In Nepal, Israelis Examine Jewish Identity

In Nepal, Israelis Examine Jewish Identity

by Staff Writer - Dhulikhel, Nepal

November 30, 2007

Dhulikhel, a resort village with panoramic views of the famous Himalayan mountain ranges, is an idyllic setting for soul searchers. Here, Chezi Lifshitz, the Chabad shliach to Nepal, devotes three days per month during peak season, to an intensive exploration of the mystical layers of Judaism together with Israeli travelers.

Getting away from it all, as Israeli backpackers tend to do trekking the Himalayas after they’ve completed their army service, is thus sometimes rewarded by an unexpected paradigm shift of lifelong proportions.

High season for the backpackers is typically between November through early spring. Thousands pass through Nepal and the Chabad House there. But for the purposes of this experience, Rabbi Lifshitz limits monthly workshops to 20 participants at most, allowing them to develop a meaningful rapport. Together, they share meals, examine Chasidic and kabbalistic ideas on G-d, life, the soul, and the world.

“After the last workshop that recently concluded,” says Chani Lifshitz, who develops the workshops with her husband, “a group of friends collectively decided to take on the mitzvah of tefillin, several women backpackers made a commitment to lighting Shabbat candles every week, and many others resolved to incorporate different mitzvot of their choosing, into their daily routines.”

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