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Rabbi Fishel's Blog

THE LEGACY OF SEPTEMBER 11

We all recall September 11 as one of the most terror-filled days written into our history. We recall exactly where we were on that day and what we were doing.

At the same time, we recall the endless sacrifices made by first responders and the thousands of innocent lives lost and families irreparably damaged by those events in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Some of us may also recall how, in the days that followed, for a while the world became a kinder place where patriotic flags flew and strangers smiled at each other in sympathy, shared grief, and understanding.

Let this day remind us to strive for a return to sharing that loving kindness with mankind in better days.

Let's rekindle the sense of obligation to the people around us- starting with our families and relatives- the ones we love, and the ones more difficult to love- and moving on to the people in our neighborhoods, communities and beyond, in the true American spirit.

let's all extend our hands in freedom and love for one another with continued mitzvos & blessings today and every day. And what greater tribute can we make on 9/11.

Long live the King!


Dear Friends,

Queen Elizabeth II was a powerful and graceful leader who brought the world together and was an island of stability in a tumultuous world.

 As queen, she inspired many with a life of
 service and left a lasting legacy on our world.

As the world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, all eyes turn to the heir to the throne, King Charles III. But changing course and ascending to the throne at age 73 can be fraught with many challenges.

Interestingly, this comes at a time when many are starting at new schools, a new job, and we are also preparing to start a new year on Rosh Hashana. Clearly, it is a season of venturing into previously unchartered territory.

So what is the secret to a successful transition?

The Torah tells us "When you build a new home, you shall build a fence over your roof." A fence offers definition to a space, as well as protection from the inevitable dangers of rooftops without guardrails.
To succeed in a new venture, we should look ahead for all potential scenarios and plan accordingly.

When moving away from our comfort zone and going out into the world, various elements may test our most sacred values and convictions. Erecting a fence symbolically means to create personal guardrails to protect our integrity, honesty and morality.

Judaism guarantees us that creating personal boundaries is the best way of preventing us from “falling over the edge.”

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

BEST WISHES TO THE WORLD

Dear Friends,

Happy Birthday, world!

Make a Birthday wish!

Now enjoy the apple and honey cake! And have a happy sweet new year.

That pretty much sums up Rosh Hashanah. It's the day we celebrate the fact that we have a world. The Milky Way. The Planet. Nature. The animal kingdom. You and I – the human beings.

"Hayom Harat Olam" – today is the world's birthday, we announce after blowing the Shofar. And that is why we celebrate.

We celebrate by spending hours in the synagogue praying (and listening to awesome sermons, of course) and then spending many hours around the dining room table replete with familiar familial antics.  Let’s be honest: no one does a New Year celebration the way we do! 

A cynic might ask: "What about this world is worth celebrating? Have you seen how broken society is? War? Sickness? Mental health crisis? The collapse of families and communities? Are you naïve?"

Yes, I am frustrated by the agony around me. Sometimes I pinch myself to remind myself that this is not a movie. But, at the same time, I am hopeful for our future. Frustration without hope is like a joke without a punchline: it leaves us empty.

When G-d created Adam and Eve, He did so knowing the complexity and darkness that is part and parcel of the human condition. He was well aware of how humans can harm themselves, each other, and the world they inhabit.

At the same time, He knew (and Created) their potential for love, grace, forgiveness, redemption, generosity, holiness, empathy, joy, and light.

In the words of our sages: the human is half animal and half angel. We have incredible potential for the highest or lowest of creation.

Rosh Hashanah is when we celebrate G-d's belief in us, as much as our belief in Him.

Each morning when we wake up, we traditionally say the words of the Modeh Ani prayer, in which we thank the Creator for restoring our lives to us:

"I thank you, living and enduring King, for You have graciously returned my soul within me. So great is Your faithfulness."

Read that last sentence again. "Great is Your faithfulness." Whom does the Almighty believe in?

You and me. People. Messy and complicated homo sapiens.

Each day we wake up is another day that G-d tells us, "I believe in you. You are up to the task. The world needs your light and love. You can bring healing to this hurting universe; go make a difference!"

To be honest, I sometimes wonder why G-d keeps believing in humanity. I sometimes struggle to believe in our potential to get things right. Our history is packed with evil, stupidity and apathy.

