tampabay.com

Open doors and hearts

A Trinity couple's home becomes a place where Jews can study, celebrate and grow.

By MICHELLE JONES
Published May 26, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - This synagogue without walls is hoping to draw people to an oasis of Judaism.

"Our center utilizes various locations while developing plans for a facility of its own," said 31-year-old Rabbi Yossi Eber.

The Chabad Jewish Center of West Pasco was established in 2006 by Eber and his wife, 27-year-old Dina. They purchased a one-way ticket from Brooklyn and moved to the West Pasco community of Trinity and opened the doors to their hearts and home to the Jewish populace.

"We maintain an open-door policy for Jews from all walks of life regardless of their affiliation," said Rabbi Eber. "Everyone is welcome."

Chabad is dedicated to helping Jews, regardless of their personal level of observance, to increase their level of Jewish knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment.

"It sent Jewish people out to help Jewish people both physically and spiritually," said Eber.

"Chabad has been sending out missionaries all over the world to open Chabad houses," said Eber. "The Rabbi from Pinellas County saw the need and approved us to make the move and open the Jewish Center here."

There are 115 centers in Florida, and each one is independent of the others, not funded by any other Chabad.

"Every Chabad raises their own funds," said Eber.

Dina Eber was born in France, where she earned a degree in education. She speaks five languages, including Hebrew and Russian. The Rabbi earned his degree at the Rabbinical School in Brooklyn and received his rabbinical degree in Australia and followed up with further education in Israel.

"We grew up knowing we would go wherever we are needed," said Dina Eber, who spent two years in Israel studying at the Hebrew University. She also spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, before moving to New York, where she met her husband.

The couple has four children: 5-year-old Tzvi, 2-year-old twins Zelda and Hannah, and 1-year-old Chaya. In Hebrew Tzvi means deer, and Chaya means life.

In addition to offering Friday Shabbat dinners in their home, the Ebers provide adult education classes, mitzvah campaigns, community services, Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs, home visits, and holiday programs.

Rabbi Eber said the holidays of Hanukkah, Purim and Passover were celebrated by hundreds of participants.

This week they celebrated the acceptance of the Torah by the children of Israel brought to them by Moses.

The Ebers can be reached at (727) 376-3366.