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My story from Belarus

Friday, 20 August, 2010 - 6:43 pm

Dear Friends,

Firstly, we would like to wish a hearty Mazal Tov to our dear friends Pedro and Susan Bilar, on the engagement of their son Daniel to Liz Barbiero. May you have lots of Nachat from the new couple.

The new school year is coming closer and we are getting ready for a great new year at our Hebrew School, this year at our very own location in Zug! Make sure your child is part of this great Jewish Experience! For registration and more info, please click here.

Allow me to share a story with you which made a great impression on me, and reminded me once again of the importance of the small deeds.

The story began exactly twelve years ago. I was sent from Chabad as a student Rabbi at the age of 18, to a small town in Belarus called Recheze, to spend the High Holiodays there.

This was an experience of a lifetime. A small village in middle of nowehere, the Russian Babushkas with the scarves walking around, and of course, meeting with what was left of the Jewish Community. There were about 300 Jews left in the village, and about 150 of them joined our Rosh Hashana Program.
I will never forget the moment, after I finished blowing the shofar (for the first time in my life), I opened my eyes and saw men and women, who could have easily been my grandparents, sitting with tears in their eyes.
There was one particular Jew, Yakov, who despite his strong will to go to Israel, still hadn't had the chance. He was quite poor, and it was in his simple home, that we stayed over the holidays. I communicated with him in Yiddish, which he spoke fluently, even better than me. He treated us like kings, made sure we have everything we need. Every time we thanked him for his help, he got very emotional.

Before we parted, I wanted to give him something as a memoir, but couldn't think of anything fitting, until I had this idea. In my walkman, I had a cassette of old Yiddish songs sung by the singer Avraham Fried. We were already at the door, about to leave, when I took out this tape and wrote on it: "To my friend Yakov, Shana Tova! In appreciation, Chaim Drukman".

Twelve years passed since then.

I already managed to forget about this story, if it weren't for the phone call I received this week from a Chabad Student Rabbi who visited this village during this past summer. He told me that he visited Yakov, who proudly and emotionally showed him the Yiddish tape which he received from a Rabbi 12 years earlier. He also told him that every Motz'ei Shabbat, when Shabbat is over, they get together in the village and dance to the Yiddish tunes.
I was very excited to hear this and here I am sharing it with you.
Below is a picture of my visit with Yakov.

Speaking of the High holidays, the year 5771 is around the corner, and we have a full program planned.  We would love to welcome you at the Rosh Hashana Community Dinner or the High Holiday Services.

Rivky and the children join me in wishing you all a

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Chaim Drukman


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