But then I look at the many special souls living around me in this corner of the world, and I regain my faith. The incredible acts of kindness that occur daily in this G-d-given community give fresh and inspiring meaning to the term "the Sunshine State”.

Could that be why it’s called the Paradise Coast?

And I look at history and see the majesty, saintliness, and heights that we have climbed.

After the last few years, I contend that we could all do well to work on regaining our confidence that the best days are ahead of us! It doesn't take courage to be a pessimist. It takes courage to believe.

I believe. 

In G-d, of course – that's the easy part.

I believe in you.

I believe in myself.

That is tough. 

But I am in good company. G-d does not make mistakes. He believes in me. I'll trust His judgment.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

Loving and guiding my steps

Dear Friends,

We are told that Mezuzos bring safety and security to the home. It brings in G-d's protection. Looking and touching the mezuzah reminds us that G-d is watching over me, and that I have nothing to fear. He holds my hand in all times. Loving and guiding my steps.

It is always such a joy to welcome people to the community by blessing their homes in this way.

In the Shema prayer we say “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.“ But what is its significance?

The mezuzah is placed at the threshold of our homes, at the crossover between our ‘inner’ lives and ‘outer’ lives. As we make the transition from private person to public citizen, we need to be reminded of who we are, making sure that we take our identity and values with us wherever we may go. There is only One G‑d, whether in our private domain or in the big, wide world.

Being Jewish ‘inside’ is relatively easy, after all it is we who create the atmosphere at home. It’s when we hit the ‘outside’ that we encounter temptation and turmoil. The challenge every Jew must face is to remain proudly Jewish even in the face of conflicting cultures, curious looks, and often, hostile attitudes. 

If you need help with a Mezuzah for your home/office, please let us know, we are happy to assist.

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

The Western Wall.

The Western Wall.

It's World famous — a focal point of Jewish and global spiritual consciousness.

For eight hundred and thirty years, a Holy Temple (Beit Hamikdash in Hebrew) stood as the center of the Jewish World. The Temple was more than a building; it was the supreme point of contact – the nexus - between the human and the Divine.

But what was, no longer is. We haven't had a Temple for more than two thousand years. The Temple no longer stands, having been viciously destroyed by the Babylonians and later by the Romans. All we have is the 'Western Wall" - a remnant of a retaining wall. That's all.

So, is the Western Wall a place of national nostalgia, ground zero for our collective pining over a lost glory? Is it the symbol of our hopes for the future?

Yes. And Yes. But that's not all.

The Western Wall is more than a psychological touchpoint. It's a symbol of what STILL exists.

The Babylonians and Romans destroyed buildings, but they had no way to subdue the spirit which permeated the sacred structure. And it indeed persists. The Temple's 'body' was destroyed, but its 'soul' remains whole. So the Western Wall remains a CURRENT place of contact, an eternally fresh reservoir of Holiness.

The Temple's soul is forever whole.

The Rebbe applies this principle to each of us, because we are each a 'Holy Temple,' each of us a 'Sanctuary for the Divine.'

When we look at ourselves honestly, we can sometimes see that our personal 'structure' is in disrepair. Impacted by the World's negativity, selfishness, and cynicism, our walls are worn down and don't protect our inner Holiness. In a sense, our personal 'Temple's' have been damaged.

But we each have an internal Western Wall. Despite it all, our soul is whole; our basic goodness, our intrinsic Holiness, remains beyond any external contamination. Life's 'Babylonians' and 'Romans' can do a lot of damage, G-d forbid, but they can't touch your soul.

This Sunday is the fast of Tisha B'av, a day of mourning for Jews. It is the day Jews remember the destruction of both Temples that once stood in Jerusalem.

It's a time of year to reflect on the World's pain, and on G-d's gift of an untouchable soul.

Wholeness resides in you. Bring it to the fore.

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

Journey or Destination

Dear Friends,

This week's Torah reading details the Jewish people’s encampments throughout their 40 years in the desert. Although it records the destinations they camped at, the Torah portion is titled Maasei - Journeys, emphasizing their efforts along the way.

