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Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Chabad center coming to Mansfield

By Meredith Holford/ Staff Writer
Friday, January 6, 2006

Rabbi hopes to relocate here from NYC
Mansfield's growing Jewish population has not gone unnoticed. While everyone of the faith must now leave town to go to services, activities or Hebrew school in Easton, Attleboro, Brockton or Sharon, that may not always be the case, because a local Chabad House community center in Milford thinks Mansfield needs a center of its own.
Rabbi Yossi Kivman of New York is hoping to make Mansfield his new home.
Kivman's brother, Mendy, said this week that Yossi intends to move to Mansfield with his family within the next six months and is now deciding what kind of services Mansfield will need.
Mendy Kivman is also a rabbi at the Chabad House community center in Milford.
Yossi Kivman has already visited Mansfield twice recently, once for a sparsely attended session on how to make challah, the traditional holiday egg bread, and last week to a Hanukkah celebration at the library that drew more than a hundred area residents.
"There's never been an event like this in Mansfield," Mendy Kivman said. "The Jews are all still in the woodwork."
Mendy Kivman, who lives in Milford, said the Chabad tradition "makes Judaism accessible to Jews."
Although the Chabad is originally an orthodox movement, he said the center would offer all kinds of activities and services that every practicing Jew could take advantage of.
"In some places there would be synagogues, and sometimes there would be a Hebrew school. The Chabad rabbi is an emissary - he makes the decision," Mendy Kivman said.
Mendy Kivman said his brother, Yossi, will be back to Mansfield "a couple more times," looking for both a location for the center and a place to live, before the family makes the move from the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. It will be a cultural leap, he said, recalling his own move to Milford.
"I like it here," he said. "But I like to go back too."
The Milford Chabad house is exploring building a synagogue in that community, and holding Saturday services as well as the high holiday services. The big crowds move out of the Cedar Street location to a hotel for space.
In Mansfield, the rabbi will wait to assess what the community needs before beginning anything.
Resources come from the New-York-based Chabad organization, but each community decides how resources are to be delegated, and the members raise funds for the center.
The Chabad movement, according to the Milford center's Web site, "teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of Creation, and the importance and unique mission of each Creature."
The Chabad movement is 250 years old, and is related to the Hasidic strain of Judaism.
Kivman said the typical community center offers services, book clubs, women's groups and Hebrew schools for youngsters.

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