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The energy from New York

 Since my return from the International conference of Chabad Rabbis in New York many have asked me about the experience, instead of trying to describe it I'll let you feel the energy:

 

 

Let's Pray Together

 

OThis past Wednesday evening I left Victoria on the way to the International Conference of Chabad Rabbis in New York.  My stopover was at the Toronto airport, where I had my first opportunity to wear my Talis and lay Tefiillin. 

 

Seated by the gate, with Leibel and Mendel at my side who joined me on this trip, I realized that while this situation creates some curiosity, this time was different. Hundreds of eyes were directed on me with amazement. 

 

Wondering why, I looked up at the TV screen at the airport reporting from Israel.  The reporter was covering a follow-up story to the terrible massacre in Jerusalem. "A day later - services are back in the synagogue",  the reporter was saying, while images of men wearing Talis and Tefillin were streamed from the little Shul in Har Nof that morning. 

 

I felt a shiver down my spine as I realized that I had become part of the news story everyone was watching.   I felt like I was standing there with the Jews of Jerusalem and tears started rolling down my cheeks.

 

We were all shocked to our cores by the terrible massacre that took place in the capital of Israel, killing Jews who woke up to pray to their Father in Heaven. Horrifying images of Talis and Torah books soaked in blood, pictures that we hoped we would never see again, became a reality we needed to face. 

 

I believe that the stirring emotions within us all can be turned into a constructive reaction.  Let us all come to synagogue this Shabbat and stand together as Jews to show our solidarity with the Jews of Har Nof Shul and unite as brothers and sisters around the world.  

 

I join today other Jewish organizations who call for all Jews to participate this Shabbat in prayer services to honour the souls of those who perished in this terrible attack, and to give a powerful message that Am Israel Chai!

 

At our Shul, Rabbi Yeshurun Blumenfeld will run the services tomorrow morning, beginning at 9:30 am. It is an opportunity to unite as people in our house of prayer, to pray for an end to the senseless hatred and to reinforce our commitment to our heritage, and to sing together "oseh shalom bimromav hu ya'ase shalom aleinu val kol Yisrael".  May we merit to bring that peace upon our people and the entire world soon, Amen.
 
As I prepare for a great Shabbat with some 4000 of my colleagues from over 70 countries around the world -  I wish you Shabbat Shalom! 

Two episodes of love

 Dear Friends,

Imichael Goldberg2.jpgn the last week of 5774 we said goodbye to Michael Goldberg, a dear friend, whom I have known almost since our arrival.  Two episodes from last year stand out when I think of Michael.

The first was last year on Chanukah.  I was away almost every night lighting the Menorah someplace else, and when I came home my children wanted to go out and light a Menorah somewhere too.  I, on the other hand, was happy to have a family celebration. 

But then I had an idea.  Let’s go to the home of a person who would enjoy a lively group coming over to celebrate Chanukah.  Shortly after, we were at Michael's home, lighting the Menorah, eating latkes, playing dreidel, and singing songs.

Michael wasn't in good health at the time, and was confined to his home.  But seeing the children celebrate Chanukah enfused Michael with great joy. He was glowing, happier than I have seen him for years, because Michael loved “Yiddishkeit”.

 michael Goldberg.jpg

My other memory is from my last meeting with Michael some forty-eight hours before he returned his soul.  Michael was in the hospital in very poor condition and didn't seem to be aware of his surroundings. 

When I walked into the room he was staring for a while.  Then he turned his head slightly and with great difficulty said a few words.  What we heard was "new Synagogue" and “donation”.  On this very last stage of his life, Michael was thinking how he could help the community.

Love for Yiddishkeit and love for community was Michael's legacy. May his memory be of a blessing.

 

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