Rabbi’s Weekly Message

17 January 2020 / 20 Tevet 5780

Dear Friends

The royal family of Cambodia has celebrated its first ever Jewish milestone, the Bat Mitzvah of Elior Koroghli, great-granddaughter of King Sisowath Monivong, who ruled Cambodia from 1927 until his death in 1941.

Elior, who lives with her family in Las Vegas, celebrated her actual Bat Mitzvah when she turned 12  a year ago, but the family opted to have a follow-up celebration in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, because her mother, Suzie (Sarah Bracha), wanted her daughter to know about her royal roots. 

The celebration, which took place this Hanukkah, was the first time many of the Cambodian royals had tasted kosher food, catered by Chabad of Cambodia. The speeches emphasising the beauty and depth of Judaism, the family formally met with Cambodia’s current ruler, King Norodom Sihamoni, and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

Susie Koroghli was born in Washington and raised in a Buddhist home; her father served as Cambodia’s ambassador to the United States. There she met Ray, a Persian Jew who left Iran to study. Ray informed her ahead of Rosh Hashanah that he would be out of touch for a few days due to religious observances, and she asked to join him. This kindled a life-long love of the Jewish faith and eventual conversion and they are now an integral part of Chabad of Henderson, Nevada.  

Although raised with all the formalities of being the granddaughter of a king, Suzie never visited Cambodia until 2012 when she represented her mother at the funeral of Norodom Sihanouk. It was only then, she said, that she realized she truly was a child of royalty.

Another child of royalty was none other than the greatest leader of the Jewish people, Moshe, who was brought up in the place of Pharaoh.

The second book of the Torah  is the Book of Exodus–Shemot. The first portion, which goes by the same name, tells the story of the Egyptians’ enslavement of the Jewish people.

As part of the Egyptian oppression of the Israelites, Pharaoh orders the Hebrew midwives to kill the male newborns. In an attempt to save their child from this decree, the parents of the baby who will be known as Moses, place him in a basket on the Nile, where he is picked up and adopted by none other than the daughter of Pharaoh, Batya. 

When he grows into adulthood, he receives a mandate from Hashem to confront Pharaoh to free his people, the enslaved Israelites.  

Gut Shabbas

Rabbi and Sheyna Riesenberg