman resolved that her seven-year-old son would have a ritual circumcision.

“As more people get closer to their Judaism, they build a community,” says Silberstein. “It’s little changes that create the biggest change.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

A weekend with an impact

Each Shabbat, after services, the attendees sit down for a 'farbrengen' or Chassidic gathering, where, along with some good kosher food, they sing, tell stories, and are inspired to keep their Jewish identity and pride burning strong.

This past Shabbat was also the 10th of Shvat, which, this year, marked 60 years since the passing of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, and 60 years since the Rebbe took on the leadership of the Chabad movement.

Tens of people participated in an especially inspiring farbrengen. The lavish spread was appreciated by the participants. They sat wide-eyed as Rabbi Silberstein related stories of personal encounters with the Rebbe. The singing of niggunim (chassidic melodies), the warm atmosphere, and the words of Torah kept the crowd mesmerized for over 3 hours. The farbrengen culminated in the participants committing to a positive resolution they would do. One man plans to have a brit milah.

The STARS youth group met on Sunday. Class began with a fun and intellectually stimulating team building game. Following the class, there was a special farbrengen. The students enjoyed a delicious, hot meal. At the end of an especially warm and intimate farbrengen, the students wrote letters to the Rebbe in which they asked for blessings. They too took on good resolutions, including: putting on tefillin every day, attending synagogue on Shabbat, learning hebrew, and one young man resolved that come what may, he will only marry a Jew.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

These Frozen Jews

This article was published in Actualité Juive, a French Jewish newspaper, on the challenges of being Jewish in cold places. The French are having a real cold winter, and they wanted to get some tips from the people who are out in the cold. We were happy to oblige.

Click on the picture to see the article in large