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A Knotty Issue

This past Monday, Malkie and I had the privilege of participating in the Bris of our grandson, Mordechai, born to Mushka and Yossi Cohen. A family Simcha is always wonderful. This was particularly meaningful for me as this baby was named for my grandfather, Reb Mordechai Rivkin, OBM who passed away nearly 16 years ago. Having left home to attend school in New York at the age of 11, I spent a lot of time in my grandparents’ home. I became exceedingly close to my grandparents, who were almost like surrogate parents to me when I was living far from home. I lived in close proximity to them for 14 years, and during that time I spent countless hours in the company of, and in conversation with my grandfather. I can say without hesitation that he was one of the greatest influences on my life and he played a significant role in molding me into the person that I am. We proudly named our son after him 15 years ago. To now have a grandson who bears his name is very moving.

There is an old common practice of tying a knot to remember something. What are the origins of this practice? Does it have any value?

There is a fascinating passage in the Zohar on this week’s Parsha that mentions two sages who would tie knots to remember their studies. The connection to the Parsha is that following the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe prays to G-d for favor and when it is granted, he asks G-d that He show him (Moshe) His glory. To which G-d replies “you shall see My back, but My face you will not see.” Upon this Rashi cites a passage from the Talmud, “G-d showed Moshe the “knot of His head Tefillin.” Obviously, this is all anthropomorphic. G-d does not have any form. Face, back, neck, and knot of the Tefillin are all metaphors for varying Divine manifestations. Yet the metaphor is employed because there is something to be garnered from that connection.

What’s up with the knot? A knot is a connecting point that, when formed, actually serves to bring the two ends closer. When we speak of the connection between Hashem and the Jewish people, a knot features prominently in two Mitzvahs, Tefillin (which is knotted on the bicep and at the nape of the neck – see above), and Tzitzit, the fringes that hang off the corners of a Talit or Talit Katan. (Last week someone asked me to explain the “cat-o-nine-tails” sticking out of my pants pocket.) Each of the four corners has a series of five knots and eight strings.

The common denominator is that each of these Mitzvahs is connected to remembrance. Concerning the Tefillin is states in Exodus (13:9), “They shall be a remembrance between your eyes.” Regarding the Tzitzit is states in Numbers (15:39), “This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the L-rd.”

When Moshe was trying to invoke G-d’s mercy following the Golden Calf it was expressed by way of a knot, which repairs a breach and brings the two ends closer. The Mitzvahs that are connected to knots, serve to remind us of our commitment and closeness to Hashem. By remembering and acting upon our special connection, we will merit the Redemption through Mashiach speedily.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel RIvkin

Manpower or G-d-power?

This message comes to you from the quaint New England town of Suffield, CT, a town now filled with the sounds of Torah learning since the establishment of a Chabad Yeshiva in Suffield last year. My son Murdechai is a student here. This weekend I have the pleasure of spending Shabbat at the Yeshiva along with other fathers and relatives of the boys.

Earlier this week we had the privilege of hosting IDF Lt. Col (res) Yaron Buskila at Chabad of Louisiana. As one who was on the ground in and around Gaza on October 7, his account was both mesmerizing and shocking. There were moments of horror and moments of heroism. His message was From Crisis to Victory. After describing the extreme circumstances in the aftermath of the terror attack, he then began to lay out the hope for victory. He expressed how uplifted he was when he saw the endless convoy of vehicles carrying soldiers who took the initiative and headed towards the crisis in the 48 hours following the attack. He articulated how the country had become united in purpose. He articulated how valuable the outpouring of support from Jews worldwide is for those fighting on the ground. He shared how, in contrast to the hate graffiti that was scribbled on the walls of the Jewish homes in the villages around Gaza, he and the soldiers under his command taped messages of hope for peace written by Israeli children to the walls of Gazan homes. He took some tough questions and was not afraid to address some of the difficult issues.

I would like to share one message that he conveyed through a personal anecdote. While still on active duty, he was a commander for a special ops unit that dealt with terror threats in Judea and Samaria. They received word of shots being fired at a town. The unit advanced to the town and, based on the intelligence that they had, they proceeded towards the edge of town near a factory on the outskirts of the town from which they presumed the shots were fired. They advanced and started shooting, only to discover that the terrorists were behind them. He was shot and wounded. After a harrowing attempt to crawl on his elbows towards the home from where the shots were fired, he arrived to find that a mother and daughter were killed in the attack. The husband was crying and blurted out “you were not in time.” Yaron was taken by helicopter to the hospital to undergo surgery. He was very down by the botched operation and decided that he was going to get out of the military.

When he regained consciousness following the operation, he opened his eyes to find a Chabad Rabbi sitting near his bed with a guitar playing a song with lyrics from the Torah, “You shall remember the L-rd your G-d, for it is He Who has given you the strength to achieve success.”  This was a Eureka moment for him. He realized that all this time he was relying on his own strength and talent for success. But it is Hashem upon whom we must rely. He resolved to return, energized by this new conviction, which has been his guiding light ever since.

