To the wonderful Crown Heights Community, Anash worldwide, and fellow Shluchim,
This past week, we had a Chanukah Miracle. In a small city of only 12,000 people, in the “Catskills” of California (where it snows), a Jewish community was created. The pintele yid was ignited in hundreds of Jews throughout the 8 days of Chanukah celebrations.
Statistically it doesn’t add up how in such a tiny city, over 100 Menorahs were distributed to Jewish families B”H, 25 young precious children took part in an olive press and other Chanukah children’s events, 250 people attended the public Menorah Lighting downtown and forty adults and children joined for more family-style celebrations like a Chanukah Shabbos Seuda and a “Latkes Avent”.
Throughout Chanukah, with the help of 2 incredible Bochurim from New York, we connected with at least 30 ‘new’ Jewish families. The city was abuzz with a Car Menorah Parade driving through all the streets of the city (we said it was small, right?) and having Chanukah celebrations and Menorah Lightings in supermarkets and in the streets of downtown.
The question we get asked all the time is “Why?” – why did we decide to move to Grass Valley, California – a city with such a small population? Having seen first-hand the amount of families thirsting for authentic Yiddishkeit in a short visit to the city last year, and with the Rebbe’s Brachos, we took one big leap of faith – into the unknown. But how would we actually make it happen?
That’s where YOU came into the picture. Not having any major supporters, we turned to you – our Crown neighbors and friends, our fellow Shluchim, and Anash worldwide – to help us get our feet on the ground, to help us be able to afford to create programs that would bring together a Jewish community until we can בעז”ה be fully supported locally.
You probably don’t remember me, I was just one of a dozen new Shluchim going around at that time in 770, neighborhood shuls, and to our family and friends, with a credit card swiper in hand, humbly asking for help with launching a new Shlichus in a small remote city of some 12,000 people (and only a few hundred Jewish families).
Although you might not have known who I was, it was touching to see how as Chassidim, everyone cared for the “cause”. I am humbled by the hundreds of Anash who happily and generously partnered in our Shlichus, and we thank COL for celebrating this milestone with Anash worldwide. Many of you preferred to contribute anonymously and so it’s my hope that this open letter expressing my heartfelt Hakaras Hatov reaches you.
From the bottom of our hearts, and representing the many Jews we’ve already connected with: Thank you! Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for your unbelievable generosity in funding us, notwithstanding your physical distance from our community.
It’s thanks to your support, and the Rebbe’s Brachos, that we were B”H able to make strong inroads in the community in the short time we’ve been here, including starting a Hebrew School twice a week, a weekly Parsha class, a Shabbos morning Davening class, Tefillin Club, monthly women’s events, Shabbos meals and more.
Whenever you find yourself on the west coast, please come visit Chabad of Grass Valley and we hope you’ll be proud to see the “peiros” of the seeds you planted. In the merit of your participation, may you be bentched with much continued and ever-growing success in all of your endeavors, coupled with good health, much nachas, joy and prosperity.
With deep appreciation,
Rabbi Nochum & Chyena Yusewitz
Shluchim and directors of Chabad of Grass Valley, California