Dear Friends,

Every so often our lives are touched by a truly gigantic personality. Although this person may not be large in stature or have spent many years on this earth, he may have possessed some special personal characteristics and traits that somehow touched us to the core. My brother Yossi was such an individual. 


Tonight is the anniversary of his passing. He was so dear to me that I want to share his lovingkindness and sincerity with everyone. As many of you already know, the Naples Community Torah we began on January 20, 2008 was dedicated a year later in his honor. As we pray with this Torah, a little bit of Yossi's life shines from within it.


Yossi was cut down in the prime of his life, before he even had a chance to further develop his already enormous love of life, family, community, scholarship, fellow Jew, and almost every other human being with whom he came into contact. It's impossible to imagine just how very far his passions and ability would have taken him had he not been afflicted with cancer and subjected to two and one-half years of treatment before his untimely death. Those years I spent with him at Sloan-Kettering were strongly formative for me, and have influenced how I live my life and why I have so much admiration for others who face similar challenges.


Yossi and I were quite different in personality and during the time we shared at the Hospital there were many friendly arguments about life, while we had fun and I became a pool shark. He always encouraged me to enter the rabbinate:  no doubt he is looking down and smiling, and I hope he acknowledges that his inspiration has fostered our growth here at Chabad of Naples.


Yossi faced the pain and suffering with a positive spirit, optimism, and staunch bravery. His love of life and his fellow man did not go unnoticed by his medical caregivers, who saw his hospital room as a beacon of hopeful light and warmth as he inspired those around him. He faced death as he had lived: with courage and dignity.


As I pray for all of us tonight I intend to ask Yossi to pray for all of us, and I wish to thank all of you for doing Mitzvot in his honor.  Tomorrow when we are privileged to read from his Torah, I have no doubt that Yossi's soul is looking down upon all of us and praying for the Chabad Naples family. I miss him so very much.

We all recall our loved ones and Yizkor is an opportunity to honor their precious souls and to be reminded of those special moments we shared and make them part of us.  

So as we recite Yizkor, it is fitting for us to memorialize those who are near and dear to us, our family members and our good and loyal friends. May their memories be a blessing.

Best wishes for a beautiful rest of the holiday,


Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos