By Lubavitch.com and COLlive
Israeli President Shimon Peres boasted his Europen haredi ancestry during a gala banquet saluting Chabad Shluchim in the former Soviet Union.
“I’m half Chasid, half Litvak,” Peres joked at the event in Jerusalem. “I assume that the combination is what gave me the opportunity to serve as president.”
Peres, who recently returned from a State visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, had the opportunity to see some of the Chabad centers.
“I have no idea when the dead will come back to life, but I am certain that your work that gives life to the living, is no less important,” he said.
“From Mumbai in India, to Siberia in Russia, Chabad Shluchim are in the trenches, breathing life into places remote and removed from centers of Judaism.”
“I have deep respect for every Shliach, who along with his wife and children copes alone, on foreign soil, against hidden enemies, terror – and does not deter.”
The event was an ovation to Chabad representatives in an area of the world where it takes mettle and moxie to turn the tide of a doomed Jewish future.
In just a short number of years, Chabad has addressed the needs of perhaps the most assimilated and ignorant Jewish population anywhere, with astonishing results.
The Shluchim took part in a four-day conference in Israel, which concluded with Sunday night’s banquet at Israel’s National Hall, in Jerusalem.
The activities continue despite the severe financial difficulties that compound the challenges of Chabad representatives in this region.
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Chabad’s educational division, said he sees the economic recession as a “test.”
He pointed to the continued dedication, despite real limitations in the current economy, of pillars like Lev Leviev, George Rohr, and Gennady Bogolubov.
But the sense of urgency compels Chabad to become ever more resourceful, because the work cannot be slowed. According to Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, two more couples will be arriving in the FSU this week, to take up positions as Shluchim.