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The debt we owe to those who fight

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day - to some it’s a long holiday weekend, a time to enjoy spending some extra family hours packed with sales, BBQs and events, almost a formal prelude to summer. But let’s not forget the traditional “memorial” part, designated to honor the men and women who serve in a branch of the armed military as well as those who died in its service. There’s an extra show of flags on homes and in the medians of some nearby cities, as local veterans hold ceremonies to remember those who died serving their country and to honor those who still put their lives on the line daily, so that we and others may enjoy the freedom we hold so dear.
Take at least a small part of the day to remember some of the basic ideals on which our country was founded, and the debt we owe to those who fight for them on our behalf.
With love and blessings
Rabbi Fishel Zaklos 

I felt the love, the warmth and the miracle!


Another busy week at Chabad of Naples as we celebrate the successes of our Preschool and our Hebrew School, with graduation ceremonies for both.

It’s that time of year again and as we gear up for yet another fantastic summer of camp, with only two weeks left to prepare and a few spots left to fill, now is the time either to sign up your camper or to click here for the scholarship fund, to give the gift of a summer of unbelievable fun to a child who will appreciate it. Do it today!

Shavuot, May 31: We look forward to seeing all of you at our Grand Shavuot Ice Cream Party and dairy buffet - No charge, but RSVP is required if you wish to attend:  office@chabadnaples.com

Yom Yerushalayim begins at sundown on Tuesday, May 23. Just 50 years ago those words “The kotel is in our hands" reverberated around the world, but just days before powerful armies wanted to wipe it away. At that time believers and non-believers all understood the miracle, and they all were moved to tears  by the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. 
As the mayor of Jerusalem said: 50 years ago Jerusalem was dysfunctional to say the least, while today in the ancient city where kings and prophets walked, it has been transformed to a modern international cosmopolitan center.  It is one of the fastest growing high tech hubs with thriving innovative companies minutes from biblical sites and the greatest archaeological treasures. It’s the eternal home of the Jewish people and a miracle of diversity.

I just returned from an amazing albeit short trip to Israel with a Chabad Naples group. There are many stories which I hope to share in the coming weeks, but for now I just want to share how every time I go I feel my Neshama is alive. When we spent some time in Jerusalem and then in Tzfat and Meron, I truly felt the love, the warmth, the miracle and the diversity of observing the modern and the ancient thriving as one. Words fail me as I try to describe going the second time to pray at the wall, the night before we left. It was as if I couldn't leave for there was something drawing me to that powerful, awesome, and brilliant place. Although it was 1 in the morning it was like midday with so many people learning and  praying.  I was davening for my family and the Chabad Naples family and felt the prayers were going straight up as the divine presence is there. But it dosen't stop there as Jerusalem isn't just a geographical location,  it's our story, it's our history and destiny.  It represents peace, tranquility, reverence, awe, and respect, and our mission is to bring this Jerusalem into our own lives to connect with the past yet build a bridge of hope for the future. We never lost hope and have always yearned deeply for a better and brighter future.

An estimated 800,000 Jews came to pray, dance and celebrate at  the grave of Rabbi Shimon in Meron, and we were there too, to share this legacy of love and beauty.  Can you just imagine seeing that many people uniting in such an absolutely powerful way? Each had his reason for coming from every corner of the world for this event  and it may be that the reason is as simple as our wish to pass the tradition along, as it's our story: we never forget and we don't lose hope. Rashbi’s entire life centered around one theme: Revealing the inner layer behind every element of our world. He taught humanity to focus on what unites us, not what divides us. He taught us to live for purpose, not just for pleasure. And he revealed how every individual has an infinite contribution to make to this world. Wishing everyone a peaceful and blessed Shabbat! 

Our center was filled with joy

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Dear Friends,

Last night, 150 Naples Chabad Partners once more answered the call: this time to come cruisin’, schmoozin’ (and even a little boozin’) as they enjoyed the delightful feast catered especially by Shaikes.

Rufino Hernandez, of the Garden District thank enhancied our event by generously donating stunning flower arrangements. 