There's an old adage: "Fool's gold is at the end of the rainbow. The real gold is on the way." More important than where the Jews reached is what they did to get there. Every day is another story, and every moment another battle. Each small step in the right direction is a giant leap and each little victory is invaluable.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that the 42 journeys of the Jewish people, from the birth of the nation until it reached its Homeland are reflected in each of our lives. We go through many stages and phases, challenges and successes. At different times in our lives, we are camped in different places - geographically, mentally, and emotionally. Yet we aren’t defined by the places we’ve reached, but by the journeys we’ve undertaken to get there.

G-d sees each person as an individual and each moment as eternity. He is like a personal coach who recognizes our struggles and appreciates our progress. This is a profound mindset shift. Life isn't about succeeding, but about trying your hardest. You are not judged by your overall achievements, but by your performance each moment. Success is not measured by which rung of the ladder you've reached, but by the upward direction that you're headed. The journey is the destination.

If you're going through a challenging time - know that the place you are in now is only temporary; it is for some reason a part of the journey to your Promised Land. If you are fairly comfortable in your current place in life - know that you have further to go and grow.

Don't be complacent. Journey on!

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

Blessed to celebrate on her 104th birthday!

feel so happy and grateful to have been able to celebrate with our dear Ruth Anderson, on her 104th birthday!

According to Ruth, "smiling makes you live longer". Thank you for sharing your smile with us and reminding us what's truly important.

Even in the most difficult of times, we can always rely on Ruth to bring a genuine smile and motivated attitude.

All it takes is for her to step into a room, and her zest for life fills it to the brim until no one can help but be lifted up by her energy. Ruth may be the oldest in our community by age, but when it comes to joyful spirit, I count her amongst the youngest.

When people ask Ruth how she’s made it to her age, still so active and full of positivity, she smiles big and says,

“Every night I send an email to God, to thank Him for a good day, and ask him for another good day, and it happens!”

A steadfast Partner and supporter of Chabad of Naples, Ruth lives with the truth that it is that which we give that we truly own forever.

We are so blessed to have such a remarkable woman among us.

On her 104th birthday, let’s all take a moment to thank God for a good day, ask him for another, and smile as we watch it happen.

Join Ettie Zaklos and me in sending Ruth love and blessings from the entire Chabad of Naples family.

Mazel Tov Ruth! Looking forward to 120! 

Taking care of ourselves, ensures we can take care of others!

Dear Friends,

In this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, we read about Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, and the offerings associated with each of them.

It’s fascinating that Judaism has so many days associated with rest and “holding back” from creativity and “work”. These holy days aren’t just about leaving the mundane, but about entering a state of “service”, bringing “offerings” to G-d, which is really just a form of spiritual fulfillment for each of us. It's an opportune time for us to tap into our depth and spend time focusing on that which really matters.

In his book “The gift of rest”, Joe Lieberman writes that “G-d gave us the Sabbath as a gift, and He meant for us to enjoy it. We begin the holy day with darkness so that we can more fully appreciate the light of the Sabbath day when it dawns.”

We all need downtime, but not downtime to do nothing and tune-out, but rather downtime to tune-in to our souls, our emotions, our psyche and to why we are blessed to live on G-d’s green earth.

We all need breathers and sooner is always better than later.

Taking care of ourselves, ensures we can take care of others!

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

 

THE SUREST WAY TO HEAL OUR WORLD

Dear Friends,

We’re facing that time of the year again: summer and everything that comes with it. One of the gifts of summer is time. In recent years the expression “killing time” became popular. People kill time by doing meaningless, distracting things that make the time pass, thereby treating time as if it were something in endless supply. It most definitely is not. 

 Jewish wisdom put it this way and even made it into a song: 

 “Man worries about the loss of money and not about the loss of time. And yet, money is immaterial, whereas lost time is lost for good.”

Time is precious, and the big question is, what do we choose to do with this time? Binge watch Netflix shows? Stress about politics? Play games on our phones? Kvetch at the beach?

There are much better options: Read interesting books while sipping your milkshake. Learn about one’s heritage. Meditate on the meaning of life. Smile at the beach.

Some options are better than others, but there is one that I believe should be at the top of our priority list all year long; especially when there is more time available. What is the magical time filler?

