Two Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis visited the Kauai island of Hawaii this past month as part of a summer-long community outreach training. They were equipped with books and programming ideas with the intent to reinforce Jewish pride and enhance Jewish education.
Rabbis Pinchas Taylor and Berel Brafman were seen hauling suitcases of videos, brochures, books, Shabbat candles, mezuzahs (a religious scroll placed on doorways) and kosher food.
The two taught classes, including Kabbalah, and host Shabbat dinners. In their visit they reached out to unaffiliated Jews to help them rediscover their heritage and spent much of their time on house-to-house visitation.
Taylor and Brafman are part of a worldwide program sometimes referred to as the Lubavitch Summer Peace Corps. Over 400 young rabbis and senior rabbinical students visit thousands of locations worldwide, including countries like Bolivia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Fiji, Guadeloupe, Ireland, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.
Travel abroad is just one aspect of the program. Rabbinical students and young rabbis also visit locations closer to their home base of New York.
Chosen for their rabbinic proficiency and people skills, the Jewish ambassadors travel in pairs to each place to meet with Jewish communal leaders and educators as well as individuals.
“Many people approach us seeking advice on how to maintain or bolster their Jewish identity, especially where the Jewish infrastructure is small,” Brafman said.
Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, sponsors the outreach program.