Cremation in Japan is common in Japan. It wasn’t so before World war Two, people were buried. As a matter of fact, the emperor’s family do not cremate to this day.
Jewish tradition prohibits cremation, since we come from earth and are destined to return to earth. The body is considered sacred as it is a loyal partner to the soul doing good deeds while it is in this physical world. Our body is given to us as a collateral to safekeep, so that after 120 years, of a full and meaningful life, the body is returned to its maker. The Torah teaches that we don’t have a right to burn what G-d has given to us as a gift.
Recently, a 55 year old Jewish man in our community passed away suddenly. He lived over three decades in Japan. His family in Israel were very worried how they would be able to bury him according to Jewish law. Rabbi Edery, may he live and be well arranged all the paper work so that his body could be flown back as soon as possible to Israel. The Jewish law requires the family to bury their relative as close as possible to the time of death, as respect for the the person who passed on. Many of the local offices were closed due to corona, that did not deter Rabbi Edery from thinking of ways to overcome the challenges. The vice minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama, who very kindly connected us with Miyake sensei from the Ministry of Foreign affairs helped very graciously.
Finally, the Jewish man was buried near his family in Tiberias, Israel. Hopefully, Moshiach will come very soon and he will be reunited with his loved ones.
A Shining Example of Bravery and Devotion: Story of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson
Today is the day of passing of the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson. He was the Chief Rabbi of Yekaterinoslav, now Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine. His bravery and devotion to help every Jew was outstanding. He was the backbone and support to all Jewry in USSR.
The Communists imprisoned him, on the basis of being a counter revolutionary. They decided to completely stop him from teaching and developing Jewish life. They sent him to exile in Chile, Kazakhstan, which was physically and mentally extremely difficult. Hunger and sickness was the norm. Swamp land, scorching heat in the summer, and extreme cold and rain in the winter made it very difficult to survive.
Reb Levi Yitzchak’s wife Chana, joined him in his exile. She made ink out of leaves, enabling her husband to continue writing his Kabbalistics discourses and teachings, which we have printed today. He was released from exile and lived in Almaty, where he passed away shortly after.
He is an example of self sacrifice to keep Judaism alive even under unbearable circumstances. We are here today in his merit. May Moshiach come now, we will merit to see him and his wife in person.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, this program is carefully supervised by the staff of Chabad Japan and all of the participants registered to the event beforehand.
This Sunday we had a fantastic time at our Challah Bakers Club. Challah Bakers Club is a family club aimed for kids to have hands-on experiences in baking challah, gardening, nature, and Jewish Holidays. The kids wore their baker hats and had a ball being ‘’chefs’’ and making many different Challah shapes. They all made a wish and a blessing on the Challah.
Making a blessing on the Challah reminds us that everything we have is a blessing from G-d, and we show our appreciation by taking a piece and making a special blessing.
Children learned about the importance of appreciating and giving from what they are blessed with. With sports competitions running now in Japan, we are encouraging competition of good deeds and acts of kindness. Here every child is a champion!
The kids picked cherry tomatoes from Rabbi Edery’s beautiful garden and enjoyed petting the tiny two week old chicks. They were so excited to learn about what the little chicks eat and drink, and were fascinated to see how they jump excitedly around their chicken coop. We explained that the light that was lit on the coop during the day was for heating not for lighting. The children had a fabulous time on the trampoline.
We all enjoyed the best falafel and watermelon and can’t wait for the next get together!
Our Message and Prayer to victims of Atami mudslide
The terrible mudslide in Atami brought death and destruction. We pray for the welfare of the people who were hurt physically and to those who lost their house and property.
We are sure the Japanese government and local officials are doing their very best to insure that people are being taken care of. Now is the time for every individual to look around and see if someone might need help.
It is incumbent upon us to feel socially responsible for the health and mental state of the people who live around us. May G-d protect Japan that it should never happen again.
An important mission of Chabad Japan Tokyo is to promote the beauty of Japan and it’s people. Having many Kosher certifications on traditional Japanese food products, Rabbi Edery also emphasizes the relationship with local Japanese farmers.
Japan is known for its exceptional quality and taste of its produce. Over the years, Japan has been importing fruits and vegetables more than what it grows locally.
Many farms close down because the younger generation prefers to work as salary men in the city. Rabbi Edery encourages and works with many farmers and factories to promote and develop their products. In Kyushu, the Rabbi visited a rice farm, that is one of the largest in Japan.
The farmer so appreciated Rabbi Edery’s care and efforts for Japanese farmers, that he sent special Yellow Japanese cherries as a gift. In Japan, one can find very unique fruits and vegetables. Even usual fruits such as cherries and watermelon which normally are pink/ red, one can find then in yellow as well. His family enjoyed this delicious fruit.