In the spring of 5773 (2013), we traveled to the Caribbean island of Barbados for the first time, beginning a journey full of ups, downs and unexpected turns. We have accomplished several Moshiach Mitzvah missions on the island, which you can read about in the articles below.
We have been guided by Rabbi Shmuel Pesach Bogomilsky, who was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita on missions to Barbados over 50 years ago, and has kept in touch with the community.
Our vision is to increase the Jewish presence in Barbados, restoring and even surpassing the size of the large Jewish community that lived on the island hundreds of years ago.
The exceptional beauty, rich Jewish history, year-round warm climate combined with the friendly and spiritually-inclined character of the local population and the lively, upscale vibe provide the perfect backdrop for a Jewish community to grow and shine.
We hope to establish a Mikvah as well as a Yeshivah-Rabbinical college.
It will be wonderful for this beautiful island to become home to a large, thriving Jewish community with all the necessary religious amenities.
Click below to help us contribute towards Moshiach awareness and Jewish life in Barbados.
Jewish tourists to Barbados used their recent vacation in Shevat 5766 (end of January 2016) as an opportunity for Jewish unity and growth.
Mr. Kenny Greenstein was determined to pray with a Minyan during his family’s vacation. A few months before their trip, he contacted Rabbi and Mrs. Benyaminson. As the Greensteins would be traveling at the height of the tourist season, it was a great chance to get a Minyan together. Rabbi Benyaminson had a friend of his request a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita in 770 Eastern Parkway that there should be a “Farbrengen” (Chassidic gathering and celebration) in Barbados in honor of the 11th of Shevat, when the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita officially took on the leadership. With Hashem’s help and clear Divine Providence, the blessing was fulfilled. Rabbi Benyaminson coordinated with several other tourists, helped them arrange to stay within walking distance of each other and sent two young Chabad men to bring and read from a Sefer Torah. There was even more than a Minyan on the Shabbos following the 11th of Shevat. Mr. Greenstein graciously offered to host the services in his beautiful villa. The Chabad Bochurim spoke words of Torah, told stories and “Farbrenged”. New friendships were formed.
“I have been on a spiritual high since I got back,” says Mordy Mandelbaum, who traveled to Barbados with a group of friends.
Shuki Greer and his wife had made reservations at a hotel until Friday, but then realized that their flight back home was actually on Sunday, meaning that they would unexpectedly be staying in Barbados for Shabbos. It was Divine Providence that they were there for just this Shabbos! They moved to a hotel close to where the Minyanim would take place. “I had such an inspiring time in Barbados,” says Shuki. “We ended up having one of the most uplifting Shabbosim we could have imagined.” They enjoyed Davening in the beautiful setting and were very happy to be able to hear the reading from the Torah scroll. “Judaism is clearly alive and well in this Snif (branch) of paradise! Thank you to the Benyaminsons for setting this all up!”
The Bock family gave a donation towards the Bochurim coming and said that in its merit a certain woman should have a complete recovery. Rabbi Benyaminson had a friend of his request a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita in 770 Eastern Parkway and she recovered!
“Thank you so much for all of your help with the Minyan,” said the Bocks. “The Greensteins are a wonderful and kind family and the Bochurim were great! Tizkeh Lemitzvot.”
On Sunday morning there was also a Minyan.
On Monday morning, the group gathered in the historic synagogue in Bridgetown for a moving prayer service and Torah reading. The synagogue was originally built by Portuguese Jews who had fled from the Inquisition and had been expelled from Brazil, over 300 years ago. In the recent years the Jewish community of Barbados restored the building and even excavated a Mikvah next to it! The words of the Torah reading resonated with the same words that were read there long ago by the Jews buried in the cemetery outside the synagogue. We constantly anticipate the true and complete Redemption through Moshiach, when they will come back to life and once again pray in this synagogue, which will be attached to the third Bais Hamikdash together with all the shuls in exile!
Many thanks to Mr. Oran and the executive committee of the Jewish community of Barbados, who arranged for this special prayer service to take place. The group was honored by the presence of Mr. Gilbert, a leader of the local community and consul of the Land of Israel, joining the Minyan. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert have been pillars of the community for decades and have been instrumental in restoring the old synagogue.