This was Chabad’s way of thanking partners for their generous past support for Naples Chabad and the Preschool of the Arts. On such a high-energy evening, out of sight is definitely not out of mind. 

The event also gave everyone the opportunity to raise a glass in a huge L’chaim to those who were able to be present in spirit only - emphasizing the importance of each and every partner. 

Guests went home with a giant beach towel to assure them they are “making waves as partners”, and sunglasses to peer at our dazzling bright future. 

Mere words are not sufficient to convey our sincere gratitude to the very special group of our partners. Our pictures say a thousand words -- so we'll let them do the talking!

We love you all and look forward eagerly to next year with our partners.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos
Arthur Seigel, M.D.


We all need to sing with our families.

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We all need to sing with our families.

This past Monday my family and I undertook a most moving and powerful event. Just being together with my parents and my siblings to honor my brother Yossi’s 20th yahrzeit was significant enough, but our shared experience was beyond anything I ever could have anticipated.

We first went to his gravesite at the Montefiore Cemetery. We recited psalms and sang some of the songs that Yossi loved singing at home at our Shabbat table. While we were all lost in the music, we found ourselves reliving and experiencing Yossi again. We were surrounded and overcome by so much power. There was not a dry eye present.

The singing continued and no one made a move to leave. At that moment I realized the strength and power of singing as a tool to bring us together, back to childhood with that innocence and purity around the Shabbat table.

While it was so difficult to see all my siblings and parents crying, there was still a sense of peace knowing Yossi was schepping nachas and singing with us while he was basking and singing with the heavenly angels.

You know, oftentimes, when I think about how much I miss Yossi. I think about how I wish Yossi could have met my wife, Ettie, my children, his nephews and nieces, it becomes extremely difficult to hold back my tears. But I know that tears alone won’t cut it. We have to tell Yossi’s stories to each other and to our children. And we have to aspire to the qualities he radiated so purely and so beautifully

With my arms around my son Mendel, I took comfort from the music knowing the beauty of the moment would be absorbed by him and carried forth to the next generation.

Next on our schedule was a family visit to Sloan Kettering to say thank you to the doctor who helped Yossi during his two years there. He was so grateful to see us and while it has been a long time, he said he will never forget Yossi — his selflessness, kindness and what a gem he was at such a young age. When he was in remission Yossi presented him with a doctor’s prayer and the doctor said that at the beginning of every day he reads the letter before he begins working.

Then we went to Ronald McDonald House and as were giving “Yossi’s treats” to the children, we met a mother and her precious daughter who has the same form of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, which is very rare. We talked for a long time and found it difficult to leave Alexa, this amazing 12-year old, for whom we will continue to pray.

After this highly emotional day we met for a special gathering in Yossi’s honor with many speeches from friends and family, and then we farbrenged and met informally saying l’chaim until the wee hours of the morning.

As I walked away from all of these events, I realized the impact my brother Yossi left and how 20 years later his spirit is not just strong but even stronger. Just imagine, although he lived only a short life, how many lives he touched, the impact he made and how every moment counted as if instinctively he knew his time was limited. The music of his abbreviated life unites us, as we recall all the positive ways in which he influenced our lives and continues to do so.


Our doors never close!

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much to all for taking the time to send special feedback via calls, e-mails, and Facebook replies for the words I shared about my brother. It really meant so much to me and to my family. May we be there for each others' Simchas, G-d willing. 

It's always amazing how Chabad Naples doesn’t slows down when traffic becomes lighter and the cars start rolling north  after Passover. At Chabad Naples the season is a warm up for our busy summer.   

It's VERY long:) If you need a coffee in the middle, please don't hesitate to grab one. 

We hope you had an incredible holiday and are ready to celebrate with us:  coming up May 4th is our special opportunity say thank you to our dear and precious Chabad and Preschool of the Arts partners, for your ongoing support and partnership in all that we do here at the world famous Chabad Naples. We realize that many of you are  out of town as it is the end of the season, but this is one of our small ways to say thank you in person and for us to genuinely say thank you with an intimate Heimishe evening with great food, cocktails, a few (VERY short) speeches. We look forward to seeing all of you — and if you have already flown north, please know that you are in our minds and hearts. 

