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December 15, 1995 - Image 109

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-12-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



INSULATION, WIND PROTECTION AND
WICKING IN ONE GARMENT

edge of Jewish thought," Rabbi
Kasowitz adds, but he states that
the tour program is open to Jews
of all beliefs. "We believe in the
unity of the Jewish people," he
says, "and there is 'zero persua-
sion' on tour participants to join
our movement."
In San Jose, the capital of Cos-
ta Rica, the tour group stays at
the five-star Hotel Cariari on the
outskirts of town but takes meals
at the Chabad House in the city
— with Rabbi Hersh Spalter,
Chabad House director. At a spe-
cial Shabbaton, tour participants
will meet with members of the
San Jose Jewish community.
There are approximately 2,500
Jews in San Jose, and the orga-
nized community supports a
number of organizations like
WIZO, B'nai B'rith, several Zion-
ist and youth groups and a coun-
try club — on the same
sumptuous scale and with the
same range of cultural, social and
sports activities as at similar
clubs — Deportivos Israelitas
("Jewish Sports") — in Buenos
Aires and Mexico City.
Additionally, the community
supports a building complex
which includes the main syna-
gogue and the Chaim Weizmann
Comprehensive School, a mod-
em yeshiva whose 300 students
(kindergarten through high
school) pursue both a secular and
religious curriculum — and ac-
quire, in the process, absolute flu-
ency in their native Spanish and
in Hebrew, as well as a working
knowledge of English.
In recent years, Rabbi Hersh
Spalter of the Chabad House has
established a separate school
which follows the traditional cur-
riculum of similar Lubavicher day
schools in the United States, with
greater emphasis on Torah study
and on the use of Yiddish as the
principal language of instruction.
According to Rabbi Kasowitz,
relations are "friendly" between
the small Chabad, which has
been in Costa Rica less than a
decade, and the "mainstream"
community, established after
World War I by Turkish and East
European immigrants and rein-
forced, just before World War II,
with refugees from Nazi-held
Germany.
Recently, there has been what
one observer has decribed as a
"passionate" debate on the reli-
gious affiliation of Costa's Jew-
ish community, which is based
almost entirely in San Jose. Fol-
lowing the debate, local leaders
made the decision to remain Or-
thodox, but later, at an unprece-
dented "community congress"
attended by 150 community
members, there was agreement
on "listening" to experts on Con-
servative Judaism — and on
opening official communications
with the country's still-new and
still-small Reform and :71-labad
Lubavich congregations.

You can't see it, but sandwiched between the inner and
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