This is a powerful message that pertains to each of us in our lives. When we remember from where our strength is derived, we go with the power of Hashem to achieve success in all good things.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Don't Allow Our Enemies to Define Us!

One of the most identifiable Jewish symbols is a Menorah. Many Jewish institutions incorporate a Menorah into their emblem or seal, including the State of Israel. The origin of the Menorah as a Jewish symbol goes back to the one that was used in the Temple/Tabernacle, which is described in detail in this week’s Parsha. It was made of solid gold with very ornate designs chiseled into the gold.

One of the questions debated is the shape of the Menorah’s branches. Most images that we see depict the Menorah with six rounded branches coming out of the center branch. However, Rashi in his commentary to the Torah states that the branches emerged diagonally from the center. There is also a diagram drawn by the Rambam that depicts the Menorah as having diagonal branches emerging from the center. The Rambam’s son, Rabbi Avraham attests that this was his father’s hand drawn diagram, and that his father was deliberate regarding the shape of the Menorah’s branches.    

There is one major medieval commentator, Ma’aseh Choshev, who argues that according to Kabbalah it would seem that round is a more appropriate shape for the Menorah. He has an alternative way of understanding Rashi’s words. He also did not see the Rambam’s diagram, because he writes that since the Rambam did not comment on the shape, we do not know what his opinion is on the matter. (The manuscript with the diagram was discovered at a much later point. It was on display at the Yeshiva University’s Maimonides exhibit in 2022.) There is also room to understand the Ibn Ezra as opining that the branches were curved. But Rashi and the Rambam maintain that it was diagonal.

So then the question is how did round become the default shape of the Menorah for so long? This can likely be traced to the Arch of Titus. Titus was the Roman general (later Ceasar) who destroyed the second Temple around the year 70 CE. To celebrate his victory the Romans erected an arch on which the embossed images of Roman soldiers carrying away the Temple implements, including the Menorah. The Menorah in that depiction is round. The are several proofs that the Menorah on the arch is “the artist’s renderings” rather than a faithful depiction of reality. The Menorah is missing its three legs. There are images of dragons at the base of the Menorah, certainly not a Jewish symbol. Titus and his father Vespasian also minted commemorative coins with the phrase Judea Capta (Judea has been vanquished) on them. From time to time, the Romans would force the Jewish populace in Rome to walk under the arch as a means of humiliation.

In hindsight we can argue that the rounded Menorah is a symbol of Jewish exile, Judea Capta. It is ironic that Israel, which seeks to pull Jews away from the diaspora, the “galut mentality,” adopted a symbol of Jewish vanquishment and humiliation.

This is one of the reasons that the Rebbe encouraged the use of the “Rambam Menorah” as an emblem or symbol of Jewish institutions. Why should we allow our enemies to define us? Why should we celebrate Judea Capta and be reminded of that constantly?

This mindset of allowing our enemies to define us, has crept into the attitude of Jews towards Israel today. How many times can you hear Apartheid State without starting to wonder whether there is truth to that? How many times can you be told about Nazi-like treatment of Palestinians without starting to be uncomfortable in your own skin. We need to forget about what the “world thinks” and define ourselves. The UN, the EU, the Quartet, and the rest of our enemies do not get to define us. We must be proud of the role Hashem has for us and our place in the Holy Land. Judea will not be Capta! Instead, it is Am Yisrael Chai!

Please join us on Monday night to hear IDF Lt Col. Yaron Buskila share an eyewitness account of October 7 in a talk entitled, “From Crisis to Victory.” To register, www.chabadneworleans.com/victory.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Joy is a Powerful Driver

The first of the four sections of the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) is called Orach Chayim (the Path of Life). It deals with the daily life of a Jew and then proceeds to go through the calendar cycle, with all the special days contained therein.

The very first law authored by the Rama (the Ashkenazi authority who wrote glosses on the Code) begins with a quote from Psalms 16, “I place Gā€‘d before me constantly.” This teaches that from the moment we awaken, the awareness that we are constantly in the presence of the Divine influences how we go about our day.

The last set of laws deals with the month of Adar I (in a Jewish leap year). He instructs us that on Purim Katan (the 14th of Adar I), though it is not the actual day of Purim (which is held in Adar II), nevertheless we should mark the day with a slight increase in celebration. He then concludes with a quote from Proverbs 15, “One who is glad of heart, celebrates constantly.”

The common denominator is the term “constantly” in both verses. Constant awareness of being in Hashem’s presence and constant joy. In Hebrew the word is Tamid. The same term is used to describe the daily offerings in the Temple that we brought on the altar, the first offering each morning and the last offering each afternoon. The two “Tamids” are the bookends of a day in the life of a Jew. Similarly, in Orach Chayim (the Path of Life) the two “Tamids” are the bookends of Jewish life, Reverence for G-d and joy.