If you have not yet renewed or you are just planning your partner project participation, please visit our website or call- it means a lot to the precious children and the community, that we may continue our work. 

In addition to joining the Partnership Project, you may want to consider planned giving. We started this special way of being able to ensure and continue the valuable and meaningful investment in continuity for generations to come. To learn more about the Planned Giving Society please visit our website or arrange a meeting with Rabbi Fishel. 

We have much to be thankful for and in the coming days will be showing our appreciation in different ways:   

May 2 is Teacher Appreciation Day, a special time to recognize and thank those who give their hearts and souls every day to the children and who make Preschool of the Arts so unique. 

We are also looking forward to two graduations:   

Hebrew School Graduation – our 13th year!  It is so exciting to see how children who began not reading Hebrew walk away being confident masters. 

May 26th is Pre-K Graduation.  It's amazing how this is our 6th year of preschool and as the children graduate and move on, the schools that they attend afterwards say how they are so advanced. 

If you would like to join us at this event, send us an e-mail we will be happy to reserve a spot for you. 

On June 5th the spectacular Summer of the Arts and Camp Gan begins!  We are almost full but now is the time to register for the few remaining paces for a unique summer.  Check out the calendars for every day full of fun at www.naplessummerofthearts.com

Here is a wonderful opportunity to help a chid have a great summer plus contribute to the scholarship fund for one session or the whole summer or to the general fund. 

NEW!!!  You may have heard, we are about to open a Toddler Class!   This is huge — we are offering a full five-day program for our new 12-18 month old children next year.  It is our goal that these young toddlers adjust smoothly to the school environment and feel safe and comfortable in their preschool setting.  To achieve this at their developmental age, it is crucial to have the continuity of coming every day. Children thrive on routine, and the regularity of daily attendance sets them up for success.  In addition, we are keeping the size of the class small, so that the teachers can give the children a lot of love and attention without bouncing between the 2-day, 3-day and 5-day roster of children. This is key for us to create a solid, stable, loving environment where these young children form a real bond with their teachers.

We will start construction and renovation for this project soon, without disturbing the current programs BUT we do need help.  If you are interested in assisting with this additional classroom or wish to dedicate it in honor of someone, please reach out to Ettie or Rabbi Fishel.

All of this, while we still continue with our ongoing programs and doing  Mitzvot in the community.

And don’t forget — Preschool of the Arts and Hebrew School registration are in full swing. 

Wishing you all a safe and beautiful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos



My mother shared two statements with me


Fishey and torah.jpgOn Sunday, December 14, 2008 close to 500 community members gathered to complete the writing after a yearlong commissioning of a Torah that started at the Ritz Beach House in January 2008.

My mother shared two statements with me with regard to this Torah. They made a huge impact and I want to share them with you. One was at the completion of the Torah in 2008 and the other when she visited here in January 2016.

When we completed the Torah, my mother said, “Fishel, you know… the pain was just seething and piercing. Knowing that his legacy continues in this Torah and this community, I now feel for the first time a little comfort."

I know it brought tremendous comfort to her.

Her second statement, more recently, she said, “When I pray in the Shul with you at the Alex and Carol Glassman Chabad Center and you hold the Torah saying Sh’ma, I see two brothers embracing each other.”

THAT to me is huge. It brought and brings so much comfort and I want to share that with others who are feeling pain and loss and might find by perhaps doing something meaningful or powerful it may bring just a little comfort.

This Torah is a living testament, to those souls both past and present, who put their lives on the line to help others and ensure liberty, democracy and freedom for all.

So by being in Naples as it is the Naples community Torah, and all who joined and will join, you have made our family your family.

Today, my brother Yossi is your brother Yossi.

In prayer let us hold hands and together form a large circle of life.

Let our circle of love and common purpose extend far beyond the borders of this Chabad of Naples and reach out to all of our brothers and sisters, wherever they may be.

My brother Yossi, courageous, fearless and the sweetest soul!



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My brother Yossi, courageous, fearless and the sweetest soul!

Tonight on the seventh day of Passover, is my brother Yossi’s anniversary of passing. In 1997 on the 7th day of Pesach, this precious soul whom I loved with every fiber of my being was taken back to a special place in heaven.

