Friday, November 7th, 2008, 12:10PM

I arrive in London Heathrow airport. For Shabbat, I will be hosted by the gracious Overlander family. Mrs. Sarah Leah Overlander and her daughter, Esther, are at the airport waiting to greet me, and we make a mad dash through London's notorious traffic to arrive in the Hendon section of London on time for Shabbat.


Friday night, the Chabad House is beautifully decorated for a single's event. The turn out is amazing—well over one-hundred singles show up, and those arriving without reservations need to be somehow fitted in. The group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s are vibrant and energized.

After arriving from the smaller Jewish communities, it impresses me to see such a vital program organized for this age group, to encourage them to meet, socialize and experience the beauty of Shabbat together, while inspired by Torah thoughts.

Saturday Night (Motzoei Shabbat) 8:00PM

Tonight, an elegant Melavah Malka, Saturday night dinner and fundraiser, has been organized for couples and supporters of the Chabad House of Hendon. People are here to show support for the amazing work and dedication of Rabbi Gershon and Rebbetzin Sarah Leah Overlander. The warmth and hospitality of the family over Shabbat is testimony to how the Overlanders run their Chabad House—with grace, warmth and total dedication.

Sunday, November 9th, 12:00PM

Today's the last day of my tour. Chaya Mushka, one of the Overlanders' teenaged daughters has volunteered to take me touring Central London. I readily accept the invitation and we begin our day riding London's famous double-decker buses, followed by a maze of subway trains into Central London.


Our destination is the Tower of London. We walk through a winding network of towers with a long history of kings, queens and warfare. In one tower, the famous and beautiful crown jewels are on display, with gorgeous, huge and colorful jewels, worn by the English monarchs at their respective coronations.

Another adjoining tower served as a lookout during battles. And yet another held famous prisoners and Jesuit priests.

Interestingly, however, in the very first tower that we enter, a short historical video shows information about King Edward, who lived here in the late 13th century. The words spoken just upon our entrance are eerily chilling. The narrator tells us how Edward was cruel to the Jews of his country, expelling them from their homes, when he suspected them for cheating in their money exchange.

It seems like everywhere in Europe is drenched with a history of such sorrow for my people.

As we walk by the last tower, holding the torture chambers, I tell Chaya Mushka that I will pass on this one—I can't stomach entering here and witnessing the horrific methods of torture, knowing that many of these may have been used on my ancestors, my brothers and sisters!


Tonight's lecture is for women at the Chabad House in Edgeware, which is directed by my first cousins, and Chabad emissaries, Rabbis Levi and Zalman Sudak and their incredibly hard working and devoted wives, Faigy and Nechomi. This is my final talk on this lecture tour and I am relieved to see that the large and diverse crowd from all different backgrounds is receptive. Faigy's and Nechomi's hard work and preparation for this event has more than paid off!


As I enter my hotel room, a short distance from Heathrow Airport from where I will depart tomorrow morning, an attendant helps me with my bags. I am reminded about one more incident that Chaya Mushka and I witnessed today at the Tower of London.

As we were standing on the roadside, two guards marched by heading resolutely to their new posts. Chaya Mushka and I both scrambled in different directions, certain that if we would have remained in the line of those marching guards, we were sure to be trampled! It seemed like nothing would get in their way or stop them.

And, of course, we took a final picture next to one of the famous London guards, who like the guards in Greece at the beginning of my trip, stood without flinching or moving, guarding his post with absolute stubborn determination.

I think of their stubbornness and I think of the Jewish people, my beautiful nation. Despite all those who want to do everything in their power to remove us from the world, these special souls—some so lost and so dispersed, in such small Jewish communities—remain true to our ancestors, true to our heritage and true to their inner selves, trying so hard to maintain their connection, without any logical explanation for doing so.

And I think of the many "guards" whom I have been privileged to meet over the last seven days. Guards who have been stationed at some of the remotest Jewish outposts around the world—stationed there by their beloved Rebbe who is concerned for the wellbeing of every Jew, no matter how far or how remote. These guards and emissaries remain at their posts, unflinching, until they too have brought back and ignited all the Jewish souls in their charge. These guards remain standing, encouraging, teaching, smiling and hosting—and won't leave their outposts, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Because as Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak wrote to my grandfather in Den Haag—every Jewish child is so precious and needs to be brought home!