Sunday, January 7, 2018

Vishnitzer Chassidim Doing Outreach?

Last night we had the privilege of attending a musical havdalah service with The Traveling Chassidim at Aish HaTorah of Greater Washington.

Little did I know that these Chassidim, like my family, are Vishnitzer Chassidim, from Romania.

Wow! What a powerful sight to see Vishnitzers singing the traditional beautiful melodies I heard only occasionally, on visits to Brooklyn.

What a powerful sight to see Vishnitzers talking about outreach, when my whole life has been the dichotomy between Chabadniks, who broke with tradition by recruiting Jews in the street to put on a pair of Tefillin, and non-Chabadniks, who have long believed that outreach is a bad idea.

Essentially: "If you want religion, you want it and if you don't, you don't -- we don't push."

What a powerful sight to see Vishnitzers saying that ALL Jews are one family, and one community, and come visit us, and all the divisions are really artificial.

This means so much to me because I am acutely aware that I'm not as religious as my extended family, and I often feel inadequate because of it.

What a powerful sight to see Vishnitzers saying that the arrival of Moshiach depends on such unity.

I loved the singing and the dancing, and the message of redemptive joy, joy amid all the pain and the suffering of life. (Here is Andy in full shtreimel -- now there's a sight I never thought I'd see!)

What a powerful night, a night I will never forget.

Here's what the concert looked like.

Here's the miracle that happened last night, too: The community came together and prayed, and within about 12 hours of a missing woman's disappearance being announced, it was relayed to us that Aliza (Greenberg) O'Connor, who went missing from D.C.'s Union Station on January 2, 2018, has been found and is safe and sound.

A complete, complete miracle.
As Andy said yesterday, God please save us, for tragedy always lurks, and for some the pain has struck and is terrible beyond words.

Maybe we can't all do all 613 mitzvos, but we can support one another and do the best we can.
Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. This post is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. Photo by Dr. Blumenthal.