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Rabbi Fishel's Blog

We never say good-bye

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This week’s Kiddush is being sponsored by Chabad in Honor of Dr. Mark & Lou Moskowitz.

We sadly bid farewell to two very special people who are moving to England.

Whether Dr. Mark was practicing as one of the most loved and prominent oncologists, or Lou's art work was being enjoyed and appreciated, or as they served as one of the founders of Chabad, this couple has been an integral part of our lives.

There is a Chassidic saying that we never say good-bye, because although we may be far apart physically, if our bond is spiritual in nature then we can be 4500 miles away and still be as close as ever.

I think it’s safe to say that this is the nature of Mark and Lou with us and with the community: they are leaving positive indelible footprints and will always be part of our lives. Of course we will miss them but their impact has been so deep and they have affected so many appreciative people, whose lives have been made happier, their personalities will be woven into the fabric of this community.

So “Tzeischem L’sholom” – go in peace!” Go without fear and apprehension, secure in the knowledge that your next journey will be as meaningful and as impactful as this one has been. And Boachem L’sholom – arrive there in peace!”

And may all of your days ahead be filled with good and pleasant times, with meaning and purpose, with love and harmony, joy and tranquility – and above all, with the very best of health with which to enjoy these blessings to the fullest.

Your Naples family will always hold a place for you in their hearts.


fulfilling part of his dream and mine


That's me as a young boy receiving a dollar from the Rebbe (my younger brother is standing in front of me).

This Saturday, June 20, I will be in New York, at the gravesite of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, my teacher and mentor. I will be joined by more than 50 thousand people from across the globe who will be visiting the Rebbe's holy resting place on this auspicious day.

This day marks twenty one years since the passing of the Rebbe, of righteous memory. At this site we traditionally ask for blessings, pray, and give thanks, as is customary when we commemorate the Yartzeit of a righteous person. If anyone wants a prayer, please let me know and I will make blessings as well on your behalf. All of us can pray to G-d to whom we are all equal: to pray and seek blessings at a holy place such as the resting place of our dear Rebbe and mentor makes it even more meaningful. (Services will be on as usual led by our very own Aharon Granovitz).

Although I find it too difficult to capture his essence in words on paper, I will say that His leadership was always with his contagious smile and selfless love. Where many saw separation and discord, the Rebbe saw unity; those whom others shunned, the Rebbe embraced with unconditional fatherly love. The Rebbe cared for another human being because he saw the G-dly spark in each of us and the great potential of goodness that lies within. He dedicated his life to bringing the inner light of as many human beings as possible, to the fore. 
Even after his passing in 1994, it's fair to say that - through his thousands of students spread all over the world - the Rebbe continues to inspire millions - Jews and non-Jews alike - to bring a little more goodness and kindness into the dark world we live in. His legacy truly lives on!

It was this mission of love for every individual and a vision of a perfected world that inspired our lifetime move to Naples, FL. We carry not only his memory but his messages with us on a daily basis.

Yestedray, June 18th was a landmark day!  Just ask my mother:  it's the day she brought me into the world.  How many years ago? It's a secret, but I'll give you a hint: it has the double meaning of life. On this very special day I felt extremely blessed and pledged to continue to bring light and comfort to the community. My decision to become a rabbi was not made lightly, and each year I assess and reassess, ways in which I can not only continue to serve the community but improve how we do it.  

When I look around in amazement at this beautiful Alex & Carol Glassman Chabad oasis that we have created together here in Naples, FL, I know that what we see today and all that follows in the future is a credit to his blessings and guidance. As I stand at the ohel (gravesite) with a threefold mission -- prayers, blessings, and thanks -- I know I am fulfilling part of his dream and mine. 


celebration of the life and legacy of Alex Glassman!

Alex Glassman1.jpg

On this Shabbos Shlach, as we celebrate Alex Glassman’s Yahrtzeit, whom we all loved so much and who we miss so dearly, there can be no doubt as to what is happening in the heavens right now.   

We know that on the day of the  anniversary of passing, the soul, of a dearly departed loved one achieves an “Aliyah” – a spiritual ascendancy – in the heavens above, thus making the occasion a joyous one, rather than a sad one. 

I think that it is quite fitting that the Shabbos upon which we are celebrating Alex Glassman’s yahrtzeit is the Shabbos in which we read the Torah portion of “Shlach”… “Shlach” means we are all messengers on a mission. Hashem, our Commander-in-Chief, lays out the specifics of the mission.

If we approach our mission with the attitude of “we'll see” as in: “I’ll see… I’ll look to determine whether or not I can do this… I’ll see if it fits into my schedule, if my job allows for it,.”… It can have questionable results. Not a winning formula for success

If, on the other hand, we approach it, saying to ourselves: “Come what may, I will fulfil my mission!”.  If the question is not whether you will do it; only how you will do it, you can be sure that the Almighty will help tear down the obstacles standing in our way, and we will enter the promised land of success! After all, if G-d asks and expects something of us, it means that we surely have the capability of doing it.

