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Rabbi Hartman leads morning prayers at the Chabad House in Ho Chi Minh City.
Rabbi Hartman leads morning prayers at the Chabad House in Ho Chi Minh City.

Our month-long trip visiting Jews scattered across Vietnam started in Ho Chi Minh City, a city with a growing Jewish community and its own Chabad House. Formerly known as Saigon, the city is home to 150 Jews and is also a hub for businesspeople and travelers.

In the Chabad House, we constantly heard incredulous visitors exclaiming how much the admire Rabbi and Mrs. Hartman who serve the needs of every Jew in this remote corner of the world. Even we, who thought we knew what this is all about, were blown away!

We headed to central Vietnam to visit Barry, formerly of Illinois, however now a long-time resident of Nha Trang on the central coast of Vietnam. In the tuna export business, he told us that, living in Vietnam, what he missed most was the great taste of pastrami on rye. Unfortunately we were unable to sustain his physical appetite, but spiritually he was left more than satisfied.

An ancient bridge in Hoi An.
An ancient bridge in Hoi An.

The small town of Hoi An is smack in the middle of the country. Haya, originally from Haifa, was thrilled to welcome us to her humble abode and was very excited to affix a mezuzah to her doorpost. Living in such a remote town, she eagerly stocked up on the Jewish books we had available and decided that she would begin to read from the book of Psalms daily.

In Danang, an hour's drive from Hoi An, Alan was glad to meet us and talk about his Jewish heritage. A Vietnam War veteran from Chicago, he came back to Vietnam on a war veterans healing tour. There, he saw a different side of the country and fell in love with the place. Following our lead, Alan took upon himself to find more Jews living in his city. Sure enough, just a few days later he called to tell us that he had found a fellow member of the tribe.

With one of our new friends.
With one of our new friends.

BY Mendy Ajzenszmidt
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Cecil Renfield Tullimbar Australia September 25, 2016

Jews, what else? There are so many Jews scattered all over the world, there has to be a few even knocking around the Poles, and I don't mean Poland. Reply

Chabad.org Staff via chabadone.org August 26, 2016

To Anonymous There is no permanent Chabad center there, there are Chabad centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. You can find contact info at chabad.org/centers Reply

Anonymous Hoi an August 25, 2016

Hi
There is a chabad in hoi an ? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org March 16, 2012

Hoian Currently there is no permanent Chabad center in Hoian yet. Chabad of Ho Chi Minh serves the entire country, please contact them directly for information and assistance, jewishvietnam.com Reply

Elliott shuchat Hoian March 16, 2012

Is there chabad in hoian Asked above Reply

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