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Chabad of Tokyo presents

Stories from
Around our Table
Shabbat Candles
Avraham Friedler

Avraham Friedler.jpeg

March 18, 2020


  This week we will be sharing our conversation with Mr. Avraham Friedler, from Israel & Brazil.


1. Please introduce yourself.

My name is Avraham Friedler but everybody calls me Abi. I was named after my maternal grandfather that perished in the SHOA. I was born in Haifa, ISRAEL but grew up in São Paulo, Brazil.

I moved back to Israel in 1990  and have lived in Alon Shvut , Israel , 12 kms. south of Jerusalem, since.

I am happily married to Ruth , and we have Baruch HaShem 12 children , 9 of them already happily married, and at the moment 34 grandchildren, all living in Israel.

By study I am a civil engineer, but most of my active life I was in business, ran a family import and wholesale of tools, and entrepreneurship in construction. Today I am almost seventy years old and retired and dedicate most of my time to studying Torah.


2. Why did you choose to visit Japan? 

We visited Japan as tourists but were interested to learn about a culture that is so different from what we are used to. We were very impressed to meet people that had no contact with Jews before and through simply reading the Torah came by themselves to the conclusion that this is the ultimate truth.


3. What did you think of the Chabad here in Tokyo? If you visited any of the other Chabad’s here in Japan what did you think of them?

We visited and ate at Chabad Tokyo and also other some of the other Chabad locations in Japan. Even though we have known Chabad for over 50 years we are always astonished and truly amazed by the outstanding hospitality and open hearts of the Chabad Shlichim, both here in Tokyo, but as a rule everywhere.


4. Do you have any other interesting Chabad stories?

Only last January we where in Patagonia , in Chile and Argentina, and we visited in Beith Chabads there, and enjoyed very much every moment, as well.


5. Did you or a family member ever meet the Rebbe?

When I was 15 years old ( April 1965 - Nissan  5725) and studying in Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio. I wrote a letter to the Rebbe asking him many questions; the Rebbe answerd all but one of them. The question was related to getting married trough Shiduch (matchmaking) and it seems the Rebbe didn’t feel it was appropriate to give his answer to a, at the time fifteen year old boy. I don’t remember thinking anything of it at the time. 

7 years later I got engaged to my wife and one of my friends from Chabad, in São Paulo wrote to the Rebbe asking for a Berachz, for me.

Later another one of my friends was at the time at the Rebbe and when he was in line to bid farewell to the Rebbe and get from him a dollar, the Rebbe told him:

“You know Abi Friedler, so give him my BRACHA, and tell him that now he has the answer to the question that he asked me.”

This is of course the question which related to getting married trough Shiduch (matchmaking), and even though it had been many years and I had long forgotten it, the Rebbe remembered and answered when I was ready for it.

I think every word I will add to this story that I experienced myself will only subtract from it, so I will stop here.



  We would like to thank Mr. Friedler for joining us during his visit to Japan, and for being apart of the extended Chabad Japan community and taking the time to be a part of our interview series.