Nestled in Worthing, Barbados, is a Chabad House run by Rabbi Eli and Sterna Chaikin since 2017 —the 11th Chabad center in the Caribbean to date.
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Much has been made of just how food-centric Judaism is. From latkes on Chanuka to the requisite cheesecake on Shavuot, Judaism can and will make you fat. That’s why ‘how to cook Jewish food’ is such a hot button topic, why the Jewish cookbook market is so saturated (thank God or I’d be out of a job) and why your local Chabad chef is performing a live demonstration of how to cook gefilte fish on live television.
When the leader of Houston’s Chabad Teen Network (CTeen) was forced from her home by floodwaters, she took shelter with friends who happened to live near the local Chabad house, Chabad of Uptown. Naomi Bier, a 28-year-old Houston resident, has been volunteering there ever since, and created an Amazon Wishlist to gather donations of food and other items to help Houston’s Jewish community. (Chabad is collecting donations for all Harvey relief at this site).
I’d just arrived in Shanghai and was having one of those unnerving moments I dread in countries where I don’t know the language. The taxi driver had dropped me off in front of a large white villa with an elegant marble staircase. It was not what I’d pictured when I asked to be taken to the Kosher Café, which I’d heard was housed in the Shanghai Jewish Center. My stomach clenched. Had the driver grown tired of searching Shanghai’s Hongqiao neighborhood and abandoned me to find my own way?
There was a time not long ago when all bourbon was considered kosher. But for many observant Jews, that simple assumption has gone the way of the Grand Ole Opry.