Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Roving Rabbis

A guest post by TikunOlam

I have no idea how my TikunOlam gmail address ended up on the email list (since it isn’t even listed on DovBear anymore). I can only guess then, that one of you must have subscribed me or something. Anyway, today they sent me a link to information about “Roving Rabbis,” a program where their young and up and coming rabbis are sent all over the globe to interact with Jews of all kinds. I was curious, so I explored the webpage. The “Roving Rabbis” blog about their experiences and their posts are available here. I was really taken by the powerful and moving way they describe each individual Jew, and the way these young Chabadnicks articulated each Jew’s individuality and uniqueness. There is not one word of judgment, intolerance or criticism to be found in their descriptions of these Jews There are only words of kindness and love. It is easy to see why the Chabadnicks have had such great success as a Kiruv movement.

Here is a sampling:

After visiting West Virginia, home to Joel, Mendel Guervitz, a “Roving Rabbi” described Joel as an “angel” who helped dig him out of a ditch and explained, “I was deeply inspired by him. I never met such a kind person. He made us feel as if he loves driving his tractor and that shlepping us out of the ditch made his day.”

In another post, this one written by Mordechai Lightstone, the young Rabbi described meeting Russian Jews “clad in western blue-jeans and stylish shirts, the old – with weathered jackets and battered caps or Babushkas” He explained that at first, he didn’t even notice them as they were so understated compared to Jews from places like the United States or Mexico. I found his description of the prayers of these understated Jews very moving.

“They pray in silence, the silence of the soul that calls out to G‑d not in words, not pompous voices, or even roaring tears, but the utter silence of the soul as it communes with its Creator in a way so deep, so whole and so real, that words, even sacred ones, would pervert it as sacrilegious.

And when they are done, they kiss their prayerbooks, tucking them safely aside in the shelves behind the pews, and leave.

I notice them. And I am in awe.”

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