Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad of Naples
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Always take a step back

Parshah teaching: When Bilaam was unsuccessful with cursing the Jews, king Balak took him to a different mountain, where he could see only some - but not all - of the Jewish camp.

Why would that vantage point be more conducive to cursing the Jewish people?

Because when you choose to only see a part of the nation, you can always find faults and be negative. But if you choose to see the Jewish people as a whole, you're sure to see its overall beauty and splendor.

And the same goes with how we choose to view other individuals.

Always take a step back, take in the whole picture, and you'll see goodness and beauty everywhere.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

We each also have our own internal ‘sun’: The soul.

Dear Friends, 

What a powerful weekend, filled to the brim with inspiration and encouragement, joining tens of thousands of visitors in NY as we prayed at 770, Chabad Headquarters, and visited the Rebbe's gravesite.

It's difficult to believe that 25 years have come and gone since the Rebbe's passing. And yet, a quarter of a century has not diminished the Rebbe's impact, the Rebbe's teachings, the Rebbe's light. The Rebbe's light and influence has only grown stronger, reflected in the thousands of Chabad Centers that have been established after his passing, and the tens of thousands, if not millions,  that have been touched by the Rebbe's teachings and philosophy.

Summer is a time of increased light and warmth; we have longer daylight hours, and higher temperatures. In other words, summer is a time when the sun is in fuller glory and effect.

That’s summer in ‘macro’; but this also applies to each of us in ‘micro’.

In a way, we each have our own internal seasons. We each also have our own internal ‘sun’: The soul.

There are times when we go through an internal winter, when our moral vision and priorities don’t express their full light into our daily lives. There are times when conscience and values are in relative hibernation, when the spirit is cold, and moral growth seems a part of the distant past.

Then there’s summer. Summer is about letting our internal sun shine. Summer is about feeling our own internal capacity for spirituality and warmth, a capacity that might recede in the face of a hectic schedule.  

So if we’re able to relax a bit from the everyday stresses and ‘get away’, then we need to use that to synchronize ourselves with nature; we need to create our own internal summer by increasing the light and warmth in our life.

We each have valuable relationships - with loved ones, with our community and with our G-d – and relationships need nurturing. So if you’re running on fewer cylinders this summer, and have some extra space in your brain and heart, those relationships could probably use some extra warmth.
You have an internal sun. Let it shine.
Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light and lots of sun:-)


 

values that personally inspire me

Dear Friends,

Tonight we begin to commemorate the 25th 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.  On this 4th of July, 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 weekend, I will be joining an expected crowd of 75,000 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.

 In my absence on Shabbat, Rabbi Choni will lead the services,  and thank you to Clement Soffer for sponsoring the Kiddush.  Clement will also speak at the Kiddush about the essence of the menorah and how we can all be a beacon of light on this planet. Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

Celebrate the Joy — Eradicate the Oy!

I recently was delighted to meet a former Hebrew School student and his mother.

The woman proudly shared that her son was active in combating anti-semitism in his school by reporting certain negative activity and publicly condemning the hostility some of the students were experiencing.

I congratulated the boy’s sense of justice and asked him my usual question about what his favorite mitzvah is.

“Fighting hate crimes. Making sure every person feels safe in my school and in my neighborhood.”

Unfortunately, we are aware that incidents related to anti-semitism are increasing and are a large problem in Jewish life today. Anti-semitism is undeniably on campuses and some elementary schools, too, and along with the subtle and not-so-subtle occurrences comes the obligation to stand up and condemn them and prevent them from happening again.

I could give you a whole slew of examples, many of which you are likely to be somewhat familiar with.

We (understandably) become preoccupied with Jew hatred-preoccupying ourselves with proclaiming what we are not-- that we tend to not focus enough on what we are.

Fighting anti-semitism is certainly a noble preoccupation; it is ultimately our obligation!

And I said as much to the boy at the market, congratulating him on his courage and commitment.

But at the same time, we have to embrace the joy of Judaism, embracing the beauty of our traditions.

Anyone in a thriving business knows that with all the PR in the world, and all the attempts to purge the Internet’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages from negative reviews, without a really good product, you have nothing.

