By Menachem Posner, Chabad.org Shavuot presented some problems last year…
Forty-two shluchim in remote and isolated cities throughout North America received the ultimate gift this Shavuos as 110 bochurim trekked to remote locations, to bring chayus and chizuk to these special shluchim, their families, and communities. The bochurim assisted with minyanim, led farbrengens, and created anticipation and excitement for the holiday.
“It was the second time in a decade that we were able to hold Birkas Kohanim on Shavuos, what an incredible gift for our community!” enthused Rabbi Chaim Shaul Bruk of Bozeman, Montana.
“Living hundreds of miles away from the nearest frum community, having Bochurim interacting with our children means the world to us,” shared Rabbi Shmuel Hecht of Kelowna, British Columbia.
A few years ago, a businessman from NYC found himself spending shabbos by the Rabbi Yossi and Chani Jacobson in Des Moines, IA. During his stay, he was personally moved by their love and dedication to the community. Since he travels often, he frequently benefits from the hospitality of local shluchim. Seeking a way to give back to them for all their kindness, he launched the Shavuos initiative.
The Shavuos initiative is coordinated by Merkos 302’s Ufaratzta Circle. Now in its third year, the project has continued to expand, sending more bochurim to remote communities so that all Chabad Houses—no matter where—can celebrate the yomim tovim with additional support, vitality and inspiration.
Founded at the request of several shluchos, the Ufaratzta Circle is a support system focused specifically on the needs of shluchim families in remote locations. Ufaratzta Circle initiatives include special kinus programming, supportive webinars and Whatsapp groups to network and share ideas, a Gimmel Tammuz shabbaton, gifts for children, shaloch manos packages, Chanukah gelt and weekly group learning.
“These shluchim and their families are stoking flames of yiddishkeit in distant outposts, far from Jewish amenities, families and communities. They face an extra level of mesiros nefesh with many unique challenges that come along with their shlichus,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “The Ufaratzta Circle initiative is an incredible support to these shluchim families.”
Many bochurim consistently return to the same communities, cultivating a strong connection to shluchim and their communities. Parents of those who have joined have described how the experience has left a deep impression on their sons.
The Ufaratzta Circle is looking to expand its support to this unique group of shluchim families with more initiatives, support and resources. To find out more about the program or to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.