Posts

New Building Is Complete!

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Natanya & I are still on a high from the outpouring of love we received from the community. Thank you so much! You don’t know how meaningful your support is to us. You’ve told how much you love us, and we love you too. Now is time for action. Purim is around the corner & we have some very special Purim baskets in the works. Thanks to you, more Jews than ever will receive a Purim basket this year. On that note, do you have a Jewish friend who would appreciate the Purim gift? With their permission, please sign them up at  Jewishtemecula.com/freegift . (If you haven’t been receiving these gifts, please sign yourself up! It wasn’t on purpose) As for the new building, it’s finished. But probably not like you’re thinking, though. It’s kind of like the Temple (in Jerusalem). The prophets declared that the Temple is built and ready in heaven, and will come down from heaven when Moshiach comes. I never really understood what that meant. It sounds like a fairytale or special effects from

Happy 70th Birthday Abba

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M y father recently had his 70th Birthday. We were up in LA to celebrate with him. I want to publicly wish him a happy birthday, and as we Jewishly say, until 120 years of happy birthdays with health, wealth and nachas from the entire family. In his honor, I’d like to share a message, which hopefully is relevant for all of us. Pirkei Avos lists different age milestones, starting with “five years to start reading Torah… thirteen to mitzvos (Bar mitzvah)… twenty to hustle (job)… sixty to “old age” and seventy to “ripe old age” (שיבה in Hebrew)…” Commentaries on the mishna explain that seventy is the age at which King David passed away. King David was an accomplished man. He didn’t die early (even if 70 is young in todays standards). He lived to a ripe old age, and was able to enjoy witnessing the fruit of his labor. On the Rebbe’s 70th birthday, the Rebbe spoke at length about the waste of retirement. People had asked the Rebbe if he would start slowing down and taking it easy as he reac

On Thanksgiving

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This past year was eventful; to say the least. There is a lot to worry about. Inflation. Oil. COVID. Politics. Israel. Antisemitism. We also have a lot to celebrate. Locally and globally. Thanks to zoom, opportunities for Jewish engagement are at an all-time high. Now more than ever before people are connecting with each other and Hashem. “So,  Is Thanksgiving a Jewish Holiday?”  (It’s not.) But it kind of is because The name “Jew” comes from Judah, which means to thank. We are a nation that constantly thanks. And we can learn from Judaism how to give thanks in 2021. There is a special prayer that we say before the day even begins. It’s called  Modeh Ani  - we thank G-d for giving back our soul, refreshed and alive. We thank even before we get out of bed! Why? What happens if we have a bad day? Because we know that even when we don’t see the good, we still thank G-d for the good that is hiding. One more thing, I want you to know that I thank G-d for you. I value you, your friendship, a

School Boards

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Lately, there has been a lot of news and debate about school boards and parents. It really boils down to what the job of school is. Should curriculums be limited to reading, writing and ‘rithmetic or should morals and values also be imbued? For a very long time, it’s been limited to information. Morals and values often come from religion, which opens the church and state can of worms. So they’ve kept education vanilla. It hasn’t worked out so well. People know how to read and write, but know nothing about life. They are confused, depressed and without direction. Lately, school boards have become a bit more bold, and are inching their way into the field morals and values. Parents don’t agree with many of the values being imbued. So they want to change things back, and the kids will only learn the three R’s. That would be a shame, because, like many progressive ideas, I totally agree. Education has to be more than information. It has to be about direction and purpose. Isn’t purpose more

Peace At Last

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We don’t know much about him. We don’t even know his name. The wife of his dentist called me while I was standing in line with a youth group at Knotts Berry Farm. “I have the skull of a Holocaust survivor and would like to give it a proper burial.” I wasn’t sure whether to call the mortuary, a more qualified rabbi, the media or police! After more investigation, here is the story: Dr. Frei was a gentile dentist in New Jersey. One day, in the early 1950’s, an old man in poor health showed up at his office for dental work. Dr. Frei noticed the numbers on his arm and his heavy European accent. He was a Jewish holocaust survivor. This poor fellow didn’t have money to pay for the services rendered, but Dr. Frei told him not to worry about it. The poor man gratefully said, “Someday, I am going to pay you back.” Not too much time had passed, and a box showed up at Dr. Frei’s practice. This poor fellow had gone against Jewish tradition, and donated his body to science. Since Dr. Frei was a dent

Jews Of No Religion - Ahavas Yisroel

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A local friend sent me a WSJ   article   he found enlightening, entitled, “Chabad Ministers to Jews of no Religion”. I highly suggest you  read it. One of the most ironic things that the article doesn’t address, is how the least religious demographics within the Jewish people are engaging with the most “orthodox” group. Interesting, isn’t it? I think the reason is related to another question I have about one of the Rebbe’s 10 mitzvah campaigns. Most of the campaigns are easily actionable mitzvahs. For men to put on tefillin, and for women to light candles on Friday night are clear-cut campaigns, and are easily measurable. Just count how many men put on Tefilllin, and how many women lit Shabbos candles. The campaign “To love your fellow Jew”, which is one of the 613 commandments, is important, but how do you do it? How can you measure it? I’ve thought long and hard about this, and may have come up with the answer which might already be obvious to you. Loving your fellow is not measurab

My Mother's Simchas Torah Story

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Simchas Torah is a very special holiday for me as you’ll see in the story.  Here is the story my mother wrote a couple months before she passed away: A nine-year-old boy in San Diego was walking home from shul on Shemini Atzeret eve. "Abba," he asked, with all sincerity, "could we bring the Torah home on Simchat Torah?" "No son, the Torah stays in shul, except perhaps for hakafot (circling dance) around the shul," he replied factually. "No one can take the Torah home." The boy broke into uncontrolled sobs, while Abba tried to understand how he felt. After a few minutes, the son confided that he wanted his Ima (Mom), who was home in bed with cancer, to kiss the Torah on the holiday. Abba (Dad) knew his tears. Yes, it's a true story. My name is Chana Abrams and I am challenged with a recurrence of breast cancer. But there's more to the story. Although I am Torah-observant, my holidays lately have not been filled with synagogue prayers and p