Yossi was taken from us too soon. His life was too short and I miss him terribly.

Twenty years sounds like a lot, but what’s amazing to me is that this young man made such a profound impact on me, with how he led his life, that he has remained very much alive with me. Yossi had a courageous and fearless nature, and at the same time, he was the sweetest soul.

For all the beautiful light my brother shone upon this world for the brief time we were blessed to have him with us, I often tell myself to imagine — just imagine if Yossi were still here! What great things he and I might have build and accomplish together! Sadly, his life was an amazing but curtailed blessing, and we try to continue on his behalf, inspired by and using his positive spirit and joy for life that never waned.

Yossi exuded an inner peace and a sense of direction. He wasn’t torn by different competing ideas and values. Sometimes naturally in pursuit of success and happiness in life we sometimes overlook what's really important. I was amazed that he remained fully focused, never taking his eye off the prize: he lived to help others, caring especially for those who are often ignored.

When I saw him getting up a half hour earlier than his normal 6 am wake up time so that he could help one of his classmates get ready for an exam, or when I watched him motivate his whole school into a new project to reach out to a fellow in need, I saw the true meaning of life; I saw the true meaning of Torah.

When he got wind of a young student who couldn’t afford tuition in Yeshiva, it was he who quietly and discreetly approached members of the community to allow his friend to continue his studies, with pride and dignity intact.

He would often talk dreamily about how one day he wanted to reach out to a community to create a warm and loving place, and as he visited various Chabad centers for Shabbat or events I would hear his ideas develop. One day he wanted to build and open his Chabad center.

And it all changed.

When he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, I thought at least then he would spend time caring for himself and take a break from his selfless giving character. Not Yossi.

As I sat at his bedside in Sloan Kettering hospital for two years, I watched in amazement how doctors and nurses were inspired by this wellspring of joy and happiness. As I wheeled him through the hallways, he would ask me to slow down to share a joke with a little girl who had no hair to frame her innocent face, or just to smile to another elderly patient sitting in the ward. He asked me to wheel him into the patients' lounge so he could spend time to pray. It was just so amazing and awe inspiring to see this teenager who was going through such pain and treatments live and wake up fully to begin his day first thanking G-d and then almost on a mission to uplift and to ease the pain of others. His unshakable faith, his positive demeanor, his courageous acceptance of his situation with equanimity – without any trace of bitterness – were almost superhuman phenomena. It was transcendent. otherworldly!

Instead of wallowing in pity, he was so focused, directed, and full of purpose and meaning. It was almost as if this were his Chabad center.

I know how much life Yossi had in him. I knew his thoughts and felt his dreams, and while I cry for what has been cut short — a beautiful, sincere, caring bright soul who taught me more than he could imagine, I take comfort in knowing that Yossi still has a chance to live his dream through our center, together with my dear wife Ettie Zaklos whom he never met and our precious children. I feel to this day how Yossi is watching our community and taking pride in us, as if we are living his life for him and our magnificent achievement is giving him a chance to prove his immortality.

Knowing Yossi, I promise that wherever he is in the beautiful place in heaven, he is advocating on our behalf, praying for each one of us, for our families, and the world at large.

As I read from the Naples Community Torah tomorrow, dedicated in his loving memory, I know Yossi continues to live on.

Wherever you are in your life, whatever your situation, please know that as I recite from his loving Torah and embrace Yossi with love, I embrace all of you.

If you can, please do some mitzvah — a good deed in his honor.

As we recite yizkor on Tuesday, let's remember the precious moments of our loved ones and know that we can to keep their Neshamot alive and live fully.


Be prepared to occasionally let go

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Dear Friends,

This week we welcomed the new Hebrew Month of Miracles, Nissan. One of the greatest of these was the miracle of parting the sea as the Jews left Egypt. Just picture the Jews sandwiched between the endless menacing sea and the advancing Egyptian army. What can be done?  Moses realized that the only way they could save themselves would be to go into the water. He commanded everyone to follow him but they all resisted, frightened and thinking he had lost his mind. Then one of them, Nachshon, stepped up and went into the waves. First his legs disappeared, and then his chest and everyone feared he was drowning. Just as the waters hit his nose, the sea divided!

