Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad of Naples
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Israel is a story of life over death and hope over despair.

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Israel is special.  Its story speaks to and tugs not just on the hearts and minds of Jews, but to all who believe in and treasure the power of the redemptive human spirit.  It’s a story of life over death, of hope over despair, a truly positive and optimistic message to those who dare to reach out and grasp the dream turned into reality.
I will recall forever our happiest moments there as a family when we were confronted by the dynamic of Israel, joining with all the people as children of G-d, being  proud Jews and participating in its achievements. It’s far from fantasy - taking a barren land and making it bloom. It’s all very real, as it rejuvenated faith and took a shattered people and nation and helped them live, nurtured their entrepreneurial spirits, and gave them a home and a future. Such a special place, that as Kennedy once said, Israel was not created to disappear -  it is the child of hope.

Yesterday we remembered 23,646 selfless heroes.
Soldiers and military personnel who fell in the line of duty to keep Israel free. We must never forget this.
We shower blessings of comfort on all the families who have lost loved ones, while remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We must never forget our debt to them.

“Never forget” is more than some catchy phrase


Still inspired by the powerful words of “Schindler Survivor,” Rena Finder when she shared her story at Chabad of Naples in 2016.

“Zachor” (remember), appears no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible!
On Holocaust Memorial Day, we take the time to reflect, honor and remember our survivors, those who were ruthlessly slaughtered, and those righteous souls who may have helped them, risking their own lives. How many of us owe our lives today, to some known and unknown heroes who stepped up and saved the lives of our ancestors?
The more we learn about the atrocities man was somehow capable of inflicting upon his fellow-man, the more we are left stunned and staggered by the scope of the evil perpetrated during World War II. As Jews, in particular, we continue to mourn the loss of six million of our finest souls.
“Never forget” is more than some catchy phrase — it’s a rule we must live by. We remember all the lives cut short during this terrible chapter in history, and pray the world never permits such tragic history to repeat itself.
Let us not underestimate the potential impact we CAN have upon the circumstances we DO find ourselves in. let us have the courage to speak out for decency and truth.

The precious moments of our loved ones

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Dear Friends,

Yossi, you made me a better person...

It's my brother Yossi's yahrzeit, anniversary of passing, starting tonight. It is now 21 years since he passed away. I can articulate and relate to many clichés about time healing wounds but in a seminal way, the pain of loss and the stark emptiness left by his passing will accompany me all of my days.

Yizkor is about remembering, and of all the things I recall about my brother Yossi some special characteristics resonate with me strongly.

Of everyone I have known, Yossi truly lived life to the fullest, giving his best to every moment of every day - he simply never quit. He dived right in to whatever he attempted and gave it his all, fully and with no restrictions. He grabbed life with both hands and LIVED it. He achieved so much in his short life because he seized every second. He was totally invested in life and living. 
Yossi never complained, but ALWAYS maintained a positive, upbeat attitude, even in the years during his aggressive treatments in Sloan Kettering.

He lived for others, caring especially for those who are often ignored. He was selfless and always sensitive to those around him. He did things because it was right and wanting to be of service to G-d and to fulfill his dear Mentor the Rebbe’s calling. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I can tell you this wasn’t an occasional occurrence. Yossi had a courageous and fearless nature, and at the same time, he was the sweetest soul.

Yizkor has become more sacred to me as I journey through life. During shul this Shabbat, as we recite yizkor, I feel that it's so important to have this day, where we spend the time recalling and trying to make sure that we incorporate these special traits in our lives and live up to some of what we were able to see and admire in these special souls whom we loved. Twenty one 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.

I miss my older brother Yossi so much. He was a true inspiration and I often wonder why he was taken from us so early. I will never understand but I am so thankful that I had the privilege to witness true greatness.

Yossi, you made me a better person, a more real person. His life was too short and I miss him terribly but we will try to incorporate what he taught us from those precious but abbreviated days we spent together: a legacy of pure goodness.

I look forward to reading from his Torah on Shabbat and if you can, please do some mitzvah — a good deed in his honor.

