Two wispy-bearded, tall, thin young men wearing long black coats and wide-brimmed hats walked the sidewalk in front of Chronic Tacos in downtown Chico on Friday, Aug. 3.
To say the least, they stood out from the everyday downtown Chico crowd of shoppers, business people, employees and panhandlers.
“Are you Jewish?” they enthusiastically asked a curious passerby. The negative answer didn’t dampen their enthusiasm, and after a brief discussion they agreed to an interview that led to this story.
Mendel Karczag and Shlomie Kagan were in town as part of an effort called Roving Rabbis, in which rabbis-in-training go to places in China, India and rural Northern California, where Jewish communities are small and members supposedly have lost touch with their roots.
Karczag and Kagan, both 21, are part of the Chabad Rabbinical Visitation Program out of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic movement of Orthodox Judaism, based in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s the largest Jewish organization in the world, they said.
Each summer, according to Chabad.org, hundreds of rabbinical students “spend their summers on the road, sharing their passion for Jewish life and bringing Jewish awareness and observance wherever they go.” continue...