Hi! My name is Regina Shtauber — now known as Rochel. I’d like to tell you my story — I think you’ll find it interesting.
FRUITS OF OUR VINE
FIRST PERSON PROFILES OF OUR KISHINEV CHILDREN
My name is Regina Shtauber– now known as Rochel. I’d like to tell you my story — I think you’ll find it interesting. My twin sister Lily (Leah) and I grew up in Kishinev, Moldova. We had a normal childhood, like any other children. We never knew what it meant that we were Jews, or that we were any different from other people in any way. Then the Soviet Union began to change. Religion was no longer forbidden, and we began to find out about Judaism. When we were about 12 years old our parents sent us to Sunday school to learn Hebrew. We loved it. Not necessarily because of the Hebrew, but because, finally we met some really nice children and made friends.
It was about a year later that we discovered Chabad and started attending synagogue. At first we were shocked! The teachers were so good and it was all so interesting! We met Rabbi Zalman Abelsky, who had just come from Israel. With a smile always on his face, he gave us all individual attention, and he really knew how to get us to keep coming back. Soon we were hooked, and we wanted to learn everything about our religion! My sister and I became very close with Rebbetzin Leah Abelsky, who became our confidante and guide. We could ask her all the questions that we had, anything. She told us so many stories and explained all about lighting candles — she even taught us wonderful Shabbos recipes that mean so much to us now. It wasn’t always easy for us to wear modest clothing and to eat only kosher food, but we tried very hard. We looked forward to Shabbos a whole week, thinking how we would meet all of our friends at the shul and have a wonderful Shabbos meal. When the Abelskys opened the school in Kishinev, we were so excited. For the first time in our lives, we couldn’t wait to go to school! I remember our Hanuka play at school. All the parents came and it was so great! I could tell you so much more, but I’ll end by just saying that Reb Zalman and his wife Leah became the role models for our lives. I wish them the greatest success, because they are doing such and important job. They are helping so many lost teenagers become a part of something…part of the Jewish people. Now I am 20 years old, married and the mother of a baby girl named Esther. We have taken all the good things that we gained in Kishinev and opened our own organization to help otherpeople come back to their roots just as we have. This is our biggest thank-you for all we have received.