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The candles still burn

Friday, 11 June, 2010 - 1:35 pm

Usually when members of the community travel to Israel, I try to get them in contact with my family.  As we are only able to visit on rare occasions, they are always quite thrilled to receive regards from a member of Victoria's Jewish community. However, when Noemi Masson told me that she would be going to Israel, I didn't try to make the connection; she was going on a group trip and I didn't want to complicate things for her.

On Friday last week Noemi and her group arrived for a short two hours in Tzfat. While walking in the old city, a young woman walking with her children approached Noemi and offered her Shabbat candles. After Noemi thanked her for her kindness, she asked, "Do you know Rabbi Meir Kaplan?"

"Meir Kaplan?" Rivky smiled, "he's my brother-in-law!"  Noemi was shocked, she couldn't believe it.  When Noemi was introduced to Rivky's children - Mussi, Leibel and Mendel (and others) - she was convinced... "Well then regards from your brother-in-law!" said Noemi.
the Rebbe.jpgYou might wonder why was Mrs. Rivky Kaplan of Tzfat offering Noemi candles even though she had never met her before...
In fact, Rivky grew up in a home inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, of righteous memory.
The Rebbe assumed the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement just a few years after a third of the Jewish nation perished in the Holocaust. While the Jewish world was in shock, and somewhat in despair, the Rebbe called to spread the light of Yiddishkeit. The Rebbe encouraged each one of his followers not to be satisfied solely by illuminating their own home, but to bring the light and warmth of Judaism to every Jewish home they could reach.
This Tuesday we will mark 16 years since the Rebbe's passing in 1994. Although his physical presence is not with us any longer, the candles that the Rebbe lit continue to bring warmth and light to every corner of the world.
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