The following is the message posted on our website in the aftermath of the Feb. Quake. 


Minutes after the quake, the three friends who were traveling with Ofer Mizrahi ran to Rabbi Friedman in panic, begging him to help save Ofer, who was pinned in the van crushed by a large boulder. Rabbi Friedman insisted that Ofer be medically treated, even though, others at the scene pronounced him dead.

Rabbi Friedman selflessly provided comfort and reassurance to the scores of shocked Israeli travelers, and their concerned parents and friends who were calling in from around the world.                

Due to flight restriction immediately following the earthquake, the Israeli Embassy in Wellington counted on Chabad officials on the ground to locate and care for the many Israeli travelers who were stranded in the City with nowhere to go.

Chabad was called upon to help provide food for the many left stranded in the City, as well as to assist in relocating them to other parts of the country.

Calls came in from travelers who have not eaten for days, as they had no access to Kosher food and would not eat the catered food provided to them at the Shelters.

In the days after, Teddy Poplinger, the Israeli Consular, as well as Shemi Tzur, the Ambassador worked alongside Rabbi Friedman in liaising with the local authorities and the many concerned family members back home in Israel.

The main focus was to ensure that everyone was accounted for and cared for. Rabbi Goldstein worked the phones to local community members to ensure that all were safe. Confirmation by word of mouth traveled fast, and within a short two days, all community members were confirmed to be safe (thanks to a large degree, to the great efforts of several community members who have assisted in the chain call, as well as in physically visiting the homes of those without telephone connections).

Hope was held, until the very last minute for Ofer Levy & childhood friend Gabi Moshe Ingel, who were later confirmed as tragic victims of the initial impact of the quake. On the families' request, Rabbi Fridman officiated special services for all three of the victims, before their bodies were returned for burial.

A number of organizations have immediately sprung into action the very same day. The NZ Government, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other organizations have been on the scene from the very first moment, caring for the needs of the many thousands of affected families and individuals. 

Our focus is now on helping the community get back on its feet, as many are still without homes and income. We have set up a Kosher Food Bank, thanks to food shipments sent to us from Chabad in Australia as well as from other Communities in the North Island.

Thank you all for your outstanding support and well wishes!

Without a doubt, we will get through this be”h! And we will rebuild!

In the names of: 

Rabbi Mendel & Sarah Goldstein

Rabbi Shmulik & Tzippy Friedman

Rabbi Shmuel & Henna Kopel