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

Wishing you and yours a happy, kosher and freedom-filled rest of Passover!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

thanks to our incredible family: yes, our Naples/ Marco Mishpacha

Dear Friends, 

The holiday of Passover and the Seder in particular remind us to be grateful and to give thanks for all we have. Our well-known tune Dayenu reminds us of all the times G-d helped us in amazing ways, and of how ungrateful we were, always demanding more. Passover is, therefore, our opportunity to make up for this by showing how grateful we were and still are, every step of the journey. 
On the night of the Seder the gates of the heavens are open and we raise our glasses filled with wine and say L'chaim. On a personal level, this is when Ettie and I express thanks to our incredible family: yes, our Naples/ Marco Mishpacha for every step of this amazing journey. A mere 15 years ago we came to this beautiful place called Naples and today we have a growing and beautiful family, and we will spend the time at the Seder to go back and reflect on all the incredible angels who have given so much, who have been here for our community, for Chabad Naples and for us. We say thank you.
Our sincere repeated thanks will never be enough. 
And as we prepare this afternoon for the Festival of Liberation, let us use this opportunity to tap in to our inner Moses, hearing the word of Hashem, and take a step forward in our own lives, to live a more present, conscious, G-dly life; enriching our family experience, uplifting our social value, and expanding our communal contribution to make the world, immediately around us, and beyond, a holier and happier place - let's make the world, and especially Chabad Naples, "Kosher for Pesach"; for the ultimate freedom in a world perfected speedily in our days. We ask Hashem that as we grow and the needs continue, the angels and continued miracles will flow together.
We love you and L’chaim!!!!
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip?

Dear Friends, 

Author David Allen's bestseller is about getting things done with as little stress as possible.   

“Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation," he writes, " but it’s not because of the vacation itself.  What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and negotiate all your agreements with yourself and others.” 

That really resonates with me at this time of year, as I think this summarizes Passover  perfectly: it’s a time to make preparations -- clean up -- to go on vacation, even for a few days, from all the things that inhibit you. 

Passover is the time when we are blessed with spiritual freedom to allow us to rise above and "Passover" the confusion and worry stemming from the challenges we face in daily life. Enjoy its rich traditions, observe its sacred customs, and allow It to afford you the much needed energy of joy and liberation to savor year-round. 

This in turn gives us an additional dose of the many blessings and inspirations which Pesach provides; namely, the spirit of true freedom from every conceivable obstacle, from within and from without. 

Please accept our best wishes for a Happy, Kosher and Meaningful Passover! 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Pray for a brighter world for our children

Dear Friends,

The terrible tragedy right here in Florida this week has shaken us all. We were heartbroken to learn of so many young children and families affected by a violent act that took too many lives. We are all praying for the grieving families and for the broken community that will surely feel the aftermath of this tragedy for years to come. Losing a child to gun violence in a place that should be a safe haven - a school - is every parent's worst nightmare.  We continue to struggle to wrap our heads around yet another senseless act of violence resulting in the tragic death of 17 young people.

The Rebbe would often quote Maimonides who taught us to view the world at every moment as hanging in the balance, equally, between good evil; our task is to be a force for goodness to tilt the scale towards goodness.

Yes, Parkland is another reminder that there are forces of evil out there. Let's make sure we are a force for good! Rather than passive despair, such a tragedy should propel us to push back; to do more in the realm of MITZVAHS, goodness and kindness, so that each of us is an even greater force for good than we were until now.

We pray that Hashem give strength and comfort to the families of those directly affected. We continue to pray and send positive vibes to the Parkland community. Please see below for my initial thoughts I expressed on facebook:

 Today has been a tragic and devastating day as we grapple with the terrible news of 17 young, innocent lives taken, and so many more lives forever changed by terror and violence.

This state which I love so dearly, in which Ettie and I are raising our children, is hurting, and we are all in pain together.

The words of comfort and the hard work of rebuilding a broken community will be ahead of us in the days to come, but for now I can only share my thoughts with those so deeply affected by this tragedy. I am praying for those who have lost loved ones. I am praying for those children whose innocence has been stolen in what should have been a safe haven of education. And I will be praying for all of us that we may come together as a community and strengthen each other in this time of sadness.

As this tragic day winds down, hold on tightly to your loved ones and thank G-d for the precious gifts in your life. I cannot sign off without mentioning the heroes like Coach Aaron Feis and others who risked their lives to shield and protect others, they have shown me that the power of good will always prevail over evil. I pray for the day when the light will outshine the darkness entirely.

