(Chabad.org) Groups of rabbinical students have been making their way across Russia in specially-outfitted recreational vehicles known as “Mitzvah Tanks” to inspire and teach others, and strengthen Judaism throughout the country as part of the summer rabbinical visitation program coordinated by Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.
One group, comprised of Mendel Mondshine and Mendy Bekerman of Moscow and Yisrael Gotlieb of Nikolayev, took their camera with them to share highlights of their trip.
“Every moment of this special journey was a unique and challenging experience,” says Mondshine.
In Nizhny Novgorad, local Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Menachem Rabinowitz organized a house visit to a police lieutenant who wanted to put up three mezuzahs in his home.
Mendel Mondshine and Mendy Bekerman of Moscow and Yisrael Gotlieb of Nikolayev drove through the republic of Mari El to the primarily Muslim republic of Tatarstan, where they visited the cities of Naberezhnyye Chelny and Kazan. Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzchak Gorelik serves as the Kazan’s chief rabbi.
Russian National Television’s Channel 5 interviewed the students at a resort outside Kazan where they invited a Jewish man to come inside their vehicle to don the prayer boxes known as tefillin. “Things like the tank only strengthen my Jewish pride, and I think they are very important for Russian Jews,” the man told reporters.
The students stopped for afternoon prayers on the road from Naberezhnyye Chelny north to the industrial city of Izhevsk, the capital of the republic of Udmurtia.
The rabbinical students visited Umsk and saw Jewish stars still etched into old houses. They also visited the Ohr Avner Chabad day school there where more than 170 students study.
In Kurgan, the rabbinical students met the proud grandfather of Rabbi Arie Miretskiy, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Moscow who works in the children’s Cheder Menachem day school.
After dinner at the home of the Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in Chelyabinsk, the students found some Jewish men to help complete a quorum of 10 men to pray at the home of a young man mourning his late mother.