Roving Rabbis return to region

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LISA JAMES/Hagadone News Network Rabbi Shalom Dubov, left, and Rabbi Mendy Plotkin pose for a photo in front of a plate of matzah and kosher wine, both traditional items served during a Seder at Passover.

The Roving Rabbis have returned to North Idaho.

When Passover begins at sundown Monday, Rabbis Shalom Dubov and Mendy Plotkin will host a Seder in Coeur d’Alene.

Dubov and Plotkin, rabbinical students working with the international organization Chabad, will run the traditional Jewish meal, organized by the Boise-based Chabad Lubavitch of Idaho.

“Passover is not simply a celebration of the historic liberation of an ancient people,” said Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz, director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Boise. “Passover is about our own personal liberation — physically, emotionally and spiritually. Passover inspires us to break free from our own limitations and complacency, restraining us from reaching new heights. At Passover, we become free in our lives, relationships and connection with God. We are delighted to offer this — once again — to Jewish residents of North Idaho.”

The Coeur d’Alene Seder is the closest one to Sandpoint and all interested are invited.

Dubov and Plotkin are part of Chabad’s Roving Rabbis program that regularly brings young rabbis to North Idaho around holidays and during the summer to help bring the Jewish community together.

The Roving Rabbis’ tradition of cooking for the Jewish community comes from its founder, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

As Rabbi Dubov tells it, members of Chabad decided in the 1940s that an empty chair should always be placed at the table to represent a child who was lost in the Holocaust. Schneerson agreed it was a beautiful idea, but that instead of the chair sitting empty, a guest should always be invited to fill it.

From that grew the Roving Rabbis’ tradition of going into communities all over the world and setting up holiday observances for those that do not have a place to celebrate.

“We are delighted to return to North Idaho for Pesach,” said Rabbi Dubov. “Interacting with the community and learning from each other was a rewarding experience, which we look forward to once again.”

The eight-day festival of Pesach, known as Passover in English, is celebrated this year from sundown on Monday night, April 10, until after nightfall on Tuesday, April 18.

Passover commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

Other holiday observances include restricting the consumption of leavened products such as bread and pasta, instead eating unleavened matzah.

Additional information about the Passover holiday is available www.jewishidaho.com/Passover.

The rabbis can be contacted by email at Rovingrabbis@jewishidaho.com.

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