New Chabad center to augment Jewish programs in Vancouver
By Deborah Moon Seldner
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Vancouver, Wash., is the newest site of a Chabad Center, part of a worldwide network offering friendly outreach designed to meet the needs of Jews, whatever their level of knowledge and observance.
On Sunday, Sept. 28, the new Chabad Lubavitch of Clark County will open with a free "Rosh Hashanah in the Park: A High Holiday Experience" for the whole family. The community is invited for shofar blowing and a tashlich water-side service, followed by a children's program and Rosh Hashanah "traditional" food tasting. The free program begins at 3 p.m., at the Salmon Creek Park-Kline Line Pond.
Chabad of Oregon Director Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm said the new Chabad House and its director, Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, will add to the existing Jewish resources in Vancouver and the surrounding area. He emphasized Chabad augments, rather than competes with, existing organizations. Both unaffiliated and affiliated Jews are invited to Chabad programs.
"The bottom line is if a Jew needs something and we can serve him, we will do it," said Greenberg, who has worked in Chabad centers in the United States, the Ukraine and the Far East.
Greenberg recently completed a post-rabbinic seminar at Chabad's training center in Brooklyn. The seminar focused on how to open a Chabad House and plan activities. Greenberg was born in Israel. He received his smicha from the Central Chabad Lubavitch Rabbinical College in Brooklyn in 2000.
In Brooklyn, Greenberg met his wife Tzivie, who worked in Chabad's Shlichim Office, a resource center for Chabad centers around the world. She worked on programming, coordinating programs such as the Jewish learning institute and last spring's worldwide candle-lighting campaign.
The goal of the new center, as it is for all Chabad Centers, said Tzivie Greenberg, is "to make Judaism more convenient for Jews there by having programs nearby."
Born in New Jersey, Tzivie studied in Israel for two years. She has taught in Jewish day schools in Italy, South Africa and New Jersey. She also developed extracurricular activities for Jewish high schools. In the summer of 1999, she helped run a Jewish overnight camp for 200 youth in Russia.
"We'll work together directing all of the (Chabad) activities in Vancouver," she said. "The stuff he's good at will become his, and the stuff I'm good at will become mine."
"Chabad is everywhere," she added. "Our programs aren't just for members. Everyone is welcome at our classes, children's education, holiday programs ?"
Rabbi Greenberg emphasized that both men and women of all levels of knowledge and observance are welcome at Chabad.
"The Greenbergs are very warm, wonderful people," said Wilhelm. "They are here to help, so everybody should feel comfortable calling them. A lot of people have experienced the kindness and warmth of Chabad in Portland. They will bring that same openness and warmth to everyone, regardless of their background."
Wilhelm emphasized that he and the Greenbergs are in close contact with Congregation Kol Ami in Vancouver and plan to create programs and activities to augment what is already available there.
For more information about Chabad of Clark County or to make suggestions for programs, call the Greenbergs at 360-576-8184 or e-mail rabbi@ChabadClark County.com. The center is located at 105 N.E. 106th St., Vancouver, WA 98685.