Statement from the Shmotkin-Federman Family

The Shmotkin and Federman families have issued a statement with an update and a request to friends, colleagues, classmates and to the world Jewish community at large.

To the untold numbers of friends, islanders and former islanders, colleagues, classmates and beneficiaries of Chabad emissaries to the Virgin Islands — Rabbi Asher and Henya Federman — and to the world Jewish community at large:

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for the incredible outpouring of love, Mitzvot (commandments and good deeds), Torah study, faith, optimism and good wishes and financial support on behalf of our precious Henya and her family over these past several days.

Our hearts are broken by the loss of precious Shternie, who was laid to rest at a small service yesterday. 

We are all focused now on ensuring that Henya — who is on life support, battling for her life at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami — receives the best medical care possible. As well, Rabbi Asher is in Miami under understandably indescribable emotional pressure. And the children are presently together in Detroit (the place on the mainland with which they are most familiar), where they are being enveloped in the loving embrace of grandparents, aunts, uncles and their entire extended family.


The Rebbe repeatedly taught of the infinite power G-d endowed in our every Mitzvah to transform even the darkest challenges into tangible and everlasting goodness. He similarly emphasized that the Jewish people are rooted in bitachon (faith), and of the power G-d has vested into our faith to establish realities in our physical world.

In this vein, we ask you to please continue to beseech G-d on behalf of Henya, daughter of Brachah Devorah Leah, and to consider an increase in her merit in all areas of personal and communal Jewish observance — Torah, Prayer and Good Deeds. (Of late, Henya has been extremely passionate about Jewish education, and the observance of this Year of Gathering (“Hakhel”).)

In Henya’s honor and in merit of her complete recovery, please consider an addition also in one of these areas:

  1. Assemble a family, group or community gathering (“Hakhel”) to share words of Torah and of prayer, a Jewish story, and an encouraging word. During weekdays, acts of charity are central to these gatherings, as well.
  2. Add in any area of Jewish education – especially to help young children receive a Jewish education.
  3. Study a word of Torah. We propose one of the Rebbe’s talks on the ability of faith to guide reality: Likkutei Sichos vol. 36 p. 1, available at
  4. Jewish women and girls: Please light Shabbat candles in Henya’s merit eighteen minutes before sunset on Friday. If possible, give a few coins to charity before doing so. And please try to influence others to join this beautiful Mitzvah as well! 

Normally, the first person who would be leading these prayers of Psalms, arranging these children’s gatherings, spearheading these Mitzvah campaigns and offering to help, is Henya herself. There is no doubt that these Mitzvos on her behalf give her joy and will continue to move mountains to effect her miraculous full and speedy recovery.

We also ask that you keep Rabbi Asher Yaacov son of Chedva, and each of their beautiful children, in your prayers.

Thank you to Asher and Henya’s friends who have arranged a fundraiser to cover the expenses, and to all those who have contributed.

We once again thank you for your love and care, and wish you and all yours a Shabbat Shalom/Good Shabbos!

We look forward to sharing miraculous tidings very soon!

The Shmotkin-Federman Family

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