(JTA) — A Chabad House has opened in Laos, making it the 92nd country with a permanent Chabad presence.
The two-story villa in the city of Luang Prabang contains a large dining facility, synagogue, lounges and a garden with a pond. It is located near guesthouses that are frequented by Israeli travelers, mostly backpackers who tour the Far East after their army service.
The Chabad House already runs a kosher restaurant, holds weekly prayer services, Torah classes and Shabbat celebrations for about 50 people, according to Chabad.org. It put together a last-minute prayer service with a minyan for an ex-pat Englishman who needed to say Kaddish for his father.
Rabbi Sholom and Tamar Glitzenstein, the new Chabad emissaries in Laos, arrived at the beginning of the year to set up the Chabad House, where they also live.
The couple has brought people in through social media and also through visiting tourist hot spots to personally reach Jewish travelers.
“When people come here, they are open to new experiences—open to learning and growth. We’re here to help them reach the potential they have pent up in their souls, just waiting to be tapped,” Tamar Glitzenstein told Chabad.org.