Today's article in the Israeli daily MA'ARIV
Photo: Miriam Woelke
According to the Israeli MA'ARIV newspaper, Chabad Ramat Aviv is not allowed entering the local shopping mall if the Chassidim intent to lay Tefillin. The Chabadnikim usually lay Tefillin for customers walking through the mall. Even shop owners like to use the Chabad service from time to time.
Yesterday afternoon, the Ramat Aviv Chabad Mashpia, Rabbi Mordechai Wober, wanted to enter the Ramat Aviv Mall in order to set up the regular Tefilling stand. However, the guards of the mall refused to let him enter the building. Rabbi Wober chose another entrance but, again, was held back from entering. In the end, the Rabbi was allowed to enter due to other people complaining about the guard.
The official response of the mall: The Ramat Aviv Mall is welcoming any customer without making any difference between gender, race or religion. The mall is open to all people. However, the mall has received complaints from various customers and shop owners about Chabad, as there are people who feel being pushed by the Chassidim. Therefore, the mall officials asked Chabad to stop setting up the Tefillin stand. Nevertheless, as customers, the Chabadnikim are welcomed to enter the mall.
Chabad in the posh neighbourhood of Ramat Aviv has been facing trouble for the past years. Ramat Aviv is located north of Tel Aviv and most inhabitants are totally secular. Furthermore, Chabad Ramat Aviv is extremely Meshichist orientated; meaning that they openly proclaim that Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the Meshiach. Some inhabitants may feel disturbed by Chabadnikim driving around on a yellow Meshiach motorbike waving the famous yellow Meshiach flag. On the other hand, Chabad Ramat Aviv is offering a Pessach Seder and when I was participating a year and two years ago, many locals arrived at the Seder, as they had no one else to celebrate with.
For those of you who are not too familiar with the locations: The Chabad House including a Yeshiva and the Ramat Aviv Shopping Mall are just a few meters apart from each other.