My beloved S.G. and I had the opportunity to spend Shabbes at the brand new (as of Rosh HaShana) Chabad House in St. Catharines. Formerly, Chabad was centred out of Niagara Falls, but the new location is much better on a lot of levels (bigger, closer to Brock University, closer to a larger Jewish population, etc.).
I’ve had the sincere pleasure of knowing R’ Zalman Zaltzman (the local Chabad Rabbi) and his wonderful wife, Perla, for about 5 years ever since they first came to the region. They are a wonderful dedicated couple who have devoted their lives to Jewish education, community and spreading the Rebbe‘s message and vision to as many Jews as they can.
While we originally thought it was going to be just a (relatively) small group of people, when I arrived at about 4:00 pm Friday afternoon, the place was already starting to fill up. The Rabbi and his wife invited about a half-dozen Brock University students to dinner Friday evening and a few members of the local Jewish community. Also attending were R’ Zaltzman’s parents and several of his brothers and sisters.
All in all, there were 25 of us that night! Shabbes dinner was so amazing (thank you Perla!) and the conversation inspiring and enlightening.
The next day, after morning prayers, I had the wonderful experience of talking/studying with a 13-year-old Chabad student who is a brilliant Torah scholar. It was incredible seeing such insight and depth of understanding in one so young. I was completely blown away.
Lunch was late (starting around 2:00 pm) and very leisurely with lots of uplifting stories and enjoyable conversation.
All too soon, it was time for havdalah, and before we knew it, Shabbes was over.
If you are Jewish and are in the Niagara Region of southern Ontario, do yourself a favour and contact Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Centre of Niagara. It will be an experience you will not soon forget.