The first one makes sense. Constant awareness of being in Hashem’s presence is the driver for all that we are supposed to be about. But joy? Why is joy so integral to Jewish life? Judaism does not view joy (only) as a response to positive circumstances. Rather, Judaism views joy as a generator of positive circumstances. Joy and a positive attitude help shape and mold positive outcomes.

The Talmud states, “When Adar enters, we increase in joy.” This year we have two Adars. That is double the joy. Twice the power to influence and shape positive outcomes. May our collective joy shape the positive outcome for our world, bringing us the blessing of peace and security for our brethren in Israel and the joy of Redemption for the whole world.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov! Be Happy!
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

The Formula For Getting Young Jews to Support Israel

So many are dismayed by the increase of young people who are, at best, indifferent or, at worst, outright hostile towards Israel, especially since October 7. While most Jews, of all ages, are feeling a heightened connection and support, there is a minority, a significant minority, that is orienting the other way.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time bemoaning how this came about. But I would like to consider some ideas on how we can get ahead of it moving forward.

We must teach our young people to love Jews. The prospect of millions of my loved ones in direct harm’s way should be a great motivator on the need to support Israel right now. For too long our children have been made to feel uncomfortable with feeling greater affinity for their Jewish brothers and sisters. Of course, all people are created in the Divine Image, and deserve to be treated with dignity and caring. But Jews are our family. There is nothing wrong or immoral with feeling closer to mishpacha! How do we generate that feeling of mishpacha?

We must teach our young people to love Judaism. When we think about the shared values, destiny, and connection with Hashem that Judaism offers as a heritage to every Jew, that increases our connection with each other. For too long our children have been given a watered down, inauthentic version of our precious Judaism. They have been robbed of the depth, the profundity, the soulfulness, the transformative nature, and the eternality of the guidance and direction that Torah and Judaism affords every one of us as our unequivocal heritage. The richest wisdom the world has ever known has been relegated into being some sort of cheerleader for the social justice de jour. How do we impart love of Judaism?    

By creating opportunities for them to feel pride in an authentic Jewish experience. I would like to highlight something taking place tonight in our own community. Chabad at Tulane will be hosting a Shabbat dinner on the center quad of the Tulane campus (LBC Quad) for 1500 students. There will be no empty chairs at this Shabbat dinner. Each one will be filled by a Jewish young lady or man feeling a surge of Jewish pride. Those filled seats will be highly effective in raising awareness about the hostages in Gaza. Hundres of boys will be laying Tefillin just before the sun goes down and Shabbat starts. Hundreds of girls will kindle Shabbat candles illuminating the world with their spiritual light. Those boys and girls singing Am Yisrael Chai at the top of their lungs, while getting ready to hear Kiddush, will come away with an authentic Jewish pride experience that can be life-changing.

We are racing against the clock. We cannot afford to lose another generation of young people. Everyone must get involved and support these efforts to create the proud Jews of the future.
Israel is not just a strip of land. It is really about Jews and Judaism. The sooner we recognize that the more successful we will be.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page  
https://onemitzvah.org/israel/chabad-louisiana
Add your Mitzvah today!

· Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah.

· Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 5:20 pm).

· Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up.

· Tzedakah:  www.chabad.org/helpisrael is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see www.jewishnola.com for the Jewish Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.

· Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.

· Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll –  www.chabadneworleans.com/332998 . The Unity Torah for people of all ages –  www.chabadneworleans.com/409282.

· Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. Check out the recently begun course Advice For Life – www.chabadneworleans.com/jli.

· Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info,  www.chabadneworleans.com/mikvah

 

Add Some Fruit To Your Diet

At one time, it was thought that a person needed to eat basics to survive; and that adding things like fruit to one’s diet was a luxury for people that could afford it. At some point it became clear that there were significant health benefits from adding fruit into one’s diet. Fruit (and vegetables) have nutrients, vitamins, minerals that are not just an added benefit for good health, but in some ways, integral to maintaining good health. They have many additional qualities that are foundational to good health.

This week we celebrated Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees. Why are humans celebrating the trees’ New Year? Do they celebrate our New Year? There is a lot we can derive from this holiday and the fruitful lessons it provides.

When it comes to observance of Judaism, the study of Torah, performance of Mitzvot, and our connection to Hashem, there is the basics, the bread, meat, and potatoes. We can technically go through our days checking all the right boxes and keeping everything by the book. But it can be without any pleasure or enthusiasm. We can be mechanical and joyless as we go through the motions of Jewish observance. Tu B’Shevat teaches us that we should not consider it an optional luxury to mix some fruit into our diet. We must add flavor and color to our Judaism. A mitzvah must be performed with joy and passion. Torah must be studied with enthusiasm and pleasure.

In addition, there are specific messages that can be derived from the “fruits of the land of Israel,” that are not just an added benefit or luxury but are integral to maintaining a healthy state in our connection to Hashem. Here are a few samples.

