Pictures by Ezra Benjamin
On motzei Shabbos, January 12, Chabad of Baka hosted its 11th anniversary Yud Shvat dinner at the beautiful Yaffale Hall in Jerusalem.
More than 150 people gathered to hear dynamic speakers, including Mark Halawa, who shared his spiritual journey from Kuwaiti Muslim to Jerusalem Jew.
Halawa highlighted the importance of Rabbi Dr. Yitzchok Block in his journey. He reflected, “If not for the Rebbe and his shluchim, I wouldn’t have this story to tell.”
Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Nahoum, an activist on behalf of the community, was in attendance and shared her blessings. Alex Traiman, devoted Gabbai, was MC.
Hadass Pal Yarden, a mother in the Friendship Circle of South Jerusalem, spoke of the impact it has on her family. She shared, “The weekly volunteers become like sisters to my daughters, Neta and Noya.”
Pinny Shachar, Gavriel Sultan, and R’ Yitzchak Hurwitz uplifted the crowd with their musical talent.
This year’s anniversary celebration was especially meaningful, as Chabad of Baka embarks on a building campaign to raise the funds for an impressive center. The Jerusalem City Hall has approved a spacious property at 97 Derech Beit Lehem for the community to build its shul, and plans are now underway.
Chabad of Baka, otherwise known as Beit Levi, is named after Rabbi Avraham Hendel‘s brother Levi who lost his life in a car accident in 2006, while on the way to a Chanukah program for IDF soldiers in Eilat. Rabbi Hendel and his family moved from Florida to Jerusalem 11 years ago to open an outreach center in Levi’s memory.
Thus Beit Levi-Chabad of Baka was born. The now-thriving community of olim from around the world joins together for daily and Shabbos services, Torah learning, and chesed programs, such as the Friendship Circle of South Jerusalem, which fosters inclusion for children with special needs.
As Rabbi Hendel said at the event, “The loss of my dear brother Levi propels us forward to spread his message of love and kindness here in Yerushalayim. We now look forward to having a permanent building in his name.”
The Beit Levi Chabad house will be a center for Jews in Jerusalem and around the world.