Chabad Dancer in Guinness Book of Records!
The Chabad Telethon has been a favorite Jewish event that
has brought visibility as well as dollars to the good deeds done by Lubavitch
for the public at large. Musical and comedy numbers follow requests for
donations during the 6 hour continuous program, and celebrity appearances
by Chabad friends such as musician Bob Dylan and actor Jon Voight have
become a annual tradition. While the current recession caused no one to
expect a new record in fund raising, the respectable $7.5 million was
well in the range of previous years' sums; this is incredible, given the
worst stock market crash in seven decades occurred just a year ago.
record that was set at this year's Chabad telethon was for the longest
recorded Chasidic dance ever. A stage was set up in front of the Staples
Center alongside a large countdown timer. Rabbi Yossi Cunin earned
this Guinness Book of World Records first by dancing for 6 continuous
hours during the telethon's run on September 13 from 5 to 11 pm. While
many Chassidim dance all night at Simchas Beis HaShoeva celebrations in
Crown Heights, 36- year old Yossie Cunin danced vigorously and without
even a short break for the entire recorded program.
With the help of celebrity trainer, Dave "Scooter"
Honig, Cunin shed 100 pounds and got into prime physical condition for
the record-setting event. He started by running one block and walking
two, then incorporated swimming and mountain biking into his routine.
Before long, the rabbi began training for hours a day and undertook some
formidable conditioning, to the point of running up Dodgers Stadium with
weights strapped to his back.
For Yossie Cunin, the workout routine was a perfect way to learn new habits
and to lose the weight he started putting on in his twenties. He even
made his own whole-wheat challah for Shabbos and holidays and perfected
a recipe for low-carb matzah balls; ""It's important to one's
spiritual life to be in good physiological health," Cunin said.
While he says he only expects to hold the record for a year or two and
thinks a younger person will be able to break it, training for the record
was well worth the time and effort. Rabbi Cunin, along with other dancing,
cartwheeling chassidim, demonstrated the joy of Jewish life while doing
the important mitzvah of tzedaka by encouraging viewers to give to good
causes to cheer and heal the sick and to help teenagers abandon drug addiction.
"It's about people helping people," said Rabbi Cunin.
[Reprinted with permission from "Living Jewish" (livingjewish.net).
Photo courtesy of crownheights.info]