Chabad in Asia Celebrates Its Silver

February 21, 2011 11:15 am 0 comments

Share this Article

"Chabadnik" and famed fashion designer Max Azaria received Chabad of Asia's Builder's Award. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

From around the world and around the country, many who have enjoyed a joyous Jewish welcome during travels  or residence in the Orient came to honor the dedication of Rabbi Mordechai and Rebbitzein Goldie Avtzon who, in 1984, established L.I.F.E. – Lubavitch In the Far East – to serve the multi-cultural Jewish community.  Local residents, Israelis, travelers, and businessmen and women, Ashkenazy and Sephardic, have had a Chabad haven during travels or residence in the Far East for a quarter century.

Benefactors and beneficiaries gathered at New York’s St. Regis Hotel Wednesday, February 16 / 12 Adar Alef, to celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of the Chabad Asia presence in the Far East.  The evening recognized their important involvement and support through honors given to three couples who have been builders of the community: fashion icon Max Azria received the Builder’s Award; the Partner’s Award was presented to Isaac and Julie Gniwisch; and Mel and Marcia Waxman were honored with the Leadership Award.

The “combined Jewish communities of Asia” began with the Hong Kong site of the first China Chabad Center.  Directed to the Far East by the Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, the Avtzon’s began their schlihot 25 years ago.   A quarter century later, there are Chabad centers in Beijing, Guangzhou, Kowloon (Hong Kong), Nanshan District, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tung Chung (Hong Kong) and Yiwu.  During their tenure the number of Chabad synagogues, schools, and adjunct resources enhancing Jewish life in the Far-East has grown to more than 26.

China had a flourishing–albeit limited –Jewish life in centuries past.  The city of Harbin China’s Northeast had a largely Russian Jewish population, established businesses and the first synagogue. (The local government of Harbin has established the Harbin Jews Research Centre and hopes to foster relationships.  During World War II Shanghai provided shelter to thousands of Jews fleeing Europe’s conflagration.

The New York celebration is one of several focusing on the “Asia Anniversary” (a Tu B’shavat event in Hong Kong drew hundreds of members, admirers, and supporters).  The evening’s Keynote speaker, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, is the founding National Director of American Friends of Lubavitch.  Respectfully “teased” about what should be his appropriate appellation, Shemtov, known as the “Rebbe’s Ambassador to DC,” has extensive connections and friendships among the Washington political elite.  He is a frequent visitor to the White House, and has worked with every president from Nixon to Obama.

The evening of the 16th was an especially personal opportunity for Rabbi Shemtov to shep nachas – Goldie Avtzon, co director of Chabad Asia is his daughter, and the evening coincided with the anniversary of his 74th birthday.

"Ambassador" Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, spoke of the Rebbe's determination to bring a Jewish "home" to every Jew, no matter how far. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Partner's Award Honorees Isaac and Julie Gniwisch, long term supporters of Chabad Asia at the St. Regis celebration. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Ok, fans, question time. What do: Guns ‘n’ Roses shred-meister guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (aka Ronald Jay Blumenthal), “Hard Rock Hotel”, “Las Vegas” and Israel’s ”Hatikva” (The Hope) national anthem… all have in common? I know, you’re probably thinking, “Hmm, ‘One of these things is not like the other,’ would fit in here,” right? Um, no, turns out. Caught backstage by blogger Darren Garnick at the swanky Vegas gig in early June, Thal, acoustic guitar in hand, fretted out a sweetly melodic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    JNS.org – A Jewish upbringing taught Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s musical director and sidekick for 32 years, the value of giving back. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Shaffer served as musical director for “The Concert for New York City,” and in 2012 he accompanied Adam Sandler in “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief,” a fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. He was also the national spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada. “My mother taught by example,” Shaffer said in an [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.