“After Davening on Monday morning, we put on Tefillin with a Jewish tourist who had come to see the shul,” said Chaim Grossbaum, one of the Chabad Bochurim. He and his friend, Mendel Namirovski, traveled around distributing Mezuzos to Jews as well as literature about Moshiach,
They gave cards about the Seven Noachide Commandments to the non-Jews. The Barbadian people are very spiritual and respond enthusiastically to this material.
The Bochurim also discovered a new Jewish family on the island! “We want to try to keep in touch with them, and help the kids go to a Jewish camp,” said Chaim.
Now the question was how to make sure there would be a Minyan and Torah reading the next Shabbos. Again, Hashem made it happen. Mr. Greenstein discovered that his friends were also in Barbados staying at the Hilton, which was walking distance from his villa! There was also a group of girls who had been staying in a different location but had decided to spend Shabbos at the Hilton so they would be within walking distance of other Jews observing Shabbos.
On Friday morning everyone was pleasantly surprised that another Chabad Bochur had flown in to help with the Minyan. Baruch Hashem, the Torah was read in the Hilton. It was especially significant because it was the Torah portion of Yisro, which includes the Ten Commandments.
This is the third time that the Benyaminsons have arranged for Minyanim in Barbados upon request of tourists. For Shavuos 5774 (2014), they sent a group of Bochurim from a few different places to guarantee a Minyan and Torah reading of the Ten Commandments. And in Kislev 5775 (December 2014), a tourist sponsored for them to send a group of Bochurim from the Doresh Yeshivah in Miami so he would have a Minyan during his vacation. The students enjoyed visiting the beautiful island, and brought a vibrant Jewish spirit wherever they went. It was Divine Providence that this wealthy tourist was going to be in Barbados on the 19th of Kislev, the Chassidic New Year, on which the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita says that we must make Farbrengens everywhere in the world. Rabbi Benyaminson had asked the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita for a blessing that there should be a Farbrengen for the 19th of Kislev in Barbados, and Baruch Hashem the blessing was fulfilled! Amazingly, a Jewish businessman arrived in Barbados just at that time and was very happy that he could Daven with Minyanim every day. He brought Kosher refreshments from Canada for the Farbrengen on the 19th Kislev, and completed studying the entire book of Tanya for the first time! (Tanya is the fundamental book of Chabad philosophy, written by the Alter Rebbe, whose liberation we celebrate on the 19th of Kislev.)
Together we can “make Barbados into the Land of Israel” (as the Chabad Rebbeim say that we should make every place in the world into the “Land of Israel”)! This is a preparation for the imminent true and complete Redemption through the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita, when the holiness of the Land of Israel will spread throughout the entire world!
From the Doresh Newsletter
This past Thursday evening (November 27 (2014)), our Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Salfer, came over to me, telling me that somebody wanted to make a minyan...in Barbados! He said that a Chabad shliach was away from the island, and he needed a minyan for a man, whose 50th birthday was coming up. He asked me to get seven other guys to come with us to help make the minyan. We picked up some menorahs to hand out on the island, as well as a sefer torah, and left early the following Sunday morning.
After landing later that day, we went straight to our hotel, in Holetown, right off the Carribbean Sea. We met the man, davened mincha-maariv, had a delicious dinner of turkey and baloney sandwiches, and then went to our rooms for the night.
Next morning, we got up at 7 AM to go swimming in the hotel pool. At 7:45, we got dressed and showered before heading to the minyan at 8:00 in my room with the man and the other Doresh guys. After that, we went shopping for food and utensils and visited the local beaches in Speightstown off the Carribbean Sea. We met back at the hotel for mincha-maariv and a barbeque chicken dinner before heading to the beach for a shiur by Rabbi Salfer.
