By Saraana Jamraj
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way almost everything is done. The Chabad Jewish Center of Tamarac has adapted to this new normal by finding new ways to connect with residents.
On May 12, the Chabad celebrated the Jewish holiday, Lag B’Omer. Typically celebrated at a park with a barbecue, Rabbi Kopel Silberberg explained that things had to be done differently this year; however, they still wanted to do something for the community.
Instead, they hosted a drive-thru barbecue, where Mayor Michelle Gomez joined them, and gave out food, masks, and held a game.
Approximately 80 people attended who were served food and given face masks if needed.
Rabbi Silberberg explained, the holiday was especially fitting, as the Lag B’Omer celebrates the ending of a plague in Jewish history, brought upon by a lack of unity, resolved with unity.
“We’re all in this together,” said Rabbi Silberberg.
Throughout the pandemic, the Chabad has been offering virtual classes, to keep congregants engaged—the educational courses cover everything from cooking kosher, Shabbat songs, to history lessons and resources on spiritual and personal growth.
“Judaism isn’t just in the synagogue, but also in the home,” said Rabbi Silberberg.
To honor and share that sentiment, they’ve also been offering Shabbat care packages for people to pick up or have delivered on Fridays so that they can use them on Saturdays.
The packages consist of different things each week—usually Challah, traditional Jewish bread, but sometimes chicken soup or dessert and dips.
Rabbi Silberberg said they also include inspirational reading materials.
“Although we can’t get together as a community—although we are socially distanced, we must still stay connected,” he said.
The Chabad has also served the community by shopping for seniors, who need groceries but don’t want to go out on their own.
Their efforts to reach out to the community have been continuous, and he said that the reception has been amazing.
“People appreciate that. People are alone, there’s uncertainty, and feeling someone reaching out to them has been important,” said Rabbi Silberberg.
The Chabad Center is continuing to offer educational classes and updates available on their website.