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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rabbis visit Jewish community in Grand Bahamas

By TAMARA DELANEY

Freeport News Reporter

tdelaney@nasguard.com

It is unlikely for one to witness two Jewish rabbis strolling down the streets of Grand Bahama, but in their week-long visit to help cultivate the local Jewish community, that is just what one might encounter.

Rabbis Yosef Zaklos and Mendy Lesker, whose goal is to minister to Jews around the world, arrived on the island Sunday after a Caribbean crusade.

The duo are a part of a special visitation programme of the Chabad Lubavitch, an organization featuring some 200 rabbis ministering all over the world.

Making special efforts to visit communities that lack traditional Jewish facilities, rabbi Zaklos said the groups' intentions are that of appreciation.

"We are trying to bring happy regards from Judaism abroad," he explained.

"We want to tend to the individuality of each person especially when they are in far-flung places and large Jewish communities are not nearby.

"Such places are rural when it comes to Judaism and require an injection of faith" said rabbi Mendy Lesker.

"We hope to be a small light that pushes away a lot of darkness," he said.

Centred on the outreach of the small, but present Jewish community present on the island, the rabbi said the group is practically arranged to minister.

"We carry the Tefillin which are small boxes containing Torah passages with black, leather straps that are worn on the forehead and left arm for prayer," Zaklos revealed.

"We also carry a quantity of Mezuzot which is attached to the doorpost of Jewish homes and businesses and contains a scroll with passages from Deuteronomy. It is for those in need as a special outreach of the Chabad Lubavitch."

The Chabad Lubavitch, a fellowship that has 4,000 emissaries around the world, is part of the legacy of renowned Jewish leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994.

The rabbi acknowledges The Bahamas as a country deeply rooted in religion and is prepared to meet with anyone who wishes to talk with them or require their services.

For those wishing to contact Rabbi Zaklos and Rabbi Lesker, they can be reached by e-mail at chabadfreeport@gmail.com. More information on Chabad Lubavitch can be found at www.chabad.org.

RABBIS IN TOWN – Rabbis Yosef Zaklos (left) and Mendy Lesker (right) are pictured with the Tefillin and Mezuzot. The Jewish rabbis, whose goal is to minister to Jews around the world, arrived on Grand Bahama Sunday for a week-long visit to help cultivate the local Jewish community. (Staff photo by TAMARA DELANEY)

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