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The Boys Of Zhmerinka

By Larry Gordon

Traditionally, Chabad emissaries fan out around the globe for Pesach in order to bring the season of our freedom to Jews in remote regions of the world. Two such young men are Mendel Wolowik of Woodmere, son of Chabad of the Five Towns shluchim Chani and Zalman Wolowik, and Moshe Greenspan, son of Chabad emissaries in Minnesota.

Prior to leaving for the Ukraine on Monday, Mendel and Moshe shopped for foodstuffs courtesy of Gourmet Glatt in Cedarhurst. Pesach poses a great challenge for consumers in distant areas of the world where religious observance is either not all that scrupulous or is somewhat underdeveloped. That’s why it was so important to the two young men to stock up on things, as they never know what they are going to find or not find in their base city of Zhmerinka in Ukraine.

In addition, the Wolowiks sent the boys vacuum-packed meat and chicken, as it is unlikely that they will find any local food that is kosher-for-Pesach to the extent they require. In all, 700 young men like Mendel and Moshe headed for distant cities, some with minimal Jewish population, to bring the beauty and deeply rich meaning of the Pesach Seder to the world’s Jewish population.

As to the feelings he has about sending his son off to Ukraine for the first days of Pesach, especially when the situation between Russia and Ukraine is somewhat unsettled, the rabbi said he could not be more proud of his son. “In fact,” the rabbi related, “the other night in shul someone asked me about sending Mendel off for Pesach, a yom tov on which families usually get together.” He told the person inquiring that the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that wherever there are Jews, that is family.

Reb Zalman added that when seeing his son off at JFK Airport, Mendel said to him, “Tatty, when I’m saying the Mah Nishtanah I will have you in mind.” The rabbi said that he told his son that he would have him in mind too and that he would answer him. v

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Posted by on April 24, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.