Before I share it with you, let us explore a fascinating part of our history, specifically the history of monotheism and Judaism. 

The first fellow who discovered G-d was Abraham. And yet, he didn’t do it alone. He did it with his wife, Sarah, and their son, as a family, making his journey towards faith a familial experience. Their son, Isaac, his wife, Rebecca, and their children continued and consolidated this movement as a family. Jacob, Rachel and Leah, and their many children all formed the nation of Israel. (Jacob was also called Israel.)

When the Jews left Egypt hundreds of years later, they did it as family units. They camped in the desert with their families, their “mishpacha.” 

The list goes on and on, proving a basic tenet of our heritage: Family is the crucible within which we form the golden links in the beautiful chains of destiny. Family is everything. It was never about an ascetic running off to the mountains and meditating endlessly without the responsibilities and stresses of family life. We do it as a family. It’s a team sport. 

In the Shema prayer that we recite twice each day, we are told to “Veshinantam L’banecha”––that we are responsible for transmitting our faith and traditions to our children. “L’dor Vador”––we pass along the wisdom of the beautiful tapestry of our history, destiny, and mystery from generation to generation. At the Seder table and the Friday night dinner, we are building the generation of tomorrow who will continue our mandate of bringing heaven down to earth.

This brings us to how we choose to spend our extra time: We need to prioritize family time with activities such as playing together, chatting, discussing and debating peacefully, making meals and eating together, going to the beach, traveling, playing board games. 

Loving families build healthy communities just as we at Naples Chabad refer to ourselves as the Naples Chabad family. Healthy communities build a healthy nation.

Our beloved country needs urgent healing. There is far too much pain, violence, anger, radicalism, physical and mental illness, materialism, and spiritual void.

Recent events bring home the necessity for spiritual health in our nation. We ought to see each other as family. Politics is not the most important thing. Love is.

Healthy families with strong values are the solution to our societal ills. They are our best hope.

I WISH you and your loved ones a happy summer of healthy bonding. Let us heal our world one family at a time.

May G-d bless you and America.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

How did we survive all these years

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat is the 17th day of Tammuz.

It begins a three-week period when we remember the destruction of both Temples and Jerusalem 2000 years ago.

The destruction of the temples ushered in a dark period of exile. The Jews had lost their anchor, the epicenter of Jewish activity and the ‘headquarters’ of Divine revelation and consciousness.

So how did we survive all these years? What is the secret to our eternal survival without the glory of the Temples?

History is very clear:  We built centers of Jewish learning and prayer, committing ourselves even more to Jewish education.

Throughout the last 2000 years through all the ups and downs, across countries, different cultures and customs, one thing remained a constant - our dedication to Jewish learning and knowledge. This makes it a great time of year to resolve to grow your knowledge of Judaism, through the many mediums available to us at your finger tips. You can also join us at the ultimate Jewish gathering. To register or to learn more click here: https://jretreat.com

With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel Zaklos

Praying for a Peaceful World

This Shabbat we will continue to offer special prayers on behalf of the victims of he Highland Park community that is still reacting with shock and horror over the recent tragedy. We offer prayers for strength for those suffering loss, and for quick and complete recovery to the wounded.

Dear Friends,

The senseless tragedy that took place in Highland Park a few days ago has left us heartbroken and shaken. It is difficult to comprehend a joyous, family event tragically turning into a nightmare in the blink of a moment.

Ettie and I know how difficult it must be to process these events. We are writing to offer our full support during this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk or need any other form of assistance.

We have been in touch with our colleagues in the Highland Park area who have been on the scene, in the hospitals and with the affected families. I am very familiar with that location. As a rabbinical student, I worked with Rabbi Schanowitz as a cantor there for three years.

It’s natural to feel discouraged and even helpless after such a senseless, evil act. I am always heartened by the consolation I draw from Jewish tradition. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, taught us to gradually overcome our grief by giving back as much as possible, not only by comforting those in mourning but by increasing in mitzvahs to add more light during dark times. Acts of goodness and kindness positively affect our immediate surroundings and add joy to the world at large.

Some additional mitzvahs you can take on include ensuring you have a mezuzah on every door in your home, and lighting Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday night. Ettie and I are ready to assist you every step of the way.

