Close to four hundred members of the Jewish community of Curitiba, Paraná, in South Brazil, packed the “Buffet Du Batel” hall last Monday evening in celebration of an unprecedented and exciting event commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation and reunification of the city of Jerusalem and the launching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Tefillin Campaign.
The evening’s program, conducted in an efficient and pleasant manner by chairlady Joyce Krispin, was opened with the recital of chapter 122 of Tehilim by Rabbi Mendy Stolik and words of greeting by the President of the board of directors of Beit Chabad, Dr. Francisco Grupenmacher.
A moving video of the miraculous victory of the “six day war” was shown with subtitles prepared especially in portuguese, vividly portraying the serious threat that Israel and the Jewish people faced at that time and the calming effect of the words of the great Jewish leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, speaking out to thousands assembled at a Lag Baomer Parade at his headquarters in New York, assuring the nation of G-d’s protection, encouraging them to commit to good deeds– especially the donning of Tefilin, and prophesying about great miracles that the people would witness shortly. The audience watched spellbound, many with tears in their eyes, and thunderous applause reverberated in the hall as the film ended proving the Rebbe’s words so accurate as the enemies of Israel fled in fear and our soldiers recuperated our beloved Temple Mount.
A special highlight of the event that greatly impacted the public and made a kidush shem shamayim, was the presence of his excellency Dr. Luiz Fux, Minister of the Supreme Federal Court, who honored us with eloquent words about his personal connection with the Rebbe and the wisdom and inspiration he receives from him although never actually having met him. He proudly declared how he puts on Tefilin daily and how he feels that this mitsvá illuminates his life enabling him to pursue true justice, time honored values, and ethical decisions. Pulling out a photo from his pocket he held up a picture of the Rebbe admitting that he does not travel anywhere without it.
After his speech, the minister was thanked and presented with a gold plated engraving of Jerusalem by Rabbi Mendi Labkowski.
“Adopt a Soldier” magnets were distributed to all who attended – each magnet bearing the name and picture of a soldier who was killed during the “six day war” with a request that the recipient either put on Tefilin or light Shabat Candles for the Neshoma of that soldier. Rabbi Yosef Y. Dubrawsky, (Rabino Fitche – as he is so dearly called here) head Shliach of Parana and S. Catarina, explained: “ the Rebbe always demanded Maase Bepoel, we have to make sure that everyone walks out with a hachloto to do something positive in a practical sense.”
The climax of the program was the awarding of a uniquely designed medal to 100 individuals, who were born and raised in Curitiba or lived here for some time, and served in the Israeli army since 1948. Rabbi Dubrawsky wanted each and every one of them, or their children (of those who have since passed on) or relatives and friends of those who are living or serving presently in Israel, to receive our sincere and warm appreciation and gratitude for their self sacrifice in defending our homeland and our people. While large screens displayed photographs, documents and factual information about each soldier, in a true manifestation of unity, presidents or representatives of each of the Jewish entities and organizations personally handed the medals to the honorees as their names were called out one by one.
One of the honorees, Mr. Amnon Czerny, emotionally shared some of his memories serving in the special “Unit 101” together with Arik Sharon and Moshe Dayan in the early years of the IDF.
Rabbi Fitche and the young Rabbis of Chabad, Mendel Labkowski and Mendel Stolik mobilized a team of dedicated volunteers, Alexandre Distefano, Joyce Krispin, Lilian Zugman and Liora Gandelman, who ensured that this memorable program underscoring the profound connection that the Rebbe and Chabad have with our Holy Land, our deep respect and admiration for those who guarantee its’ safety and well being, and the special protection that the mitsvá of Tefillin affords us, was accomplished with professionalism and care.