Showing posts from December, 2021

Thank You

Natanya & I are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of kindness we witnessed these past couple days. The campaign finished successfully (even though my father had to bail us out with an $1,800 donation at the last minute) These past two days have been pretty intense, but, less stressful than in past years. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because David has been helping me organize the office, sending out mailers, and making sure we have enough volunteers and the right call lists. Maybe it’s because we had an awesome team of volunteers (Jill, Jorge, Lisette, Ron, David & Adam, you did it!). That’s part of the success. Maybe a big part. But the biggest deal, is that I wasn’t stressed about it. Stress is real. Kind of. I can feel it in my shoulders. But the truth is, that if I believe that G-d is running the world, there is nothing to be worried about. I just do my part and let Him take care of the rest. We were more prepared this year. We sent out a few mailers. We prepared the l

Why is a Bar Mitzvah at Thirteen?

Tomorrow is another Bar Mitzvah! Mazal Tov David Silverman! I’ve been studying with him and another couple of boys over the past few months, and it has been a great experience for all of us. They say that on a Bar Mitzvah, you become a man. And at a Bat Mitzvah, you become a woman. But is that true? Can you drive a car at 13? Or buy a cigarette? Or a lottery ticket? Or get a job? These milestones are at age 16, 18 or 21. And the real milestone for manhood, should really be determined by the actuaries working for the car rental companies… Age 25! And why do girls reach the age a year early? Some have tried to make the boys and girls equal by having both celebrations at 13. But you can’t change biology. Age 13 for boys, and 12 for girls, is the age when a child’s body starts to mature and change. And their mind starts to change too. They start thinking on their own. Children absorb whatever their parents and teachers tell them. They just parrot the world views, religion and politics of t

Books, Bar Mitzvahs & Construction

Yesterday was a special day in Chabad. Hey Teves has become book day, and it’s customary to buy Jewish books.   Here   are some of my recommended reads and buys (from Amazon). When it rains, it pours. In the past year and a half, we only celebrated one, impromptu Bar Mitzvah for Asher Dewey, masked, outside in our backyard, but now we have two Bar Mitzvahs in a row! Tomorrow, Bradan will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah, and next week will be David Silverstein’s.  And now, to a construction lesson I learned from my boys. You know the good feeling of killing two birds with one stone? In an unlikely combo, we’ve managed to combine contractor with childcare/schooling. For the past month, our boys (Mendel 5, Levi 4, & Shalom Ber, 1) have been spending all day fixated on watching the contractors work. We can barely get them to come inside for lunch! Children are not known for having long attention spans. But somehow, they are managing to spend hours at a time watching construction. I’ve b

Happy 70th Birthday Abba

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

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

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