So I suggest that we choose a time and place, together with friends or family, to bask in the priceless product: what we are. Let’s look at the values that Jews not only died for but lived for. Let’s bask in the knowledge that today we are a vibrant nation of survivors, where millions of Jews are learning about their Judaic culture and history more than at any other time in history. Let’s explore and experience the Joys of Judaism: the glow of the Shabbat candles, the wine of the Kiddush, the crusty Challah, the words of our timeless Torah to uplift and invigorate us all. Let’s practice the prayers that connect us to our Creator, all in a tech-free zone, where we’re not just hearing each other, but really listening and absorbing.  Let’s show the world not only our intolerance for racism, but that Jewish people love being Jewish.

Judaism is alive and well and living in this century.

I remember my father sharing this with us at the Shabbat table: in general, we human beings are drawn to the sensational. There’s a reason that bad news is always front and center in virtually every magazine, newspaper and TV channel, while the good news follows afterwards. Bad news gets our attention and sells. It fascinates and preoccupies the mind. But it does more than that, as it traps our thinking and we begin to view the world as a dark and fearful place. When we look at the world through the TV news lens, our world will look shattered. When we learn about a corner of our world that is suffering, we must do everything in our power to condemn those who are perpetrating misery, and work to alleviate the suffering.

Let’s not define our world by the darkness that exists within it. Let’s define our world by all of the blessings we enjoy, and the kindnesses we receive.  When many people do that constantly, we become aware of a brighter, hopeful side of humanity. And most importantly, let’s all work to that end by doing an act of goodness and kindness today. Keep your eye on the joy and take the time to perform a mitzvah or two.

Step up to a challenge!

Dear Friends,

Just before the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel, they seem to have hesitated and been a little suspicious about what was waiting for them there. When they came up with the idea of sending an advance party of scouts or spies, G-d said they could go ahead with this plan of theirs, but he was not commanding them to do it and, in fact, He seemed to wonder why it was required.  

Now why was this such a big deal? Isn’t it wise to be cautious? Before you invest in anything you want to do research. Before you buy real estate, you do a survey and examine the property. What was so wrong that the Jews wanted to send spies to scout the land? It seemed that G-d saw it was a bad idea even before it ended up going bad.

When making decisions, we can consider one of two routes: ideas and words versus experience and action. As “People of the Book” we are great with ideas and words, but what enables us to reach great heights and superb accomplishments that truly make a difference is action and experiences.  

King David said one could taste and see that G-d is good. Why just taste, when we can analyze or study? I can tell you all about cheesecake, but you won't truly appreciate it until you taste it: action is paramount.

With the spies: finally, G-d told them, here you are finally going to Israel, the long-awaited dream, and what do you say? Well, we need to do an analytical study. What! Are you kidding? You want to take this amazing experience and water it down to a study? A third- hand report?  
G-d knew that no report or study would capture the essence of Israel (As you will have the opportunity to see when you join our excursion next year).

There is a time for contemplation and study and there is time for action.  Knowing what to choose and when makes the difference.

We sit here today on a campus with the names of Alex and Carol Glassman on it. Alex and Carol had their time for ideas and words but were always people of action. From the moment we met, Carol wrote an article about our first Chanukah at the Waterside shops, and then again and again stepped forward with articles to help make us known in the community. And then dedicating a classroom, understanding when we needed it most. It was action first that inspired Carol to do something special for the community by bringing her plans with Alex to fruition. Of course, Carol could easily have made all sorts of reasoned calculations and analyses as to why not to do what she did – when she did it. After all, “Why jump the gun?”... “Why not wait and see if there might be better uses for those funds, or perhaps a different schedule with which to roll them out?”

All of those could certainly be seen as valid and legitimate approaches. But Carol did not opt for any of those! Instead, she took one look at the situation, saw how much this community needed those funds at THIS time in order to take the next big step, and she just plunged ahead and took this incredibly magnanimous and meaningful action in a swift and timely manner. Instead of asking for proof of purpose, what we got was a no-strings-attached gift.  

There is a lesson here - and I am not encouraging you to be foolhardy and dive blindly into situations. When faced with challenges, don't look for excuses (or you will always find one…)-- plunge forward and do what needs to be done, thus opening the channels of blessings. There is no doubt that Alex's neshama is deriving much nachas and as we gather in shul on his yaehrzeit may his neshama have Aliyah and inspire the action first to do a mitzvah and then you will see the blessings.  Although we always encourage study, the idea is not to get frozen in time by analysis paralysis - don’t wait for the results of studies and analysis - plunge right in and reap your blessings.

With love & Blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos
 

Our Mitzvot travel with us

 Charles ridge.jpgnice pic Tefilin.jpg

Dear Friends,


 

Shabbat shalom from Prague! Now that's not a greeting you hear every week but it’s every bit as sincere as it would be coming from the heart of Naples.  

I feel blessed to be here with my children and Ettie, celebrating her niece’s (oldest brother's daughter’s) wedding. Ettie's brother Rabbi Manis and his wife Dini, the Chabad Rabbi and Rebbitzin of Prague, have been serving here for 23 years, illuminating souls and creating a vibrant Jewish community. This wedding is a testament to their incredible community as hundreds of dear friends joined in the celebration, sharing their joy. It's an historic wedding, and also very meaningful for her parents since this is the first Barash grandchild to get married. Most of Ettie's family including siblings came, which created the perfect environment for a magical family reunion. 

Ettie always admired her older brother and in fact, when we were dating, she always dreamed of establishing a Chabad center just as he did. How special to come full circle as we are here to celebrate with his family, who ignited so much of the inspiration for us! We will return on Sunday, rejuvenated and bringing renewed inspiration.

We will be with you in spirit only this Shabbat, as Rabbi Choni Teitelbaum will lead services followed by kiddush sponsored by the Mizrachi family in honor of his father's birthday. Mazel tov on this blessed occasion!

This week’s Torah  portion is Behhaalotecha. It talks about  kindling lamps: Aaron, the high priest, was commanded to raise the lights. Every literal story has a message for all times and here the spiritual meaning is that each of us is meant to kindle lamps, as we are asked to illuminate souls and inspire each other to do good by filling the world with light.

In keeping with the message of sharing mitzvot, we enjoyed another very special moment. I had told Mendel and Yitzi wherever we go, we bring our Tefilin because it’s not only about putting it on ourselves but it’s also about sharing with others.
 
As we were taking a little tour and found ourselves on the Charles Bridge, we heard a few people speaking Hebrew and we ended up putting Tefilin on them. The last time he put on was at his bar mitzvah and we all danced and rejoiced together. How special it was to share and participate in such a meaningful event, not missing an opportunity to kindle yet another lamp.

Good Shabbas from the Zaklos family in Prague!
 

Listen to Logan's Generous Idea

Dear Friends,

In our Torah portion, we are charged to uplift our brothers and sisters with us. Perhaps imach, with us, can be interpreted to mean we can uplift them and show critical support with imach, with our experiences and what we have gone through. We didn’t ask for our particular struggles, but we give them meaning when we use them to help others with similar predicaments or experiences.  

Here at Chabad of Naples we take great pride in our Hebrew School education, not only in the curriculum and how it is offered, but also and more importantly, in how our students respond to our teaching.  

We try, and I believe we succeed,  in making our teaching both interesting and relevant to daily life, and  this year's heartwarming graduation ceremony stands out as a perfect example of this.  During the ceremony, one of the students, Logan, was motivated  ndependently to pass around  a Tzedakah box, explaining that  we all have to give charity.  His generous idea was quickly adopted by the rest of the class. Click here to hear Logan's few words.

Hebrew School teaches how to read, write, and speak the language, but our culture is about a lot more than that!  Hebrew School has also taught this young man about kindness and giving.  It's amazing what we can teach the  the students to practice now, so that  their world will  eventually be a brighter place. 

We should make ourselves available and offer help and support not based on how close we feel, but based on our experiences, our having been there and knowing somewhat what they are going through with this particular challenge. Don’t hesitate or be afraid – send a text, or an email or leave a message with someone saying, we don’t know each other or we aren’t close, but I went through a similar circumstance and I want you to know I am here to help or talk.

Money can help but sometimes we can’t afford to share money and sometimes money is not the issue. There is something else every single one of us can offer:

There is a story told about the devastating famine, which had brought great misery in Russia: A beggar had become weak and emaciated and almost starved to death. He approached the novelist Leo Tolstoy and asked him for assistance.

Tolstoy searched his pockets for money, but discovered that he didn't even have as much as a single coin. However, he took the beggar's worn hand between his own and said “don't be angry with me, my brother. I have nothing with me.”

The thin, lined face of the beggar lighted up, as if from some inner light. The beggar whispered in reply: “But, sir, you called me ‘brother.’ That was the greatest gift that you could give me.”

 V’chi yamuch achicha – the least we can all offer is achicha, to make someone feel they are our brother and our sister and you are with them.

 With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


 

Sunday is Mothers Day

Dear Friends,

Thank you.

It was a beautiful show of UNITY this past Shabbat.

How great it was to see so many people from the community ready, willing, and able to demonstrate their solidarity and unity with our brothers and sisters in Poway CA.

Never underestimate the power of prayer and the mitzvah!

***
This week’s Torah portion tells us - first examine yourself and then examine others. It means be honest and truthful with yourself, before being critical of others.

People watch what we do, not what we say and the most potent device to change another is to model it ourselves. First the Cohen Gadol had to fix himself and only then could he try to help others.

An inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby who lived a thousand years ago reads: “When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

***

Happy mothers Day to all!

Sunday is Mothers Day - and where would we be without mothers? I think we all know the answer to that one!
 
Not a day should go by, that we forget to thank G-d for the blessing of a wonderful mother.

For some, the role never quits, even though we may be remiss in expressing to them how we feel as often as we should.

There is a poem that expresses it perfectly: ‘When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking' tells how each little caring thing that mothers do is noticed, even though the child may not acknowledge it at the time, and that ranges from the encouragement one feels when school art is hung on the refrigerator to the silent tears and smiles that mark each passing event.  My own mother had a great impact on my life with her happy and joyful attitude, and it continues to this day.

In the same way, although she might think we don’t notice, it would be next to impossible not to see how Ettie is truly unbelievable with the strength she quietly exhibits while directing and supporting the Preschool, Chabad, our children and the community.

Mothers’ Day is just an annual reminder of the gratitude we should feel often for the loving foundation given to us by those maternal figures.  May we always recognize it as a ‘two-way street’ and remember to show our love  and appreciation in return.

May you and your family enjoy a wonderful day together! 

Greatness begins with ordinary people

Chiune.jpg Zaidy Zaidy.JPG

#heroes #courage

Yesterday we commemorated, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Although we are committed never to forget the horror, we should also concentrate on remembering as many positive things as we can, that led ultimately to our people’s survival.

My grandfather, Reb Moshe Rubin was saved by one of the Righteous, the incredibly heroic and courageous, Chiune Sugihara, who, at the beginning of World War II, risked his own career and life to save approximately six thousand Jews from certain death.

As the Japanese consul in Lithuania, he granted exit visas to Jews, against the orders of his government, thus losing both his job and his respectability within his own community.

Today he is considered a hero in Japan, and there are more than 50,000 descendants of “Sugihara survivors” living throughout the world. 50,000 ripples of light that shine brightly on earth today. And if not for Mr. Sugihara's persistence and courage I would not be here today!

The Poway Chabad community, too, was saved by the heroes who risked their lives for the large congregation that was there that Shabbat morning.

While Jew hatred has been a tragic theme in every generation, even in times of great evil and ugliness, time and time again, we see the beautiful parts of human nature.

Greatness begins with ordinary people deciding to take courage and going out of their way for others.

Each and every one of us has the ability to be a Sugihara. To be the heroes in Poway.

May we each do our part in alleviating the pain and suffering in our world, ushering in some much-needed comfort and peace!

With prayers for peace and safety, Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklo

I miss you my beloved brother Yossi.

I miss you my beloved brother Yossi.

Tonight, which ushers in the seventh day of Pesach, marks the 22 years since my brother Yossi's passing. I have now spent more years without him than with him and yet, the pain of his absence never dissipates. I am now more than twice the age he was at the time of his passing, and yet, his personality looms so large in my life – not as a figure from my childhood, but as an old soul.  He will forever be an ever-inspiring presence, a big brother to me, and to so many others in the truest sense.  

When he was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, I spent two years with him at Sloan Kettering. In reflecting on and remembering that time, my too-young brother taught me in his death what is most important about life.

In spite of the tremendous pain he endured, he was always optimistic. He was able to see both his illness and his world through a beautiful lens.  He saw the good in everyone, even if it sometimes meant that person had not yet experienced his potential. He had the ability to make one want to be as good as he or she could be.

All of his life, Yossi always maximized his own time and potential, learning to play a variety of instruments and becoming a Hebrew scribe. He literally never wasted any precious time and always went from one project to the next.  He lived almost as if he somehow knew that his days on this earth would be numbered.

But his maximization never ended with himself: he embodied the Rebbe's mandate to love all Jews, always seeking them out- on the streets, in office buildings, and later on, in the hospital wards, even when he was battling the illness, to help them do a mitzvah, and to offer kind and encouraging words to those in need. His love for every human being was boundless.

Much like Avrohom, the first Jew who went against the tide and forged a new path spreading the word about ethical monotheism with kindness and love in spite of the fierce and dangerous opposition he faced, Yossi had the unusual combination of sweetness, gentleness, tenacity and fearlessness in getting good things done.  He always persevered, never giving up on anything or anyone.

Tonight we commemorates the splitting of the Red Sea.  Perhaps the date of Yossi’s  passing is auspicious, for one of his strengths was how he too seemed to split obstacles, going through them to get to the other side, accomplishing his goals. e 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. And he ALWAYS maintained a positive, upbeat attitude, even in the years during his aggressive treatments in Sloan Kettering.

Yossi 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.

One of his many aspirations that he so deeply desired was to establish  a Chabad House. 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.

While he was unable to follow that dream personally, I know that it is with his blessings and requests on high that I am privileged to be his hands and feet in the work that we are doing at Chabad of Naples.

Tomorrow, when I hug the Torah that bears his name in the Ark, I know that I am sending Yossi himself the greatest hug possible by embracing the values that were so precious to him; the Torah that he breathed and lived for.
I miss you my beloved brother Yosssi: you are always and  forever in our hearts, our minds, and  your sweet soul guides our actions.

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

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

We say thank you

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 16 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. 

Passover is also 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. This year, more so than other years perhaps, Passover comes just on time. Enjoy its rich traditions, observe it's sacred customs. It will afford you much needed energy of joy and liberation to savor year-round. 

As we commemorate our first journey home, from Eygpt to the land of Israel, we pray for our Holy Land Eretz Yisrael and its people, Am Yisrael, that for once and for all -  they, all those who dwell in her borders and her neighbors beyond, be freed from the tyranny of terrorism striking fear in the hearts of its innocent, and may the land secure in its physical borders and its people secure in their spiritual purpose, be a light unto the nations.

We pray for the children of the world, the tragically suffering children of Syria, the hunger-stricken of Africa, the refugees in Europe and beyond, and indeed all of G-d's children across the world, that they be endowed with a spirit of freedom from the oppression around them and be given the chance to live their lives in peace and dignity.

Let us use this opportunity to tap in to our inner Moses, taking 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. 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 

Israel: Small Country, Big Dreams

Israel.jpg 

 

    Israel: Small Country, Big Dreams
 

Dear Friends,

Good things certainly come in small packages, when you realize that Israel, one of the smallest countries in the world, could have become the fourth nation to land on the moon. Beresheet - aptly named ‘in the beginning - Genesis - ’ is unique.  

We’ve often been reminded that it is about the journey and not the destination, but in this case, both are astounding! Israel is only the fourth nation to ever attempt a lunar landing and we have so much to be proud of. Israeli innovation and intelligence continue to punch above its weight on an international scale in the most extraordinary way.
 
Planning to complete the mission with the message, "Israel - Small Country, Big Dreams”, Beresheet was unable to land successfully. As we all waited eagerly to celebrate its success, our excitement turned to disappointment. However, in true Israeli style, they celebrated their success in orbiting the moon and vowed to try again.
 