Sometimes we just have to take that extra step forward, without any evidence or reassurance that things will work out. I’m not suggesting that we blindly and thoughtlessly forge ahead into dangerous uncharted territory, but we have to be prepared to occasionally let go, quit worrying so much and clear the way for greatness and even miracles to enter our lives.

It was so amazing when last week Seacrest middle school theater group came to perform for Preschool of the Arts. They had heard so much about us and some of our graduates go to their school. Just 13 years ago we were unknown, and now others reach out to the icon preschool — what a miracle! Let's continue doing and making the first move and leave the rest to G-d.

As it says in psalms, cast your worries upon G-d and he will contain it, or as the famous saying goes, “Don’t tell G-d how big your problems are, tell your problems how big G-d is.”
It’s not always easy, but it is the month of miracles so we have that extra energy.


"Love your fellow as yourself", Rabbi Akiva says this is THE cardinal principle of the Torah!
Why is it the most important thing in Judaism? Because the greatest fear a person has is the fear of loneliness, of being alone, of not being cared for by anyone. There are many challenges that life can throw at someone, but the strength that comes from knowing that we are not alone in this challenge, that we have the empathy, love and tears of a friend or loved one, often gives us the ability to overcome anything. The one time we feel helpless is when we sense that noone cares and that we don't matter..
Loneliness may not seem as threatening as the other challenges in life, but it undermines us in a way that no other challenge does. So when we reach out to another individual and simply show them that we are "with them", we may not have directly provided them with the answer to their problems, but we have given them something more important: the strength to find the way to overcome the problem itself.
As Passover approaches we would be wise to think of the first revelation of G-d to Moses: in a bush full of thorns. Why a thorn bush of all places? G-d was sending Moses and the People of Israel a message: So long that you dwell in suffering and slavery, that's where I dwell as well. I am with you in your pain and suffering. That knowledge was the beginning of the redemption.
Have you eliminated someone's loneliness lately?

If you know of someone in need of a Pesach Seder or something else, please contact Rabbi Zaklos @ Rabbi@chabadnaples.com

Is there anything else we can help you for the holiday? please email office@chabadnaples.com

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

G-d is Everywhere




G-d is Everywhere

Although we don’t need proof of G-d’s overarching presence, it’s always pleasantly reassuring when we get a sign.

As Mendel, Yitzi and I were going around town giving Shalach MANOT for Purim — and I am truly grateful for my enthusiastic helpers for bringing the real message of Purim: joy, love to our friends, family and community - a wonderful thing happened.

As we were passing by on 5th Avenue, a fellow named Jake called out, “ Hello”. As we spoke he said that an hour earlier he had asked his friend Bar where to go to a Purim party --- in Naples? They just moved to town.

He said to us in these words, "I promise you I know G-d sent you."
How happy we were to be able to invite them to our special Purim Party tomorrow!

Is there a message here? Of course there is! All you have to do is go out and spread the joy and you will lift up both yourself and others. Furthermore, is there any doubt that G-d listens? Call out, ask for what you need, and you never know. G-d has His ways!


Yes, I also do headstands:)



 There’s an old phrase, “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels”.  It  referred to accomplishing an impossible feat.  Although spitting nickels of any kind is beyond my capabilities,  Purim is a time to shake things up a little.  It’s a holiday that teaches us that  the days of sadness will be transformed into joy, so sometimes we have to turn our lives upside down,  stand on our heads,  and gain an entirely different perspective on life.  In addition to disrupting things temporarily by my  juggling, yes, I also do headstands. What can we possibly learn from this?  Our topsy turvy world doesn't always have to be out of control:  we can change it, put it right, and stand it on its feet once again.   




Here he is again - and still smiling! This time our cheery emoji with his big smile is anticipating  a very special Purim. The happiness evident on his face, which summons a large smile as a quick response, could be why we chose him as this year’s Purim mascot.  Happiness fuels the flame that helps to melt the paralysis that prevents us from focusing on the joy of the holiday.

