Eighteen is an auspicious number in the Hebrew tradition because it’s the numerical value for the Hebrew word chai, which means “life.”
This month Chabad of Nashville will celebrate its “chai” anniversary with a gala fundraiser on Sunday, April 30 that will honor three individuals who have helped chart its success and growth – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Bernie Pargh and Dianne Berry.
Chabad Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel described Haslam as an ardent supporter of Israel and a friend of Chabad who participated in the dedication of the Chabad campus as well as several Menorah lightings at the State Capitol. He will be honored with Chabad’s Friend of Israel Award.
Pargh, a friend and supporter of Chabad “has demonstrated leadership across many segments of the Nashville community,” Rabbi Tiechtel said, and will be honored with the Jewish Leadership Award.
Dianne Berry, also a longtime friend and supporter of Chabad, will be honored with the Woman of Valor Award for the volunteer work she has done for many worthy causes across the Nashville, Rabbi Tiechtel said.
Rabbi Tiechtel recalled that he and his wife, Esther Tiechtel, and their two little children, Tzivi and Bassie, arrived in Nashville in the fall of 1999 to establish Chabad of Nashville in the 400-square-foot basement rec room of their home. One family attended its first Friday night service, he said.
In ensuing years, Chabad moved into one store front, then two and eventually into a 3,000-square foot space on Belle Forest Circle in Bellevue. In 2012, it opened the Genesis Campus for Jewish Life at 95 Bellevue Road, where today hundreds of people from all segments of the community take part in holiday events, educational activities or attend services at Congregation Beit Tefilah.
“We meet people who feel a living and vibrant relationship with their Jewish heritage. They come to learn, to celebrate and to connect… and their graciousness, compassion, and kindness is breathtaking,” said Esther Tiechtel. “We truly feel that the Jewish community in Nashville and its leadership is an example for all.”
Rabbi Tiechtel said he and his wife have met thousands of people in Nashville over the past 18 years. “We look at each one as an individual and unique person,” he said. “Each person has a specific role in G-d’s creation, and we are here to help them as they fulfill their mission and purpose in life.”
The chai anniversary celebration, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Bernard Ballroom at Chabad’s Genesis Campus for Jewish Life, will include a cocktail reception with open bar, a silent auction and a gourmet dinner catered by executive chef Carolos Davis. The cost is $125 a person.
The Revere family has pledged up to $100,000 to match dollar for dollar all pledges made by May 30 and paid by December 31. The funds raised will be used to benefit the Revere Jewish Montessori Preschool, which is scheduled to open on the Chabad campus this fall, including outfitting the classrooms with Montessori inspired equipment and materials, making the required modifications to the playground and ensuring an important role for the school in educating the next generation.
To RSVP or for more information about the event and a tribute journal that will presented to the honorees, go to www.chabadnashville.com or call (615) 646-5750. •