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Rabbi Fishel's Blog

WELCOMING A NEW YEAR - WITH PRECAUTIONS

Definitely a Rosh Hashanah for the books! 

After everything we've been through together these past few months it was comforting, heartwarming, and inspiring to celebrate Rosh Hashanah filled with thanksgiving and prayers for those who are in need of blessings for any and all situations they may be enduring. 

One of the thoughtful notes from our Chabad of Naples family members sums up our Rosh Hashanah well:

"Thank you for taking the long walk to give us the privilege to hear the shofar blasts commemorating the call from Hashem. It was a joyous occasion during these difficult times. 

Also, to see the amazing faces of the children made this event even more memorable."

Abiding by the rules of social distancing and other strict precautions, we comfortably held abbreviated indoor Rosh Hashanah services that was well attended.

Attendance at Cambier Park for the shofar event peaked at 100 people who all seemed to enjoy seeing each other, albeit from a distance, and hearing the familiar blasts of the ram’s horn. Comfortable on their blankets, adults and children alike appreciated the traditional apple cake and stuffed shofars. Blowing the shofar In the park was an especially emotional event as it marked the first time for a big coming together after so many months of being apart.

A good sized crowd participated in the Tashlich service we held at Lowdermilk Park. It is always a meaningful way for us to begin the year.

In order to make sure that as many people as possible were able to welcome the new year traditionally, Cantor Choni Teitelbaum and I were privileged to visit many places around Naples to blow the shofar.

We were all thinking of and praying for a better year of good health, peace and contentment for the whole Chabad of Naples family & community.

We wish you all Shana Tova Umetuka, a good and sweet year!

HIGH HOLIDAYS 2020: G-D WILL FIND YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE

The High Holidays inspire us all differently, but it’s a universally special time for millions of Jews around the world.

 

In the past, as we gathered in places of worship to reconnect to ourselves, our Maker, and our fellow human beings, we entered a unique and precious realm.

The High Holidays have a familiar rhythm and a hallowed energy that overtake us as we enter. Each year we step into that spiritual embrace and allow ourselves to be taken on a journey of rebirth and forgiveness.

We are well aware that this year it will be different and quite unlike our regular High Holidays: no big crowds, handshakes, hugging and kissing, no kiddush, no kvetching about the A/C and saved seats. And no dinners with family with debates over chicken or brisket. In short, it’s going to be a much different year.

Does this mean the High Holidays will be sad or empty? Not at all! Different means that we will have to be innovative and “unorthodox” in how we create a transformative experience within our own home.

In 2020, your home is the Shul, and you are the rabbi. I will gladly offer a free course on how to give some great jokes and sleep-inducing sermons!

Have you heard about the rabbi who whispers to his president to please wake up the fellow in the fourth row on the left who was snoring insufferably loudly?

The president whispers back: “Hey Rabbi, you put him to sleep, so why don’t you wake him up?!”

But seriously, this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will come from within, as we hold our prayer books in our hands at home and try to awaken the inspiration that’s in our hearts.
But you may ask: “Really Rabbi, how can that be? Can I recreate this in my home? I barely know how to read Hebrew, and how am I supposed to inspire myself?”

Our sages have taught us over the millennia that G-d asks of us nothing more than to show up whole-heartedly and to connect. No matter what language you speak or what education you have, I have maintained repeatedly: whatever page you are on is the right page.

G-d understands all languages.

“The Merciful One Asks Only for the Heart!” as long as we show up with love, forgiveness, generosity, warmth, and holistic values then in G-d’s eyes we are priceless. It is a mystery of nature, a beauty to behold and has enough power within to change – not only your own destiny, but also the entire world.

There is an amazing anecdote about a man who says to a wise master or sage,” I don’t believe in G-d.”

The sage answers, “it doesn’t matter, He believes in you.”

And so, dear friends, remember especially this year, G-d believes in you more than you can imagine. During the High Holidays, wherever you find yourself, Hashem will find you.

 

THE LEGACY OF SEPTEMBER 11

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THE LEGACY OF SEPTEMBER 11

We all recall September 11 as one of the most terror-filled days written into our history. If we lived through that time, we recall exactly where we were on that day and what we were doing.

At the same time, we recall the endless sacrifices made by first responders and the thousands of innocent lives lost and families irreparably damaged by those events in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Some of us may also recall how, in the days that followed, for a while the world became a kinder place where patriotic flags flew and strangers smiled at each other in sympathy, shared grief, and understanding.

Let this day remind us to strive for a return to sharing that loving kindness with mankind in better days.

let's all extend our hands in freedom and love for one another with continued mitzvos & blessings today and every day.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

 

LET US NOT EVER FORGET 9/11. It's 19 years.

 

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Dear Friends,

In some of the darkest days of this century, heroes emerged, bringing light and hope through the ashes. Immediately following the horror of September 11 there was a ‘change’ in the air: people were kinder to each other; American flags flew from cars. We were down, but we weren’t out.

Let us not forget, at this time, the heroism of those who survived; those who saved many others, and those who were either irreparably wounded or lost their lives in order to save the trapped and injured. We stand together in unity and friendship to honor them and all those who lost their lives in this horrible attack.

To this day, we are still fighting the terror and striving to bring the light to as many as possible, and fortunately, to this day, many have retained the ultimate messages of September 11: there is nothing more important than love for and of family. Love for your country and love for one another do not come with a price tag.

So to honor them let's all extend our hands in freedom and love for one another with continued mitzvos & blessings today and every day.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

 

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