The next day, by shacharis, we met another Jewish businessman who was in Barbados for business. We went to Bridgetown, which was the center of Barbados' Jewish community that immigrated there to escape the Spanish Inquisition. We visited the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, a combination museum, shul, and beis kevaroscompleted in 1654, whose name translates to "Synagogue for the Scattered of Israel". We learned that the Jews in Barbados were highly successful in the sugar industry until the British passed a mandate forbidding them to have more than one slave, causing much of the population to leave. This, combined with the shul's destruction by a hurricane in 1831, caused the community to die out. The last remaining Jews sold it to a non-Jew in 1929, who sold the parts to a Sephardi shul in Philadelphia and the British Museum. Barbados was barren of Jews until World War II, when many Jews fled to there from Europe.
At the shul, we met a non-Jewish shamesh, who took me out the back way to avoid the graves (I'm a kohen), and brought all of us to Benny Gilbert's office, across from Barbados' parliament building. We gave him one of our menorahs, and he told us that he was the Consul General of Israel in Barbados, one of thirty Israeli consuls in the Carribean and Latin America. He told us about his other job working in real estate, his family history, and all the details about the shul and its beis kevaros. The beis kevaros had originally belonged to a non-Jew after the shul was sold. In the '60s, the non-Jew removed some of the kevarim to build a road through it, as he planned to turn the former shul into a warehouse. He died shortly afterward, and his children were terrified of continuing their father's work. They contracted the property out to the Jewish community for a quarter a year (later nothing) through a man named Paul Altman, who was Benny's uncle. In 1986, their family then obtained permission from the Barbadian Prime Minister to restore the building to its former function as a shul. While renovating, they went to a governor's house and stumbled onto a pair of wooden luchos hidden in the wall by the governor's swimming pool, and reclaimed it with permission from the Prime Minister's wife. Benny also told us that they had found at another dignitary's house a clock from the 1600s that had belonged to the shul. It was a one-week wind-up clock, lasting from Shabbos to Shabbos, and the shul still uses it today. He told us that today that there are currently 60 Jews in Barbados. After he finished speaking, we sang "V'Zakeini" with him, and the original "Yedid Nefesh" niggun on his request.
After we left Mr. Gilbert, we went to a local diamond district to participate in a Chabad mitzoyim by giving out menorahs. After that, we met up with the man at the hotel, and then we went to the beach for mincha-maariv so we could see the sunset. After that, we went back to the hotel for another barbecue dinner, this time of wings. The next day, Wednesday, we davened with the two other men, before heading out to the North Point in the Saint Lucy area of the island to see the Animal Flower Cave, which faces the Atlantic Ocean. While we were there, we bought coconuts from a guy by the cave and saw The View, a breathtaking sight of water and earth crashing together outside the cave. Afterwards, we headed down to Farley Hill in the Saint Peter area, where we saw an abandoned sugar plantation that was owned by a non-Jew in the 1800s. After that, we went to the Oistins fish market on the Southern part of the island and bought some dolphin fish, better known as mahi-mahi. We headed back to the hotel, where we davened mincha-maariv and had fried mahi-mahi for dinner. That night was Yat Kislev, so after dinner, Mr. Gross, who is a friend of Chabad, came to the hotel and had us come with him to the beach for a farbrengen. Mr. Gross brought cake from his native Canada, and we also had watermelon, chips, peanuts, soda, and Manischewitz. In honor of the Mezritcher Maggid's yahrtzeit, we discussed the Maggid's place in the history of chassidus and the meaning of celebrating a tzaddik's yahrtzeit. Mr. Gross told us that he had finished learning daily Tanya for the first time, and I told the story of how the Baal HaTanya was released from prison on Yat Kislev.
Next morning, we davened and packed up to go back to yeshiva. We still had a bunch of menorahs left over, so one of the bachurim named Avraham Chaim Steier had the brilliant idea to leave them by Nidhe Israel. We went back to Benny to ask permission, and he of course gave it. We went to the shul and gave the leftover menorahs to the shamesh. Afterward, we went back to the hotel for one last mincha and lunch, said our goodbyes to our friends and headed for the airport.
Thank you to everyone who made this amazing trip possible, especially our anonymous friends.
