The Jewish community of Rostov joined together to celebrate the Rebbe Rashab’s birthday, which occurred on Shabbos, the 20th of MarCheshvan.
Rostov Jews have a long tradition of visiting the Ohel of the Rebbe located in the Old Jewish cemetery in the center of the city. On Friday, the Ohr Avner Jewish Day School visited the Ohel and shared a moving experience, praying together at the holy site. For weeks prior to Chof Cheshvan the students were busy preparing creative projects and reports about the Rebbe Rashab, which were then displayed in the Shul at a community lecture on Sunday.
On Sunday, more than 100 people gathered at the Ohel to read their ‘panim’ and pray on behalf of their families and the entire Jewish community. Rabbi Chaim Danzinger explained the various customs associated with visiting the Ohel, and led the recital of Tehilim aloud. Additional letters were brought to the Ohel that were sent by Chassidim from around the world.
After visiting the Ohel, many members of the community gathered in the Shul for a lecture by guest speaker Rabbi DovBer Baitman of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Rabbi Baitman gave an uplifting and thought-provoking speech about the foundation of Chassidus, the Ten Sefiros, and the importance of keeping the Mitzvot. A separate lecture was held earlier in the afternoon for students and young professionals, focusing on the importance of Jewish marriage and relationships.
The highlights of the day were the Bris Milah ceremonies held for three local Jews aged 22-28, who are now identified by their chosen Jewish names; Yosef, Mordechai and Binyamin.
Finally, the Chof Cheshvan festivities concluded with a lively farbrengen that lasted well into the night. The nigunim and inspiring words of Torah lifted the spirits of all who attended.
“Due to the many challenges facing Jewish communities in Russia, it is particularly important that everyone participate in this special occasion,” said Rabbi Danzinger. “In times of hardship, sharing the joy of a Chassidic holiday will bring happiness and blessings to the entire community.”