Chockablock full of activity

Friday, 1 April, 2022 - 3:03 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Pesach is around the corner.

The inebriating spirit of liberation is in the air.

In preparation for the upcoming Pesach, three Torah’s are read from in the Synagogue this week. Busy. In a good and powerful way.

Just like the way the week was for Jewish life in Thailand. Chockablock full of activity.

During this past seven days, we celebrated a birth, a bar mitzvah and (to separate between one form of life and the other form of life) we are about to perform a burial at the Jewish cemetery.

Maybe for New York, London or Melbourne that doesn’t sound so unusual, but for a ‘remote’ Jewish community the size of Thailand’s it was an eventful week.

It showed how deeply rooted Jewish life has become in Thailand.

The Bar-Mitzvah that was held at Beth Elisheva this past Shabbat was joyous and meaningful. It was also highly symbolic. The grandparents of Lucas Rafael Frankel, the Bar-Mitzvah boy, were active and foundational members of the Jewish community since the 1960’s. The Bar-Mitzvah boy’s parents grew up in Thailand. One of the first weddings I officiated at after arriving to Thailand was that of the parents of the Bar-Mitvzah boy.

To see this third generation living in Thailand Jew be called to the Torah at Bangkok’s local Synagogue and to hear him declare how proud he is to be a link in the unbroken 3,334 year golden chain of Judaism was very inspiring.

The words ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ – the People of Israel is Alive – summed it up most fittingly.

Just a few days later, Rabbi & Mrs. Mendy Zayantz who run the Chabad House in Pai, gave birth to a healthy baby girl in Bangkok. This baby too, is third generation Thailand. Her mother is Chanie Wilhelm who grew up in Thailand. She is the daughter of Rabbi & Mrs. Nechemya Wilhelm of Kaoard Rd’s Chabad House.

Sadly a few hours later, we got a call from Roi-Et that Berel (Bernie) Sandow had returned his soul to his creator just shy of his 86th birthday. Berel left instructions that he wanted to have a Jewish burial and please G-d this will take place on Friday. (See below, if you can help with the minyan). Berel was born in NY but spent the last two decades of his life here in Thailand.

Our ‘tzedakah fund’ was very active this week. In a process that took several years, this week we repatriated an elderly man back home to the UK after he had come to the end of his money and was left penniless and homeless. We sent food packages to those who need nutritional assistance. As well, the ‘chessed shel emmet’ tzedakah fund will cover the Jewish burial expenses.

We have launched our Passover appeal so that we can actualize our Passover commitment that ‘all who are hungry should come and eat’.

Pesach supplies will be sold from Sunday.

Many will remember that years ago, when we announced that we would be selling Passover supplies, it meant matzah and matzah meal and a few other items.

Today thank G-d, the choices are many. See the below picture or visit JCafe Pesach Store’s website JCafe Pesach Store’s website to see the range of kosher for Passover products.

Yes, we are an active community thank G-d. It is possible to live a Jewish life in Thailand.

Passover Seders will be held please G-d for our local community with instruction in either English or Hebrew.

As well, we are a hub for Jewish travelers. Thousands of travelers have meaningful and transformational Jewish experiences in Thailand. The Chabad Houses that span Thailand from North to South are welcoming hubs that provide a feeling of home, both physically and spiritually.

And of course, now that tourism has resumed, Chabad House across Thailand will be hosting myriads of travelers at eight different locations. 

My dear friends, the one who foresaw this incredible growth opportunity even in a community as far away as Thailand, was the Lubavitcher Rebbe who believed in the future of vibrant Jewish observance wherever Jews may live. The Rebbe acted on this belief and sent his students as emissaries – Shluchim – to spread Judaism in a meaningful and joyful way.

Jewish life in Thailand of the early 1990’s, when Nechama and I merited that the Rebbe sent us as his Shluchim, was quite challenging to say the least. Fast forward to 2022 and thank G-d one can see the tremendous change and growth. And this narrative is being repeated in hundreds of locations around the globe as the Rebbe’s vision of Jewish outreach is yielding fruits of previously unimaginable proportions.

The Rebbe was born four days before Pesach in 1902. That means that this year on April 12th it will be the 120th year since his birth. This represents a full lifetime. It is a significant date and world Jewry is marking this milestone birthday by giving ‘gifts’ to the Rebbe who gave the world so much. Click here for more.

How do you give a gift to a Rebbe?

How do you give a gift to anyone?

It’s simple.

You do something that is meaningful to him.

If your friend likes cookies, you give them cookies.

The Rebbe’s lifetime was devoted to Torah and Mitzvahs. To illuminating the world. To helping every person by doing acts of tzedakah, goodness and kindness. To selflessly shepherding others, one person at a time. Pushing and uplifting anyone and everyone, to go for the ‘gold’ and bring Mashiach to end suffering and welcome in the utopian peaceful Messianic era.

That is then what the gift should be.

You study some extra Torah in his honor.

You do a Mitzvah in his honor.

Even more, you adopt his ideals, values and ambitions as your own. Join in the mission of filling the world with acts of tzedakah, goodness and kindness. Be imbued with the passion to end the strife, pain and suffering, to yearn for Mashiach.

That would give him real ‘nachas’ satisfaction.

Click here for a video regarding the USA govt proclamation of Education Day in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday.

And since we are in proximity to Pesach it should all be done in the “Pesach mode’.

Pesach means to JUMP OVER.

Applying that to our lives, it means not just not to be satisfied with working at anything less than full capacity.

But that even when reaching full capacity, not stopping to rest but JUMPING ever higher.

The Rebbe would constantly quote the saying of our Sages, ‘If you achieved 100, you should now aim for 200’.

Practically speaking: If you know about Passover and are going to eat Matzah and have a Seder, you should spread the wealth and reach out to another, to make sure that they have matzah and a seder.

It will be our pleasure to partner up with you in reaching Jews who don’t have matzah and provide you with matzah and help in any other way we can help.

If each of us tries a little harder, the unleashing of positive energy and light will be incredibly powerful.

And the world needs positive, powerful and peaceful vibes and energy now more than ever.

Shabbat Shalom

Chodesh Tov

And an early Chag Pesach Kasher VeSameach

Rabbi Yosef Kantor



Watch a moment of wisdom for this week's Torah portion👇👇👇






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