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Chabad speaker to share family story

Chabad speaker to share family story

Palm Beach Daily News | February 3, 2017


Chabad speaker to share family story

By: Betty Nelander
Palm Beach Daily News
Friday, February 3, 2017

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Judy Kaplan, midwife, educator and mentor, will speak today and Saturday
at The Chabad House Shabbaton.

A woman whose life was transformed by Orthodox Judaism will be the guest speaker this weekend at The Chabad House.

Judy Kaplan of Boca Raton, mother of 10 children, wife, and certified nurse midwife and nurse practitioner, is set to speak after the 6 p.m. Shabbat service tonight and after the 10 a.m. service Saturday at the Chabad, 361 S. County Road.

“Judy has an amazing tale of spirituality and midwifery mixed together,” said Hindel Levitin, rebbetzin at The Chabad House, and friend of Kaplan, who has been her midwife. “Her stories are spell-binding, her commitment to Judaism is an inspiration for everyone and her devotion to her work is so admirable.”

While she was raised a reform Jew, Kaplan’s religious journey took her to Orthodox Judaism when she was 20 and the privilege of meeting the Rebbe. Today, she and her family are emissaries for Chabad-Lubavitch. Four sons are rabbis, four sons served in the Israel Defense Forces and one daughter is a rebbetzen in Vienna. Judy Kaplan volunteers and supports Chabad of Salonika Greece and is on the Sephardic Federation of Palm Beach County board of directors. Salonika is the sister city of West Palm Beach in the Worldwide Chabad Organization.

Greece, she said, is a “family project.” Her husband, Rabbi Israel, is a Mashgiach, who supervises the status of kosher factories in Greece. A son Yosef, a rabbi, takes care of people’s spiritual needs in the Chabad House, helping them to lead fuller Jewish lives. Another son, Rabbi Yoel, the Chief Rabbi of Montenegro and Albania, helps Jewish Holocaust survivors who are scattered throughout the Balkans, and have totally lost contact with Jewish life. Ninety-five percent of the Jews in Greece were lost in the Holocaust, most of them at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many of the survivors ended up being raised in non-Jewish homes.

Among the stories she will share is one that began when her son, Rabbi Yoel, walked to mail a letter during the 2010 riots protesting the Greek Austerity Plan and ended up helping a famous boxer who had threatened him on the way, to embrace his newly discovered Jewish roots.

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