Bochurim traveled to spend Shavuos with shluchim in remote locations. They came with gifts and nosh, but most of all their presence brought a special Yom Tov spirit for the shluchim families and their communities.
The excitement in the air is palpable as Shavuos approaches; kids sing newly learned songs about the Asares Hadibros, mothers whisk trays of cheesecakes in and out of the oven, and fathers prepare for all-night learning sessions.
For Rabbi Yonah and Rebbetzin Esti Grossman, however, things are a little more complicated. While many might spend the days leading up to the festival debating which bakery makes the best cheesecake, the Grossman family lives many hours away from any kosher dairy products. Far from the infrastructure of a frum Jewish community, without any schools, kosher stores, and far from friends and family, it’s up to the Grossman’s to make Shavuos happen in their hometown of Fargo, ND.
But the Grossman’s are up for the challenge. It’s a joy, really; after a year of shutdowns and lockdowns, the chance to reopen shul and welcome people back is a grateful change.
Now with many Chabad House doors open again and Shavuos rapidly approaching, Shluchim and Shluchos worldwide find themselves as busy as can be, eager to resume providing spiritual guidance, inspiration, and assisting their community however they can.
Ufaratzta Circle looks to address the unique challenges faced by these Shluchim and Shluchos in remote locations. Providing a network to connect and support, it tackles the particular issues and topics which are prevalent to those living in isolated communities.
This Shavuos, over 120 Yeshiva students are joining these families in their makomim hashlichus throughout the world. They aim to bring the joy and chayus of the Yom Tov to the Shluchim, their family, and their community members through learning, farbrenging, and sharing. The bochurim also help to create minyanim, a much-appreciated assist for many.
The bochurim don’t come empty-handed, either. With cheesecakes, danishes, blintzes, and treats galore, they bring a taste of Crown Heights with them to their corner of the world.
“After a long year without seeing people, the community is thrilled to meet new, young rabbis who are flying halfway across the country to spend Yom Tov with us,” said Raizel Huebner shlucha to San Miguel, Mexico. “But they’re not the only ones excited. My kids ask me every day, ‘when are the boys coming?’ They can’t wait to go to shul with them and hang out with them. It literally transforms their whole Yom Tov.”
“The love and care, the friendship and the sense of family are really what makes this whole project work,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, director of Merkos Suite 302, Ufaratzta Circle’s parent organization. “From the moment the bochurim touch down, the atmosphere in the Shluchim’s city changes. The family is excited. The community is excited. They are honored to have guests for Yom Tov, and it’s an honor for the students to be able to join them.”