Merkos Shlichus: Printing Tanyas and a Special Meeting

By Sholom Kass & Chaim Itkin

In addition to visiting Jewish people in Northern Germany, we also printed the Tanya—the most fundamental book of Chabad Chassidic thought—in several of the cities throughout the region. (In 1984, the Rebbe, of righteous memory, began a worldwide campaign to print Tanyas wherever there are Jews.)

This week we printed Tanyas in the cities of Schwerin and Rostock.

Finding a place in these small towns to print on a relatively large scale is no easy feat. It can take hours of searching to find a facility. We then print 100 Tanyas, in accordance with the Rebbe’s directive, and distribute them to the Jews we meet.

One of our searches for a printing house brought us, inadvertently, to a shop that prints license plates—not books. We had a feeling that the Department of Transportation wouldn’t be looking to print chassidic texts…

However, once we were in the area, we started looking for Jews. In that very building, we met an elderly man who greeted us warmly.

We sat down to talk. He told us that he is Jewish. During the course of our conversation, he confided that his wife of 54 years had passed away three years ago and, as there is no Jewish infrastructure in town, he had not been able to memorialize her. To make a long miracle short, at the age of 81 he put on tefillin for the first time in his life and recited the Shema. He told us that he remembers his father putting on tefillin when he was a child but had never had a chance to learn what they were.

We saw clearly how G‑d directs our steps. Our “mistaken” trip to a license plate factory led us to meet this very special man.

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The Merkos Shlichus Student Visitation Program is celebrating 65 years since it was initiated by the Rebbe at the behest of the Previous Rebbe. Under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, the program has grown to dispatch nearly 500 students across the globe each summer.

With permission from For more stores, photos and the latest news of Merkos Shlichus please visit

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