We wish comfort to the families who’ve lost their loved ones and strength to all those in need.

As we light our Shabbat candles this evening, let us pray that all those injured have a complete and immediate recovery and may the families of those taken in this horrific attack be comforted...

We pray that we may only hear good news in the future.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

values that personally inspire me

 

Dear Friends,

This Saturday night we begin to commemorate the 28th year of the Rebbe’s passing.  Since he did not name anyone to inherit his position, many wondered and worried about the future of Chabad.  In the ensuing years, Chabad’s exponential growth have proved those concerns to be insignificant.  Not only has his yahrzeit become a celebration of his life, but it is also about reflecting on and practicing the beliefs that he stood for and cherished.  From the heart, I personally thank the Rebbe for giving and instilling in me these ideas and life values which both Ettie and I try to live with and strive to pass to our children.

Here are just a few of the Rebbe’s values that personally inspire me, that really capture his legacy as a leader and mentor for all humanity.

1.       Look at the world in a positive way.  If you look through shattered lenses, that’s what you will see.  If you choose to see the world as a garden, you will see the goodness that blossoms all around.  It’s amazing how the Rebbe was no stranger to pain and suffering, having lost family members to the Holocaust and having seen the terror of world War 2, and yet the Rebbe chose to see what was positive in the world. His constant reminders to be upbeat and see things in this way.  Even when stories in the Torah seem locked in negativity, the Rebbe found a positive, uplifting perspective.  

2.       Everyone has a powerful mission. The Rebbe would say that birth is G-d's way of saying you matter.  If we are here, we are here to make the world a better place.  No two people are the same.  Each one is irreplaceable and therefore there is no excuse:  you must stand up and be counted.

3.       The Rebbe encouraged women to take leadership roles in establishing and operating Chabad centers.  More than any other Jewish leader, the Rebbe empowered the women, strengthening the partnership between husband and wife in this mission. I think about this so often as Rebbitzin Ettie partners with me in this endeavor. From the ground up, we always planned together in every single way, especially in establishing the incredible preschool.

4.       Create leaders not followers. The Rebbe certainly wanted us to be humble, but wanted leaders who would implement the same vision and ideals but would use their own brand of creativity and inspiration.  Each Chabad center you enter, while it mirrors the vision, will have its own personal flavor  and its own areas of focus tailored to serve within its community.

5.       This is a big lesson for today's world:  the Rebbe implored us to regard other human beings not just as beings but as souls.  If we focus on what makes us the same, the divine that’s within us, we stop allowing the differences to divide us.  The Rebbe embraced each individual unconditionally.  In today's world of division, more than ever we need attitudes that are  non-judgmental  and accepting .

6.  I remember the Rebbe's constant gratitude to America as a kind country where liberty and opportunity reigned, a country where we can live proudly as Jews connected to one another and connected to G-d.

Thank you Rebbe for infusing such a powerful purpose in my life and the lives of countless others.  I am so grateful to be able to share your vision and philosophies here at Chabad of Naples where daily we endeavor to feel and share this sense of love and fellowship under an umbrella of our Jewish faith and culture.

This Sunday, I will be joining people from across the globe who will gather to pay respects at the Rebbe's ohel resting place. It would be my honor to include you and your loved ones in my prayers on this day.  Please email me your name.

This Shabbos, wherever you are in the world, let's take a few moments with family or friends to learn some of the Rebbe's teachings, discuss the Rebbe's life and vision, and rededicate ourselves to the the values and causes that are close to our souls. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

Work to Vacation or Vacation to Work?

Dear friend,

Chassidic thought teaches that every aspect of life, even vacationing, is holy and part of our overall life's mission.

So here is the question: Do we work to vacation or vacation to work?

Do we work hard in order to finally arrive at the long anticipated vacation, or do we go on that well deserved vacation in order to refresh so we can come back and be more productive at work?

Perhaps contrary to conventional thinking, I'd say it's the latter for sure.

Did you ever wonder why we sometimes spend weeks or months planning the ideal vacation, only to experience complete let-down one or two days into the much anticipated trip, itching to get back to work? It's because at our core, humans have a need to be productive, to make a difference. Whatever one's occupation, it's not just a means to pay the bills. Our work is part of our soul's mission to make our unique contribution to G-d's wonderful world.

So yes, a relaxing respite from time to time is extremely important, but not as an end in itself, rather because it serves an important purpose in recharging our mental battery so that we can get back to work. Thus an occasional vacation can be more than simply fun and relaxing but actually holy and meaningful.

So friends, during these beautiful summer weeks, if you have a chance to get away and relax a bit, enjoy! Then come home and get back to work. There's lots to do.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie zaklos

Our hearts are in Uvalde, Texas

Dear Friends,

There are truly no words.....

Our hearts are in Uvalde, Texas.

We are numb and so heartbroken by the senseless mass killing at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Looking at the pictures of the mothers outside the school trying to find out if their child is okay, is gut wrenching. We cannot begin to fathom this terrible murderous rampage and bloodbath of young children and their teachers. It has shaken us to our core. So many children torn away from their loving families.

It’s difficult if not impossible to deliver consoling words sufficient to help the grieving parents and survivors of the horrific, senseless massacre.

Our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to all the grieving families and the entire effected community of Uvalde. May all those injured have a complete and immediate recovery and may the families of those taken in this horrific attack be comforted. 

Our thoughts are also with the heroic teachers who jumped in front of the line of fire to try to save their students lives.

As we ask Hashem to ease their pain and give them love and strength to face the future, we pray for world peace and an immediate end to violence throughout the world. We pray for the return of sanity to this troubled nation. We hope and pray that we can finally come together to work hand in hand to end this kind of madness.

The work ahead of us is hard and the road may be difficult, it starts at home and in our own circle of friends and our own communities.

May we, and our elected officials be inspired by the Almighty with the wisdom, strength and humility to take all steps possible to never have to experience such a tragedy again.

As we light our Shabbat candles this week, let us take a few moments to pray for the souls of these innocent victims — the children, the adults and for their families. 

****

Safety and security at the Chabad Naples Jewish Community Center is our utmost priority.

We are blessed to have a strong relationship with Naples Police Department who always check in to ensure the safety and security of our campus and our community. We have been reviewing our procedures with law enforcement to strengthen the measures that keep us all safe.

We are also deeply grateful to Dennis Harris of TriCorps Security, Head of Security at Chabad & Preschool of the Arts, who has decades of experience in law enforcement and has worked with us for the past eight years to secure our campus. He is an extremely motivated, detail oriented, and highly ethical security professional who is devoted to keeping our campus and community safe. We also thank Steven our security guard for his dedication to keeping us safe.

We have connected with Dennis and communicated with law enforcement over the last two days to review our procedures and strengthen security measures.

The safety of our students, congregants, staff, and community is our highest priority.

With prayers for peace and security,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

THE POWER OF LIGHT

Dear Friends, 

Our Lag Bomer celebration and BBQ was a huge success, in spite of one tiny glitch. 

One of the customs at a Lag Bomer event is the lighting of a bonfire, signifying the bringing of spiritual light into he world. 

How were we to accomplish that? Knowing the rules and regulations about fire lighting in Naples, we consulted with our friendly and always so-accommodating Naples Fire-Rescue Department Chief Pete Dimaria. Pete and his amazing crew are always on hand to help throughout the community not just with fire fighting and other safety measures but also with prevention and education, as shown by the occasions when they work with our Preschool students. 

Well, in the ‘heat’ of the day, my message that the necessary equipment for the bonfire wasn’t delivered. I was surprised when a huge fire truck manned by Battalion Chief Adam Nadelman showed up, and I had to apologize quickly for the lack of bonfire equipment. 

As I began to explain the significance of the event and the bonfire, I noticed Adam was especially interested, and much to my surprise he identified himself as being Jewish and having had a Bar Mitzvah. 

Then it became clear - why Adam was sent to celebrate with us, bringing his own kind of light to brighten and unify the community. 

We said special prayers and welcomed him, knowing although the reasons are not always immediately clear, G-d has a plan and we just have to lean into it and accept it. 

Adam brought his personal spark to light up our celebration and make Lag Bomer even more memorable.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos  

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