Make Yourself at Home

Friday, 14 February, 2020 - 2:07 pm

This weekend in New York, thousands of Chabad Shluchos (the wife partner of the husband and wife team who serve as the Rebbe’s emissaries around the world) are gathered for their annual conference. One of this year’s themes is Love: The Thread that Binds. This concept focuses on love, as the thread that mutually binds the Rebbe and his Shluchim, and how they in turn connect with that love to every Jew. Malkie was asked to address one element of the theme last night. I would like to share an excerpt of her talk with you.

“A few weeks ago we hosted a young lady, who was visiting New Orleans with her mother. Following an enjoyable Friday night at our home, they came to Chabad House on Shabbos day. I was busy preparing the Kiddush with some other women and girls. My husband walked into the kitchen to carry out the huge, hot, cholent pot. Mid “salad mixing” and “cholent carrying”, the mom approached us and said,

“Rabbi Mendel and Malkie, I feel so welcome here at your Chabad House, as I did last night at your home! I have been to many Chabad Houses all over. So, tell me, is there a course that the Rabbi and his wife have to take before going to establish a Chabad House? You know… a course on how to be warm, and welcoming, uplifting, and engaging, to EVERY person they meet? Because I see this trend in every Chabad House that I go to...every Chabad Rabbi and his wife are so warm and welcoming!”

My husband, eyes on the huge hot cholent pot and his task at hand, answered, matter of fact, “No, there is no such course!” Realizing that I wanted to elaborate, I put down the salad forks, and said, “Although we are not required to take any such course, we are privileged to learn from the Rebbe who teaches us that we must always strive to remain positive and welcoming when encountering another Jew. My husband and I were fortunate to grow up in the Rebbe’s physical presence and we witnessed this lesson, time and time again, first hand from the Rebbe. Learning the Rebbe’s teachings is what gives this positive and uplifting outlook to each Shliach and Shlucha that you have met ...and those that you have not yet met!”

I mentioned something that I often tell people who come into our Chabad House. A person might comment, “I feel so welcome here!” I reply, “As you know, this building is called Chabad House. Not exactly the name of a Shul or Community Center that you might be accustomed to. But the Rebbe’s vision is that each Chabad House is simply called, as you see on our sign outside - Chabad House. Your house is the place where you feel ‘at home’. Your house is a place where you feel comfortable. Your house is a place where you feel secure and welcomed. This is the vision of a Chabad House. A home for every Jewish person where they feel comfortable, anywhere in the world. A home, and a place for their heart!”

It is our hope that every person that encounters Chabad or engages with Chabad in any way in our community, will have that same experience.

After Purim, Chabad of Louisiana will be running our first ever matching campaign, with a goal to raise $140,000. If you have had a positive experience with Chabad over the 45 years since our establishment in New Orleans, please consider being a generous participant. Details will be released within the coming weeks.

Now you must excuse me while I return to my Shabbos cookingJ

Good luck to Chabad @ Tulane with the Shabbat 1000 program tonight. By far the largest Shabbat dinner in our region!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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