The problems with the Lubavitch


Lubavitch uses another residence as a chabad in Edmonds, Washington
August 26, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Real Estate | Tags: ,

FACTS: EDMONDS IS 17 MILES FROM SEATTLE

SEATTLE ALREADY LISTS 6 CHABADS IN THE CITY

“Couple offer Orthodox Jews a focus in Edmonds, Washington”

Rabbi and his wife hope to connect area Jews with their heritage by establishing a Chabad-Lubavitch center.

EDMONDS — Rabbi Zevi Goldberg maintains a full beard and wears a yarmulke. His wife, Leeba, flips thick blond hair over her shoulders with scarlet-painted fingernails.

“It’s a wig,” she explained, finger-combing the long layers.

An Orthodox Jewish wife shouldn’t show her hair to anyone other than her husband, she said, but that doesn’t mean she can’t look good.

The Goldbergs are ultra-Orthodox Jews. They’ve come to Snohomish County to connect every person of Jewish descent with their heritage, they said, whether through celebrating High Holy Days each year or committing to a fully kosher lifestyle.

Even people who don’t intend to follow a strict kosher diet are welcome in the Goldberg home, as long as they have a desire to connect with their Judaism, Leeba Goldberg said.

“Labels are for clothing, not for people,” she said. “We’re not here to force anything on anybody. If you’re a Jew, we just want you to come here to experience Judaism.”

The Goldbergs represent the second effort in recent years by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement to establish a center in Snohomish County. Rabbi Yossi Mandel opened a worship and education center in his south Everett home in 2006. He abandoned the effort early this year to return to the East Coast.

The Goldbergs moved to Seattle from Brooklyn more than a year ago. When Mandel left Snohomish County, they felt compelled to pick up where he left off.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement can be traced back to 18th century Russia. It gained a following in the U.S. in the 1940s, when a Belarussian rabbi who settled in Brooklyn dreamed of expanding Orthodox Judaism’s influence in North America. There are now more than 3,000 Chabad centers worldwide, according to the organization’s Web site.

For now, the local center is the bottom floor of the Goldbergs’ Edmonds home. The couple hopes to one day build a center to hold services, Hebrew lessons and celebrations.

Temple Beth Or, home to a Reform congregation, is Snohomish County’s only established Jewish house of worship. About 130 families worship there, according to temple officers. The temple was formed in 1988.

Zevi and Leeba Goldberg are convinced there are many more Jews in Snohomish County. There are clues everywhere, they said.

About 80 people attended an open house the Goldbergs held Sunday.

And the kosher food section of the local QFC supermarket was a pleasant surprise, they said. The aisle was stocked with specialty items only serious kosher Jews would need, instead of the standard matzo ball and challah mixes many supermarkets carry.

“Somebody is requesting those items,” Zevi Goldberg said.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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