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...

  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.