Rabbi Bentzion was born and raised in Lod, Israel, while Mrs. Mashie grew up in Chicago, IL. Both of our families are part of the Chabad movement for several generations. We are both firstborns in our families. Benztion is the eldest of 14 and Mashie is the eldest of 10.
We first met in Chicago in 2006 while Bentzion was studying in Yeshiva (Rabbinical College) at the Chabad Headquarters in NY. We got married in January of 2007 in Chicago and moved to NY where we had our first two children, Zalman and Mushka.
Our first visit to Cambodia was in April of 2009 to run the Pesach Seder. We were exposed to the many challenges that may become part of our life if we were to move to Cambodia permanently, but alongside those challenges we also encountered the major thirst and interest that the local Jews expressed in having a Jewish center in Cambodia.
We went back to NY and weeks later announced the opening of Chabad Cambodia. Our one-way-ticket arrival was in November of that year. Ever since, we are here, serving at the Jewish center.
For the next two births (Shmulik and Henya) we flew to Israel, while Moishe was born here in Cambodia at the Royal Rattanac Hospital.
Our children join our preschool, and Zalman learns in the Chabad online school. With classmates from all over the region, Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Japan Korea and Russia, he sits and sees the teacher live.
Once a year we make it a point to go to Bubby and Zaidy for a visit. We use this opportunity to enroll the children in local Jewish institutions in Chicago where they can develop their social skills.
Oftentime we are asked, "How long you are planning to stay here?" Our answer is that we are ready to leave any minute with the arrival of Moshiach! We will collect all the Jews living in Cambodia and go proudly to greet Moshiach. Until his arrival, we are here. As long as Jews are here we are here...
Rabbi Bentzion, Mashie, Zalman, Mushka, Shmulik, Henya And Moishe Butman