August 22nd 2014
Kfar Chabad, a Jewish village located about five miles south and east of Tel Aviv, was established by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, in 1949, just after the State of Israel was founded. Today, Kfar Chabad is the home and headquarters of the Israeli Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement.
Its earliest inhabitants came to Israel without much in the way of personal resources. Many were survivors of Stalinist oppression in the Soviet Union or Holocaust survivors. The earliest Chabad members refused all offers of outside help and survived by learning to work the land.
Today, Kfar Chabad is a place to go to see kindness in action. The village is well-known and celebrated for the vocational and technical training schools it established, largely for young people who do not identify as part of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement. In general, boys study printing, mechanics, carpentry or agricultural work. The girls primarily focus on careers in education. Another example of the good works of the village is the community’s rescue of over 2,000 Jewish children after the tragic Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1986.
Kfar Chabad also runs the Victims of Terror program which helps support families who have lost family members or friends in terror attacks against Israel. By prior arrangement, visitors can participate in assembling food packages for victims of terror and their families.
In the early years of the establishment of the village, an etrog plantation was established on the outskirts of Kfar Chabad. Run today by the son-in-law of the original owner, the etrog orchard requires constant tending to make sure the fruits are fit for use during the holiday of Sukkot. Even with all the special care they receive, less than 40% of the crop is suitable for ritual use. It’s worthwhile to see the orchard for yourself.
Another worthwhile site while you’re visiting Kfar Chabad is a replica of the primary Brooklyn, NY synagogue of the Chabad-Lubavitch community. The synagogue’s New York address is 770 Eastern Parkway and that building, and its replica, are known simply as 770. Finally, don’t miss the Bee and Honey Farm, a multi-media, interactive experience that’s both fun and educational for children.