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A message from OVS President Michael Bouhadana

04/26/2018 05:05:00 PM


Michael Bouhadana

Where could a Sephardi Jew enjoy the most incredible Shabbat kiddush meal of Moroccan fish and Israeli salads? The answer might surprise you. My wife and I visited the Jewish Community of Kansai in Kobe, Japan, and spent Shabbat at Congregation Ohel Shelomoh (, with services led by Rabbi Shmuel Vishedsky. Only a few thousand Jews live in Japan, with a small but thriving Sephardic/Mizrahi community in the coastal city of Kobe. The community regularly hosts Friday night Shabbat dinners, and kiddush lunches on Saturday afternoon. During our visit, they served excellent fresh fish at every meal; my taste buds were in heaven! In addition to the Rabbi, the Rebetzin, and community members, we shared interesting conversations with an Israeli physician and his wife visiting Japan for a conference, and an exchange student from Australia studying software engineering at Osaka University. 
Although Jews have a good life in Japan, they still face challenges, particularly in keeping kosher (meat is a rare treat). Yet with such limited resources, the synagogue kitchen prepared a wonderful meal for its members and guests: all appeared to be welcomed as family. Jewish life in Kobe is centered around the synagogue with many spending the whole Shabbat day: services, meals and social time. While we have many outside opportunities in Atlanta to engage Judaically, I hope that we all continue to spend quality time at Or Ve Shalom: fostering a welcoming environment for members and guests. Allison and I felt such warmth in Kobe, and I hope that visitors to OVS all leave with a similar impression.
Shabbat Shalom, Michael
Thu, August 6 2020 16 Av 5780