And of Zebulun he said:
Rejoice, O Zebulun, on your journeys,
And Issachar, in your tents.
They invite their kin to the mountain,
Where they offer sacrifices of success.
For they draw from the riches of the sea
And the hidden hoards of the sand. (Deuteronomy 33:18-19)
Before his passing, Jacob blessed his children and extolled their unique gifts. He praised the partnership between Issachar and Zebulun: the one would devote his life to the study and dissemination of Torah, producing scholars and teachers; the latter would build wealth and support his brother’s Torah study. Issachar is the elder of the two, yet Jacob blesses Zebulun first, for his support ensures the transmission of Judaism.
The success of Chabad’s work on behalf of the Jewish people depends on this symbiotic relationship between partners. Shluchim, who go out to establish and serve communities in the capacity of Issachar — disseminators of Torah — cannot do so without financial supporters to serve as their Zebulun.
Who are they? Why do they give? What do they get?
Here we meet some of these sons and daughters of Jacob, and learn what drives this partnership.
Chabad Lubavitch Of Oregon – Portland, Oregon
Founder and CEO, Meriwether Group
I first encountered Chabad as a young child in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My parents had divorced and as the security of my family unraveled, I thrived in the acceptance and connection that Rabbi Yossi and Sarah Weingarten gave me.
It wasn’t until years later, now living in Portland, that I reconnected with Chabad. After moving to the city as an adult, I searched for a synagogue for a while but nothing clicked. Then I met Rabbi Chayim and Simi Mishulovin.
As I got to know them, we talked a lot about the modern Jew who wants soulfulness, depth, and a real connection with his heritage. But he wants it in a way that aligns with how he lives his life. That’s the amazing thing about Chabad. They’re never going to make you feel bad about what you’re not doing. And because they are that way, it has invited me to deepen my faith, practice, and connection to G-d.
Together with Rabbi and Simi, we have been conducting focus groups for all demographics of Jews, asking, “what is that Jewish itch that you haven’t been able to scratch?”
As an entrepreneur I seek to bring a newness and relevance to consumers and we’re doing that here, at the Urban Jewish Oasis in downtown Portland, where we will offer a living room and kosher kitchen space to serve every Jewish need. We’re serving up Judaism with love. It’s here for you when you are available and willing.
The Shul of Newtown – Newtown, Pennsylvania
Personal Injury Attorney
I’ve been involved with many Jewish organizations over the years, but the personal relationship I have with Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein pushes me to support what he’s doing. As a trial lawyer, I have to be able to detect when someone is sincere. I sense that Chabad has a sincere desire to reach out to every Jew. They actually mean it when they talk about loving every Jew.
A big part of my involvement with Chabad here in Newtown is through the many classes that Rabbi Weinstein teaches. He’s always demonstrated an intellectual authenticity, addressing issues head on. He talks to you where you are and makes Torah approachable whatever your background is.
Jewish Youth Library – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
My relationship with Devora Caytak and her wonderful family keeps me going. They do tremendous outreach and are one hundred percent supportive of you, wherever you are on the observance spectrum. Personally, I don’t have any children of my own, so I see supporting Chabad as my way of ensuring Jewish continuity. I’m not observant, but it’s clear to me that Chabad is the only game in town when it comes to transmitting authentic Jewish values to the next generation, and combating assimilation.
Chabad of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chabad of Marin, California
Chabad of Taos, New Mexico
I’m a Reform Jew and I’m fairly active in Jewish charities, but at the end of the day I think it’s Chabad that’s going to keep the flame of Judaism alive. They stick to authentic Jewish values without wavering, and do a great job of passing it along to others. It’s refreshing that they don’t have any agenda aside from Judaism, and they aren’t going to give that up to make their message more popular.
Chabad of Uptown Minneapolis – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commercial Real Estate Developer
I first met Rabbi Sholom Brook through the events that he does around every Jewish holiday. I’ve been around multiple different Jewish communities, but Rabbi Brook’s open-mindedness helped me develop a real connection to Judaism for the first time. I had never experienced that level of openness before. He’s not going to label you “religious” or “not-religious.” To him a Jew is a Jew and he brings in the love.
Chabad of Croatia – Zagreb, Croatia
Property Developer, ADDL Group of Companies
When you find yourself in a strange country, and your only connection to Yiddishkeit there is Chabad, you begin to appreciate the personal sacrifice the shluchim make to live in the spiritual wilderness as only Chabad does.
My property business takes me often to Croatia where Rabbi Pinny Zaklas introduced me to people who were helpful to me in my business. As I got to know him and his family, I saw that the basic things we take for granted in London or New York are not available to them in Croatia. I saw an opportunity to show my appreciation in financial and other ways.
Chabad is your insurance. If you ever are stuck somewhere, you turn to Chabad. They are the ones who look after you. So whether or not you agree with them, every Chabad shliach has to be supported. Personally, I want Rabbi Pinny to know that he always has someone that he can turn to. That’s my way of giving back.
Chabad of Cobb, Marietta, Georgia
Former State Representative
Words can’t describe the wonderful and positive impact Rabbi Silverman and Chani have had for our community. They are friends, mentors, spiritual advisors and role models. They are always there for you, giving selflessly in such a genuine, loving and nonjudgmental way. He accompanied our family on two Bar Mitzvah trips to Israel, went to New York to comfort us at my father’s funeral, and officiated at the weddings of two of my children. He is a part of my family, both locally and throughout the country. Their whole family is such a blessing to us.
Chabad of East Hampton – East Hampton, New York
Insurance & Financial Advisor/Retired Physician
My wife, Dee, and I met Goldie and Leibel Baumgarten about 15 years ago when we bought a summer home in East Hampton. They have helped us in every aspect of Yiddishkeit. They will bend over backwards to help you. We know that the shluchim are devoted to the Rebbe, but Leibel’s devotion to and love of the Rebbe always inspires me to get closer to our Rebbe. And Goldie creates such a warm environment in her home, that we always feel welcome. I can walk into their house at 11pm and be greeted with a smile. I believe the Rebbe is proud of these wonderful emissaries!
This article appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of the Lubavitch International magazine. To download the full magazine and to gain access to previous issues please click here.
Yosef Mordechai’ Gati
February 11, 2022
It is incumbent upon us to fulfill The Rebbes Vision in igniting Jewish Souls however far they may be