When Faigy Israeli was asked to photograph an outdoor event of Chabad in Kensington, she was more than annoyed.
By Hamodia and COLlive reporters
Photos: Alex Gorokhov
Friends, supporters and members of Chabad Lubavitch of Kensington in Brooklyn, NY, under the leadership of Shluchim Rabbi Moshe Chaim and Rebbetzin Doba Levin, joined recently together for a 20 Year Anniversary Gala Dinner.
The evening was titled: "Celebrating our past, Building our Future!"; a celebration of the accomplishments over the last twenty years, as well as to raise funds for their brand-new Chabad Jewish Center.
The new building is dedicated to the memory of Semyon (Shmuel) Levin, a Russian immigrant who was drawn to his Jewish roots through Chabad of Kensigton, and has recently passed away.
The emcee was Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who has been working alongside his father formally for about four years as director of development and outreach at Chabad Lubavitch of Kensington (informally, of course, since birth- as all children of shluchim are born into "the work").
He Introduced his father saying, "When I studied works of chassidus in yeshivah and infusing me with ideals of following a Rebbe, to serve Hashem with mesirus nefesh, and when I looked up from those books, I saw those ideals alive within my father."
An emotional Rabbi Moshe Chaim Levin addressed the assembled, and reflected upon the journey leading up to that evening. He relayed to the assembled the emphasis of Chassidic teaching that every mitzvah is precious. "We can never know which mitzvah will be the last in galus," he said.
In typical chabad fashion, he led the assembled which included many as yet in affiliated Jews in reciting the "Shema" - one more Mitzvah...
Faigy Israeli, an immigrant from Russia, now an auditor for New York State, wowed the crowd with her life story which was intertwined with her 18 year relationship with the Shluchim in Kensington.
"Ordinary people occasionally have selfless moments, for Rabbi and Rebbetzin Levin, every moment is a selfless moment. I walked from my life as immigrant, into a home of warmth - I was welcomed as a sister," she said.
An example of that warmth was the annoying request she got one day to photograph one of their outdoor events. Little did she know, it would change her life:
Issac Segal, a thirteen-year-old Chabad Lubavitch product, and math whiz who has competed in national math competitions, gave a humorous speech.
"As a math whiz I can tell you Chabad's formula works: Joy + Patience + Love + Great teachers + the holy Torah = an unbelievable Hebrew school," he said.
Among the honorees of the evening was State Senator Eric Adams. Special thanks was given to the Dinner Coordinator Mrs. Ruchie Stillman.
The evening featured music, song and inspiration, with the renowned singer, Benny Friedman.
He led the crowd through a musical journey with many songs of Emunah in Hashem featuring lyrics in Ukrainian, and languages from other areas in the former Soviet Union - where so many of the participants are from.
The special video presentation highlighted the plans for the future, with half of the funds that are needed, have been already raised, we can use your help, every dollar counts, you can join the building campaign by visiting www.Chabad18.com, (where you can securely process your contribution).