Latvia SIG #Latvia Rosh Hashanah in Riga #latvia

Arlene Beare <arl@...>

I have received this heartwarming letter >from Rabbi Glazman who is happy to=
share the High Holy Days with us. Read about the Kosher Coffee Shop.=20
Whatever one's religious beliefs we can all rejoice that the Jewish=20
community in Latvia is able to celebrate Jewish holidays in the traditional=
way. This is reproduced with permission >from Rabbi Glazman.

Dear Mrs. Beare

This year, our Jewish Brethren all over the world celebrated the High=20
Holidays. All beseeched G-D for a year of peace, love, joy and=20
success. The Jewish Community of Riga was no different. Read on to find=20
out how these festive days were celebrated in the heart of the Baltics.

This month, Chabad in Riga was most active. The month=92s many holidays=
supplied the enthusiastic Jewish Community of Riga with a never-ending=20
amount of activities & sense of accomplishment. A major mailing=20
comprising of a beautifully designed Shabbat candle lighting timetable was=
sent out to over 2000 Jewish families in Latvia!

Jews of Riga celebrated the holiday of Rosh Hashana in an atmosphere of=20
holiness, awe & Jewish pride. Everyone joined together in heartfelt prayer=
for a happy, healthy & sweet new year. On the second day of Rosh Hashana,=
the multitude of Jews quickly filled & packed Riga=92s large synagogue in=20
excitement & readiness. Two inspiring programs had been organized to cater=
to adults & children=92s individual needs. All learned about the sanctity=
and importance of the holiday of Rosh Hashana. An eye-catching & creative=
Jewish calendar was distributed through the aid of the JDC to the countless=
participants who attended this exceptional program. In a powerful symbol=20
of Jewish unity, all then gathered together and walked to the Daugava River=
to perform the ritual of Tashlich. In unison, everyone recited the prayer=
aloud and then listened to the powerful blasts of the Shofar being sounded=
outside & in broad daylight in the streets of Riga. The powerful and=20
breathtaking effect of this successful assembly could be seen in the=20
expressions of many participants.

Besides the Holidays, Jewish residents of Riga were treated to a special=
surprise this month. The opening of a kosher coffee shop =96 Lechaim! Jews=
can now gather together and dine in an ambiance of elegance, class and=20
style. A wide-ranging menu of delicious kosher food is offered. Choices=20
vary >from the traditional gefilte fish to the all Israeli pita and=20
falafel. Situated in close proximity to the Jewish Community Center, it=20
greatly facilitates access for all of Riga=92s Jews & tourists too! Most=20
important, Lechaim! is a one-stop shop that offers everything a Jew would=
require in Judaica & Jewish reading material: Mezuzot, Kippot, the Torah=
in Russian, Jewish musical CD=92s and much more.

The holiday of Sukkot, a time of great rejoicing was also celebrated=20
here. Chabad organized a day of festivities and entertainment in Riga=92s=
main park. Over 500 people participated in this grand event. The crowd=20
was treated to a special program: The musical performance of an original=20
Jewish band, a carnival comprised of diverse entertainment booths and a=20
children=92s dance performance. The intense happiness and jubilation=20
expressed by all, was so powerful that it attracted many a passerby to come=
and check out this momentous event. Most important, all those who partook=
in the festivities had the opportunity to perform the mitzvah of =93Lulav &=
Etrog=94, which for many was the very first time! A large Sukkah was=
as well and all participants were invited to enjoy a snack inside. The=20
event was brought to a close with a grand raffle with special prizes such=20
as a camera, a watch, a stereo system, and other grand rewards.

At =93Ohel Menachem=94, the Chabad Lubavitch Day School in Riga, many=
& stimulating activities were organized for the students on each day of=20
Chol Hamoed. To name a few: A magnificent Sukkah building contest, Sukkah=
decorating, dining together in the Sukkah and so on. Thus, the students=20
were able to learn about this holiday in an enjoyable and productive manner.

After long months of preparations, planning & building, a long time dream=
of the Jewish community has come true. Chabad Lubavitch opened the doors=20
of a state of the art women=92s Mikvah beautifully designed to fit the needs=
of all. It is strategically situated in a quiet area in the center of the=
city rendering it easily accessible in privacy and confidentiality. Those=
wishing to lead their lives in purity and sanctity are now able to do so in=
comfort and elegance. Chabad cares for the people of today and is=20
preparing for the generation of tomorrow.

Rabbi Mordechai Glazman

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