By COLlive reporter
Photos: Shmuel Amit/COLlive
The many guests who came from around the world spend Tishrei by the Rebbe know 2 addresses by heart: 770 Eastern Parkway and 226-20 Francis Lewis Blvd.
Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and the Rebbe’s Ohel in Cambria Heights, Queens, were frequented this past month by tens of thousands during the many holidays.
This year, another address became a focal point for guests: 1349 President Street, the large home of the generous couple R’ Moshe and Fayge Rubashkin.
At almost all hours of the day, people of all ages were seen flocking to the house to drink a warm cup of coffee, grab a snack, eat a hearty meal or just meet up with friends and family. Some even came there to daven and recite Tehillim.
Moshe Rubashkin, former Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, is known to open his home for community events and simches. But this year, he went all out with building a temporary structure on the lawn of his and neighboring homes.
In doing so, he was addressing an urgent need to feed the many guests that come for Tishrei. Crown Heights families graciously host many, and organizations such as Eshel and Vaad Hatmimim cater to bochurim, many are left without organized meals despite having sleeping accommodations.
Throughout the month, Rubashkin hosted between 800 – 1,000 people for each meal daily, serving home-cooked holiday feasts of roast chicken, top quality meat, vegetables, salads, kugels and more.
And this was not store-bought trays of food, one guest said. “This was home-cooked food, in a homey, warm atmosphere.” Indeed, Rubashkin himself could be seen there daily, mingling with and personally greeting and serving his guests.
Tzvi Tesler, a Lubavitcher journalist with Channel 20 on Israeli TV and radio Kol Chai, was one of those people who were kindly hosted for meals.
“A person who hasn’t experienced it can’t imagine what was going on in this Hachnosas Orchim operation,” Tesler wrote in the Kfar Chabad Magazine. “I asked him for the amounts of food and drink he has been serving for free, but he humbly declined to disclose.”
Tesler says that over Sukkos he witnessed nutritious meals being served 24 hours a day. “Almost any time I came to the property, I saw R’ Moshe there walking around and making sure no one is missing a thing.”
“At one point, one guest who didn’t recognize Rubashkin thought he was part of the wait staff and asked him to fetch him something from the kitchen. R’ Moshe gladly did it with a smile,” Tesler says.
In addition to the meals served in 4 large Sukkahs and indoors for women and girls, Rubashkin also set up hundreds of beds for the guests who needed one.
It is no surprise that some guests have been calling Rubashkin “Avraham Avinu of Crown Heights” for emulating the first of the patriarchs with his open-door policy.
At the end of the month, a large group of his guests presented him with a 150-page book, signed with thankful messages from hundreds of the grateful recipients of his kindness. Some said they learned about the meaning of Ahavas Yisroel and true love for a fellow Jew from Rubashkin, others said they would have gone to sleep hungry if not for him.
“Many said they were inspired by his ways, how he personally served each guest with a smile,” one guest told COLlive. “They said they hope to emulate his ways when they set up their own homes in the future,” he said.