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TV Makeover For Chabad Home

How can you help a good-hearted family whose entire life is about generosity, giving and helping others while they live in poverty and have suffered a tragedy?

Make over their crumbling home.

The Israeli version of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" reality television series has recently featured the house of Einav andAnat Vaspi, residents of the rural settlement Yesud HaMa'ala in Northern Israel.

Creators of the show, which provides home improvements for families that faced some sort of recent or ongoing hardship, were touched by the story of the Lubavitch couple and their 4 daughters.

Both baalei teshuva, the Vaspis suffered a devastating tragedy when their 1-year-old daughter Menucha Rochel drowned in an abandoned rubber boat that was filled with rain water two years ago.

"You can't actually convey the feeling of losing a beloved child. The world stops," the 43 year-old mother said on the program, which was broadcast this past Motzoei Shabbos on Israel's Channel 10.

The family suffered an earlier tragedy when they were traveling and a bus lost control and hit their car. Their daughter Sheina was severely injured. The doctors needed to amputate her leg, leaving her wheelchair-bound.

And while they have been living in a decaying home and forsaken surroundings, the Vaspis are known for their constant kindness and hospitality. "Our activity gives us strength," the couple said.

"Their home is open 24 hours a day," said Naomi Tzimering, a mother of 11 children. When she needed to move and could not afford a down payment, the Vaspis provided her with installment checks.

Tzimering was one of the many friends and neighbors who came to help the contractors of "Extreme Makeover" with renovating the Vaspis' home. "They don't even have a lock on the front door," the host Amos Tamam pointed out in amazement about the home that also serves as a kindergarden.

Friends noted how a warm meal is always offered to any in need. "Einav could call Anat at 3 p.m. and notify her that they will be having 30 guests for dinner," one of them said. "And she will never say no."

Seeking inspiration and understanding of the chassidic lifestyle, interior designers Michael Azulay and Gat Namir-Choter-Yishaitraveled to the central Israeli village of Kfar Chabad where they toured the replica of 770 Eastern Parkway, Lubavitch Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.

They learned about the idea of "bayis malei seforim," that a Jewish home should be filled with holy books, and decided to paint the Vaspis' home in a shade inspired by the red brick row "house of theRebbe of Lubavitch."

While they were working on building a kosher home - separate sinks for dairy and meat, a large display of seforim and photos of the Rebbe throughout - they sent the family on vacation in the Golan Heights.

When the Vaspis returned, after 5 days of hard labor on their house, they were welcomed by a crowd of cheering people and a colorful, modern brand new home and friendly garden which was named the "Joy of Life Park."

"This family contributes to the community every day and this was our chance to give back to them with whole hearts," said the host, thanking the many Israeli firms that donated appliances, tiles and lumber.

They even redid the "farbrengen corner," the barbecue area where Einav holds a weekly chassidic inspirational gathering for men. A frequent guest there is the local Shliach Rabbi Yaakov Reices who came to affix a Mezuzah on the front door.

The mezuza was shaped as the middle column and entrance of the 770 building. "Shehecheyanu Vekiyimanu vahigiyanu," the father blessed with a wide smile, and tears in his wife and children's eyes.


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