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Completing the Mishkan

Dear friends,

Cleaning for Pesach in many Jewish homes becomes an organization campaign. Going through the house collections can include some nostalgic moments, adding some color and excitement to a task that could be tiresome at times.  We had one such moment this week.  

After last Chanukah, when our son Leibel was "rich" with the Chanukah Gelt we gave him (not the chocolate kind...) he knew what his money would go for. He wanted to buy himself an assembly kit so he can build a model of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle – the ancient temple in the dessert). Leibel was very excited when the box arrived in the mail and a few days later (with some help) the masterpiece was standing in full glory.

mishkan.JPGShortly after the model was completed it was left unattended on the couch. As you can imagine, putting human weight on this little temple was not the best idea... The result was pretty devastating. Many of the little puzzle pieces were broken, Leibel wasn't happy at all,  but throwing it out wasn't an option. We put it aside.

On Monday, when we came across the broken model while cleaning for Pesach - I decided to make an effort to fix it. I called Leibel and together we put glue on the tiny pieces and after a few hours the Mishkan was ready, again. I took a step back to admire our work, then I realized - tonight is the first of Nissan, the same date that the Mishkan was completed in the Sinai dessert, as describes in the book of Exodus. When I looked at Leibel's eyes, I felt more than ever before the joyous celebration that took place that day, 3,324 years ago.


Sharing good news is always a great pleasure, much more so when you have something positive to tell about subjects that usually come up in a negative context. We are all aware of the unfortunate change that is taking place in Turkey; this makes me happy to share with you the following news.

 As many of you got to know over the years, members of our family live in different parts of the world, mostly in positions of Chabad Rabbis and Rebbetzins, serving the local Jewish communities. One of them, who grew up together with me in the city of Tzfat, in fact we lived literally next door to each other, is Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, whose home is now in Istanbul, where together with his wife, he serves the Jewish community of Turkey.

While we meet each other at family Simchas and other occasions, our conversations are usually about our personal lives and family updates. We never seem to really get to talk much about our work and community.

This week I heard, from a common friend, that no less than three thousand (!) local Jews participated last Sunday in an extremely joyous Purim party in Istanbul, organized by the Chitriks.  Perhaps it’s not really a news item just reconfirmation - Am Israel Chai!

Heartwarming Note

Over the years we have received many different thank you cards and letters from members of the community, but the one we have received this week was very special. 

The Purim party on Sunday was really amazing. Many people, young and old, celebrated with big smiles and lots of dancing in the spirit of the joyous holiday. There was a strong feeling of warmth, community and togetherness.

A memorable moment for me, was when in the middle of the intense dancing, I found myself in a little circle with a grandfather, a father and a little granddaughter. I looked on their faces and they were all glowing with the same energy.  At that moment it was clear to me that all the effort and cost invested in the party was well worth it.

But when a day after Purim I found in our mail box a picture drawn by the toddler as her appreciation for the party with a note from her parents and grandparents - I knew that the Joy of Jewish life has been transmitted to yet another generation. Anything more heartwarming than that?

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