Is it easy to be Jewish? This is how Rabbi Avraham Yosef began the visit at the Jewish school of Milan. The youth looked at each other trying to understand his point. Rabbi Yosef, known for his sweet and heartwarming demeanor, explained the importance of being a Jew in the diaspora and how they represent the continuation of the people of Israel as part of the Jewish chain throughout history.
This is the traditional part of the year when the RCE sends a delegation to arouse the Jewish communities. The RCE delegation included Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef OBM, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, CEO of the RCE, Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker, Vice President of the RCE and Rabbi Avraham Abba Torezki, Secretary of the Rabbinical Council of Europe.
This year the visit took place among in Milan, led by Rabbi Alfonso Arbiv, the chief rabbi of Milan, and included a visit to the community’s Jewish schools and new Chabad house led by Rabbi Sandy Wilshansky and Rabbi Zemach Mizrahi, the rabbi of the synagogue. During their stay , the members of the delegation paid a special visit to the local Jewish school, headed by Rebbetzin Rivka Hazan, and remarked with admiration that it is evident that the staff invests all their time and effort in the children’s Jewish education for children in the community.
During the visit, there was a fascinating meeting between the rabbis and community young couples who asked Rabbi Yosef questions on a variety of topics. The questions were exactly one of the examples why there was a great need for this rabbinical campaign.
During their stay in Milan, the members of the delegation visited the Lebanese community and observed the special way they educate in their school. From there they met with Rabbi Avraham Dayan Rabbi of the city and the head of the Jewish community. The delegation held a meeting with the leaders and members of the Jewish community and discussed practical ideas how to strengthen Judaism in general and particularly among the younger generation in to prevent assimilation.
The members of the delegation made a special visit to the city of Rome where they held a series of meetings with the rabbis of the communities and Chabad Shluchim headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Hazan and Rabbi of Rome Rabbi Shmuel (Ricardo) Di-Sini who works with great dedication to spread Torah and Judaism. Even in Rome, the issues that worry the rabbis concern preventing assimilation of the Jewish youth in the community.
As part of their stay in Rome, the members of the delegation visited the Jewish educational institutions, and the magnificent community synagogues. A special meeting concerning the High Holidays was held at the Beit Michael Synagogue in Rome, led by Rabbi Reuven Colombo, the rabbi of the local Jewish school, and organized by Rabbi Shalom Hazan, the local Chabad Shaliach. Hundreds of residents from Rome came to hear words of encouragement and awakening with a special emphasis on Jewish education.
RCE chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said that this is a journey designed to strengthen the members of the communities in Europe. The RCE does the same several times each year, to closely monitor the needs of the members of the Jewish communities in Europe and answer the various questions. “The delegation is received very warmly by the members of the communities and the thirst for strengthening Jewish identity is evident among the younger generation as well,” he noted.
RCE CEO, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, noted that although the great effort invested in the trip, the RCE staff tirelessly prepare for the journey, being aware of the revitalization it provides for the communities. The rabbis and heads of the communities ask to return for a further and uplifting visit as this visit leaves a powerful mark among the members of the communities.