By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Benzion and Chaya Shemtov arrived last week in Arizona to establish Chabad of Cochise County, the 21st Chabad center in the Grand Canyon State.
Accompanied by their children Goldie and Rochel, the couple will be making their home in Sierra Vista, which serves as the main commercial, cultural, and recreational hub of Cochise County.
The city is located 75 miles southeast of Tucson, where Rabbi Shemtov was born and raised as the child of Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Shemtov, sent by the Rebbe to Tucson in 1983 and who head a network of 4 Chabad centers in Southern Arizona.
“Benzion discovered a need for rabbinical guidance, Jewish programming and study, in Sierra Vista and Cochise County,” the senior Rabbi Shemtov wrote to his community about the appointment authorized by Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters and Chabad of Arizona.
“What moved me most is the fact that Benzion has chosen this path at all,” Rabbi Yossie Shemtov noted. “He grew up witnessing and experiencing the erratic life of a Chabad Rabbi and yet has chosen the same for himself.”
He added, “I know Benzion and Chaya have the determination, passion and sincerity to carry on the Rebbe’s vision to not leave one Jew behind. Benzion and Chaya – Sierra Vista is lucky to have you.”
Rabbi Benzion Shemtov and his wife Chaya (nee Yarmush) said that with little to no Jewish structure within 80 miles, they plan on servicing local Jewish needs, including the nearby U.S. Army post of Fort Huachuca.
Funding for the initial move and first year of activity was acquired through a grassroots fundraising campaign to which over 300 people contributed mostly in small donations.
“Living in Crown Heights for the last 5 years, I had the opportunity to meet many people and to see how the Crown Heights community comes together in times of need,” Rabbi Benzion Shemtov said. “Where I had yet to experience this ‘rallying together’ is when a couple dedicates their life to enhance or establish a Chabad house.”
“In the last few weeks, I experienced an overwhelming positive response with over 300 members of Anash contributing in my efforts alone. You have all given me a clear feeling of encouragement and strength in starting this role. Your commitment to new Shluchim creates an important foundation on which they can build their Shlichus.”
For those who wish to assist and donate towards our Shlichus, our website is JewishSierraVista.com.