Rabbi Fishel's Blog

Our hearts are in Uvalde, Texas

Dear Friends,

There are truly no words.....

Our hearts are in Uvalde, Texas.

We are numb and so heartbroken by the senseless mass killing at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Looking at the pictures of the mothers outside the school trying to find out if their child is okay, is gut wrenching. We cannot begin to fathom this terrible murderous rampage and bloodbath of young children and their teachers. It has shaken us to our core. So many children torn away from their loving families.

It’s difficult if not impossible to deliver consoling words sufficient to help the grieving parents and survivors of the horrific, senseless massacre.

Our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to all the grieving families and the entire effected community of Uvalde. May all those injured have a complete and immediate recovery and may the families of those taken in this horrific attack be comforted. 

Our thoughts are also with the heroic teachers who jumped in front of the line of fire to try to save their students lives.

As we ask Hashem to ease their pain and give them love and strength to face the future, we pray for world peace and an immediate end to violence throughout the world. We pray for the return of sanity to this troubled nation. We hope and pray that we can finally come together to work hand in hand to end this kind of madness.

The work ahead of us is hard and the road may be difficult, it starts at home and in our own circle of friends and our own communities.

May we, and our elected officials be inspired by the Almighty with the wisdom, strength and humility to take all steps possible to never have to experience such a tragedy again.

As we light our Shabbat candles this week, let us take a few moments to pray for the souls of these innocent victims — the children, the adults and for their families. 


Safety and security at the Chabad Naples Jewish Community Center is our utmost priority.

We are blessed to have a strong relationship with Naples Police Department who always check in to ensure the safety and security of our campus and our community. We have been reviewing our procedures with law enforcement to strengthen the measures that keep us all safe.

We are also deeply grateful to Dennis Harris of TriCorps Security, Head of Security at Chabad & Preschool of the Arts, who has decades of experience in law enforcement and has worked with us for the past eight years to secure our campus. He is an extremely motivated, detail oriented, and highly ethical security professional who is devoted to keeping our campus and community safe. We also thank Steven our security guard for his dedication to keeping us safe.

We have connected with Dennis and communicated with law enforcement over the last two days to review our procedures and strengthen security measures.

The safety of our students, congregants, staff, and community is our highest priority.

With prayers for peace and security,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


Dear Friends, 

Our Lag Bomer celebration and BBQ was a huge success, in spite of one tiny glitch. 

One of the customs at a Lag Bomer event is the lighting of a bonfire, signifying the bringing of spiritual light into he world. 

How were we to accomplish that? Knowing the rules and regulations about fire lighting in Naples, we consulted with our friendly and always so-accommodating Naples Fire-Rescue Department Chief Pete Dimaria. Pete and his amazing crew are always on hand to help throughout the community not just with fire fighting and other safety measures but also with prevention and education, as shown by the occasions when they work with our Preschool students. 

Well, in the ‘heat’ of the day, my message that the necessary equipment for the bonfire wasn’t delivered. I was surprised when a huge fire truck manned by Battalion Chief Adam Nadelman showed up, and I had to apologize quickly for the lack of bonfire equipment. 

As I began to explain the significance of the event and the bonfire, I noticed Adam was especially interested, and much to my surprise he identified himself as being Jewish and having had a Bar Mitzvah. 

Then it became clear - why Adam was sent to celebrate with us, bringing his own kind of light to brighten and unify the community. 

We said special prayers and welcomed him, knowing although the reasons are not always immediately clear, G-d has a plan and we just have to lean into it and accept it. 

Adam brought his personal spark to light up our celebration and make Lag Bomer even more memorable.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos  

Important life lesson from a Bow and Arrow

Dear Friends,

This coming Thursday (May 19) is a special day in the Jewish calendar. It is known as Lag B'omer, the day that marks the passing of the great Talmudic sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. This second-century Rabbi and Kabbalist requested that the day of his passing should be marked with happiness and celebration.

One of the many Lag B'omer traditions is for the community to get together outdoors to celebrate. There is a custom that children play with bows and arrows on Lag B'omer. Among the many reasons for this custom is one that has an important life lesson.

To use a bow and arrow effectively, the shooter must first pull the bow towards himself. Once the bow is pulled as far back as possible, the arrow can be released with significant force and hopefully meets its target quickly and accurately.

The lesson here is simple but powerful. Affecting the world around us is more successful when we first move inwards. When we look deeply into our own soul, realizing the amazing potential that we possess, only then can we influence others.

 The Rebbe of Kotzk once said: "When I was younger, I thought I would change the world. I then decided that I would work on my city, and later concentrated just on my family. But now I have decided just to try and change myself." I do not believe the Kotzker Rebbe meant that he would work only on himself and ignore others. After all, he led a big community and was responsible for thousands of followers. What he was saying is that the only effective way to change other people is, to begin with ourselves.

Improving our own character and personality is within our control. We choose to progress or stagnate, to become angry or stay calm, to give or to hold back. We cannot control other people, but we can influence them by moving inwards. Changing ourselves will change others.

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Speech is a powerful gift - use it well.

Dear Friends,

In this week's Torah Portion we learn about the transgression of gossip (Lashon Horah), which is considered a serious transgression. But what is the definition of gossip? Is it only malicious slander that is harmful to another, or can it even be a casual, harmless comment that is negative? 

One morning after prayers in the Synagogue of the holy Baal Shem Tov, two men had a disagreement. Out of frustration, one of them threatened to tear his adversary to pieces, and with that, the dispute ended. The Baal Shem Tov called together some of his closest disciples and, using a mystical strategy, showed them a spiritual vision that caused the students to recoil in horror. They witnessed (on a metaphysical level) the man carrying out his threat and tearing apart his friend.
In Jewish sources, the human being is defined as "the communicator." The mystics explain that communication goes to the very core of our existence and that the words we utter release a powerful force into the universe. Every time we speak, we create a new reality that has a tangible effect on those around us.
Saying something seemingly harmless but negative about someone else creates a flow of negative energy that can inflict damage upon that human being. It is for this reason, the Talmud states that evil talk kills three people: the speaker, the listener, and the one who is spoken of.
The good news is that the same is true in the reverse. Positive talk has great results. When we verbalize sentiments of optimism, hope, and encouragement, we make a tangible difference even before anything happens.
A 14th-century sage once wrote:
Before you speak, you are the master over your words. After you speak, your words are master over you. 
Speech is a powerful gift given to us humans - use it well.

Shabbat Shalom with Love & Light,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.