From grapes we learn how vital it is to inject joy into our Judaism. From figs (and the fig-leaf in the Garden of Eden) we learn the power of forgiveness and transformation. From pomegranates we learn how to value each person regardless of their external appearance. From olives we learn how challenges lead to growth. From dates we learn the importance of investing effort in the future. For a more detailed version of these lessons, www.chabadneworleans.com/2776.

A fruit tree is about producing fruit. Deuteronomy (20:19) states, “For man is a tree of the field.” As we go about our lives, we must be cognizant and mindful of the fruit we are bearing, the impact we have on the world around us. Are we producing fruit that is beneficial to humanity and Hashem’s goal for creation?

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and a fruit producing adventure filled with flavor, color, and effervescence.

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Why Do We Need a Rebbe?

This Shabbat is the 10th of Shevat, the day that the Rebbe assumed the leadership of Chabad following the passing of his father-in-law and predecessor in 1950. There are many who acknowledge the Rebbe’s monumental influence on post-Holocaust Judaism and the Jewish nation. There are many who recognize the Rebbe’s vast contribution to Torah learning and literature. There are many who laud the Rebbe’s guidance and leadership qualities on both the individual and collective levels. There are many who are awed by the Rebbe’s saintliness and the “miracle stories.”

Yet some of these many people are uncomfortable with the notion of a Rebbe altogether. Why do we need a Tzadik at the center of our Jewish life? Why do we ask a Rebbe to pray on our behalf or to give us blessings? Why do we have to devote ourselves to the direction and guidance of another person? Doesn’t every Jew have a direct connection with Hashem? Why the need for, what appears to be, an “intermediary?” Yet Moses declares in Deuteronomy (5:5), “I stand between the L-rd and you.”     

The answer to this question has multiple dynamics. I would like to focus on one of them. There is no question that each of us has a direct connection with Hashem. This connection is experienced through prayer, mitzvot, Torah study, and what we call “service of G-d.” Furthermore, this connection is intrinsic to our very existence, because our souls are, as Tanya states, “a literal part of Hashem above.”

If we were just souls, there would be no further issues. The problem is that we have bodies. And, even worse, we have what Tanya calls an animal or natural soul, that is driven by self-orientation. Most of us spend a lifetime contending with this self-oriented side of being. Even when we manage to overcome that self-orientation just a bit, it comes back and bites us when we least expect it. This “self” is the biggest obstacle to constant “Dveykut” – connection to Hashem. Even as we pray, study, and do Mitzvot, our “self” gets in the way of truly experiencing this “Dveykut.”

A Rebbe, a Moses, is a person who is at the state where the sense of self is no longer in the way. As much as is humanly possible, he is completely transparent, allowing for the soul – “the literal part of Hashem above” – to be the dominant force in his existence. A Rebbe is our Neshama in Ultra HD. The Devykut of a Rebbe to Hashem is constant and unimpeded by the sense of self.

Now the Jewish people have a collective soul. By connecting to a Rebbe, this enables us to tap into our own individual Neshamas and experience a deeper Dveykut to Hashem at a “higher resolution.” So, Moses is not an intermediary in the sense that he stands between the people and Hashem to maintain distance. Rather he serves as a conduit for the people to experience their closeness in a more real way than they would without his facilitation.

I have just scratched the surface of a topic that deserves much more time and space to address, but I hope that it has whet your appetite to delve deeper.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Mindless Ritual or Meaningful Act

Traversing through my Uptown neighborhood this week, I encountered the annual sight of dozens of young ladies traipsing in and out of houses on Broadway. These Tulane students returned to New Orleans a full week ahead of class to engage in Sorority Rush. To an outsider such as myself, it seemed that the traditions associated with this activity are bizarre. Girls lining up and then walking in circular lines, removing their jackets and purses outside despite the cold weather, high fiving each other while walking in opposite rows, and a bunch of other things that I cannot explain. I am sure that each practice has an explanation and history, but to me they seemed like mindless rituals.

Conversing about this with someone in our community, we mused that for many who observe us performing our “traditions” and “rituals,” they seem equally bizarre and mindless. This was a sad thought for me. Because I know that each of our practices is laden with layers of meaning and explanation. Every detail of a Mitzvah or even a Jewish custom is substantiated with precise intentionality. Yet, for too many they are meaningless; to quote Tevya, “I don’t know why, but it’s a tradition.”

So, I would like to utilize this forum to share some of the detailed meanings behind the oft-practiced Jewish tradition of Kiddush on Friday night.

The Torah declares, “Remember the Sabbath Day to Sanctify It.” How do we fulfill this obligation? By mentioning the Sabbath in blessing as it enters (and when it ends). Our sages instituted that this blessing be recited over a cup of wine. This ritual is called Kiddush. The idea behind it is to connect the remembrance of Sabbath and the themes of faith associated therein, with a physical act of reciting words and drinking wine. This is an expression of the recurring notion conveyed through all action-based Mitzvahs, that our feelings are influenced by our actions.

