Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad Poway has called for “Jewish resilience” on a solidarity ‘Eurostars’ trip for 800 young people at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
The inspirational leader, who lost a finger in the anti-Semitic shooting at his synagogue in Southern California, which also wounded three people and cost the life of a congregant, was leading a Commonwealth of Independent States annual sojourn to sites of Jewish interest across Europe.
“Am Yisrael Chai! The Jewish nation endures!”, he told participants.
His call was echoed by the mass gathering wearing ponchos in driving rain.
Rabbi Goldstein spoke about his Poway experience.
“I knew that the job of a Jew is to save others, no matter what,” he recalled.
“Nothing will take us down! This is what the Rebbe taught us, this is what we live with. We are going to stand tall, we are going to stand proud of who we are, of our heritage and we’re going to get through this.”
The popular rabbi also took part in a moving brit milah ceremony at dusk in Auschwitz for two Russian adults, acting as sandek for one of the Russians.
Organised by Yahad under Rabbi Mendy, Eurostars rewards young Jews who have made a significant commitment to Jewish study.
This year, the group’s itinerary included a visit to Rome, where they read the Torah at the Coliseum, met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the Great Synagogue of Rome, explored the 2,000-year-old Roman Jewish community along with Chabad rabbis today including Italian-born Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, who also addressed participants.
Other highlights included an evening with Russian producer, musician and comedian Semyon Slepakov and an address from Israel’s Beresheet lunar landing leader Alexander Friedman.
By Adam Moses