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  Record Crowd Celebrates Chabad of Camarillo’s 18th Year at Gala Concert 

An evening of music, January 19, at Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center.

An enthusiastic audience of more than 300 turned out last Sunday evening at the Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center to celebrate Chabad of Camarillo’s 18th year. Friends, family, supporters, and local dignitaries were delighted by musical entertainment of the highest caliber provided by Colin Schachat & Sons Orchestra of Israel, conducted by Tomer Adaddi, as well as guest performances by Cantor Nati Baram of Beverly Hills and pianist Daniel Newman-Lessler.

A concert of this caliber in Camarillo struck many as outstanding. Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long called the concert “amazingly beautiful,” and was particularly moved by the father-son performance of “Open Arms” by Journey. As a local school official expressed it, “The love and energy of everyone last night made an impression on me,” said a local school official. 

The event began with an elegant VIP reception featuring a lavish buffet. It was a fitting opening to the evening, which honored several individuals and families who, in the introductory words of Rebbetzin Leah Lang, “have played an important and irreplaceable role in actualizing the mission of Chabad, bringing the joys of Judaism to every corner of Camarillo.”

Councilman Kevin Kildee received the Leadership Award for leading with a spirit of unity. One example of his kindness was when the Gan Camarillo pre-school was the site of anti-Semitic vandalism. He sprang into action, openly condemning hate and personally donating towards the purchase of security cameras. Mr. Kildee commended everyone involved in Chabad for encouraging all citizens to do good deeds and make the world a better place. 

Rabbi Aryeh Lang called Lee and Leora Lewis, Lamplighters Award recipients, “doers, not kvetchers.” He described the Lewis home as one that generates much light in the community through their hosting of Shabbat dinners, Chabad BBQs, lectures, couple evenings, and more. “All these kindnesses make them lamplighters, but they ultimately earn that title by the way they live their life,” said Rabbi Lang. Lee and Leora thanked the numerous other lamplighters who brighten the lives of the Jewish community of Camarillo. “We can say for certain that we would not have the strong Jewish identity that we have today without our involvement with Chabad of Camarillo,” said Leora. The Lewises also expressed their gratitude for their children’s participation in CTeen, which fueled their continued Jewish involvement.

Rabbi Lang described the remarkable commitment of Greg and Melissa Friedman, recipients of the Lamplighters Award, towards their children’s Jewish education, as well as towards inspiring others to strengthen their Jewish pride. The Friedmans each expressed their deep gratitude to the Langs for the huge impact they have had on their family’s Jewish journey. They also thanked Rabbi Yosef & Shira Muchnik and Rabbi Yaakov & Tiferes Kahaneman for their wide-ranging activities with seniors, pre-school, and Saving Lives Camarillo.

Robert and Kathy Sacks were recognized with the Jewish Legacy Award for their commitment to the continuity of Jewish life in Camarillo. By including Chabad of Camarillo in their estate plan, they are demonstrating their love for life, and their hopes for the future generations of our community. Robert and Kathy are among several families in our Jewish Legacy Society, some of whom prefer to remain anonymous, who have risen to the challenge of Dr. Josh Taifer, who donated a significant gift to Chabad of Camarillo as an incentive to have ten families Join the Jewish Legacy Society. “We are proud to pay it forward,” said Robert, who reflected on the relationship between Torah, mitzvot, happiness and prosperity.

Chabad of Camarillo is extremely fortunate to have been able to present a musical program with the level of talent and professionalism displayed by these renowned artists. Beginning with pianist Daniel Newman-Lesser and Cantor Nati Baram, and continuing with world-famous Colin Schachat and his sons Micha and Gabbi, the program was a perfect showcase for these artists’ great versatility, ranging from opera to Broadway to Hebrew liturgical classics and more. 

As a token of deep appreciation, Rabbi Lang gifted Colin Shachat with one of his most prized possessions - a dollar given to him by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of blessed memory. The dollar signifies the Rebbe’s wish that when two people meet, a third will benefit, in this case by the person giving a dollar to charity. 

“G‑d blesses each of us with different talents and ways to inspire others,” said Rabbi Lang. “Tonight these very talented singers and musicians have inspired us to go home and raise our own Jewish pride, whether by wrapping tefillin for men, lighting Shabbos candles for women, or following the Seven Noahide laws for all mankind, leading the world to redemption and peace for all mankind.”

If you would like to make a contribution to Chabad of Camarillo in honor of its 18th Anniversary, please click here