Iceland only has about 250 Jews. Yet Rabbi Avi Feldman is moving with his wife Mushky and their two daughters Chana and Batsheva in order to be Iceland’s first permanent local rabbi.
It is a common custom in the Chabad circles for rabbis to go on what is known as “Shlichus.” Shlichus is the idea of being an emissary for Judaism and helping other Jews connect to their roots. Many Jewish people are completely unaffiliated and non-observant. Chabad members will pick up from their community and move to where those Jews live – anywhere on the planet. It is a completely unselfish act to help the continuity of the Jewish nation. Sometimes, the rabbis and their families are sent to a popular location. Other times, they may end up in a more remote, far off place to help strengthen the Jewish community. Somewhere like Iceland.
Jews in Iceland
In Iceland, there is no Kosher meat. You won’t find one place to get Matzah for Passover. Even a synagogue doesn’t exist! Rabbi Feldman and his family are willing to give up their lives in New York to help build the Jewish community in Iceland.
Aside from the lack of the Jewish atmosphere, the government in Iceland is potentially going to ban any circumcision that is not medical. It is extremely uncommon to find a Jew that has received a non-medical circumcision in Iceland. Despite that, the government is still looking to legislate a ban.
The Importance of Judaism to Jews
Rabbi Avi Feldman and his wife Mushky chose to leave the potentially more “normal” lifestyle in New York. They feel it is critical to show the Jewish people how important and central Judaism is. Judaism has so much value and depth, and the Feldmans want to share that with others.