A PAIR of young roving rabbis are visiting Warrnambool to reconnect isolated Jews to their roots and heritage this week.
Zalmy Shemtov, from Uruguay, and Mendy Begun, from Brazil, are travelling through the country as part of the non-profit organisation Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia. Mr Shemtov said since arriving in Warrnambool they had located three Jews in one day, simply through word of mouth.
“One of them we met up with and chatted about life and Judaism, and he invited us to see some whales from his home tonight,” he said.
“We generally always see the same reaction — they are surprised we’ve come and pleased to see us.
“Sometimes just seeing us makes them feel reconnected to Judaism.”
He said in the places they were visiting there were no synagogues where Jews could meet.
“We visit isolated Jews, bring Judaism to them and reconnect them to their heritage to help any way we can. Mostly they are secular Jews and we’re not here to make them Hasidic.
“Every small thing counts so we’re here to bring them one step closer to wherever they want to go.”
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released last month, less than 100 people in the south-west region speak Hebrew at home.
South-west Jews wishing to meet with the rabbis should phone 04 2422 0880.