Abraham’s Tent in Japan’s Spiritual Desert
Supporting Chabad House
By: Leza Lowitz
Rabbi Edery of Chabad Tokyo extends his arms as he says, “Whatever you need, ask. Don’t be shy. This is your house.”
And so the visitors pour in at all times of day and night, as Chabad House Omori never turns anyone away. Its doors are always open to anyone, anytime.
You would think that the Rabbi and his wife Efrat–parents of six boys and two girls including a newborn–might be more stingy with their time, energy and hospitality. But the rabbi quotes Kabbalistic wisdom: “If you have ten sheckles, give them to someone else. Don’t keep them for yourself.” He goes on to say that when a chef wants to share his creations, he doesn’t just say, ‘This tastes good.’ Rather, he gives someone a taste. That’s what we should do.”
The Ederys have been putting this principle into practice for the past 13 years in Tokyo, and have never left. After the 2011 quake and tsunami, the rabbi made twice weekly trips to Tohoko, and still visits regularly. He also tirelessly visits the incarcerated and helps however he can. On a day-to-day basis, the Chabad House serves meals and offers counsel and community to anyone who drops in–even strangers.
People come to the Chabad House to do much more than pray or observe Jewish holidays. They come to see the children, to be in community, to make new friends or reconnect with old friends, to eat good food, to learn, to listen, and to be heard.
The underlying concept behind the activities of Chabad House Omori is tzedakah. Often translated as “charity,” the concept goes beyond that.
“It’s really justice,” the Rabbi explains. God gives us the blessing of waking up every day. We could not wake up in the morning, but we do. So we continue the giving. It’s not ‘giving back,’ but a continuation of this generosity. This is justice.”
Rabbi Edery explains that when you understand this idea of continual giving, your relationships, your connection with your children, your co-workers, everything goes more smoothly.
Giving inspires giving.
The Chabad House serves hundreds of people weekly, many for free. It relies on charitable donations from the community.
You can continue the cycle of giving by becoming a monthly sponsor for 18,000 yen a month, or whatever amount you feel comfortable with. No amount is too small.
The mission of Chabad House of Japan is to help anyone regardless of color, creed or religion–Jewish or not. They offer help in ways both material and spiritual, tangible and intangible. To Rabbi Edery and his wife Efrat and children, giving is a matter of Justice.
The Rabbi and his family wake up every day committed to living as giving. You can feel it on even one short visit to Chabad House Omori.
Leza Lowitz is a renowned writer and Yoga instructor. She lives in Tokyo with her family and is an active member at Chabad House. She always adds her spice and spirit on every visit. We would like to thank her for her ongoing assistance and support.