Welcome to Agia Napa, Cyprus! This town does not have a single synagogue or even a Torah scroll; yet every summer, it fills up with thousands of young Israeli tourists—most of them packing in their last few months of fun before they are drafted to the IDF.

Five other yeshiva students and I are here operating the summer Chabad House. We are a colorful group: Yosef Levin and Nachum Pinson are from Brooklyn, NY; Yisrael Malka and Mendy Abayev are from Israel; Shmuel Pinson is from France. And I am from Tzefat, in the Galilee.

When we arrived, we met Yisrael and Mendy who had already rented the building where we set up shop. They also brought a Torah scroll, prayer books, kipas and other essentials.

So there is no air-conditioning here and the heat is oppressive, but there is a special energy in the air. Every day, we meet groups of Israeli kids. We invite them to don tefillin, and visit our makeshift Chabad Center.

That was how we met Yariv. He said that he never had a bar mitzvah. We wrapped him up and held an impromptu celebration. I am sure that his parents will be surprised when they see the pictures…

This past Shabbat we had 120 guests! We ate, sang, prayed and celebrated our Jewish heritage like never before.

If you plan on visiting, our Chabad House is right off the central square. This year, there is no restaurant, but there is schnitzel, pita and salad for a reasonable price, 24 hour Jewish music and the best atmosphere you could possibly imagine. So if you or your friends are thinking of visiting Cyprus, make sure to look us up!


Shmuel Chitrik