By Rabbi Zalman Vishedski – Shliach in Basal, Switzerland
Rabbi Osher Krichevsky stood there with his 11-year-old son as a Russian border official led him to a small closed room, where he remained for many hours.
This was not the first time they had landed in Moscow.
Rabbi Krichevsky and his wife Rochale already had lived in Russia for 17 years prior. They have been Shluchim of the Rebbe to Omsk in Siberia, and suddenly he is being refused entry.
This was Tuesday the 28th of Cheshvan 5779 (November 2018), Osher and his son were returning from the International Kinus Hashluchim in New York. Unlike in past Chabad history, they were not being sent there against their will, rather they were going with joy and excitement. This was their home, community and people – Jews that they have found and fired up their souls and warmed their hearts despite the Siberian ice. They were not exiled. They were on a mission.
Suddenly they found themselves expelled from this country. Why? They were never told.
The young boy looked at his father, the source of his strength, watching to see his reaction. Rabbi Krichevsky says with determination, “we are Shluchim, and will always be Shluchim.”
The family was forced to leave their warm and comfortable home, the community they had created and nurtured, that loved them, a reflection of the Krichevskys’ love for them. The Krichevskys continued to care and help the Jewish community in Omsk, even from a distance.
Three long years passed. With time, the Krichevskys realized that Russia was not longer an option for them. This is what Hashem wanted, they told themselves. This is what was chosen for them. But there is one thing that Osher and Rochele know, “we are Shluchim, and we will continue as Shluchim.”
So they decided to keep the mission – but in another location.
They are now heading to the Hammersmith and Fulham neighborhoods of London. Although around 3,000 Jews live there, there is no Chabad center or synagogue. Perhaps they are what the area needs – a couple that won’t give up and never loses their spirit. If they can warm the cold of Siberia, a little English indifference won’t put them out either.
Those who were able to say, whilst being banished, “we are and always will be shluchim,” will be able to handle this challenge, and instead of being exiled, they bring the light and love with them.
Friends, today they need a boost. A boost of love, but in a tangible way.
When one sees people do something special, throwing themselves into the deep end, one wants to be a part of it and connect to it, to come along on a part of the journey. They are running a crowdfunding campaign to start up their Shlichus. Please give them a hand – give them love.
Donate at https://www.charidy.com/Fulham/76811