By John E. Usalis / Republican Herald
In the near future, Pottsville could have a Jewish life center to provide those interested with a place to gather together, learn and share beliefs.
The center is the Chabad-Lubavitch, and Rabbi Nachman Nachmenson is beginning development of the center by meeting with interested people from 4 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday in Suite 322 at the Ramada in Pottsville.
“In the beginning, we’re learning to know the community, then with God’s help we’ll rent or buy a place,” Nachmenson, 41, who is a native of Israel and came to the United States when he was 15, said. “Almost every state has a Chabad-Lubavitch as a place for learning, including the ‘Seven Commandments’ and trying to practice them, for all the Children of Israel to do all the holy days and having the opportunity to help humanity and anything that helps the community.”
The “Seven Commandments” are The Seven Laws of Noah, or the Noahide Laws, which are a set of moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the “children of Noah,” or all of humanity as descendants of Noah’s family after the Great Flood.
According to its website, Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today. The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of chachmah (wisdom), binah (comprehension) and da’at (knowledge). The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of God’s Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of creation and the importance and unique mission of each creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his and her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
Chabad is one of the largest and best-known Hasidic movements and adheres to the orthodox practice of Judaism and is the largest Jewish religious organization in the world. The official headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York. There are 1,072 centers in the United States with 217 in New York state. There are 55 centers in Pennsylvania, the closest ones in Reading, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre.
The website also explains that the word “Lubavitch” is the name of the town in White Russia — present day Belarus — where the movement was based for more than a century. Appropriately, the word Lubavitch in Russian means the “city of brotherly love.” The name Lubavitch conveys the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad philosophy toward every single Jew.
“In 1995, I went to India to open the Chabad there. We opened 18 locations there over the years,” Nachmenson said. “It’s continuing in India, but I live in New York with my family and became interested in doing this in Pennsylvania in a place where it is really needed. There is not much Chabad around here. Allentown is one, Bethlehem is one, Scranton is one and we’re trying to make Pottsville, too, with God’s help.”
Nachmenson said Pottsville was chosen for several reasons.
“I was trying, at the beginning, to find a location that has population and brings people here,” Nachmenson said. “People from other places come here, such as for the hospital and other things to do. You could see a lot of people and give a lot of what Chabad has to give to the Children of Israel and all the nations. I found out it’s a nice neighborhood.”
His first trip to Pottsville, on July 1, to meet with a real-estate agent ended up in a crash that injured himself and two of his nine children who were with him.
“I think that God saved my life in the accident, and this is making thanks for God and to do good for others,” Nachmenson said. “To make people close to God by doing good things.”
When in Pottsville on Tuesdays, Nachmenson can be reached at the hotel in Suite 322 at 570-622-4600.