Why over wine? Firstly, wine brings joy, a lovely association with a Mitzvah that should be done with gladness of heart. Beyond that, there is an opinion that the fruit of the tree of knowledge was a cluster of grapes. Adam and Eve partook of that fruit on Friday afternoon just before sunset, bringing darkness and suffering to the world and to mankind. By using that very same substance, at the same time, to usher in a day devoted to G-d and spirituality, we reverse the effects of that sin and bring redemption to the world and to humanity.

We take a cup that can hold a minimum of approximately 3.4 ounces and fill it with wine. Why this amount? The one reciting the Kiddush must drink more than half of the cup. For the average person just over 50% of 3.4 oz is a mouthful of wine, enough to be a significantly enjoyable consumption.

While reading the words of Kiddush (that are themselves layered with meaning), we hold the cup of blessing in the upturned palm of our hand to symbolize being a recipient of that blessing. We raise the cup at least a hand-breadth above the table to demonstrate that we are investing mindful effort in raising the cup. During the Kiddush we glance at both the candles and the wine. The sin of Adam and Eve darkened the light of their eyes (spiritual perception). We thus direct our eyes to the candles and wine to reverse the impact of the sin. 

The Kiddush is recited in the presence of the Challah (albeit covered) to connect the Mitzvah of remembering the Sabbath to the Mitzvah of honoring and delighting in the Sabbath, through a delicious repast. Even the number of words in the Kiddush (72) is significant, as is the acronym formed by the first four words (Tetragrammaton). Not a single detail is meaningless or without explanation.

You have now had a tiny taste of the meaning behind the traditions and rituals of Kiddush. 612 to go! Get busy and learn.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

Who's Who at Chabad of Louisiana?

Chabad of Louisiana was established in 1975 with the arrival of my parents, Rabbi Zelig and Bluma Rivkin, who were sent by the Rebbe as his emissaries to New Orleans. Since then, Chabad of Louisiana has expanded and developed into a broad network of institutions and initiatives that are staffed by 14 Shluchim families. Some may be confused by the web of multiple folks named Mendel, Yossi, Mushka, and Rivka, along with the other Shluchim on the Chabad of Louisiana team. I would like to make it easier by presenting a “Who’s Who” at Chabad and help clarify the roles and a sampling of the responsibilities of each of them in the community. This list will by no means be an exhaustive one, as each of the Shluchim families and individuals is involved in many initiatives and activities, all intended to improve Jewish life in the community. First and foremost, each of them serves as a representative of the Rebbe and his ideals. One of the most powerful impacts of Chabad Shluchim is forging relationships with individuals in the community. 

Please note that each of the affiliates of Chabad of Louisiana is financially independent.    

Chabad of Louisiana
Rabbi Zelig and Bluma Rivkin - Founders and directors of Chabad of Louisiana. Rabbi Zelig Rivkin was tasked by the Rebbe as the regional director for Chabad in the state of Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. Mrs. Bluma Rivkin is also the coordinator of Mikvah Chaya Mushka and teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Dr. David (OBM) and Nechama Kaufmann – Past coordinators of Chabad at Tulane and Camp Gan Israel, founding coordinator of Chanukah @ Riverwalk, Nshei Chabad Candlelighting project. Mrs. Kaufmann also teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Mendel and Malkie Rivkin – Program Directors at Chabad of Louisiana. JLI, Living Legacy Series, Prison Chaplaincy. Mrs. Malkie Rivkin also serves as the Judaic Elementary principal at Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Yossi and Mushka (nee Rivkin – daughter of Mendel and Malkie) Cohen – Community Engagement Directors at Chabad of Louisiana. JKids, Jewish Women’s Circle, Holiday Distribution Projects. Mrs. Cohen also teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Chabad of Metairie
Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Nemes – Directors of Chabad of Metairie. Rabbi Nemes also oversees the Louisiana Kashrut Committee. Mrs. Nemes also runs the Rosh Chodesh Society and teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Mendel and Chaya Mushka (nee Nemes) Ceitlin – Program Directors – Chabad of Metairie. JLI, Hospital Chaplaincy, Mohel. Mrs. Ceiltin also teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Zalman and Libby (nee Nemes) Groner – Youth Directors – Chabad of Metairie. CTeen, Camp Gan Israel, Friendship Circle. Mrs. Groner also teaches at Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Mendy and Chavie Schechter – Prison Chaplaincy, Law Enforcement Chaplaincy and Liaison, Chevra Kaddisha, and Kosher Supervision.

Chabad at Tulane
Rabbi Yochanan and Sarah Rivkin – Directors – Chabad at Tulane. Coordinators of Chabad Tulane Grad and Alumni Program. Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin is the Rabbi at Anshe Sfard, and serves on the Board of Directors, Slater Torah Academy.

Rabbi Leibel and Mushka Lipskier – Directors of Chabad Tulane Undergraduate Program.

Rabbi Mendel (son of Yochanan and Sarah) and Rivka Rivkin – Directors of Student Engagement at Chabad Tulane Undergraduate Program.

