Judaism in a Suitcase – Traveling Chabad Rabbis Visit Orange County

Orange CountyThis summer two young Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis are visiting Orange County as part of their summer-long outreach project. They will be visiting all Towns and villages in Orange County. They are equipped with programming to reinforce Jewish pride and enhance Jewish education; the pair is part of the Chabad-Lubavitch Summer Peace Corps.

Rabbis Zalman Mendelsohn and Levi Shmotkin work closely with Rabbi Pesach & Chana Burston, directors of Chabad of Orange County, to work with the Jewish community, teaching classes and hosting Shabbat dinners. The visiting rabbis are providing Jewish videos, brochures, books, Shabbat candles, mezuzahs scrolls, and kosher food. The classes they offer cover varying topics including Talmud, Spirituality and Jewish philosophy. The rabbis reach out to all Jews including those unaffiliated to help them rediscover their heritage and spend much of their time on house-to-house visitation.


Jews all over Orange County will be studying Torah, baking challah bread, and exploring their Jewish heritage, many for the first time.


The Rabbis are planning a special Jewish evening titled “Kabbalah & Kabobs”.  The evening will include a discussion, a Rabbi’s first hand experience in the Tsunami relief effort,  “L’chaim” on kosher wine and kosher kabobs grilled to perfection.


“Rabbis Mendelsohn and Shmotkin are part of a worldwide program, where some 280 young rabbis and senior rabbinical students will visit, to name just a few places, Bolivia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Fiji, Guadeloupe, Ireland, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Uruguay as well as all over the United States,” said rabbi Pesach Burston.  “In fact, they are coming here directly from Wyoming!”


In past years, reception has been warm to the many visiting rabbis across the globe.


The rabbis are chosen for their rabbinic proficiency and ability to relate to the wide spectrum of people in various cities.  A pair of rabbis travels to each place to meet with Jewish communal leaders and educators as well as individuals.


Sometimes, the only way to locate the Jews is by guesswork in the local telephone book. "We do a lot of different programs, including classes and dinners, all of which are important, but I personally feel that the one-on-one conversations are most effective," said Mendelsohn. "Many people approach us seeking advice on how to maintain a Jewish identity, especially for their children."


Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Lubavitch movement, coordinates the outreach program — which the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, developed over sixty years ago – in conjunction with the local Chabad in Orange County directed by Rabbi Pesach & Chana Burston.

The rabbis will available from August 18 through August 31st. For more information or to schedule the Rabbis to visit you, please call Rabbi Pesach Burston at 845-782-2770; or email [email protected]


For more information on Chabad-Lubavitch of Orange County, please visit www.ChabadOrange.com