Please consider lighting Shabbat candles this week, adding more light to this seemingly dark world. Pray for a brighter world for our children. Gather around the Shabbat table over challah and wine and spend wonderful time with your precious family.

Candle lighting time is 6:03pm.  

And while you're at it . . . spread the word. Ask another friend to light. And let the ripple effect vanquish the darkness. 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 



A Very Special Torah Inauguration

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Dear Friend, 

This past Sunday, over 200 Chabad Naples friends and community members joined our congregation in a powerful historic event to witness the birth a new Unity Torah scroll being written exclusively for our local Naples community. 

The inspirational celebration marked the writing of the very first letters the Torah, Judaism’s most scared and holy object. Every Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) has 304,805 letters, and it must be written on parchment with a quill and special ink by a pious scribe. It takes months to complete, since each letter must be written perfectly. What is so special about THIS Torah is that every individual letter, word, and chapter in the Torah is being uniquely sponsored by individuals and families in our community, as well as friends and supporters of Chabad Naples and Preschool of the Arts here in Naples and around the world. In this way, the specially commissioned scroll is intimately tied to our community and friends and supporters of Chabad Naples and Preschool of the Arts. This connection will hopefully draw down tremendous blessings for every person and our community as a whole. 

It is an honor to now invite you to also participate in this incredible endeavor, by buying your own letter, word, or section, and uniting with hundreds of others to complete this special Torah scroll. Our Sages teach us that owning a part of a Torah will bring blessings to the owner, his or her family, and to the entire community. Every individual commitment is a testament to the strength of our community and the goodness that results from us uniting together. 

This booklet provides details of what letters, words, phrases and sections of the Torah can be purchased, as well as specific meaningful passages you can sponsor that may resonate directly with you for the blessings that are associated with them. If you have any questions or would like some guidance or suggestion for a personalized sponsorship, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Rabbi Fishel for assistance. 

When the Torah scroll is completed, it will be welcomed into the Ark at our Chabad Naples center with great fanfare and celebration. We cannot wait to invite you to the grand “Hachanasat Sefer Torah” (Welcoming of the Torah) celebration that we anticipate will be scheduled for early 2019 to in our community!


Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Click here to see the Unity Torah photo gallery 

When a new Torah enters a community...it brings with it blessings

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Dear Friends,  
In just 8 days, the Naples community will be witnessing something special - the birth of a new Torah. Written exclusively for the Naples community, by the Naples community.

The Torah is the holiest object that exists in our world, infusing our world with hope, promise, morality, and goodness. Most of all, it infuses the world with spiritual light and G-dliness.

Every time a new Torah is written, the scribe must look into a previously written Torah and copy it letter for letter so that ultimately, each Torah can be traced back to the original Torah scrolls written by Moses.

When a new Torah enters a community, it brings with it a spiritual light that uplifts every one of its residents. It is like a Divine “light switch” that brings with it blessings for revealed goodness in all areas of children, life and health, and financial success.

Come be a part of this experience and see for yourself what you missed at Sinai.

Write a letter in a sefer Torah and fulfill one of the 613 mitzvahs that tells us to “write a sefer Torah.” Think how wonderful it would be for you or your child to know that one special letter or word was “written” by your family.

If you would like to dedicate a letter, word, section or book of the Torah in memory of a loved one or in honor of yourself or someone you love, please give us a call at the office or log on to our website at www.chabadnaples.com/unitytorah

This event is free and open to the entire community. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join you as well. we look forward to seeing you at this celebration.
Yes, we know it’s Superbowl Sunday, but we are planning a super event of our own! And you will have time to do both!
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 
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The theme of the Torah is on my mind these days


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The theme of the Torah and all it represents is on my mind these days, since Chabad Naples is inaugurating the writing of a new, very special Unity Torah aimed to uplift and inspire  on Sunday afternoon, February 4, 2018, from 1-3 pm at the Chabad of Naples Jewish Community Center. 

We eagerly look forward to welcoming you to this very special event.