Slater Torah Academy
Rabbi Yossi and Rivkie Chesney – Rabbi Chesney is the Executive Director of Slater Torah Academy. Mrs. Chesney is the director of Jewish Preschool of the Arts at Slater Torah Academy.

Chabad of Baton Rouge
Rabbi Peretz and Mushka (nee Rivkin – daughter of Zelig and Bluma) Kazen – Directors of Chabad of Baton Rouge and LSU.

Chabad of Southern Mississippi
Rabbi Akiva and Hannah Hall – Directors of Chabad of Southern MS and Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel – Gulfport.

Our partners: None of these institutions and initiatives would be possible without our many partners who empower us and believe in our cause.

I hope that this has been helpful to further acquaint our community with the Chabad of Louisiana team. We are privileged to serve this community and look forward to engaging with each and every one of you as the opportunity arises.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Chazak, Chazak, V'Nitchazek!

The prevalent Jewish custom is that upon finishing one of the five books of the Torah, the entire congregation declares, “Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek - Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened.”

The thrice repeated theme implies a sense of permanence. In Judaism something that is done three times becomes the accepted norm. Kohelet teaches (4:12) “A threefold cord is not easily broken.” This is the obvious explanation for the triple expression of “Chazak – be strong.”

However, nothing in Judaism is random. I would like to explore this a little deeper and apply what we discover, to the current situation facing Jewish people in Israel and around the world.

There are two sources of origin for this expression. One from Deuteronomy/Joshua where G-d tells Joshua (through Moses and then directly) “Chazak V’ematz – be strong and resolute.” The second is from Samuel II (10:12) where the two generals of King David’s army say to one another, “Chazak V’nitchazek – be strong and let us be strengthened.”

The first Chazak is to be strong with regards to Torah. This is an instruction to strengthen our Judaism via the study of Torah and observance of Mitzvot.

The second Chazak is in the context of war. Israel was attacked by the armies of Amon and Aram. Yoav the military commander of David’s armies, says to his brother, Avishai, a fellow general and warrior, “Let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our G-d.”

Jewish people today are facing a challenge. The war in Israel has brought to the fore that our very identities as Jews are under threat. We must respond on two interdependent fronts. Chazak! We must be strong and proud as Jews. We must not cower or demonstrate weakness about our Jewishness. How do we successfully accomplish this? By engaging in the second Chazak! We are strong in our Judaism. We increase our Torah and Mitzvot. We seek out and implement avenues of Jewish connectivity. We are more engaged in our Jewish communities. We are more visible about our Jewish practices and observances.

Then there is “V’nitchazek – Let us be strengthened.” At any given time, I may need to be strengthened by you or you may need to draw strength from me. When one of us is feeling vulnerable, someone else must be their source of strength. We must be there for each other.

The secret of our people’s strength and vitality is the Torah which connects us to Hashem. Thus, when we complete a book in the Torah, we draw strength from that completion. The triple declaration of Chazak affirms this and reminds us from whence we derive our power.

So, my dear fellow Jews, I say to you, and you say to me: Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek! Indeed, let us draw strength from the Torah to be resolute in our Jewishness and our Judaism. A strength that is more powerful than any foe we may face, and a vitality that enables us to overcome any threat and vulnerability we experience.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

It's All About The Benjamins!

As the war in Gaza continues, I have heard from fellow Jews who are starting to get uncomfortable with defending what Israel is doing. I would like to explain why standing strong for defense of Jewish life is so critical and mandatory for us now more than ever.

They say, “It’s all about the Benjamins.” No, this is not a Rabbi peddling antisemitic tropes. (Besides, I thought that a trope is a note for chanting from the Torah...) Way before Benjamin Franklin adorned the $100 bill, there was another Benjamin. He was an innocent Jew who was being held hostage by, what appeared to be, an enemy force in the Middle East. I refer to Benjamin the youngest of the 12 tribes of Israel. When the viceroy of Egypt threatened to keep him as a slave/prisoner, his older brothers came to his defense, arguing on his behalf and threatening to take military action if he was not released. The spokesman of the brothers, Judah, gave justification for why he was risking his life and threatening to attack for the sake of this one “lad.” He declared, “For your servant assumed responsibility for the boy from my father.” He guaranteed his father Jacob, that he would ensure the young man’s safe return home. The Hebrew word for guaranteed is Arav.

Over 3,300 years ago we stood at Mount Sinai and accepted the Torah. Along with the Torah came the mandate of Arvut, responsibility to one another. Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Lazeh – all Jews are responsible for one another. We are literally brothers to one another. As such, when one of us is in danger, or when one of us has been hurt or killed, G-d forbid, we regard it as very close and personal. This is not a danger to someone across the world with whom I have no connection. This is not an attack on a group of people in a remote country thousands of miles away. This is my little brother for whom I took responsibility.

We should be and are pained for the loss of all human life. But can we be faulted for taking the attack against our own brother more personally? Every hostage in Gaza is my little brother Benjamin. Each of the millions of Jews in danger of an attack by terrorists in Israel, is my little brother Benjamin. Each Jew around the world that is threatened by antisemites and the “useful idiots” who enable them via moral equivocation, is my little brother Benjamin.

