MARQUETTE - Many students in high school or college might consider studying abroad, using that period of travel to explore the world and enhance their educations.
For Boruch Gancz and Aharon Kupfer, rabbis in training from New York City, travel is an essential part of not only their training, but also their faith.
"It's about showing love to all the Jewish people," Gancz said.
The pair of young rabbis in training have been spending this week visiting Marquette County as part of an outreach of the Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which sends hundreds of rabbinical students around the globe each summer to visit smaller Jewish communities.
Part of the Roving Rabbis, as the movement is now called, Gancz and Kupfer spent several days in Marquette before moving on to Mackinac City and Traverse City.
"There are guys like us all over the world," Kupfer said.
Started after the Holocaust during World War Two, the outreach movement is designed to help connect isolated Jewish communities scattered around the world to the larger faith community. Today the students as part of their studies travel to meet with smaller Jewish communities, like the one in Marquette County.
Gancz and Kupfer met with members of Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming and members of the Northern Michigan University Hillel, as well as other individuals during their time in Marquette.
A traditional movement, the rabbis closely obey the 613 commandments set forth by G-d for the Jewish people in the Torah. Visiting and sharing their faith is one of those.
The trip to the Upper Peninsula is the first emissary trip for both Gancz and Kupfer, who both have two to three years remaining in their training.
"We applied for the job and they sent us," Kupfer said. "If we decide to move on to a full-time emissary position, this is wonderful preparation."
Coming from New York City, both rabbis in training said they found Marquette to be a smaller community than they were used to, but a pleasant place to be.
"It's a nice city," Kupfer said.
"We find people are very nice here," he said. "Greeting and interested in what we're doing."
Even once they are done with their rabbinical training, Gancz and Kupfer said that wouldn't mean the end of learning and growing in their faith.
"You can always continue studying. Jewish studies never end," Gancz said.