What an inspiring conversion with the amazing shlucha (emissary) of Chabad, Dini Freundlich, who together with her husband Rabbi Shimon serve at their post in Beijing, China.
I had the pleasure of hosting Dini at our studio as they were traveling through Israel on the way back to China.
Dini explained to me that they had a very tough trip ahead of them, for China imposes a two-week forced quarantine in one of their hotels and then another two weeks in a different hotel before they could finally enter their Chabad House. Still, she was really looking forward to going back to their home in Beijing, where a little more than 20 years ago they established their Chabad House.
When the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, began sending Chabad emissaries throughout the world, he insisted that the facilities being established be called Chabad Houses, not centers or institutions, regardless of their size and structure. The Rebbe OB”M wanted to establish homes throughout the world that would be there for any Jew - no matter where they were standing in their Jewish observance. He wanted every Jew to feel that no matter how far they may have traveled, they will always have a place to call home.
Reaching out to the approximately 2,000 Jews currently living in Beijing and approximately 15,000 business people and tourists who travel through each year, Chabad is there to serve as their “home away from home,” helping to take care of their Jewish needs.
Beijing by now has a Jewish day school for children ages 1.5 to 12 years old, classes and lessons for both children and adults, a Hebrew school, monthly women’s Rosh Chodesh (start of the new Jewish month -ed.) groups, kosher food arrangements, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah lessons. It also has two kosher Restaurants: Dini’s Kosher Restaurant (meat), and Café Miniature (Dairy).
Chabad believes in Judaism as binding all Jews together, and not in the labels, which drive us apart. Differences and disagreements are opportunities for learning and growth, not for disavowal and disinheritance.
A little bit of light dispels a great deal of darkness.
Good luck, Freundlich family. You are such an inspiration for all of us!.