Chabad House of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Chabad-Lubavitch is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization. It is considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today.
The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of: chachmah-wisdom, binah-comprehension and da’at-knowledge. The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy, the deepest dimension of G-d’s Torah, teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of Creation, and the importance and unique mission of each Creature. This philosophy guides a person to refine and govern his and her every act and feeling through wisdom, comprehension and knowledge.
The word “Lubavitch” is the name of the town in White Russia where the movement was based for more than a century. Appropriately, the word Lubavitch in Russian means the “city of brotherly love.” The name Lubavitch conveys the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad philosophy toward every single Jew.
Following its inception 250 years ago, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement — a branch of Hasidism — swept through Russia and spread in surrounding countries as well. It provided scholars with answers that eluded them and simple farmers with a love that had been denied of them. Eventually the philosophy of Chabad-Lubavitch and its adherents reached almost every corner of the world and affected almost every facet of Jewish life.
The movement is guided by the teachings of its seven leaders (“Rebbes”), beginning with Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, of righteous memory (1745-1812). These leaders expounded upon the most refined and delicate aspects of Jewish mysticism, creating a corpus of study thousands of books strong. They personified the age-old, Biblical qualities of piety and leadership. And they concerned themselves not only with Chabad-Lubavitch, but with the totality of Jewish life, spiritual and physical. No person or detail was too small or insignificant for their love and dedication.
In our generation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson King Moshiach, known simply as “the Rebbe,” guided post-holocaust Jewry to safety from the ravages of that devastation.
The origins of today’s Chabad-Lubavitch organization can be traced to the early 1940’s when the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of righteous memory (1880-1950), appointed his son-in-law and later successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, to head the newly-founded educational and social service arms of the movement.
During more than four decades of inspired leadership the Rebbe made Lubavitch the world’s largest Jewish outreach organization.
Today, some 3,300 Chabad-Lubavitch institutions span more than fifty-five countries on six continents. These educational and social-service institutions serve a variety of functions for the entire spectrum of Jews, regardless of affiliation or background. Programs geared to humanitarian endeavors reach out beyond the Jewish community, to all people.
On the (currently) last conference of Shluchim (Chabad Rabbi’s), when the Rebbe addressed his emissaries, the Rebbe emphasized the fact that our generation is the last generation of exile and the first generation of redemption. Therefore the duty falls on every Jew and especially those who are his emissaries to prepare the world to welcome King Moshiach into reality.
About Chabad of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka too was placed on the map On November 2005, when Rabbi Mendi & Mrs. Talia Crombie arrived on the island to establish a Sri Lankan Jewish center for the first time in history.
From November 2005 to April 2006 the Chabad house operated at the Hikkaduwa resort, where hundreds of Israeli surfers come for holiday. During those months of activity the Chabad house held Evening activities, Shabbat dinners and Holidays activities on Chanukah and Purim. It also extended an open hand to assist anyone.
In the following months the activity expanded to Jews living in the capital of Colombo and gatherings began to be held for them also, mostly on holidays.
On April, the Chabad House was permanently situated in Colombo in order to establish a Jewish community there and to provide Jewish necessities for the Jews living in the city and for businessmen and tourists who visit it.
Within a short period of time, the Jews living in Colombo were forged into a vibrant active community. The activity included gatherings on Shabbat and Holidays and many Jewish related activities for adults and children. The peak was in the Yom Kippur prayers held at the Hilton hotel, with all of the community members participating. This was the first time Sri Lanka saw a Jewish Minyan in High Holidays prayer.
Chabad House also became an ‘Jewish embassy’ for Jews visiting Sri Lanka and are looking for Kosher food and other Jewish services.
Today, the Chabad House is located in a large and spacious building in the city center. It functions as a Jewish center that gives service to all Jewish needs: Synagogue, Mikva, Library, a kosher restaurant, dormitories and more.