A special Elijah in Naples.


Dear Friends,  

If you have been to Chabad Naples you’ve heard of “the Kiddush”. What is it and why do we place such an emphasis on it?  Just ask the people who sponsor them. This week someone who doesn’t generally come on Saturday told me that he heard that this past week, during the slow season and a regular Shabbat, we had 125  people in attendance. How is that possible? No it's not just the Kiddush, if that's what you're thinking.

The Kiddush is, of course, the delicious lunch but it's a lot more than that. For the last 8 and and a half years, every Shabbat we have had a different family sponsor that week’s lunch and services.  Each and every week another precious family sponsors it either in honor of a joyous occasion or in loving memory of a loved one.  What's unique and so moving is that the entire Chabad Naples family celebrates or honors that individual together. Afterwards, the war sense of community and belonging lingers, as people don't rush out the door, but stay around to chat and socialize. The sponsors and those in attendance repeatedly tell us "It doesn't get any better than this." 

So as a rabbi I like to learn more about these families who participate in this special event, what motivates them, and have the 'Aha moment', in order to realize where their special qualities come from. 

This week I want to share with you the special Elijah in Naples. Almost 10 years ago we didn’t know a soul in town. As you can imaging the first few months were very difficult, but somehow at our first gathering many special people showed up and among them was  Eiliyahu and his dear wife Carol. We’ve developed a friendship and his incredible wife was the first one to get us into the local news, which really helped introduce our name In town, following an introductory article and one about  the first Chanukah lighting at Waterside Shops. 

We became friends and I would call him often and he would always shower Ettie and me with kind words. During one particular conversation with him  he said that he didn’t have a bar mitzvah and he felt bad that he couldn’t read Hebrew.  The eldest of six boys, he grew up in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec where there was no Jewish community. So I told him although we might not have it at that time,  we would eventually have a beautiful place where we could teach, inspire, and give children a feeling for Judaism: a hub, a center. He/they believed in us. They both supported us. He would always say,  "I am doing this for the children". 

So I want to make a special mention to my dear Elijah who is no llonger with us, but our dear Eiliyahu Alex Glassman is no doubt smiling when he sees our tremendous growth and the precious childeen and his wife who continues to write about us and last year published an article on the preschool winning its choice awards. 

A l’chaim to a special man and has dear wife who, in his generosity, touches our hearts in a profound way and is no doubt bringing comfort to his precious soul. There is so much more, his smile, his smarts and his Eishet Chayil, his wife who continues his spcial and amazing kindess in such an unassuming manner.


Wishing you a good Shabbat,


Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos