On its most recent tour abroad, the Jewish Expo spent several months in France, attracting more than 10,000 Jewish schoolchildren from all parts of the country.
Now in its 10th year, the Expo, a project of the Shluchim Office, has traveled to Europe, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and 40 U.S. states, reaching more than one million Jewish children. An interactive, multimedia Jewish museum with hands-on activities, the Expo features seven narrated exhibits which take viewers on a journey through 2,000 years of Jewish history beginning with the story of creation. A Torah “Concentration” gameshow that challenges participants’ Jewish knowledge; arts and crafts workshops; and a screened musical on Jewish holiday celebrations, are all packed into two and half hours of a spellbinding experience.
“Children with little previous exposure to Judaism come away from the Expo eager to learn more about their Jewish identity. This is an accomplishment of immeasurable value,” explains Rabbi Moshe Pinson of the Shluchim Office. The Shluchim Office is a division of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Lubavitch.
Designed to travel, the Expo is set up on location in no more than 5 hours and requires 10,000 square feet of space. For each foreign language tour, the entire Expo is professionally translated. “It is a costly project,” says Rabbi Berl Goldman who was one of the creators of the Expo, “but Shluchim worldwide appreciate its tremendous value as an educational tool for their communities.”
Indeed, the letters that pour into the Shluchim Office after each tour are some indication of the projects positive impact.
The Shluchim Office is now considering implementing substantive additions to the Expo. “We are hoping,” says Rabbi Moshe Shemtov, who traveled with the Expo to France, “to incorporate many of the Living Legacy Workshops.” Shemtov is referring to the whole range of “factories” that bear the Chabad –Lubavitch trademark and have become a phenomenon in their own right: the shofar making factory, the matzah bakery, Tefillin workshops, the Chanukah olive press, and others which have been critical in facilitating tremendous awareness of Jewish holidays.