RASKIN, A CHABAD EMISSARY, TO BE NAMED RABBI OF CYPRUS JEWISH COMMUNITY
A historic milestone in the history of
Cyprus will be marked this week with the dedication of the Cyprus Jewish
Community Center-Chabad in Larnaca. It is the only synagogue in the
The ceremony will also include the festive introduction of a Torah
Scroll (donated by the Yehudiel family of Ashdod), the laying of the
cornerstone for a mikveh (ritual bath), and the naming of the
community's rabbi. The new synagogue and Jewish Center was built with
the help of the Rohr family of Miami and New York.
Rabbi Arie Ze'ev Raskin, a Chabad emissary
who has been in Cyprus for two years, will be named rabbi of the Cyprus
Jewish community. Formerly of Kiryat Malachi, he, his Jerusalem-born
wife Shaindel and their four small children are the only observant
Jewish family in Cyprus. "But the people here are very interested
in keeping up their connections with the Jewish People and the Jewish
Land," Rabbi Raskin told Arutz-7 today, "and they are excited
about the opening of the Center."
Rabbi Raskin explained that the history of
Jews in Cyprus is practically non-existent. In 1571, the conquering
Turks tried to bring Jews from Greece and the Holy Land, mainly Tzfat,
to Cyprus, but the Jews returned home at their first opportunity. The
next Jews to arrive were those who were prevented entry to the Land of
Israel by the British following World War II. Some 52,000 of them were
diverted to Cyprus for various durations; 2,000 babies were born in
Cyprus as they waited to enter Israel.
"We're now creating a brand-new life
for Jews here," Rabbi Raskin said, after months of efforts both in
education and in obtaining government approval for the new center.
"There are currently some 300 families here - many from Israel, and
others from Russia, England and even Lebanon."
Among the Jewish activities provided by the
fledgling community are Sunday school classes and a small nursery
school, staffed by two Chabad young women from Israel on a form of
The Sunday school began with three children,
Rabbi Raskin said, "then it went up to 10, then up to 18, then down
to 5, and now we're back up to 20. With all the ups and downs, we can't
become discouraged; it's a long process, but the tried-and-true methods
of bringing Torah life to Jews will prove themselves. For very long, we
only had nine Jews for Sabbath services, making for a very frustrating
experience in missing only one for the necessary quorum. Now, thank G-d,
we have a quorum every Sabbath."
Guests at the festive dedication ceremony
will include Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Mayor of Larnaca,
ambassadors, and Jewish communal leaders from Israel and other
countries. The ceremony will be sponsored by the European Rabbis Center,
which provides aid to Jewish communities in Europe.
You can contact Chabad of Cyprus by using
the information below: