NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia — Despite a vicious anti-semitic attack Monday on the synagogue they came to lead, the newly arrived Lubavitch emissaries are looking forward to revitalizing the Jewish community here.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman and Mrs. Miriam Zaklos moved here from Israel only ten days before they were unwittingly catapulted to the world's headlines when their community's newly rededicated synagogue was viciously vandalized.

On Monday Rabbi Zaklos arrived at the synagogue to discover Torah scrolls thrown on the floor, all the Bibles and prayer books torn to pieces, all the chairs and the podium splintered and broken, and swastikas and anti-Semitic writings scrawled in black paint on the walls and ceilings.

A worldwide outcry ensued, with State Department spokesman James Rubin publicly demanding that "the perpetrators of this crime in Novosibirsk must be brought to justice."

The Zakloses came to this southern Siberian center, where temperatures are usually 40 degrees below zero, to reinvigorate and lead the local Jewish community. The community is officially numbered at 15,000 but observers say may actually be more than double that amount. The Zakloses joined more than 55 other permanent Lubavitch emissary teams around the Former Soviet Union.

The Jewish community received its synagogue back from local authorities about a year ago and immediately turned to Lubavitch with a request for a full-time emissary couple. In recent years the Lubavitch movement had supplied the community with all their religious needs, temporary rabbinic leadership for holidays and the like, and had helped fix and refurnish the returned synagogue.

Mrs. Zaklos, herself Russian-born, says, "the entire community was on a high from Purim when close to 1,000 Jews turned out to celebrate, and now we were hit with this..."

Zaklos admits that it was a hard pill to swallow but says that she and her husband are optimistic about the future and are moving ahead with their plans.

"There are a lot of Jews here who are depending on us," Mrs. Zaklos says, "and we have to provide them with their basic Jewish needs."

Rabbi Zaklos points out that the current synagogue was considered a temporary solution for the community's needs from the get-go and "a nicer, more spacious and more secure synagogue and Jewish center building is needed soon."

Not underestimating the task ahead, Rabbi Zaklos says, "Our work has only begun..."


BEIJING — A minyan on the Great Wall?

Chances are no one in this country ever expected the milleniums-old Jewish prayers to be joyously recited atop the nation's most famous architectural monument. Nor, for that matter, did they expect more than ten dozen Jews from around the country to join together for a full Shabbat of prayers, song and dance.

But that's exactly what happened last weekend when Jews from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai came together to collaborate on photographer Frederick Brenner's latest project.

Jews from each of the communities unanimously agreed to adhere to the highest levels of Kosher observance, arranged and provided by Lubavitch of Hong Kong, and to observe a traditional Shabbat led by Rabbi Mordechai Avtzon, chief Lubavitch emissary in the country.

It was an extraordinary Shabbat experience for everyone and according to several participants the event's highlight came when Rabbi Avtzon encouraged and led an impromptu morning prayer service atop the Great Wall. The mountainous echo turned the worshippers voices to a booming rumble that could be heard miles away.


KAZAN, Russia — A recent traditional Jewish wedding in this Tatarstan capital has had a blessed "domino effect."

A young man and woman who discovered their Jewish identity through the efforts of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and were moved to traditional Jewish commitment, were married in a Jewish religious ceremony.

The occasion was a first for the community in modern times and attracted Jews from all across the city.

The ceremony and its accompanying joyful dancing obviously touched a chord. Scores of guests turned to the officiating rabbi, Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Yitzchak Gorelik, to arrange similar ceremonies for them. Almost ten marriages are planned for the near future.