Editor’s note: Many tragic passings in the Chabad community were among the most viewed articles, but at the request of many, we are not including them on this list to allow the families to grieve.
1. Eli or Ali?
The Jewish world was shocked to learn that Eliyah Haliwa, a frum-looking newlywed lied about his faith and was in fact Ali Hasan Hawila, born as a Muslim in Lebanon. The officiating Rabbi David Zafrani said he was fooled, and Ali/Eli shared in a radio interview how he gained entry to the Jewish community. In another twist to the plot, a Yichus expert claimed Haliwa has Jewish ancestry.
2. Higher power
Motti Avraham, a 15-year-old talented athlete, was instructed by a referee to remove his yarmulka during a competitive municipal soccer league in Quebec, Canada. The reaction of players and the coaches was heartwarming.
3. Kiddush Hashem
The biggest story of the Kinus Hashluchim was when Rabbi Gabriel Benayon of Chabad in Panama returned from shopping in Manhattan and gave his older pair of shoes to a man at the Subway. The story went viral and has moved many people.
4. Achdus @ 770
A huge crowd of 15,000 men, women and children united at 770 Eastern Parkway for the Mega Yud Alef Nissan event to celebrate the 120th birthday of the Rebbe. Rabbonim, Shluchim and singers appeared on stage. COLlive followed up with photo galleries and videos.
5. To vaxx or not to vaxx
The son of Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba, the son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Heller and other Crown Heights individuals held a “rabbinical panel” that heard physicians and researchers question the Covid-19 vaccine. Member of the Crown Heights Beis Din Rabbi Yosef Braun, on the other hand, stated that the opinions of ‘lone’ doctors shouldn’t be followed.
6. Funny you should ask
After a full day of errands, Hawaii Shlucha Perel Krasnjansky stopped at the Whole Foods Market in Honolulu and was certain she heard a family down the aisle speaking Hebrew. They weren’t but that wasn’t the end of it…
7. The winds of war
Even after Russia declared war on Ukraine, local Shluchim stayed put with their communities. But when the situation became too dangerous, a mass exodus of Jews occurred. The Raices and Levinson families from Kharkiv received a hero’s welcome when they landed at JFK Airport in New York.
8. Terror hits home
Menachem Palace, a Lubavitcher bochur from Crown Heights was shot in the Arab terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. He surprised Israeli TV when he said he said that his love for the holy land has not diminished.
9. Live from New Jersey
Back in-person, the annual Gala Banquet of the International Kinus Hashluchim was once again a top viewed event that highlighted the network of Chabad-Lubavitch built by the Rebbe with inspiring speeches, video productions and dancing to Chassidic music.
10. Meaningful encounter
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Randolph, who founded the video streaming company Netflix, has done many things in his life. A Bar Mitzvah wasn’t one of them until he met 2 Lubavitchers last week.
11. Mit Mazal
The wedding of Mendel Mintz to Miriam Fink was the most viewed simcha of the year in Lubavitch. The sight of the happy couple, both in wheelchairs due to physical disabilities, has warmed the heart of many. Honoring the occasion, and the energetic chosson, who is active in community affairs, was a citation by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, wishes from COLlive staff, an op-ed from a guest, and of course, a full photo gallery.
12. The Rebbe foresaw
What the Rebbe had warned about back in the 70s happened: one of the top bochurim in a well-known Israeli yeshiva who was in shidduchim suddenly found out he was born to a non-Jewish mother from Ukraine.
13. Ahava v’achava
On the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords, 1,500 guests from around the world, including leading rabbis, dignitaries and Emirati royals, celebrated the wedding of United Arab Emirates Chief Rabbi Levi Duchman and Lea Hadad. It was the largest Jewish event in the Arabian Gulf and included a kumzitz by Avraham Fried, a Chassidic farbrengen, and a tribute the next morning in Dubai.
14. Thank you, Hashem
A pregnant Chabad woman hiking with her daughter in the Niagara Falls trails tripped over a 50-foot cliff and fell onto boulders. When she was brought to the hospital, doctors couldn’t believe her condition.
15. What a bust
Damning video showed how the owner Kosher Chinese Express in Manalapan, New Jersey was buying non-kosher meat and chickens at a nearby wholesale store; OK Kosher to customers: Kasher your utensils. OK Kosher explained how it happened.
16. Social danger
Naomi Lloroff, a 13-year-old daughter of a frum Jewish family, went missing after becoming acquainted with a suspect person via TikTok. She was found in a Muslim home in Bolivia.
17. Blaming the Jew
An angry mob protesting “greedy Jewish landlords” is defending a tenant in Crown Heights who hasn’t paid rent in 6 years and is embroiled in a legal dispute with the owner who happens to be Jewish; “NYPD refuses to act.”
18. Auction concoction
Chabad-linked artifacts were being sold by the Kedem Auction House. A COLlive investigation revealed that their source was Shaul Shimon Deutsch, a Boro Park resident who was embroiled in legal woes over theft and was caught lying in the past. Genazym auction house said they won’t work with him, an op-ed clarified a missing point, Kedem tried doubling down, and then faced buyer’s remorse.
The Shidduch House, set to open on President Street in Crown Heights, will be a working space for shadchanim to make calls, interview singles and parents and solve the crisis one shidduch at a time.
20. Juden Raus
German airline Lufthansa faced withering criticism after airline staff barred all Jews from a connecting flight, with armed officers called in to prevent any Jews from boarding the flight. The airline apologized, their CEO called Berlin Chief Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, and their Consul General in New York visited Crown Heights.
Wishing you all a kesiva vachasima tova. May you be inscribed for a happy and sweet new year and may we share good news!
Click here to read COLlive.com’s most talked about articles of 5782.