New Shlichus With 11 Kids: Greenberg Family’s Courageous Move

After building an entire community from scratch, raising eleven children, and even purchasing a building, the shluchim to Pudong, China were faced with their community’s mass exodus. Instead of giving up, they are moving on to a new shlichus.

By reporter

Starting a new shlichus is always a challenge. Starting a new shlichus with 11 kids? Unprecedented. But that’s exactly what Rabbi Avraham and Nechomi Greenberg, are setting out to do.

17 years ago, the Greenbergs were sent to Pudong, Shanghai, China where they co-founded a Chabad Jewish center, and spread the light of Judaism for the hundreds of Jews living and visiting there.

The last three years in China were unbelievably challenging. Most foreigners left the Shanghai and Pudong area, and the few local Jews who remained were completely cut off from the wider world. For about six months the Greenberg’s themselves faced quarantine without the possibility of leaving their house.

Even during those extremely difficult times they persevered, to keep the embers of Judaism in Shanghai alive. Using every tool at their disposal, they remarkably managed to lead minyanim, Torah classes, Bar Mitzvah celebrations and children’s activities.

Even during the great lockdown, when the 28 million residents of Shanghai were locked in their homes for long months, and transportation and delivery services were shut down, the Greenberg’s made sure that every Jew in Shanghai had Matzah for Pesach.

Now, after the dust has settled from the corona storm, it has become clear that 90 percent of their community in Shanghai has not returned to the city, and there are only a few families remaining in Pudong.

In light of the situation, they have decided to embark on a new journey to Phuket, Thailand where they, together with their 11 children, will establish a new Chabad house for the developing local community there.

When asked about the difficulty of leaving a home and community he toiled to build for the last seventeen years, and moving with grown children and a family of eleven, he didn’t hesitate for even a moment, he said:

“It doesn’t matter where we live- here or there we are doing the Rebbe’s shlichus. If there are Jews there that need help, that’s where we are going. In Hayom Yom we learned “Mi’Hashem mitzadei gever konanu”, Hashem sends each person where he needs to be to fulfill his mission in this world.”

The shlichus in Phuket will be similiar to the one in China, in that Rabbi Greenberg will be working with the local community. There is a another shliach there, Rabbi Shalom Glitzenstein, who caters to the many tourists who visit the area.

Of recent, Phuket has become a refuge of sorts, for many of the foreigners in the surrounding areas who needed to relocate during Covid due to restrictive policies in the locations they were at. In fact, some of the local families are old friends of the Greenbergs from back in Pudong, China.

“The children will continue their same lifestyle as before with the online school. They even have a bonus now that school will be starting at 3 p.m. instead of four, due to the time difference,” shared Rabbi Greenberg. “One slight inconvenience is that Pudong is fourteen and a half hours from New York, while Phuket is over twenty.”

The family plans to move before the Yomim Tovim. Today they have launched a fundraising campaign, for the benefit of the new mission in Phuket. To join in the support of the newest shluchim of the Rebbe, click here to donate

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