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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rabbinical students visit Nyack on educational journey

By JESSICA SEMINELLI
SPECIAL TO THE JOURNAL NEWS
August 5, 2007
NYACK -
Two rabbinical students have been in the Nyack area for the past two weeks as part of the global Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which aims to educate and unite Jews in all communities.
Adam Epstein, a 24-year-old originally from Houston, and Toronto native Asher Schochet, 22, will be in Nyack and Piermont for another week while completing their outreach assignment. They are senior Lubavitcher rabbinical students in Morristown, N.J., and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, respectively.
Through meetings with local rabbis, appointments with Jewish community members, talking to shop owners and going to offices, the students have met with about 100 individuals already.
"We are here to speak with various Jews and learn about Jewish life in this community," said Epstein. "We're eager to listen to interesting family histories and stories."
They also inform the Jews with whom they speak about Jewish resources and programs in the Rockland area, such as Hebrew Learning Circles, a Nyack school run by Rabbi Reuben Modek.
"They have a very open-minded spirit," Modek said. "They have a real commitment to meeting people and speaking with them one-on-one."
Chabad-Lubavitch is a Hasidic group aimed at the promotion of mitzvot, or good deeds, and spreading of communication, understanding, aid, and unity. In areas without synagogues or Jewish community centers, Lubavitcher students establish acting temples.
"We're Jews for Judaism," explained Epstein. "We're not missionaries; we're not a member-seeking organization." For the past 63 years, students like Epstein and Schochet have traveled to all parts of the globe, observing and sharing with smaller Jewish communities.
"I applaud these two students for taking away from their vacation to share their time with the community," said Rabbi Chaim Ehrenreich from Chabad of Chestnut Ridge, who met with the pair. "They are providing an opportunity for the residents of the Nyacks to reach out to them if they have any Jewish needs."
This is the fourth consecutive year that Rockland has been assigned Lubavitcher students.

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