1. Tragedy on the Island
Thousands of Shluchos joined the funeral of Virgin Islands Shlucha Henya Federman (nee Shmotkin) who passed away several months after a tragic accident took the life of her 4-month-old baby, Shterna, and left her hospitalized. Since then, stories have been shared about her life, impact, spirit, and sensitivity on her wedding day. While her husband Rabbi Asher, their children, her parents, siblings and community are still in the year of mourning, thousands of Mitzvos, Hakhel gatherings and new initiatives held in her memory continue and expand the impact of her life’s dedication to her Shlichus to her nuclear and island families as one.
2. Siyum @ Kinus
The annual Gala Banquet of the Kinus Hashluchim celebrating and highlighting the international network of Chabad-Lubavitch built by the Rebbe, was joined by 6,500 rabbis and guests from more than 100 countries. One highlight: the Siyum on 36 new Sifrei Torah.
An open letter written by Mrs. Freidy Orgad, Chabad Shlucha in Cluj-Napoca (Klausenburg), Romania, has drawn much attention as it addressed the expectations (and demands) that frum travelers have from Chabad centers in their vacation destinations.
4. Photoshop no more
For the first time, participants of the International Kinus Hashluchos took a group photo outside Lubavitch World Headquarters – 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. In the past, the photo was taken indoors and photoshopped with 770 in the background.
5. Observing the 39
With a yarmulke on his head and seforim in his locker, Sam Salz is the first Shomer Shabbos college football player competing in the Southeastern Conference. He told COLlive why he chose the number 39 for his shirt.
6. For Sale
The majestic-looking home of R’ Shmuel Isaac and Miriam Popack OBM on President Street in Crown Heights, with a market value of $2.43M, went up for sale. The 2-story 3584 sq. ft. unit has 7 bedrooms, 2 kitchens. The broker, their grandson Yaakov Feldman, told us this week that it is currently “under contract.”
7. Mega Hakhel
5783 was the year of Hakhel and one of the first events, held on Chol Hamoed Sukkos, was a Mega Hakhel Unity Event participated by thousands of men, women and children in front of 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights with musical performances and inspiration.
8. “Mega Million”
Rabbi Uriel Vigler, a Chabad Shliach in Manhattan, received an actual check for the dream sum of $12 million. He started dreaming of everything he could accomplish with that money, but things didn’t go so smoothly…
9. Suspicious Text
Staff at Bais Rivkah School in Crown Heights warned parents about a suspicious text message from at least two high school girls inviting them to be part of a supposed video filmed by comedian and film producer Mendy Pellin. He had no connection with it.
10. Chilul Hashem
An unknown person removed the stickers from the Citi Bike shared bicycles on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights and switched them with yellow “Welcome Moshiach” stickers.
11. It Was Great
The Great Lag BaOmer Parade in Crown Heights was truly great this year, in the spirit of Hakhel, at 770 Eastern Parkway, where thousands of Jewish children gathered for this special event.
12. Pizza pizza
Nadav Hadad and Yaakov Atia have partnered to open Ricotta, the first kosher pizza restaurant and bakery in New Haven, Connecticut.
13. Smart cookie
Home, but not alone: Laili Bialo, the 14-year-old daughter of Chabad Shluchim, was shocked to see an unknown man sleeping under the table in her basement. She credits her resolve to a Mitzvah she’s done earlier.
14. I’m a Jew and I’m Proud
Once again, 3,000 Jewish teens from 30 countries joined together in Times Square for the 15th Annual CTeen Jewish Pride Takeover of Times Square featuring singer Benny Friedman.
15. In style
With a pop of a bottle of champagne, Chaya Delevkovitz (nee Nash) brought her Boutique 25 clothing consignment store from humble beginnings in the basement of her parents’ home in Crown Heights to a new showroom on Kingston Avenue.
16. Shliach’s ploy
When a plane full of Jewish passengers was delayed for close to 12 hours, Orlando Shluchim Rabbi Yosef and Chani Konikov sprung into action. But then they needed to find a way to sneak it into the airport…
17. Those Litvaks…
Mrs. Nechama Dina Krinsky, Chabad Shlucha in Vilna, Lithuania, and mother of 11 children, faced imprisonment after questionable charges have been brought against her. She openly addressed the case and COLlive readers generously donated to her legal fees. A judge ended up ruling against jail time.
18. Post Gimmel Tammuz Perspective
An Op-Ed response by a Bochur of today and its many comments and responses raised some enlightening points and was widely shared by many in the global Chabad community, and was a topic of discussion amongst schools and educators.
19. Chilling story
A man called Chabad’s MADA Community Center in Montreal and offered a $13,000 donation with a request that the rabbi couldn’t fulfill. The setback, as told to COLlive, had a tragic family event come full circle in an incredible turn of events.
20. Mazal Tov X4
Double Mazal Tov phenomenon: Rabbi Shimon and Chani Gruzman (nee Labkowski), Chabad Shluchim in Castro Valley, California, welcomed a set of twin babies. And it is the fourth set they were blessed with.
Wishing you all a kesiva vachasima tova. May you be inscribed for a happy and sweet new year and may we share good news!