Rabbi Fishel's Blog

Vacaville is a beautiful place with a lot of sunshine

 Vacaville 2.jpg


Dear Friends, 

We have just recently commemorated Gimmel Tammuz, the anniversary of the passing of the Rebbe, where I prayed for our community and for all those who asked for prayers. I’ve been thinking a great deal about the Rebbe’s legacy and the impact he has made on the world. His influence is literally beyond anything we can ever imagine. And what the Rebbe accomplished wasn’t just with words: he actually encouraged families to move out to locales that were considered genuinely faraway places with no kosher food, no Jewish schools and so forth – in order that each family should help create a thriving place where people from all walks of life would come to join together and celebrate Jewish life.

I just returned from Vacaville, CA for a short visit to see my brother Chaim, his wife Aidel and their family.

Accompanying me were my two daughters Chayah and Hinda who will be attending their summer camp which many of their cousins and other children will be enjoying as well.

This was my first visit to see my brother and his family where they moved to establish a Chabad center nine years ago. Some of you may recall how Chaim, as a rabbinical student, helped us in Naples as we settled in.

Vacaville is a beautiful place with a lot of sunshine, surrounded by mountains, streams, and vineyards. We’ve had a bit of time to go out and enjoy the scenery, and we got a fun chance to go grape picking. There are approximately 500 Jews in all of Solano County and I am beyond thrilled and proud of what Chaim and his family are accomplishing there.

They purchased a building which they are renovating for a grand opening, two months from now. I am kvelling and rejoicing for their amazing commitment and love for the Jewish people and for all human beings, and for making a meaningful contribution to the Jewish community and the Vacaville community at large. ,  They also reminded me of Abraham and Sarah as we strolled through the town and they were recognized by people calling out their names.  

Rabbi Chaim and Aidel have truly become an integral part of the community, bringing goodness and joy to the town.

Although I speak frequently with Chaim, seeing his success with my own eyes was incredible. What a thrill, to go up in the cherry picker with him as the sign for the Chabad Center for Jewish Life was erected.

How privileged I feel to witness the blossoming of Chabad and Jewish life in Solano County, and how humbled Ettie and I are to play our own part in the beautiful growth we are witnessing in Naples.

Shabbat Shalom!


A Special Prayer & Blessing for You - The Rebbe's Yahrtzeit

Dear Friends, 

This coming Shabbat - Friday night June 15th and Saturday, June 16th, marks the 24th Yahrtzeit - anniversary of passing - of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory.
It is a Jewish tradition to visit the resting place of a saintly person with the heartfelt wish that he join our prayers to the Almighty, for blessings for ourselves and our loved ones.
I will be joining thousands from across the globe who will visit the Rebbe's grave site for prayers at this special time. It would be an honor to bring letters and blessing requests on behalf of you and your family which you can send to me via email: [email protected] 
While writing the letter, remember to include your name and your mother's name and those of anyone else you would like me to mention, I would be glad to include them. If you have something in particular you would like to pray for, please mention it as well. In keeping with Chassidic tradition, the letters will be shredded and left at the Rebbe’s Ohel resting place site.
May all our prayers be fulfilled. 
The Rebbe's love and care for every person is legendary. The Rebbe was known for his pragmatic take on the world. He believed in being proactive and measured success only on the basis of results. To him action was imperative, and the time is always ripe to act. 

It may be amazing to see how Chabad has grown since his passing, and how much had been accomplished. It is 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 more goodness and kindness into the dark world we live in.

The Rebbe's legacy lives on. It was this vision of love for every individual and a vision of a perfected world that inspired our lifetime move to Naples. We carry his messages with us on a daily basis.

To me, what the Rebbe highlighted most, is the imperative for each person to take the prerogative and become leaders within their own sphere of influence. In the insightful words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, “The Rebbe was not a man who was interested in creating followers; this was a man who was passionate about creating leaders.”
We've posted lots of information to help you learn more about the Rebbe's devotion to G-d, discover how deeply he cared for each human being, and to glean insight into his teachings. To learn more about the Rebbe click:  
With best wishes for health, happiness and success,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie


L’chaim - let’s celebrate life together

Preschool graduation.jpg 

As I write this, the cheerful sounds of cheerful events are still ringing in my mind as I contemplate some recent happy milestones at Chabad: 21 of our oldest preschoolers celebrated academic achievements as they progressed to kindergarten; 40 Hebrew School students attended end-of-year ceremonies in recognition of the Jewish learning they acquired. Each and every child walking across the stage was worthy of a well-earned L’chaim! As I saw their smiles and blessed them, I thought of how we recognize the journeys we make together with L’chaim and hope the children continue with the friendships and togetherness they have formed here.

Interesting that the phrase “L'chaim" is plural, not the singular form of the word “ chai" meaning life. But instead of “ L’chai" we say “to lives”, which suggests an important message: life lived well is plural, at its fullest when shared with others - thinking about other people, blessing them, giving to them.

The last time I was in Israel with my family I noticed something striking when we visited the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.  Why is one so full of life, while the other has none, while their source, the Jordan River, is the same?  The Dead Sea has no outlet, and my takeaway is, when you  give and share you are full of life. Giving connects us not only to the recipient, but to ourselves, helping us recognize the ways in which our lives are intertwined. By enhamcing others’ lives we enhance our own. How easy it is in the daily running around to take care of obligations and personal needs to become isolated, an island,  and lose sight of the mainland!

During this somewhat slower season let us gather with family and friends to focus on what we can share and give to others. Take advantage of the more relaxed hours to notice the people who have been sent into our midst who might need and enjoy a kind word or a smile. There are many ways to give.

Come to our weekly kiddush to stay around and socialize and offer a heartfelt L’chaim!

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