Chabad Cen­tre hosts his­toric rabbi con­fer­ence.

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Paul H. Wil­liams/Gleaner Writer

THE CHABAD Cen­tre in Mon­tego Bay, St James, caters to the spir­i­tual, di­etary, and other needs of the lo­cal Jewish com­mu­nity and Jewish vis­i­tors to the coun­try who want to ob­serve their cus­toms while still on va­ca­tion. It op­er­ates un­der the slo­gan ‘Chabad of Ja­maica, your one stop for ev­ery­thing Jewish in Ja­maica.’

And from Sun­day, Au­gust 26, to Tues­day, Au­gust 28, more than a dozen rab­bis serv­ing Jewish com­mu­ni­ties around the Caribbean con­verged in Mon­tego Bay for a 36-hour con­fer­ence hosted by the Chabad Cen­tre of Mon­tego Bay. The ses­sions broached a range of top­ics unique to Jewish life in the re­gion, in­clud­ing best prac­tices in re­vi­tal­is­ing Jewish life in the re­gion, where the story of the Jews who came here goes back to the 1500s. One of the high­lights of the gath­er­ing was a trip led by host Rabbi Yaakov Raskin of Mon­tego Bay to the old Jewish ceme­tery in Fal­mouth, Trelawny. There, a me­mo­rial prayer “In the Caribbean, where Jewish peo­ple are of­ten spread so thinly, we see that when peo­ple get to­gether, the re­sult is far greater than the sum to­tal,” says Rabbi Zarchi, chair­man of Chabad in the Caribbean. “In al­most ev­ery in­stance, you have lo­cals, va­ca­tion­ers, and busi­ness peo­ple com­ing to­gether to plant seeds of spir­i­tu­al­ity. And those seeds bear beau­ti­ful fruits that can be en­joyed by all in ways that are still un­fold­ing.”

The con­fer­ence cli­maxed with a ban­quet dinner at the home of Rabbi Yaakov and Reb­bet­zin Mush­kee. There, the guest speak­ers were Rabbi Moshe Kot­larski, vice-chair­man of Merkos L’Iny­onei Chin­uch, the ed­u­ca­tional arm of the Chabad-Lubav­itch move­ment; Ains­ley Hen­riques, Is­rael’s hon­orary con­sul to Ja­maica; and Alex Britell, ed­i­tor-in-chief and founder of the Caribbean and Cuban Jour­nal.

Coun­sel­lor Hen­riques wel­comed the rab­bis on be­half of the Jews in Ja­maica and spoke about the rich Jewish his­tory in the Caribbean. Britell recog­nised the rab­bis for their work and shared a wealth of knowl­edge of the Caribbean. Rabbi Kot­larski en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to con­tinue the work it has been do­ing and gave his bless­ings for the up­com­ing Jewish New Year, which be­gins to­mor­row evening (Sun­day, Septem­ber 9) and lasts un­til Tues­day.

To ob­serve the New Year, all 16 Chabad cen­tres in the Caribbean will be hold­ing high-hol­i­day ser­vices. Cel­e­bra­tions are open to all res­i­dents and vis­i­tors.

Rabbi Yaakov Raskin


Ains­ley Hen­riques

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