In many ways, our beloved Alex was a poster-boy for this approach to life’s challenges and pursuits. He approached every new opportunity with zest and enthusiasm. He was such a warm and passionate soul. His cheerful demeanor – as manifested in his distinctive hearty laugh – would lift the spirits of all those around him. He was a proud Jew and a generous humanitarian.

He would often lament the fact that having grown up in a small town in Quebec where there was no Jewish community life, he did not receive much of a Jewish education in his youth. But gosh --- how much joy, pride and satisfaction he would derive from fact that he is now helping provide such an education to the Jewish kids of this community!

Whether it was going on a mission to help start up a paper company in Israel, supporting his alma maters, Israel’s Technion, or Chabad of Naples, his physical height was a symbol for how he stood tall for causes close to his heart. At the same time, he was a modest, self-effacing man, awkward about being thanked for his generosity -- giving and helping was "just what Jews do".

The soul of Alex – Eliyahu Glassman shall surely have an Aliyah – shall surely ascend in the holy spheres above, taking pride in all of the good that continues to be done in his name (and shall do so in perpetuity); and praying for his beloved Carol, and for all of us who have the privilege of worshiping, studying and celebrating in this sacred House of G-d that bears his name. Tihay Zichro Boruch – may his memory be an eternal blessing for all…

many friends sent me this clip

 Click on image to see the clip


Dear Friends,

While aware of our good health and good fortune, continually making plans for future events, we cannot be unaware at the same time of pain and suffering around us, and how easily things can go awry.  When we pray for health and strength to continue our daily activities, of course we direct our prayers to G-d, recognizing His hand in every facet of our lives.

Some years ago I caught 'one of those bugs' and lost my voice for quite a while. There I was, the rabbi, the speaker—where I was always expected  to be a man of words with a class or an invocation or a speech, and suddenly I was rendered absolutely speechless -- a mute!. Overnight, I became useless and unproductive -- all by a microscopic germ. Even when we work hard, create the most intricate business plans, or present the most wonderful proposals, ultimately our success needs a prayer. We need to recognize the hand of G-d in our lives and, hopefully, inour success.

In the past few days, so many friends, both Jews and non-Jews have sent me the following clip.  

It's particularly significant to us as in two weeks my children and I will visit the gravesite of our dear Rebbe of blessed memory for the day of his anniversary of passing. In our daily lives,  as much as we work so hard and try to have all the plans laid out, we still need blessings from above and to recognize that a little prayer can't hurt. It can be short but  meaningful and powerful. If anyone wants a prayer, please  let me know and I will make blessings as well on your behalf. All of us can pray to G-d to whom we are all equal: to pray and seek blessings at a holy place such as  the resting place of our dear Rebbe and mentor makes it even more meaningful. 

For the past few months, among many other activities we have been preparing for summer camp. This coming Monday 180 children will be coming through our doors. We’ve worked hard to refine every detail and a big shout goes out to Director Ettie for her superb efforts!

But over the weekend we will take a moment and to reflect that as we begin the summer we know that we also need a blessing from above. Let us do our work as best as we can and then let us not forget to ask Him to bless the work of our hand.


Thank you - Truly a remarkable accomplishment

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your generous participation in the Sanctuary Renovation Project challenge.

The matching challenge opportunity has closed, and your gift, together with an additional 180 matching gifts have brought us to 58% of our ultimate goal. Truly a remarkable accomplishment.

We are truly grateful and humbled by the tremendous outpouring of support, and we look forward to the moment when we can celebrate the finished product with you.

At this time, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the primary benefactors of the Matching challenge, the ever generous Elias & Yitchak families, for making the challenge possible and for inspiring all of us to be part of this amazing endeavor.   

The Elias & Yitzhak families are proud of all of their partners. In their words:    

"Please accept our heartfelt gratitude to the many contributors that generously gave their donation to help us get this project of the Aron Kodesh in motion. It is the community who will benefit from this beautification project once it is completed.

I would also like to relay my thanks to my husband, the VISIONEER; who genuinely is my inspiration and has envisioned many things in our lives, not only in our business but also in our personal lives. Roni has a way of thinking it. He then puts it on paper. Without hesitation, he implements it by guiding the team in the right direction.
It is with genuine faith that this project has commenced with fortitude and purpose. We trust that our journey here will be met by many more dedicated and inspired members of this community that will come forward and help us with the financial support needed to continue our mission."

And now we can begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. That light, of course, is our totally renovated sanctuary where we hope to greet you all to celebrate the High Holidays.

We hope that seeing the light will inspire you and build your enthusiasm, so that together we can bring this project to final fruition.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 
Arthur M. Seigel, M.D.  
On behalf of the Sanctuary renovation committee  


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