As world leaders wrestle with foreign policy questions at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, the city's Jewish community is doing what it can to be educated on the issues at play. In addition, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in the city have been fielding calls from Israel and around the globe; they have also been busy assisting those in need of Jewish information and services for the duration of their stay in the city.

"Many have been calling us up," says Hindy Light, co-director of Chabad of Anne Arundel County in Annapolis, Maryland. "They are calling about the availability of kosher food and to find out which hotels are near the synagogue."

Rabbi Nochum Light is no stranger at the Naval Academy; he visits there often to meet with the students and naval personnel stationed there. Most recently he celebrated his son's third-birthday traditional hair cutting, or upshernish in Yiddish, on the naval base. The Lights also give classes there and conduct holiday programs on the base's fairly new synagogue complex.


The Lights, who arrived in 2004 to open a Chabad-Lubavitch center, are the only year-round source of kosher food in the area. They operate a Web site that offers consumers the ability to place orders for kosher food, which is delivered a few times a month. "For those who came from afar and need a kosher bite to eat, we arranged turkey and beef sandwiches and a whole bunch more," says Light. "It's part of our attempt at meeting all the Jewish needs of anyone who comes to our town."

The Jewish community of Annapolis celebrates a new Torah written for the Chabad-Lubavitch center there.
The Jewish community of Annapolis celebrates a new Torah written for the Chabad-Lubavitch center there.
For the past few weeks, Rabbi Light is delivering a lecture series entitled "The Land and the Spirit: Why We All Care About Israel," the latest course of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI). According to Chana Silberstein, director of curriculum development for JLI and co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Ithaca, this course was planned two years ago. "It happened to come at an extremely important time," in what she terms as Divine Providence.

For the Jewish community in Annapolis, this is the first time that a JLI course is available in their city. "That's really intense," says Anna Foer, a local artist who feels that the course is a great idea, as many young people do not know anything about Israel.

Barukh Binah, Israeli Consul General to the Midwest, writes about this course: "Now more than ever, it is vital for Americans Jews to strengthen their bond with Israel, to get to know the land and the people and to experience the many facets of our beloved country."

"It is always such a shame," says Foer, "that the Israelis have to live with so much tension and strife." But she feels, as do many others, that she shares a powerful spiritual connection with the land of Israel.

While worldwide many await that which will come out of the base's walls, some in the Jewish community in Annapolis are worried, "I am very concerned about what is going on there on a daily basis," says Foer, "I am very worried."