Judaic life strengthened

When Evan Finkel came to the University of Miami two years ago, he was concerned about losing touch with his Jewish roots. Then he discovered the Chabad House.

Chabad is a major movement within the mainstream Jewish tradition, with its roots in the 18th century Hasidic movement. Today, Chabad maintains institutions in over 1,000 cities around the world.

Until a community can sustain its own building, the “Chabad House” is held commonly held at a rabbi’s house. The UM Chabad House, located at 1251 Hardee Rd., is the home of Rabbi Mendy Fellig and his wife, Henchi. Though Chabad is part of the Orthodox branch of Judaism, it welcomes students regardless of their degree of observance.

“We want the students to feel that they can come to us for anything, in any situation,” Henchi Fellig said. “It is important that students who come to college feel that they have resources and a place to go.”

The Felligs are currently celebrating Passover, which began at sundown on Monday and lasts until April 26. Passover, one of the most important holidays in Judaism, celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Those who observe the holiday are supposed to abstain from eating yeast for the span of the week.

“It doesn’t matter if students are religious or not, and we definitely do not expect everyone to stay away from yeast products, but we want to make sure they walk away from our Seder with a rich understanding of what the holiday is about,” Henchi Fellig said. “That is what means the most to my husband and I.”

Freshman Lizz Evalen’s favorite experience is Chabad’s “lunch and learn” program, which Henchi Fellig holds every Thursday of the semester.

“We learn a little bit from the Torah and we eat,” Evalen said. “But I always talk to Henchi about what’s going on in my life, and I know she’s there to listen. That’s why I love Chabad.”

For more information, contact the Felligs at ChabadUM@aol.com.

Brittany Weiner may be contacted at bweiner@themiamihurricane.com.