New Zealand Earthquake Hits Rabbi’s Home


new-zealand-earthquake[Video below.] The only shul in Christchurch, New Zealand, survived a massive earthquake. The tremor on Shabbos, registering 7.1 on the Richter scale, ripped through the city in the south island at around 4.30 a.m., causing an estimated $1.4 billion in property damage. There were no fatalities.

Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, the American-born director of Chabad of New Zealand, told JTA that the earthquake – the country’s worst since 1931 – razed part of the roof of his dining room while his wife and three children were sleeping.

“We scrambled to find the kids, pick them up and hold them beneath the doorposts,” he said.

“When we felt it was slowing down we took them out of the house into the parked car and hunkered down for about two hours,” Goldstein said. “No one was seriously hurt although quite a few elderly people are still in shock over the earthquake,” he added.

But the fate of the city’s Chabad House, which is home to the country’s only kosher restaurant, is unknown because the area has been cordoned off by authorities due to the extensive damage.

“It’s in the hardest hit area,” Rabbi Goldstein said. “The Chabad House serves as the community center.”

Rabbi Goldstein went to the city’s only shul, Canterbury Hebrew Congregation, just hours after the quake on Shabbos morning.

“The shul just finished renovations last Wednesday; the building was overdue for some strengthening for quite some time. Coincidentally the repairs were completed and the shul was virtually unscathed by the earthquake.”

“We’ve been visiting older members of the community. We delivered them some drinks and food and made sure they know someone is there for them.”

Rabbi Shmuel Kopel, another Chabad rabbi, flew from Dunedin to Christchurch today to help Rabbi Goldstein with relief efforts for the city’s 2,000 Jews.

Click below for a video report of the earthquake:

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  1. I hope all yiden are safe and not harmed, What a name of a town, I wonder how yiden say the name, there must be another name, cuz its not pushit to name of oisoi ish

  2. ??? tzelem is the Yiddish name for a town in the Sheva Kehilos (Austria) with a German name very similar to the one in the news now.

    Yidden always misponounce os renamed such locales, Satmar is an abbreviation of S. Ma..y
    S Peteersburg was Peterburg. Kerestir is one more example. “White C..rch in Poland” was
    ??????? ?????

  3. Maybe it’s a sign from Hashem that its time for everyone there-& the rest of klal yisroel-to move to israel NOW before Mashiach comes

  4. As usual, the pupik-contemplating chochems of have completely missed the point of this story: the damage caused to Jewish-owned property in a city devastated by an earthquake.

    I heartily condemn this pointless debate over the name of a town.

    It would be much more of a kiddush haShem – and less of a bitul zman – if contributors 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 would (a) do teshuva and (b) consider what tangible help they could offer to Rav Mendel Goldstein, Chabad House of Christchurch, and the rest of the Jewish community of New Zealand.

  5. To number 4: Just to show how myths, with the passage of time become accepted as fact, here’s the following from Wikipedia:
    The origin of the name of the town is Hungarian. The Hungarian name Szatmár comes from an old Hungarian personal name, Zotmar[citation needed]. Until 1925, in Romanian, the name S?tmar was used, which is the Hungarian name transcribed to Romanian orthography. Since 1925, the name of the town in Romanian is officially Satu Mare, which is similar in pronunciation to the original name, but also conveys meaning in Romanian, namely “the great village”.[citation needed].”

    Actually, in Galicia, they would pronounce it as Sakmar since every town name was somewhat associated with the local tifleh that was the main feature in the town square. Similarly, the Sanzer Rav changed his name from Halberstadt to Halberstam.