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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 10, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 67

The Largest Seder in the World

By IINS News Service

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Following legions of "wandering Jews," Lubavitch emissaries have been dispatched to the "rooftop of the world," a favorite destination of Jewish trekkers -- Israelis who have finished their army service and are out to see the world.

Lubavitch's annual "Seder On Top Of The World" for these young Jews is the largest known seder in the world. This year, four young rabbis were dispatched to make that trek. They arrived in the Himalayan kingdom outfitted with 450 pounds of Matza, kosher fish, meat, wine and Haggadahs, and energy enough to galvanize an army of backpackers -- more than 1,000 young Jews climbing the highest mountain in the world.

Dozens of Israelis have already been recruited for KP duty, peeling potatoes while trading favorite chicken-soup recipes and discussing the Haggadah and its modern-day relevance with the rabbis. And throughout the high mountain passes, along the tortuous paths of Nepal and Tibet, young Israeli, American, Australian and European Jews are heard alerting each other to be back in time for the Seder down below.

In the few days the emissaries have been there they have put on tefillin with more than 300 people, arranged Friday night services for 85, held numerous impromptu study classes, and arranged Passover provisions for a Jew spending Passover in Tanzania. They also sent seder provisions for Jews spending the holiday on top of Mt. Everest.

On Pesach night, these Jews will stream into a huge army tent in front of the Israeli embassy lined end to end with long tables laden with Haggadahs, wine and Seder plates, and learn about Passover.

Irit Goren, 23, of Tel-Aviv, who came to the country to study Eastern religions, said: "Pesach in Katmandu Lubavitch-style was a real eye-opener for me. This [was] the first time Judaism had any meaning for me... I never knew that Judaism was so spiritual."

Goren is one of some 25,000 Israelis who trek through the Himalayas each year as a rite of passage following army service. "Many young Jews travel to the Far East searching for meaning and spiritual identity," said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky of the Lubavitch World Headquarters. "We hope that this positive Jewish experience will help them find their true spiritual sustenance in their own vineyard of Judaism."

For the first time ever, a second large seder will be held in Nepal's center of adventure, Pokhara. While the seder in Katmandu has traditionally attracted many of the trekkers camped out in Pokhara --on their way up or down the mountains -- the fact that many were left without a seder was reason for Lubavitch World Headquarters to send an additional pair of students and another half a ton of food to conduct a seder in Pokhara.

Welcome to Palestine

By IINS News Service

The PLO Authority Ministry of Tourism has issued an official booklet - "Palestine: Sales Guide for Tour and Travel Operators."

"Palestine, the heart of the Holy Land, is a fascinating country forming a unique backdrop to people with different personalities and religious backgrounds. This is a land at the crossroads of history where profound beliefs, aspirations, and ideas have been realized. In order to appreciate and understand this land of the Bible, one must see the land, what it is and visit the religions and archaeological sites to absorb its history."

The booklet includes a map of cities and towns in "Palestine", beginning at Jenin in the North, and extending to Beersheva in the South. An interesting city called Lydda (Lod) is shown, southeast of Tel-Aviv. To the west of Ramallah is another interesting piece of territory, labeled on the map - "No Mans Land."

Conversion Institute Approved by Cabinet Panel

By IINS News Service

A conversion institute, to be operated by representatives of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish communities, has been approved by a cabinet subcommittee.

The institute is a direct result of the recommendations made by the Ne'eman Committee, which was established to seek out a compromise to avoid a major split between Conservative and Reform Jews and the State of Israel. The institute will be set up in Beersheva, to serve the large population of immigrants from the former USSR.

Deputy Minister of Housing Rabbi Meir Porush, of the United Torah Judaism alliance said the Reform and Conservative movement "want to be like gentiles," and he was unable to support such an initiative. Porush stated the two movements should have nothing to do with the process of converting a non-Jew to Judaism.

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