From Bytes to Bricks in Baton Rouge

Friday, 24 November, 2023 - 1:03 am

In the mid 1990s, a Rabbi spoke at the Shluchim conference about the fledgling work that he was doing as Chabad’s man in Cyberspace. Confused Rabbis and colleagues asked him what it was all about and where it was going. He spoke about the need for there to be someone available to engage people virtually just as we have Shluchim in locales to engage people in person. He expressed his vision for the future for which he felt he was laying the groundwork. “I see a time when using a camera and a microphone, you can give a class in one place and it will be seen around the world. I envision children being able to be part of a classroom though they live far away, by having a camera and microphone in the classroom.” This man was the founder of, one of the first 500 websites to be established on the world wide web, predating google, ebay, yahoo, and so many others that are so ubiquitous today. 

Alas this visionary would not live to see his vision play out. His untimely passing just a few years later, precluded him from witnessing what he predicted. became the gold standard of Jewish websites, with billions of visits. He is truly the father of the Jewish internet presence. 

His name was Rabbi YY Kazen. His 25th yahrtzeit is this week. His youngest son, Rabbi Peretz Kazen and his wife Mushka (my sister) established Chabad in Baton Rouge in 2015. They are embarking on a bold mission to dedicate the first Jewish institution in his memory, the YY Kazen Campus of Chabad Baton Rouge. 

If you have benefitted from any Jewish presence on the internet, he played a role in that. If you have visited or one of its thousands of network affiliates, he played a role in that. He inspired the concept of Jewish online classes, videos, livestreaming, and was the first to digitize thousands of pages of basic Jewish texts. 

Take a moment and help make the YY Kazen Campus in Baton Rouge a reality. Visit and honor his legacy with a generous contribution to this project. 

And remember the action plan for Israel (below), which is as important as ever before.

Shabbat Shalom
Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page
Add your Mitzvah today!

  • Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah. I am proud to report that we have experienced a significant surge in people coming forward to lay Tefillin.

  • Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 4:43 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them. Many women have committed to light Shabbat candles in our community. This is very gratifying.

  • Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home, or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up. In New Orleans several dozen Mezuzahs have been put up in the past two weeks. We recently got a shipment of 120 additional Mezuzahs and requests are coming in strong.

  • Tzedakah: is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see for the Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.

  • Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.

  • Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll – The Unity Torah for people of all ages –

  • Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. 

  • Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info,

Comments on: From Bytes to Bricks in Baton Rouge
There are no comments.