The joy of the Torah as a guide book for every generation is renewed each time a new scroll is written.  Every scroll is composed of 304,805 Hebrew letters and each letter in the scroll must stand on its own, unbroken.  If it does not, the scroll is not fit to be read publicly until it is corrected.  This fact symbolizes the preciousness of each individual in our midst and the unique power and importance of unity within the entire community.

As a matter of fact, at its very inception, the Torah begins with the word Breishit which starts with the letter Bet, the second letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. 

Why not start with an Alef, letter number one? Even the Ten Commandments begin with the word Anochi, and the letter Alef?

This is to highlight this message to us, that as we embrace the Torah, before we begin to learn its words and be inspired by its timeless message, we must realize that we are incomplete on our own, we are the second to our fellow.

This concept of the value of each individual is inspiring, but sometimes feels unrealistic. In the vast world around us, with millions coming and going at their own pace, does my little contribution really make a difference, can I really be a part of this global Torah?

The answer is yes. The smallest person and smallest deed can make a difference. The Torah teaches that each of us was created as an entirely unique being, with our own personality, abilities, talents, and resources, and given an important, profound purpose to accomplish in this life. 

An elderly man was walking on the beach when he noticed a young boy picking up starfish stranded by the retreating tide, and throwing them back into the sea one by one. He approached him and questioned his actions. The young man replied that the starfish would die if left exposed to the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles,” said the older man, “and there are thousands of starfish. You will not be able to save them all. How can your effort make a difference?” 

The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves.

“To this one,” he said, “it makes a world of a difference.”

We cannot let the size of the endeavor or the extent of the effort overwhelm us into inactivity. As soon as we recognize the value of our input, we can take our baby steps towards the fulfillment of the Jewish dream of making the world a better place, a happier and more peaceful place, a more G-dly place. 

Like this favorite story I like to tell of my mentor, the Rebbe of righteous memory. The Rebbe once presented a sheaf of papers to one of his secretaries, each page covered with copious corrections. The secretary was disheartened by the prospect of completing so much complex work. Seeing the man’s reaction, the Rebbe responded with a message which the secretary posted on his wall and shows to visitors to this day:

Letter by letter,

Word by word,

Line by line,

It’ll work out fine.

I wish you every blessing for accomplishing your own personal acts of goodness and kindness – step by step and mitzvah by mitzvah, a little at a time.

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

Thank you

Dear Friends,

With the year drawing to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous contributions to Chabad Naples & Preschool. As everyone enjoys a little down time, we wish that 2018 will be a beautiful and successful year of good health and peace for all of you. 

Your love, support and friendship mean more than we can say.  
We would like in particular to thank all of our precious partners, and all our benevolent dedicators and supporters who helped and continue to help to make this dream of Chabad of Naples possible.

We know how many other worthy causes are in need of assistance. With this in mind we are honored and greatly humbled that you have chosen to be a part of the Chabad Naples & Preschool of the Arts family. Together we say thank you!

We hope you will continue to come and share some of our amazing events this coming year: the Mega Challah Bake, Shabbat community dinners, the new Torah signing and more.  

Here at Chabad of Naples, where the door is always open, this is the home of warmth and joy.  

Come and experience it!

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

Bringing light and love to others is easy




Dear Friends,

Open your Rolodex and dust off your address book - surely you can find a few people whose lonely lives you can make brighter!  All it takes is a phone call, or even better, a short visit  with a warm smile to wish them a Happy Chanukah.    Bringing light and love to others is easy:  all it takes is a little time, a smile, and some kind words. 


Our Grand Chanukah Glow Festival  is more than a terrific walk in the park:  it’s also people coming together as a community, dedicated to bringing light, with a commitment to unity and peace -  that’s more like it!  Now more than ever we need your presence and support, we need you to lend your personal glow to light up our Naples area community. Be there, join family and friends  - Cambier Park at 5 PM today, December 14th for our community Glow-Along!

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, post Cyber Monday

Has everyone  -- or everyone’s pocket --recovered from the great sales of Thanksgiving, post Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, post Cyber Monday, and all the commotion? You don’t have to be a retail giant to know that  at this time of year the focus is on  ‘getting’. People tend to spend a lot, and a lot of it goes both to themselves and to other people, who possibly are not in need.

