A young couple goes to India – no, not to meditate in the eastern ways, but to create a marker of home. Thousands of Israelis go to India, Thailand, and numerous places throughout the Far East. Far from home and family, the one constant so many of them experience, is a need to feel connected. For many, Judaism is secondary to their being Israeli. They were raised in a secular home and take pride in this.
Back in Israel, they feel little in common with the ultra-Orthodox movement and those who follow it. They are free, children of the world. Post-army and ready to take on the world. They will joke, if you can survive the army, you can survive anything. This is often what they believe, often what they practice.
Until they get to a small, unpretentious building somewhere and a feeling deep inside stirs. Home. Connection. Family. This is what Chabad centers throughout the world offer these traveling Israelis and business people. There is no judgement – do what you must do, go where you must go, but if you need a place to feel a connection with home, come to us. For a Shabbat meal, for directions, for anything.
To maintain such places, young families go and live. They forsake their own needs of family and community and share this with each Israeli or Jew who stops by – they too are alone and far from home.
This week, tragedy hit in Mumbai, targeting, among other places, one such Chabad center. At this moment, as troops storm the Chabad center to hopefully free the hostages and capture the terrorists who have spread havoc, hatred, and death throughout the city, we do not know the fate of those inside. We do not know if the Rabbi and his wife will live to raise their small child. We pray for the victims and the hostages. We pray for those who are ours.
Today, we are all Chabad.