So kick back, summon your personal emoji and come along to the Chabad Family Purim Celebration on Sunday, March 12 at 11 AM.  

Brunch, desserts, face painting, prize for costumes, live music, hamentaschen, gragers, arts and crafts -no wonder he’s smiling!

Visit the website by clicking here or call the office for reservations!😁
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This jolly little Punim!


Although many of us are familiar with this jolly little punim, perhaps we were more than surprised to find evidence of his presence almost all weekend at Chabad of Naples.   Even when the message was serious, it was delivered with a smile!  We all came together to participate in a peaceful Shabbat service Friday night, a delicious traditional dinner, and then a hear a very non-traditional but most enjoyable talk  by David Nesenoff.  The warmth and beauty of our usual Shabbat services and kiddush were enhanced by the presence of David and his wife Nancy, and his special messages delivered in his unique style, (proving Rabbi Fishel does not have the corner on the market of humorous rabbis)! 

How good it was to be able to come together as we do every Shabbat to pray, to schmooze, and just bask in the warm comfort and friendliness of our Naples Shabbat family!


Hosting Israel’s ambassador

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Dear Friends, 

Oh, what a night! Over 300 people attended our event featuring Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Danny Danon.

The feedback from this event has been simply amazing!  Not only did those in attendance at the cocktail party enjoy the fine Chabad hospitality offered, they also had an opportunity to meet with Ambassador Danon on a personal level. He related to everyone with warmth and friendliness, answering questions with intelligence and honesty.

The same feeling prevailed when he spoke to the larger crowd that had assembled to hear him speak.  After explaining his role at the UN, he delivered honest opinions about its effectiveness in today’s world and made suggestions for improvements. Because of his familiarity with Israels’s government, and the fact that he has served in so many high-level  governmental positions, Danon was able to handle all the questions he was asked following his address. Tyler Korn ably led the question and answer portion of the program.  

Our gratitude to the many sponsors who enabled this event, to the dignitaries who honored us with their presence, all those in attendance,  and to the volunteers who facilitated an efficient program. It was truly a great honor to host Israel’s ambassador to the UN in our very own Naples synagogue. May Hashem Bless  Israel. Shield it beneath His wings of kindness and spread over it His canopy of peace.

Click here for pictures of the event.

With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


"The honeymoon is over"

"The honeymoon is over" - how often have we had that anticlimactic sensation when the excitement and romance of an event have passed, and we are faced with the daily nitty gritty and often, at first glance, monotonous incidents in life.

So it is in the Torah: after the thrilling pomp and circumstance of the revelation at Mount Sinai, we settle in to the often tedious, day-to-day events. The reality of life is, we are not always surrounded by a brass band and a party-like atmosphere. We may have our time under the chuppah to dream and marvel at the promise of true and everlasting love only to wake up to the eye-opening reality of “ Who left the cap off the toothpaste” and living in close quarters with another individual and perhaps realizing how little we really know about his or her personality or character. That’s when we set the honeymoon aside as a lovely memory and get down to the joyous laws for daily life.

Judaism is about how we live each day. It’s not just our actions in coming to a synagogue and how we act there, it’s how we live daily. Most people have the capacity to spend a few hours weekly ‘walking the walk and talking the talk’, but how do they behave the rest of the time? It may surprise you to know that Judaism was never meant to be centered around the synagogue, it is a guide to how we behave at home, how we treat our spouse, family and friends, how we treat the poor and how we seek justice in all areas.

This is why immediately following the honeymoon at Mount Sinai, we needed to address our daily lives with Mitzvot, because this is where the magic happens.

Oh we do need the synagogue, trust me on this, along with and in addition to our daily behavior, because it gives us inspiration and empowers us to carry through with our resolutions. We hear from so many people who attend that joining us on Shabbat and throughout the year boosts them to living life at the fullest. We are never alone, surrounded by extended family with similar goals and feelings for Israel.

As we meet with Ambassador Danny Danon this Sunday, February 26th, we show our support for Israel, built by people who sacrifice on a daily basis so that all of us have a homeland. Part of ‘walking the walk’ is offering our daily strength and support for events like this.

With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

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