Rabbinical students invite Estevan Jewish community to meet and talk Judaism

Rabbi Mendel and Rabbi Eli are inviting members of the Estevan Jewish community to meet with them on Friday, Aug. 16, to talk about Judaism. They plan to come to Energy City at about 9 a.m.

“We meet people in their homes, in their places of work, in public spaces. Wherever people feel comfortable,” said Rabbi Mendel.

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It will be their second visit to Estevan. They also met with a few members on Wednesday afternoon.

Mendel Super and his colleague Eli Citron participate in a Rabbinical student visitation program called Roving Rabbis affiliated with the Chabad organization based in New York. Each year during the summer and High Holidays hundreds of rabbinical students hit the roads in different countries all over the world. They visit communities that have no full-time Jewish presence.

“They send young rabbinical students like ourselves to many different parts of the world to meet with and to assist Jewish communities who live in more isolated places with very little or in some cases, as with Estevan, no existing Jewish infrastructure,” explained Super.

The Roving Rabbis meet with people one on one and try to help strengthen them with their Jewish traditions. They also try to see how they can assist community members in practicing Judaism.

Estevan is the tail end of Rabbi Mendel and Rabbi Eli’s trip. Over the past three weeks, they’ve visited many Saskatchewan communities.

“We’ve been pretty much everywhere throughout the province from Yorkton in the east to Prince Albert in the north, to North Battleford in the west,” said Super.

They visited Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Weyburn, Hirsch and other places including Saskatoon and Regina, where Chabad has local affiliates.

“A lot of people are really happy to hear that we are visiting. For some people, it’s huge … to get a rare visit from a rabbi, in these parts it doesn’t happen too often. And people were really excited to meet with us,” said Super.

He also noted that some people they met in Estevan thought they were the only Jewish family in the community.

“There are not too many Jews in Estevan. A while ago there used to be a historic community that no longer exists. There are several Jews in the area, so it’s really nice to be able to connect people to each other,” said Super.

The building that is the Drewitz School of Dance and prior to that was the home to the Estevan Public Library, was originally the Jewish Synagogue. But these days are long gone, and the Estevan Jewish community has spread apart. However, those several Jewish people who still feel the connection were quite happy to meet the rabbinical students.

“It’s really been a wonderful experience. People in Saskatchewan are so friendly. And especially when you get into smaller towns, people are genuinely friendly.” said Super.

To set up a meeting with Rabbi Mendel and Rabbi Eli people should contact the local Chabad affiliate Rabbi Simmonds at 306-351-5949 or rabbi@jewishregina.org.

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