Rabbi Fishel's Blog

Let us celebrate TOGETHER a Shabbat of Peace and Love.

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Dear Chabad Naples family,

You may have received information that some Anti-Semitic hate groups are calling for a "National Day of Hate" this Saturday - February 25. They are calling for their followers to distribute hateful stickers, fliers and to produce graffiti (and video their actions for social media).

While there are no specific threats to Chabad Naples, please be assured that we are in constant communication with Naples Police Department, and Collier County Sheriff. They do an incredible job protecting all citizens. Our security team has also been in close contact with the NPD and other security agencies and we are increasing our vigilance and security coverage throughout the weekend to ensure everyone's safety. We are also in touch with and receive updates from statewide and federal law agencies.

Our special thanks and appreciation to Naples Police Chief Tom Weschler, Master Officer Sean Phillips, Master Officer Tyrone Davis and the department, who have already implemented patrols for the Chabad Naples Community Center, enhanced security measures and overall vigilance on our property. We are grateful to them always, doing everything in their power every day to protect and safeguard all citizens.

During this Hebrew month of Adar, when we celebrate the holiday of Purim, we recall the downfall of Haman who also called for a day of hate against the Jewish people 2,500 years ago. While Haman perished in his hate, we are here as a strong and proud nation, continuing to celebrate our LOVE of our fellow man, life and Judaism. We will never be intimidated by hate and evil.

In Judaism light is always a reference to a mitzvah. Each of us should add an extra Mitzvah light this Shabbos. Let's make sure we light our Shabbat candles even if we don't ordinarily do so. And if we would normally not be at shul let's make it a point to be there.

Let's respond with joy and optimism. Light has a way to defeat darkness effortlessly.

Please come to Synagogue tomorrow and we will say an extra L'Chaim for the miracle of our Jewish continuity despite thousands of years of Antisemitism.

Torah reading and discussion at 11:00, sermon at 11:30, and a delicious kiddush lunch at 12:15.

Let's make it a NATIONAL DAY OF LOVE AND PEACE! We will continue to spread and share our mission of solidarity, light, love and knowledge. 

Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Kiddush sponsored by the Rimberg family in loving memory of Zalman Ben Shimon. 

The not-so-secret formula behind the success of Chabad and Preschool

Dear Friends,

In this weeks Torah portion we have the  delivery of the ten commandments.  It is interesting to note in  the scene at Mount Sinai,  in the days leading up to that most awesome spiritual event in history, G-d gives  Moses very specific instructions about conveying the message to the Jewish people:  in preparation for the big event, He tells Moses to first address “Bait Yakov” – the women – and only afterwards the men.  

The point was, that G-d knew  the only way His Torah would be properly received and effectively transmitted from one generation to the next was through the enhanced qualities of vision and foresight, clarity and intuition, loving and nurturing, that women bring to the table.

This is a phenomenon that we have seen throughout the millennia,  that there was  a more internal, far-sighted, and soul-based influence wielded by our strong and competent Jewish women.  These qualities  have served as our nation’s greatest source of salvation and most effective engine for positive change and growth.

When we study the lives and times of the heroines of our history,  women like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, like Chana and Devora, Ruth and Queen Esther, and so many others,  the common thread among all of them was their keen ability to see beyond the difficult issues and challenges of the moment,  to the bigger picture of what it’s all about  and to act and lead the way with incredible boldness and selflessness.

This week Ettie is at the Chabad International conference, attended by women hailing from around the world, as far away as Laos and Angola. As more than  4,000 Chabad women gather in Crown Heights, can you imagine the power emanating from there! This is a special time to acknowledge, as we all know, the not-so-secret formula behind the success of Chabad and Preschool:  it is Ettie.  Although it is impossible for me, both literally and figuratively to fill her shoes, I will do my best to  hang in and ‘hold the fort’ until she returns.

Rabbi Fishel Zaklos


This Tu Bishvat Don’t Grow Up, Grow Down!

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This Tu Bishvat Don’t Grow Up, Grow Down! 
Rabbi Fishel Zaklos

The Jewish calendar truly has a holiday for everyone—this month, Shvat, is a winner with the nature enthusiasts. Tu Bishvat, celebrated as the birthday of the trees, marks the day when fruit trees begin to blossom in Israel for the first time since Rosh Hashana. Personally, my Tu Bishvat came early this year, in a mystical sort of way. Let me explain—Tu Bishvat doesn’t just celebrate the trees growing outside, but also compares people to trees, and reminds us to celebrate our own personal growth and our steadfast roots. 

Trees are most vulnerable when they’re small, or even before they grow—while scratching a fully grown tree won’t really affect it, a seed with a scratch or blemish will struggle to grow evenly and to produce healthy fruit. While a larger tree may be able to handle it, too much rain could drown a seedling entirely, and too little will completely dry it out. A small sapling in its first three years needs attentive loving care, with just the right amount of sun and water, and not too much windy turbulence—but not too little either, or it won’t grow roots. 

Our small children are the same. In their early years they are most impressionable, and every bit of care matters a million fold. A good early childhood education prepares a person for the world in a way that nothing else can. I learn this every day from my wife, Ettie, who directs the Preschool of the Arts. While some people mistake preschool for simple babysitting, Ettie puts unbelievable thought and love into the education of the small children in her school, taking every detail into consideration, and understanding every child’s unique needs. I often sit in awe just observing the incredible work that she puts into each activity and lesson, and it shows. Anyone who walks into the classroom can feel it in the ambience. Just the right amount of rain, sunshine, and calming breeze to grow strong and healthy trees. 

So how did my Tu Bishvat come early? At Chabad Naples & Preschool of the Arts, we just completed phase two of the “Let’s Grow” campaign, to raise funds for construction of a brand new preschool building, complete with innovative communal spaces. Over 500 community members contributed, and showed that they too understand the very particular needs of our littlest trees. 

Now life is not without its hard times. Just like trees, we people need strong roots. In fact, we don’t just need the roots in place, we need to know they are there so we feel ready when the strong winds come. Our roots come from our ancestors and teachers of the past who weathered strong storms themselves, and taught us how to do the same. When we feel that life's challenges are becoming too strong, and the storm too frightening, that’s when we need to look back at our roots. Remember that they’re holding us tight and cheering us on, because they know that we can do it, just like they did years before. We learn from their experiences, breathe in their wisdom, and then stand grounded in our place even when everything seems to be going the other way. 

While we do our best to protect our children from the harsh realities of this world, we also must teach them about their roots, and give them the confidence to connect with that deep internal strength. Tu Bishvat is the perfect time to sit down with our children and teach them about their roots with stories of our heroes and role models from our past. 

We’re securing building permits for our new state-of-the-art preschool building and gathering spaces, and have entered the final phase 3 of our “Let’s Grow” fundraising campaign, which will bring us to the Big Build finish line.

Please join us by giving generously at

Your support for our community TODAY can help build the leaders of TOMORROW through investing in a foundation of education, joy, and connection.

In the meantime, to everyone who inspired me this Tu Bishvat, and who is helping care for our little trees to make a better world in the future; I salute you.

To learn more, and to see all of our dedication opportunities, or to schedule a personal meeting with Rabbi Fishel Zaklos or Ettie Zaklos, Call 239-404-6993 or Email [email protected], [email protected]  


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