We must each declare as Judah did, “For your servant assumed responsibility for the boy from my father.” We all took responsibility before our Supreme Father for our little brother Benjamin. You’d better believe we are taking this personal. You’d better believe we are standing strong for defense of Jewish life in Israel and around the world. You’d better believe we have no room for moral equivocation. We are talking about our little brother Benjamin.

If you start to feel the creep of discomfort inching up your conscience about the war in Gaza, remember that we are talking about a threat against your little brother Benjamin. This is not an academic discussion about who has the right to the land. We simply cannot stand by as a single Jewish life is lost, how much more so when the lives of millions are at stake.

Remember our action plan! (Copied below). Do your part! May Hashem bless us all with peace and protection; and bring redemption to our world through the coming of Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page 
https://onemitzvah.org/israel/chabad-louisiana
Add your Mitzvah today!

  • Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah.
  • Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 4:48 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them.
  • Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up.
  • Tzedakah: www.chabad.org/helpisrael is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see www.jewishnola.com for the Jewish Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.
  • Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.
  • Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll – www.chabadneworleans.com/332998. The Unity Torah for people of all ages – www.chabadneworleans.com/409282.
  • Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. Check out the upcoming course Advice For Life – www.chabadneworleans.com/jli.
  • Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info, www.chabadneworleans.com/mikvah

A Minyan at the Smoothie King Center

It has been a whirlwind of a Chanukah. Beautiful events throughout the week drawing record crowds of people looking to connect with their Jewishness and the Chanukah holiday. Hundreds came to the Spanish Plaza – Riverwalk on the first night of Chanukah to participate in the annual lighting of the Menorah. Meaningful words and a moving tribute to the IDF infused the festive lighting and celebration that surrounded it with heartfelt meaning.

Photos of Chanukah @ Riverwalk by Gil Rubman, and other Chabad of Louisiana Chanukah events can be found at www.chabadneworleans.com/5781854.

A photo spread from the Time Picayune can be found at: https://www.nola.com/multimedia/photos/photos-menorah-lit-at-spanish-plaza-on-the-first-day-of-chanukah/collection_306b8388-9573-11ee-adbb-7fbaf2c6ee89.html#1

Coverage from WWLTV of the event can be found at: https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/local-jewish-community-celebrates-chanukah-at-spanish-plaza-at-the-riverwalk/289-874b5cdf-cb67-48cc-969a-8201179646d2.

The Mobile Menorah Parade Saturday night was a big hit with the viewers along the streets of New Orleans. We made a stop at Margaret Pl where a JNOLA Chanukah party was taking place, and they all came out to watch the parade drive by. A similar stop was made at BJ’s Lounge where the Klezmer All Stars were playing.

Public Menorah lightings in Metairie, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Jackson and Gulfport, MS along with events at multiple hospitals, senior centers, and schools, really brought the spirit of Chanukah to thousands of people in the region.

One unique event this year was the Chanukah event before the Pelicans game at the Smoothie King Center on Monday night. The large group that attended the Kosher pregame and Menorah lighting was treated to great food and the Chanukah spirit. (See photo gallery). There was even a Minyan for Maariv right before the game near the Menorah lighting. Gabe, our Jewish contact at the Pelicans, was gushing about how meaningful it was to him for a Minyan taking place in the Smoothie King Center and how excited he was about his role in coordinating the event.

Which brings to mind the irony of having a Chanukah event at a sports arena. The Greeks originated the concept of sports arenas. Chanukah celebrates not only the victory in battle against the (Syrian) Greek army, but more importantly the spiritual victory in the struggle over the soul of the Jewish people. For many years Greek culture (Hellenism) infiltrated the land of Israel and a broad segment of Jewish society. The Maccabees fought against the oppression of the Syrian Greek army, but also in the war of culture and spirituality that took place within the Jewish people themselves.

It would seem antithetical to the spirit of Chanukah to connect a holiday celebration with a sports arena. Yet, the lights of the Menorah have the power to illuminate even the “darkest of spaces.” The Menorah is kindled at night, when it is literally dark, facing the outside street, away from the brightness of a Jewish home. The lights of Chanukah are so powerful that they can not only mitigate darkness, but they can even transform that which appears antithetical to the spirit of Chanukah into a vehicle for spreading the message and spirit of this special holiday.

At a time when there seems to be an extra measure of darkness clouding our world, this year’s Chanukah celebrations were that much more poignant and meaningful.

Happy last few hours of Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Alone, But Not Lonely

A recurring theme that we are hearing over the 7 weeks since the October 7 attacks in Israel, is that Jewish people are feeling a sense of aloneness. There are many, and I reemphasize many, people who are supportive and empathetic towards Jewish people and the Israel situation. In that sense we are not lonely. But we are alone. Even our best friends and supporters, who truly empathize with us over this situation, cannot really wrap their minds around the depth and degree to which these attacks have touched us. The deep visceral reaction that Jews have to the events since that Simchat Torah morning, is not something relatable to most people.

