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Island’s Jews to meet visiting rabbis

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Two recently-ordained rabbis have come to the Island on a mission to connect with Bermuda’s Jewish community, and spread awareness of their people and their faith.

Rabbi Bentzy Shemtov and Rabbi Yossi Goldberg make a point of travelling to places around the world where the Jewish populations are slim to none.

The two arrived this week following a trip to Jamaica an island which, like Bermuda, “doesn’t have many Jews”, Rabbi Shemtov said.

“Many Jews here in Bermuda are expats,” he said. “There are a few second generation Bermudian Jews.

“The community here is a few hundred, and it isn’t easy to keep track of as people come and go.”

The idea of their visit, he explained, was “to come and try to share some of our Jewish ideas, to learn from each other and maybe help a few people blow some dust off their own Jewishness.

“We believe everyone is on a mission in life. We believe that being Jewish is not a religion but a condition, the essence of who you are, and we would like to meet with any Jews who live here.”

Sent out from New York’s Chabad-Lubavitch Centre, they have come as part of an international Jewish outreach programme sponsoring “roving rabbis” throughout the world.

The programme was founded by the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn.

The two rabbis spent this week meeting privately at local Jewish homes.

Travelling to other countries “teaches you that there is always more to learn”, explained Rabbi Goldberg.

They hope to meet with Bermuda’s Jewish community and members of the public at 8.30pm, at Bermuda’s Jewish Community Centre on St John’s Road.

“Part of the reason for our visit is we’re getting ready for the high holidays,” Rabbi Goldberg explained.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, runs from September 28 to 30. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls on October 7 and 8.

Useful websites: www.jewishbermuda.com, www.chabad.org.

Rabbi Yossi Goldberg (left) and Rabbi Bentzy Shemtov are visiting Bermuda from the Chabad Rabbinical Visitation Programme. The centre sends out representatives to parts of the world with small Jewish communities, to rally members of the faith.
Rabbi Bentzy Shemtov visiting Bermuda from the Chabad Rabbinical Visitation Programme blows a shofar Hebrew horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur The centre sends out representatives to parts of the world with small Jewish communities, to rally members of the faith.

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Published September 17, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 17, 2011 at 8:50 am)

Island’s Jews to meet visiting rabbis

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