By COLlive reporter
In time for the new Jewish year, Rabbi Sruly and Chavie Shemtov from Brooklyn, NY, have established a new Chabad Jewish Center to serve the growing needs of the Jewish population in Vail, a southeast suburb of Tucson in Arizona.
Over the past few years, Vail has seen a surge in population growth in the family-friendly area with spectacular views of the Rincon Mountains and Saguaro National Park, a top tourism spot within Arizona.
“Many young families are moving to Vail and the Jewish community is no exception,” says Rabbi Shemtov. He said that Chabad will be “an address for everything Jewish,” providing services to Jews of all denominations and backgrounds in the area.
“Our aim is to provide a place where Jews can explore and learn about their heritage and history in a non-judgmental and comfortable atmosphere,” the rabbi said. “We hope to work with the local Jewish community to strengthen and promote Jewish pride, education and celebration.”
The Shemtovs come to Vail with experience in Jewish education roles and outreach.
Rabbi Shemtov, ordained at the Rabbinical College of American in Morristown, New Jersey, has served as a student rabbi in communities across the world. Including in Bulgaria, Wyoming, South Dakota and California where he has led educational and holiday programs. He has taught children through Torah Tutors, an online Jewish studies platform.
Mrs. Shemtov (nee Kahanov) was raised in Jacksonville where she assisted her parents Rabbi Yoseph and Rivkie Kahanov in running Chabad Lubavitch of Northeast Florida. A graduate of the Division of Higher Learning of Associated Beth Rivkah School in Brooklyn, NY, she led educational programs and administrative work at Chabad of Oro Valley in Arizona and Chabad of the West Side in New York City.
Rabbi and Mrs. Shemtov say that they were inspired by the teachings of the Rebbe. In a time when more and more people are searching for meaning and fulfillment in their lives, the Rebbe taught that the Torah is the blueprint for a meaningful life, and its relevance to every aspect of life continues in the modern era.
They were appointed by Arizona’s Head Shliach Rabbi Zalman Levertov making them the 39th family of Shluchim in the Grand Canyon State.
Rabbi Yossie Shemtov, Executive Director of Chabad Tucson, says that his nephew and niece were a natural choice for the task.
“Rabbi Sruly and Chavie have visited Southern Arizona multiple times and have become familiar with the culture and needs of the Jewish community,” he said. “Their motivation and commitment will guide them as they establish the first official Jewish presence in Vail. We wish them much success and look forward to working with them.”
Among the first Jewish activities in which locals will be able to participate are services and programs for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Tishrei. The Shemtovs will also be offering Shabbos dinners, personalized Torah study and holiday programming.
To support their Shlichus, donate at https://www.jewishvailaz.com/5180688