Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, co-director of Chabad of Kathmandu, was freed from a Nepalese jail on the second day of Rosh Hashanah following urgent appeals to officials just before the holiday from his wife and co-director, Chani Lifshitz; Chabad officials worldwide; and U.S. and Israeli officials.

Hundreds of Jewish worshippers at the Chabad House in Katmandu, mostly Israeli backpackers and tourists from around the world, spent the better part of the two-day holiday fervently praying for his release. The rabbi was detained shortly before Rosh Hashanah because of what was subsequently acknowledged to be a clerical error with his visa as he returned to Nepal from Israel.

Back at the Chabad center on Sunday, Lifshitz thanked everyone for their “concern, love, heart-warming calls and messages” that he and his family had received.

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“I went through an experience that was far from simple,” he wrote, “but Judaism teaches us that from everything we encounter in life, we can grow, and no bad comes from above.

“Here at the Chabad House, we are now sitting with dozens of friends learning Torah relevant to this time of year. We are discussing, sharing experiences ... and this is what gives us strength. How fortunate are we and how good is our lot: The Chabad House of Nepal!” he said.

The rabbi said “Judaism teaches us that from everything we encounter in life, we can grow."
The rabbi said “Judaism teaches us that from everything we encounter in life, we can grow."

A team of volunteers, including yeshivah students who travel to Nepal to help out during the holidays, assisted in running services and organizing meals along with Chani Lifshitz during the rabbi’s absence, amid great anxiety about the well-being of the popular rabbi.

Chabad Officials Meet With Nepal’s Prime Minister

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning in New York, members of Chabad-Lubavitch leadership met with Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who is participating at the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly, according to Lubavitch.com.

In his meeting with Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, and Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos, the prime minister spoke warmly about Chabad’s activities in Nepal, as well as its contribution to his country’s tourism and democracy. He also pledged to strengthen his government’s relationship with Chabad in Nepal.