Shneur Shuchat and Yisroel Faistman, young Chabad rabbinical students, wanted to travel to a faraway place for Pesach as emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita. They had read about their colleagues’ experience coordinating Minyanim this past winter in Barbados (see “Uplifting Jewish Experience in Barbados”) and felt that this would be a great place to do their outreach. Barbados is a beautiful Caribbean island with a proud Jewish community, friendly and spiritual locals and relaxed tourists. Shneur contacted Rabbi Benyaminson. Rabbi Benyaminson was delighted that Shneur and Yisroel could go and distribute the special round handmade Shmurah Matzah – called “food of faith” in the Zohar – to Jews in Barbados. The Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita instructs that every rabbi and anyone who can should make sure that every single Jew receives round handmade Shmurah Matzah to fulfill the Mitzvah of eating Matzah at the Seders in the best way. Rabbi Benyaminson sent a request for blessing that this should work to be given to the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita in 770 Eastern Parkway – House of Moshiach. Baruch Hashem, the blessing was fulfilled in a great way.
As soon as the plan was finalized, Shneur and Yisroel began collecting Shmurah Matzah and other necessary items. With the help of generous supporters, their flights and hotel reservations were booked, they packed their physical “food of faith” (Matzah) and their spiritual “food of faith” (literature) and took off!
They landed in the middle of the night a few days before Pesach and went to their hotel, where the staff graciously greeted them despite the late hour. Immediately they set to work putting together beautiful packages of Shmurah Matzos, “Geulah” pamphlets (information about Moshiach and Redemption) and shiny, colorful Haggadahs. After a short sleep they got up and started traveling around the island to distribute the Matzos. “We were busy from early in the morning till late at night,” they said. They spent the few days left before Pesach tirelessly traveling from one Jew to the next. They gave Matzah to Jews known to live on the island, as well as to tourists and others who they discovered. Everyone was very happy to receive the Matzos. People were amazed that the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita cares about each individual Jew and sends people to go out of their way to give them Shmurah Matzah.
Shneur and Yisroel also talked to hundreds of non-Jews about the Seven Noachide Commandments, as well as distributing related literature. They waved the bright yellow Moshiach flag in public places, arousing interest and spreading awareness of Moshiach’s campaign to “correct the entire world to serve Hashem together” (as the Rambam-Maimonides writes in his description of Moshiach).
“I learned a lot,” said Shneur. “People asked us questions and we had to come up with answers very quickly, and this got us to think and discover the answers within our Torah knowledge. We talked to hundreds of people, and had long, deep discussions with at least 15-20 people.”
“I was very surprised of their young age,” said one of the people they spoke to at length. “They spoke as mature young adults and were confident to answer any question asked with much certainty of what they stood for.”
Shneur and Yisroel truly brought “food of faith” – both physical and spiritual – to all diverse sectors of the population and tourists of Barbados.
A special thank you to our many supporters who enabled this wonderful Mitzvah to be done.
Thank you to the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita for giving every Jew the honor of participating in his Majesty’s holy work.
Please contact us a 954-549-5447 or RebbeMessiahLives.firstname.lastname@example.org to find out ways that you can make your visit to Barbados into a Chabad Moshiach mission!
It was all thanks to asking for a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita in 770 Eastern Parkway!
Thank G-d, in 5778 (2017) we finally succeeded, after years of attempts, in getting Lulavim and Esrogim to Barbados!
It was a complicated process, beginning with obtaining a plant import permit from the Barbados plant quarantine. Thank G-d, they processed the permit within just a few days (quicker than usual), and we really appreciate that they made that extra effort. Then the Lulavim (date-palm branches) had to undergo a special fumigation in the US, as per the requirement of Barbados. The other plants had to be inspected and certified by the USDA. Then two Chabad rabbinical students traveled to Barbados with the Lulavim and Esrogim. They built a "Sukkah-mobile" on a pickup truck and set off visiting Jews around the island and giving them the opportunity to do the special Mitzvah of shaking the Lulav!
Thank you to all the donors who made this finally work!
We hope that next year we will succeed in bringing this special Mitzvah to even more Jews. The main thing is that immediately Hashem will open our eyes to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita, when we will enjoy a feast in the Sukkah made of the skin of the Leviasan fish!
We wish Rabbi Chaikin and family, who have recently moved to Barbados, much success in all aspects of Shlichus permeated with the main Shlichus of inspiring everyone to accept Moshiach, as true Shluchim of the Rebbe King Moshiach Shlita!