Mr. Mike Eman, Jewish prime minister of Aruba and longtime friend of Chabad, included Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters on his itinerary during a visit to New York last week.
He was welcomed by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, head shliach to Thailand, Rabbi Mendel Kotlarsky, and Rabbi Peretz Blasberg, father of Aruba shliach Rabbi Aharon Blasberg
Mr. Eman toured the Rebbe’s room and the Jewish Children’s Museum and then participated in a reception held in his honor in the sukkah of Rabbi Moshe and Rivka Kotlarsky.
At the reception, the head of state of the tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela received greetings from Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and Machne Yisroel.
Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch has been sending bochurim to visit Aruba’s Jews for over 20 years, among them Rabbi Dovid Kotlarsky who introduced Mr. Eman to Chabad. Dovid’s relationship with the prime minister and tireless efforts scouting out Aruba’s Jews led to the establishment of a permanent Chabad House on the island nearly two years ago when Rabbi and Mrs. Blasberg moved there.
During his visit, Mr. Eman expressed his admiration for the Blasbergs and the amazing inroads they have made in solidifying the presence of Judaism on the island. Indeed, the Blasbergs have hosted and touched the lives of thousands of Jewish tourists who’ve partaken in their many Shabbos and yom tov programs and events.
Mr. Eman supports the Blasbergs’ vision to create a welcome center where Jews of all stripes can access and celebrate their Judaism while visiting the island and, along with the Blasbergs, anticipates further growth within the Jewish community.