by Ashira Weiss – Lubavitch.com
Bitten by the travel bug? Flying is not what it used to be–not since the pandemic. Thankfully, there’s still virtual travel. Join us each #ThursdayTravel as we take a virtual tour of one of the 5000 communities around the globe served by Chabad. Fasten your seatbelts.
Everyone seems to know each other on the island of Grenada. Landing at NAME OF AIRPORT, visitors instantly feel the stress melt away into the island’s balmy temperature and laid back vibe. Hop into a cab, tell the driver you’re headed to Chabad and he won’t need further direction
The main Island of the Caribbean country of the same name, Grenada is located just northeast of Venezuela and northwest of Trinidad. Verdant mountains are the backdrop for colorful homes, Georgian buildings and early-18th-century Fort George. Vast nutmeg plantations give the island its nickname, Island of Spice.
You’ll find Chabad of Grenada (Gre-nay-dah, not to be confused with Gra-nah-dah, in Spain) on the waterfront in the True Blue neighborhood of Granada’s capital, St George, a stone’s throw from the St George University (SGU) campus.
Grenada’s Chabad reps: Rabbi Baruch and Chaya Rozmarin, and children, Menachem Mendel, Mushka and Levi Yitzchok.
- Rabbi Baruch is the official and only rabbi of Grenada and SGU.
- Grenada natives often mistake the bearded rabbi for a Muslim, greeting him with Salam Aleikum.
- Local population: 114,000
- Jewish population: 600
- Fully 90 percent of Grenada’s Jewish population 600 is made up of doctors and medical students at SGU. [Insert Jewish doctor joke here.](The rest are local business people or mainly Canadian, or British retirees as Grenada is part of the British Commonwealth.)
- One in seven American doctors have studied at SGU. Jewish students make up 10% of the University population.
- As soon as the coronavirus began to spread in America, the University chartered flights and sent all of their students home.
- Around seventy students pass through the Chabad lounge on campus each day, catching a Torah class, some Kosher treats, or a one-on-one chat with the Rabbi or Rebbetzin in between classes.
- Situated 800 miles from the equator, Shabbat in Grenada begins between 6 and 7 pm and ends between 7 and 8 o’clock year-round. Shabbat services at Chabad begin at 7 pm every week and sometimes last till the wee hours.
- The Rozmarin kids’ favorite treat available on the island is kosher Pringles. All other kosher candies and chocolate have to be imported.
- Chaya’s father, a shochet, visits twice a year to prepare kosher chicken for the Chabad family and anyone else looking for kosher poultry, which they then store in huge freezers. Local business people return from trips abroad bearing yogurts, cheeses and milk for the kids.
- Kosher fish is plentiful, and fresh tuna is available for $1 a pound. You may even bump into one of the local fishermen who often stops by Chabad to offer the family his kosher catch-of-the-day.
- The nearest Jewish community is in Venezuela, or alternately, a two-and-a-half-hour flight with stops, to the recently established Chabad of St Lucia.
- Chabad of Grenada does not yet have a mikvah, so Chaya has taken many women for late-night dips in the ocean.
- Grenada is just below the hurricane path so many yachts dock at the Island for hurricane season.
- To prevent confusion, travelers to Granada in Spain are directed to Chabad Grenada’s website while Googling for Jewish resources, where they learn that they are welcome to join the Rozmarins at Chabad House–an eight and a half hour flight from Granada, Spain. The Chabad reps have shared this information with travelers at least 100 times in the last seven years. “It’s time for Granada, Spain to get a Chabad House,” he laughs.
In 2014 Maryland dentist, Edward Gamson, sued British Airways for booking his first-class ticket on a flight to Grenada, instead of Granada. He discovered the mix-up in-flight as he followed the airplane’s route heading to the Caribbean, rather than Spain.