We hope and pray, coming just before Passover when we celebrate our freedom, the message of Beresheet is for mankind to strive for the beginning of a new, more loving and tolerant world.

I am very pleased to announce that we have decided to join sister Chabad Centers from across the country and around the world and take part in the Jewish Learning Institute's Land and Spirit Israel Experience, next spring, March 15th-24th, 2020.

This is a great opportunity to see Israel as never before and I know you will want to be part of our delegation from Naples.

I want to extend a personal invitation to join me and fellow members of our community on this trip of a lifetime. Please call me at 239-262-4474 or email rabbi@chabadnaples.com for more information.

May the upcoming Pesach usher in true freedom - personally, communally and globally!

Here’s to Beresheet 2.0!

With warm wishes for a Gut Shabbes,

Sincerely,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Welcome Home!

Dear Friends,

A very special Torah Completion & Celebration. Mazal Tov Naples!

On March 31st, the Naples Chabad community welcomed the new Unity Torah home. Commissioned a year ago by Patricia Adkins and her family, the Torah came home with much pomp and a lot of ceremony home to be complete by the scribe, Rabbi Klein. Close to 300 people came out and joined the festivities celebrating the completion of a very special Torah Scroll - a Torah Scroll written as a testament to "the spirit of unity" of the greater Naples, Collier County and Marco Island communities. 

The joyous occasion was accompanied by Cantor Yaakov Lemmer who thrilled the large crowd with his powerful voice and choice of music. 

Quick thought...

If Moses would have arrived at this Torah celebration, on March 31, 2019, he would be puzzled at the cars in the parking lot, the cell phones in every pocket, the lights in the sanctuary...but he would see this Torah, and he would know exactly what it is; he would hear the blessings over the Torah, and he would know exactly what those are- the more things change, the more some things remain the same.

 

Three thousand years after Moses came down with the Torah, it is still the same, word for word, letter for letter. What a gift for us all, in this ever-changing world!

This Shabbat, as we welcome the Unity Torah to our service, "In the spirit of our ancient tradition, which unites and sanctifies the House of Israel in all lands and ages,” we offer the opportunity to come and enjoy whatever personal experiences Chabad Naples offers.

Our door is always open to you.

Thank you all for participating and celebrating this gift with us!

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

Walking the walk: when talking the talk isn’t enough

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Walking the walk: when talking the talk isn’t enough 

Dear Friends,

"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 tomorrow,  Monday, February 18th, 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

 

An Evening of Solidarity and Support

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Dear Friends,

 

On Monday, February 18, Chabad of Naples is pleased to offer an evening with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. There will be a cocktail reception at 3:30 pm followed by a talk at 5. 

 

Here is your opportunity to gain accurate information from a reliable source, in these unsettling times. The growing BDS movement, and widespread anti-Israel sentiment in the news and on college campuses and beyond, leads to confusion about Israel's stance in the international realm; we need answers.

 

Chabad Naples is proud to present “An Ongoing Beacon of Hope in the Middle East", where Ambassador Danon will share his experience representing Israel and outline our role in helping to shape policy, offer support, and unite with Israel. Following his speech there will be a question and answer period which promises to be lively. 

 

In 2015 Ambassador Danny Danon was appointed Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Danon was born in Israel, completed his IDF service with the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a B.A. in International Relations, F.I.U. (Magna Cum Laude), an M.A. Public Policy and Public Administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Law School. He is married and the father of three.  

 

He served as Chairman of World Likud, a Member of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, a Member of the Zionist Executive of W.I.Z.O., and Chairman of the World Betar Executive. As a member of the Knesset from February 2009 until August 2015, he served as Deputy Speaker of the 18th Knesset, as Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and as a member of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee; House, Constitution, Law and Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defense, Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, and Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, as well as on the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality. Danon was Deputy Minister of Defense from March 2013 until July 2014. In May of 2015 he was appointed Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, serving until his appointment in August 2015 as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations.

 

With his multi-faceted background, Danon is well equipped to answer our questions and offer possible recommendations.

 

Israel is our miracle! In order for it to continue with G-d doing his part, we must be willing to participate as well.

 

To purchase Tickets, sponsorship and further information please visit our minisite by clicking here

 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

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