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Rabbi Fishel's Blog

It grows big time!

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Dear Friends,
You know what happens when you lavish something with a lot of sunshine/light, love, and nourishment? It grows!
At this season of Sukkot, when we look back and assess our accomplishments and how they are coming to fruition, and how we reap what we sow, what could demonstrate this better than this Sukkot photo and photos of the exploding membership and attendance at our very successful summer camp over the years?
See how we grow!
As we approach the culmination and climax of the High Holiday season, our focus turns to a singular "tool" that G-d gives us in order to carry the high-energy inspiration of this time period, into the year ahead:
The Torah!
Dancing with the Torahs is a legendary highlight in our community - and we look forward to seeing you at the celebration Monday night.
 For the all-important "guarantors" of the Torah - our children! - the celebration is a time for every boy and girl, as well as adults, to express their joy and gratitude! Wishing you a Chag Sameach!

You can tell by his smile! Mazal Tov!

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You can tell by his smile! Mazal Tov!

What a High Holiday season! With 1000 people joining during Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, High Holidays 5777 was our most exhilarating one yet. All the preparation. All the praying. All the logistics. All the spirituality. All the people. All the meals. All the sitting. All the hellos and goodbyes. All the standing.

While High Holidays 5777 is now a thing of the past, hopefully the inspiration is not.

My personal inspiration grew, as  48 hours after breaking the fast, a packed Shul of friends, family and Shul-mates gathered to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Gabe Katz.

The future is in our hands.

The Chabad of Naples family was honored to celebrate this shabbat together with Gabe and his family. 

Gabe, who has been our Hebrew school student since he was six years old, has been preparing for his special day from the Kawaler family Sefer Torah along with me and his grandfather Rabbi Kawaler, who donated the Torah to Chabad of Naples on behalf of his family.  

What a powerful link and as yesterday's celebration was shared by representatives of four generations welcoming Gabe into the realm of Jewish adulthood, it made for a moving and poignant expression of the ideal of “M’dor L’dor” – from generation to generation.  

Moses our great leader said, and it was the last commandment, to write this song, which ideally means we should all write a torah scroll. But in essence what he was saying was to make sure that your children, the next generation, see Judaism like a song. Gabe and I go back a long way… In fact, it’s been one of the great joys of my rabbinical career to be able to share many teachings, concepts and ideas with this very bright and perceptive child over the years, and to watch him grow and blossom into the mature and deep-thinking young man he is today.

So I must say that this was far more than a Rabbi-congregant sitaution for me… As far as I’m concerned, this is “family” – this is “mishpocho” – for me, and I am so deeply gratified to be sharing in the pride and the “nachas” of this milestone in Gabe’s life.

I can say that Gabe has received this message and is making us all proud— you can tell by his smile!  

Wishing you a Sookot of song and joy!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos




Quick thought from the Rabbi!

Let us take a deep breath and go into our soft meditation modes.  It’s Yom Kippur, and time to confront  the wide-angle lens of our lives and take the time to write  new chapters in our stories, to study the big questions and make some choices: how will we live? Will we give time to family?  Will we resolve to make healthier choices and then keep those resolutions?

The options are many and the choices we make can have such far-reaching impacts. To me, among the many special reasons we fast, is that through fasting we may experience the pangs of hunger and thus become more sensitive to the needs of those less fortunate. Think of the way Moses became a leader: it was only when he experienced the suffering that he actually carried the burden and didn’t just observe. It's all about making a difference, empathizing, giving meaning to life and then going on and taking  action. We become more aware and sensitive, so that all our excuses for neglecting others vanish. Particularly now, with all the unrest in the world, Chabad of Naples continues to be a source of light, hope, comfort, and serenity in the midst of confusion. 

The planning of our new year at Chabad Naples is filled with optimism and delight as we develop new ventures  and enhancing existing programs,  Chabad Naples needs your help in order to continue the many mitzvot we are capable of creating together. It’s a great honor to serve our community and an awesome responsibility - and that’s why we’re turning to you; we cannot do it alone. 

As we stand just hours before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, we ask you to help YOUR Chabad with a generous gift in honor of Kol Nidrei & Yizkor. 

From the moment Chabad Jewish Center of Naples opened its doors, the dedication and generosity of people in our community has allowed us to grow year after year into a thriving Jewish Center/Synagogue/Preschool and Social Service organization. 

With your generosity, we have built our preschool, Hebrew school, summer camp and youth programs to provide hundreds of children with unparalleled Jewish experiences.

It is only through the support of kind and caring people like yourself that our unbelievable growth has been possible. And only with your support will we be able to continue to grow and expand!

Begin the year with a critical mitzvah that will have far-reaching effects - adding sweetness to your life and to the countless others who directly benefit from Chabad, for today and generations to come.  Every little bit counts! Even if you can’t make a large gift, give what you can. If every person receiving this email made even a modest gift it would add up to a great help to Chabad. Click here to make an online donation.  On behalf of all who benefit from our work, we thank you for your help.

With warmth and gratitude, wishing you a happy & sweet new year,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


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What a Rosh Hashanah!

Dear Friends and Naples Family,

What a Rosh Hashanah! With 600 people joining, Rosh Hashanah 5777 was our most exhilarating one yet. While Rosh Hashanah 5777 is now a thing of the past, hopefully the inspiration is not.

Thank you to our talented Gil Block, for producing resounding blasts of the shofar to echo through our hallowed sanctuary! The traditional sounds enveloped the 600 congregants who attended during the two days of Rosh Hashanah with warmth and welcoming, enjoying the true relevance of our High Holy Day experience.  

Aided and abetted by our competent Cantor Yirmi, it was so gratifying to see many enthusiastic children participating in the services. And if that weren’t enough, with kind words from our President Art Seigel,  and the camaraderie of old friends and new, we shared our amazing holiday banquets coordinated by the always-efficient Rebbitzin Ettie.

Surrounded by all this Yiddishkeit and good spirits, I am curious: as we begin a new year,  I wonder what you found the most inspiring during the past few days?  What message or thought will empower you as you head into a new year? The Rabbi’s jokes and speeches don’t count, of course:)

We hope to see everyone on Tuesday night for Yom Kippur. It is wonderful to be surrounded by all our Naples family and friends!

Wishing you a very happy, joyous, healthy and sweet New Year, 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 




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