Two young rabbis have been in Regina this week to spread the messages of their faith and of peace to the city’s small Jewish community.
Rabbis Shaul Goldman and Boruch Cohen — both 22 years old and residents of New York City — arrived in Regina last Sunday as part of their month-long outreach project for Saskatchewan Jews.
The pair, who were ordained as rabbis earlier this year, plan to spend about 10 days reaching out to the city’s Jewish population, helping them to rediscover their heritage and religion.
“Everyone has a soul, and who are we to judge what someone’s situation is? Every person has their challenges in life and so on, and the idea is to stress positivity and the like,” Cohen, who is originally from England, said earlier this week.
Cohen and Goldman are Chabah-Lubavitch rabbis. With more than 2,700 international branches, it’s the world’s largest Jewish organization. The duo is part of the Jewish Summer Peace Corps, which is in its 62nd year.
Since arriving in Regina after spending two weeks in Saskatoon, the Rabbinic pair have been busy calling people to set up appointments for home meetings.
With only about 300 Jews living in the area, finding Regina’s small Jewish community takes some effort on the part of the pair. However, the work of locating people was made easier since Goldman visited the city about three years ago with another partner.
“The phonebook is also sometimes a good way to find people. The names Goldman, Levy, Cohen — not to racial profile — but it’s usually a bit of a tip,” Cohen laughed.
So far, interest has been encouraging and several appointments have already been scheduled, Goldman added.
The pair have been hauling suitcases filled with videos, brochures, and various religious articles such as Shabbat candles, mezuzahs, and books which people can’t find in stores in Regina. They plan to leave these items behind for those who are interested, Cohen said.
During these uncertain times with tensions exploding in the Middle East and Israel, Cohen and Goldman are also spreading the message that peace can be obtained through charity and obeying the commandments of the Torah.
“We try to tell people to increase doing good deeds and the commandments that God told us to do for ourselves and to also help everybody else in the world to make the world a better place,” Goldman said.
Cohen has close relatives who live in Israel. One of his cousins is currently serving in the Israeli army and is very nervous about the situation.
The loss of civilian lives on both sides of the conflict is especially troubling to the pair.
“Human life is truly important and valuable. God put us on this world for a reason to fill, and every time another human life is taken, it’s the biggest tragedy,” Cohen said.
While on their journey throughout the province, the pair try to stay away from discussing politics with others, but they do stand in solidarity with Israel, according to Cohen.
Although they are asking others to pray for Israel, they also are calling for people to strengthen respect for all human life.
“We have to educate to give the message of hope and peace and that everyone should get along,” Cohen added.