Well, today is Giving Tuesday, and before you sigh and shrug it off, consider this: many are asking for donations for their org., and many of these are worthwhile, dedicated community organizations devoted to helping those who need it.  There are many aspects to giving. Take a few minutes today to think about ‘giving’ - does someone need a call and would he benefit from a few encouraging words?

All around the globe people are giving back to the causes they love. While Judaism teaches that every day is the right day for charity, we at Chabad of Naples are excited to take part in this awe-inspiring movement to celebrate the giving season.


Happy #GivingTuesday friends! To many, many more!

 Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 


Why Should We Be Thankful


Why Should We Be Thankful?

Simply thinking about what we have could lead to our feeling thankful and truly uplifted when we consider family, friends, food and shelter - clean air, clean water to drink and electricity - the ability to enjoy physical activity - the recovery from illness. Just thinking about these things that we usually take for granted, or being without them for a while, could lead to a deeper appreciation and understanding of what we have when they are returned to us.  

Instead of regret for what we don’t have, we can arise each morning with joy, take a deep breath and marvel at the fresh air of freedom, and observe the many shades of green on the foliage as the sun rises to touch each piece.  We can visit a beach and hear the swish and lap of waves on the shore; we can watch the different shapes of clouds  moving across the sky and rejoice in them instead of obsessing over what we can no longer do now that we could do with ease when we were younger. We should relish and be grateful for what is still available and accessible to us.
We can open our minds and then open our hearts to all the good things with which G-d has surrounded us, instead of asking why we should be grateful. Then, let us ask ourselves why we celebrate Thanksgiving Day only once a year.
Happy Thanksgiving
Rabbi Fishel Zaklos 

Our hearts and prayers

Our hearts and prayers

Dear Friends, 
Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to the people of New York City, and to the families of innocent victims and the injured, following another terrorist attack on Tuesday. 
An attack on the citizens of the city, or any Americans or innocent people anywhere, is an attack on our freedoms and the values of decency we hold so dear.
We salute our first responders who were on the scene so quickly, preventing further damage. How admirable that the people managed to carry on, showing such grit and courage under the circumstances.
We must continue to champion that goodness to bring light onto others during difficult times. We will not let terror take over our lives or threaten our way of living. "A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness." - The Rebbe
With love and blessings,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos
Ettie's Facebook post: 
I'm heartbroken to hear about today's terror attack in New York City that has taken too many innocent lives in such a horrible Way 😞 .
I just spoke with my mother who was in Manhattan at the time of the attack and is thank G-d safe. 
I'm proud to be a New Yorker and the city will forever be one of my favorite places in the world. 
When I see New York's finest, our great first responders, and the kind responses of everyday Americans to such an assault on our society, I am reminded of the essential goodness of people. We will not let terror take over our lives or threaten our way of living. 
My thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families during this painful time.


This year the story resonates strongly with us

Dear Friends,

We are all familiar with the story of Noah and the flood, and how Noah was saved by entering the Ark. This year the story resonates strongly with us as we think of many people still enduring so many hardships as they try to rebuild their lives and in some cases, merely survive. We pray that Hashem gives everyone the strength to continue. 

With Hurricane Irma we realized just what a flood meant and how frightening it could be. But on an emotional level, the raging waters can also represent the pressures of life and how they can sometimes inundate and overwhelm us: the mortgage, bills, the daily grind, external and internal circumstances, When these forces become overwhelming, the Torah gives us guidance, encouraging us to enter the Ark, or in other words, just enter a space of holiness, a place of Torah and prayer, a warm community, a place where others will greet you with love. 

Over the past 14 years, people have expressed to us that at the Naples Chabad family they have found a place where they have felt uplifted, where people care. 

As Ettie and I just celebrated our anniversary, we looked back on a few months after our marriage when we came to Naples as newlyweds. Together with all of you we created this beautiful ark, journeying life together we have created a beautiful family full of love and joy. 

As a family we laugh and cry together, we celebrate simchas and support each other in difficult times.

Water can also signify the refreshing and renewing passage of life. How significant that this week we are also celebrating the baby naming of Art and Ellen Siegel’s granddaughter. How special to share these unique moments of new beginnings. Mazal Tov to Daniel & Lindsay and to the entire Mishpacha.

With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

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