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Rabbi Fishel's Blog

From Poland to Naples Torah that survived WWII

from poland to Naples.jpg

This year we solemnly noted - Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 15-16. As we remember the martyrs and heroes, join us as we pay tribute to these special people. In the merit of all the righteous survivors‎, and in the merit of all the holy souls that were taken from us, I want to mention that we will use the Holocaust Torah, a treasured gift from Sam and Trudy Adwar. We are so honored to  be entrusted with this Torah here, where our center continues to ignite the flame of Yiddishkeit  and has  children flourishing with knowledge of their Yiddish heritage. 

In 1940 the Torah was buried in the ground in Warsaw, Poland. After the Second World War it was resurrected and brought to the United States by Mr. Barney Holms. He donated it to the Central Islip Jewish center where it was held until 1970. When Temple Beth Am opened in Brentwood, Long Island ,this Torah was passed on to them. 

In 1978 the two temples merged and the Torah was back in the hands of Mr. Holms who was the president at that time. In late 2004 Temple Beth Am closed because of lack of membership. The Torah was given to Sam and Trudy Adwar by one of the remaining members who was a friend of theirs. 

“Seeing the growth and continuity of Chabad Naples, specifically the tremendous amount of Children who attend Chabad Naples activities, we felt it was the best and most suitable place for this historic Torah,” said Trudy Adwar, the Torah donor at that time. 

The Torah was in need of serious repair and was escorted to New York  in 2009.

We dedicated the renewed  Torah thanks to Sam Savage & Ellen Goldman Savage & the Federman family at our grand opening, and how special it was  to see the children who honored it by participating in the ceremony.

May we see the fulfillment of the Prophet's words that we invoke three times a day as the very last word of EACH prayer service:

"Do not fear sudden terror nor the Shoah of the wicked when it comes; contrive a scheme, but it will be foiled‎; conspire a plot but it will not materialize, for G-d is with us!".

We look forward to seeing you here this Shabbat to pay tribute to these special souls.

Partners Appreciation Night

Partners -- on Thursday, May 14th at 7 p.m. we are having a party and you are invited! It's the world-famous Chabad of Naples Partners' Appreciation Night, a celebration of all of those who make 'it' all possible. What is 'it'?  Well, 'it' could be any one of these:  Education, Humanitarianism, Kids & Youth, or Community. Or 'it' could be ALL of them -- these are the missions that Chabad is devoted to serve as it grows within this community.

It will be our pleasure to welcome you at Chabad and thank you personally -- or we might have to go to your house to say, "Thank you"!

In only four years our partnerships have grown to number over 300 households, and we are not stopping here!  Partners can choose their own levels of participation and programs they wish to support. 

Join us on this very special evening when we come together to celebrate and support all the activities of Chabad of Naples!

If you are able to attend, kindly RSVP by phone or email. Phone:  239-262-4474;  Email:  office@chabadnaples.com 

Use powerful love wisely - it transcends all

Dear Friends,

There is no doubt in my mind that not only does "Love conquer all", but it also transcends all: time, space, and distance.

These holidays are the best of times for me, as I am not doing anything terribly exotic, but allowing myself the luxury of spending good old plain quality time with my children. Normally we would be rushing -- here, there, and everywhere - to school and other events.  But today we just sat and talked and laughed, and had the best time with each other.  One of my sons asked where my brother Mendy was, and I told him he was celebrating Passover in Los Angeles.  Then we began to talk about my brother who had passed away, and I started to think about yizkor, the prayer we recite on the last day of Passover for all our loved ones.

I always think about why we recite such a solemn prayer on such a happy day -- a day when we are commanded to rejoice after spending time with family, enjoying such great food, and are feeling amazing. Why is it especially now that we are required to stop and think about my brother's untimely passing?

I recall the Passover of 1997 when the rest of the family flew in from Detroit so that we could hold the Seder at Yossi's bedside in a room at Sloan Kettering.  On the seventh day of Passover Yossi's soul ascended on high into the embrace of G-d's heavenly angels.I think about all the wonderful the times we had together, and I also think about the transient nature of existence. But as I have these sad thoughts, I am forced to admit that when we reflect on our own mortality we become less concerned with the every-day petty stuff of life, and value what is really precious.  

So ask yourselves:  how will you spend the last day of Passover?  Will you be preoccupied with all the work that awaits you afterward, or will you appreciate every moment that you have with your loved ones?  Yizkor prayers are not only to remember the deceased, but also to remember the preciousness of every minute to strengthen and treasure what we have while we have it. Yizkor reminds us our time is limited and not to take our loved ones for granted.

The best possible way for you to spend the next few days, is just to bond with those you love, hold them tight, shower them with kind words, tell them how much you love them, while remembering those special soulsand incredible people in your life who taught you these values.  I say, “Yossi, you taught me well, I will hold my dear Yossi (Yitzi as we call him) and all my children as you are looking from on high. I will be giving you a hug with your precious Torah scroll that the Naples community dedicated in your loving memory.” We will continue to make you proud! We love you Yossi!

Ettie & I wish you for the last two days of Pesach - a Chag Samaich and a Good Shabbas!

Rabbi Fishel Zaklos

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