Chabad opens in Queenstown

January 15, 2012 by  
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A new Chabad House has opened in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand…and has had a successful debut Shabbat.

Rabbi Shmuel Koppel tells the story  of the establishment of the new facility following the devastating earthquake which hit the island’s city of  Christchurch last February claiming the lives of three young Israelis….

First congregation

In the 1800’s an explorer traveled the South Island of New Zealand. He found a town with the most beautiful views. He exclaimed that this town is fit for the queen to visit. From then on the city was named Queenstown.

Today Queenstown is the holiday capital of New Zealand where millions of tourists visit annually. It is in the perfect place to get away and reflect on G-d’s beautiful creations.

Tens of thousands of Jews are amongst those who visit Queenstown.   Many of them are young Israelis. After the devastating Earthquake in Christchurch, there was a desperate need to provide services to Jews in the South Island. Rabbi Mendel Goldstein appointed Rabbi Shmuel Kopel the task of figuring out the how and where. After extensive research Rabbi Kopel decided that Queenstown would be the perfect spot.


Thirty seconds after signing a lease on what would be the first Jewish organization in Queenstown Rabbi Kopel was approached by a young Israeli. He inquired, is there a Chabad House? “Now there is” answered Rabbi Kopel.

“We gained control of the premises on Wednesday and I wasn’t sure if we can do anything for Shabbos. What can we do with an empty house no tables no chairs, how can we invite people?”

A few travelers volunteered to help prepare food and the word began to spread. Shortly before Shabbat a group picture was taken of nearly thirty guests. After Shabbat began many more arrived. Over fifty youths filled the empty room sitting on the floor enjoying the first public Shabbat meal in Queenstown.

If that is how many came the first Shabbat, how many will come next week?

There are still many challenges that face Chabad in Queenstown. With no major benefactor funding the project Rabbi Kopel must fundraise all the funds to establish and maintain the centre. Contributions can be made on their website

A special thanks goes to Mottel Feiglin, Avremy Raskin and Morry Fraid for providing vital assistance towards this project as well as the many donors from Australia and New York.


4 Responses to “Chabad opens in Queenstown”
  1. HANA says:

    b”h shalom
    iread this story about rebilding a new center of chabad in qweenston and ofcourse in my eyes it is a mirecle. i wish you al best and sucseedin in evrything be ezrat hashem.
    now we are an little old couple 66-70 who are going to come to newzealand bezrat hashem on november this year. we would like to know where are centers of chabad there? and we know we shall be b”h in qweenston how can we reach this place ? and about shabat is ther minyan and at what street do you stay? adress?
    tnx ans shana tova
    hana and david kehat

  2. Shoshana says:

    That Rabbi Kopel has been allowed/ encouraged to start another project without a major, ongoing benefactor is worrying. Once the seed money was gone for Chabad’s Dunedin project, this family lived in poverty and squalor with virtually no income. Please, please, someone back this project for the long-run: for travelling Jews, the Jews of QT, and for this family.

  3. Yosi Tal says:

    Our family was in Queenstown over Pesach approximately 5 years ago.A group of Chabad Bocherim from Melbourne travelled to Queenstown flying in all the food and cooking equipment at great cost.Their mission was to invite as many jews as they could to the seder.For us it was a small miracle as how we heard about the seder which was held at the Town Hall.The Mayor of Queenstown came and gave a welcome speech.It was a most memorable evening.Shirlee is so right.Its what being jewish is all about.

  4. Shirlee Finn says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring news story. This is what being Jewish is all about.

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