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Category: Tsunami relief

BBQ Events

BBQ Events

Rabbi Edery and volunteers for Chabad Japan organized many events in the months after the Tsunami. The goal of these events was to strengthen the unity and good feeling among the people. To make them feel happy, loved and cared for. These events gave them the feeling that they were not alone, and someone is thinking about them. 

Rabbi Edery organized BBQs, with best cuts of meat from National Azabu Supermarket. Since the Rabbi has a longstanding relationship with the president of the supermarket, they were glad to cooperate for the Tohoku events. 

Rabbi Edery gives Kosher certification, called ‘’Kosher Japan’’ on Japanese food products, such as Sake, green tea, miso, soyu, mirin, etc. Rabbi Edery contacted the companies and asked them to donate their products for the people of Tohoku. Dassai sake and Nanbu Bijin both generously donated their great Sake. The kids were not left out, with Kakigori machines in the warm months and Popcorn and Yakiimo in the winter months. 

Entertainment was superb, with  musicians, dancers, balloon activities, arts and crafts for the kids, magicians, and Taiko drummers. This perked up the energy and joy resonated in the cities.

The houses were destroyed, but Rabbi Edery made it his business to make sure that their hearts should stay strong and joyous.

They were events that lasted in the hearts of the people of Tohoku, long after they were finished. It formed a sense of family, and gave the strength that despite all the hardship there is much reason to be happy and celebrate! 

Many participants thanked Rabbi Edery, saying that these events gave them the confidence that they will overcome this difficult time, with joy and united with all the others.

Nissim’s birth

Nissim’s birth

When the Tsunami happened on March 11, 2011, the Japanese people were stricken with extreme fear. There was the threat of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Many people were afraid to go outside. Many basic necessities were gone from the store racks because people were buying in panic. 

Embassies sent out mails urging their citizens to go back home. Narita was packed with people sleeping in the airport lobby waiting for upcoming flights. Panic and fear loomed in the air. 

There was one person however who did not fear, and his one and only thought was- how can I help the people who suffered such a heavy loss. 

On Saturday evening, March 12, Rabbi Edery and several volunteers of Chabad Japan set out with a van full of relief for the people of Tohoku. Some asked him, aren’t you afraid of radiation, how can you risk your own life, you have a wife and children. He calmly answered with a question: If it was your child, or sister or brother in danger and in the need of help, wouldn’t you go immediately to help? That is what I am doing, and do not even have one ounce of hesitation.

During this time, Rabbi Edery and Efrat were expecting another child. People advised the Rabbi that it wasn’t safe for a pregnant woman and children, but the Rabbi confidently answered that people are more afraid than the actual reality and time will tell. He said to them that when people are dying one needs to focus on saving lives, and G-d Almighty will protect us.

On August 28, 2011, five months after the Tsunami, a beautiful, healthy baby boy was born to Rabbi Edery and his wife.They named him Nissim Ariel. Nissim means miracles, this was a prayer to G-d, thanking Him for the miracles during the Tsunami, and also a prayer that from now on, Japan should only see miracles and good things. Ariel means Lion of G-d, and represents overcoming difficulty. 

Soon after, the people of Tohoku gave a beautiful gift to the Rabbi for the birth of the baby in appreciation for his constant support and selflessness during Tsunami and its aftermath. A frame with many blessings and good wishes handwritten by each person.



The Tsunami brought with it incredible destruction. 

Many people’s lives were lost. This was incredibly sad. Rabbi Edery, helped the Japanese army in the first days, find bodies among the debris and absolute destruction.Many people put pictures of their missing loved ones on the bulletin boards of the city halls, asking did anyone see them. It was of utmost importance to give the last respects to people who passed on and bury them as soon as possible. 

Houses, buildings, factories, cars were all crushed and wiped away. You could see people going back to the place of their homes to try to salvage things, maybe pictures of their ancestors, or other important things. But mostly everything was carried away by the waters. 

In the first week, the people whose houses were destroyed were staying at the city halls. The problem was there were no showers or enough toilets for so many people. Rabbi Edery and his staff took the people to the local onsens. This way they could shower and feel human again. They made many trips back and forth every day to the onsens so that everyone could have a turn.

Sendai Airport was completely destroyed, there were no flights. 

The roads to Tohoku were mostly destroyed and unsafe to use. People could not get basic supplies because the trucks bringing the merchandise could not reach Tohoku. Stores were emptying out. Gasoline was scarce, because gasoline trucks could not reach the North. The government decided that relief workers would receive gasoline first. Rabbi Edery and his staff, Japanese Army all received special permits to use highways. 

Interestingly, trees did survive. Some trees were submerged till the top in water, but did not break, since the roots were very deep and strong. 

Some people hung on to tree tops and miraculously survived the great waves. 

Man is likened to a tree. Just as a tree has strong roots and can survive strong winds and waters, typhoons and tsunamis. So too every person has a G-dly soul that gives the power to stay strong and rebuild after destruction and trauma. 

The Tsunami also brought with it a renewed power of hope, strength and resilience  to rebuild and renew as individuals and as communities. From this destruction came a lot of growth and development on many levels. Many connections and friendships were made as a result. Rabbi Edery made many friends and was appreciated and loved by the people of the North.