Halacha Hotline Provides Lifeline for Community Members Worldwide

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By: Dave Gordon

What do the following stories have in common? A Bahraini interfaith delegation to Israel, how to improve your sleep, IDF thwarting a Hanukah kidnapping, business profiles, community news, and inspiring stories?

They – and scores of other stories – can all be found at the newly-launched multi-media website, Sephardic.org,geared towards Sephardic Jews anywhere and everywhere.

Under the guidance of Rabbi Yosef Churba, the founder of the site, Sephardic.orgis where readers can enjoy the gamut of news, community events, Torah learning, and more, all in one place.

“I think that the unique part of the site is that it’s a place that so many different kinds of content can come together and cater to so many different kinds of people,” explains Shelly Greenstein, editor-in-chief of the site.

“The aim,” Rabbi Churba adds, is to “unite the many Sephardic and Jewish communities throughout the world. Whether it be through Torah, news, education, health, classes, or any of our other many comprehensive sections within our site.”

In addition to what’s come to be expected from a news site, a defining feature of Sephardic.orgis its community focus. That includes announcementsof events and fundraisers, and an interactive marketplace, which includes real estate, job listings, deals, and business directories.

Greenstein notes that the directories have been so successful that, as one example, a close friend of hers who posted onthe site promoting
their solar powered address numbers received about
150 sales requests.

Another unique feature of the site is its user-led contributions, including the sections called Guidance and Inspiration,
and Write Your Own Story, where people are invited to share their stories of emunahand strength in Hashem.

There’s also a “character enrichment” section, which includes articles dealing with refining one’s character based on Torah, and an “ask the rabbi” section, where if anyone has a specific question, they can post that on the site, and get a prompt response from the Sephardic rabbi. In addition, those visiting the site can listen to audio classes, and hear
words of Torah.

For now, the stories tend to be
tristate-focused, but soon enough, the goal is for the site to grow – to California, Mexico, Panama, Israel, and elsewhere, says Rabbi Churba – and become a
one-stop click for all things relevant to the Sephardic world.

“Our vision is to connect everybody. To be a universal source for both secular and religious content for Sephardic Jews across the globe,” noted Greenstein.

“The biggest strength of the site right now is the communal aspect of it – specifically the ‘Community News’ section that we have going on. We have such amazing stories comingout of that section. As an example, we just did a community hesedspotlight where, every year people within the community in New York and New Jersey, go
with their families to dedicate their day to volunteer at the Special Children’s Center – a center forspecial needs children.”

Rabbi Yosef Churba adds, “It really is to provide a safe environment of accurate information where Jewish people can come together to form a larger scale religious community throughout the world. I think that’s a really importantthing. That’s our mission statement.”