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Jews in South Korea Gather for a Rare Kosher Meal

Jews in South Korea Gather for a Rare Kosher Meal

A Jewish resident of South Korea affixes a mezuzah to his door
A Jewish resident of South Korea affixes a mezuzah to his door

Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical students who met with South Korea's Jews this summer ended their journey last week with a kosher gathering for the entire Jewish community.

The three students were among hundreds dispatched to far-flung Jewish communities across the globe by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. In South Korea, they found a scattered community with no rabbi or synagogue. The event represented an opportunity to both say goodbye and provide a rare opportunity for the community to enjoy kosher food.

Speaking at the event, Yigal B. Caspi, Israel's ambassador to Seoul, thanked the rabbinical students for coming to serve the Jewish community and asked for more.

"It's not my job to look for religious activities for the Israelis or any Jewish people here," said Caspi, "but we need some Judaism here. We need Chabad. I have to ask of you, please do not forget about us."

While they were there, the students visited families, affixed mezuzahs, distributed books and heard from many in the Jewish community about the issues that face them living in South Korea. They went at the behest of Rabbi Avi Weiss, the U.S. Army chaplain stationed in Seoul, who runs services that the majority of the civilian Jewish population in South Korea cannot attend for security reasons.

At the closing event, which was held in a local hotel, the students joined with Rabbi Mordechai Avtzon, co-director of Chabad of Hong Kong, in saluting the South Korean community with a celebratory meal. For some of the guests, the event represented the first time in years that they were able to eat kosher meat.

According to Rabbi Yisroel Kotlarsky, one of the students, more than 100 turned out for the affair. The program included a prayer for the South Korean nationals who were kidnapped recently by terrorists in Afghanistan.

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Richard Seigel Kapaa, HI August 4, 2009

Roving Rabbis We Jews on Kauai, the northwestern most Hawaiian Island have benefited greatly from the guidance and learning we have received from young Rabbis Avremel Matusof and Mendy Alevsky. These young men have behaved in the best spirit of emisaries of the Rebbi. Their pleasant intelligent spirits will be missed when they leave to go on with their lives. Reply

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