Why is it that events in a locale 6,000 miles away affect us so deeply? Even if that is our ancestral land and place of our heritage, why are we so inexorably linked to what is happening there? Especially since for many of us, the last time our ancestors lived there was 1,800 years ago. Many ethnic groups care about what happens in the land of their origin, but for it to turn your world over, and 1,800 years later?

In this week’s Parsha we read about our patriarch Yaakov. On his way to Israel after 20 years in Charan, faced with the prospect of confronting his brother who hated him, he returns to a previous encampment to pick up some forgotten housewares. The Torah states: “Jacob remained alone, and a man (angel) wrestled with him until daybreak.” The Midrash explains that Yaakov’s “aloneness” echoes another verse that employs the same term. (Isaiah 2:11) “the L-rd shall be exalted alone on that day.” G-d is alone. Jacob is alone. In fact, Baalam, the hated sorcerer and enemy of the Jewish people, refers to the people of Israel in his curse that turned into a blessing, as “a nation that dwells alone.”

We are not lonely. We have many friends and good people of all nations that stand with us. But we are alone. Our experience cannot be understood by others because it is not explicable. Our connection to Israel, our G-d, our Torah, and each other, cannot be explained by sociologists because it defies rationalization.

There is something so deep-seated in the core-essence of our identity that compels us to connect to our G-d, our faith, our land, and our people, or risk being haunted by our disconnect at a moment when we least expect it. At times it is dormant. But there are moments where it comes flying to the forefront of our awareness with a power that we didn’t know was possible. When we forget about our core-essence, our enemies are happy to remind us about it by demonstrating that to them, a Jew is a Jew no matter what they observe or claim to believe.

We are living in unique times. The heart of the Jewish people is awakened. The core-essence of the Jewish identity is on powerful display. Let us seize the moment and see to it that every Jew has the opportunity to connect to their identity in practical everyday ways. (See the action plan below.) 

We pray for the day about which Isaiah declared “They shall neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mount, for the land shall be full of knowledge of the L-rd as water covers the seabed.”

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page 
 https://onemitzvah.org/israel/chabad-louisiana
Add your Mitzvah today!

· Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah.

· Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 4:42 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them.

· Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home, or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up.

· Tzedakah:  www.chabad.org/helpisrael is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see www.Jewishnola.com for the Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.

· Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.

· Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll –  www.chabadneworleans.com/332998. The Unity Torah for people of all ages –  www.chabadneworleans.com/409282.

· Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. 

· Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info, www.chabadneworleans.com/mikvah

· Chanukah Celebrations of Jewish Pride: Participate in a Chanukah celebration of Jewish Pride such as Chanukah @ Riverwalk.

 

From Bytes to Bricks in Baton Rouge

In the mid 1990s, a Rabbi spoke at the Shluchim conference about the fledgling work that he was doing as Chabad’s man in Cyberspace. Confused Rabbis and colleagues asked him what it was all about and where it was going. He spoke about the need for there to be someone available to engage people virtually just as we have Shluchim in locales to engage people in person. He expressed his vision for the future for which he felt he was laying the groundwork. “I see a time when using a camera and a microphone, you can give a class in one place and it will be seen around the world. I envision children being able to be part of a classroom though they live far away, by having a camera and microphone in the classroom.” This man was the founder of Chabad.org, one of the first 500 websites to be established on the world wide web, predating google, ebay, yahoo, and so many others that are so ubiquitous today. 

Alas this visionary would not live to see his vision play out. His untimely passing just a few years later, precluded him from witnessing what he predicted. Chabad.org became the gold standard of Jewish websites, with billions of visits. He is truly the father of the Jewish internet presence. 

His name was Rabbi YY Kazen. His 25th yahrtzeit is this week. His youngest son, Rabbi Peretz Kazen and his wife Mushka (my sister) established Chabad in Baton Rouge in 2015. They are embarking on a bold mission to dedicate the first Jewish institution in his memory, the YY Kazen Campus of Chabad Baton Rouge. 

If you have benefitted from any Jewish presence on the internet, he played a role in that. If you have visited chabad.org or one of its thousands of network affiliates, he played a role in that. He inspired the concept of Jewish online classes, videos, livestreaming, and was the first to digitize thousands of pages of basic Jewish texts. 

Take a moment and help make the YY Kazen Campus in Baton Rouge a reality. Visit https://raisethon.com/yyk/rivkinfamily and honor his legacy with a generous contribution to this project. 

And remember the action plan for Israel (below), which is as important as ever before.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi 
Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page 
 https://onemitzvah.org/israel/chabad-louisiana
Add your Mitzvah today!

  • Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah. I am proud to report that we have experienced a significant surge in people coming forward to lay Tefillin.

  • Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 4:43 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them. Many women have committed to light Shabbat candles in our community. This is very gratifying.

  • Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home, or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up. In New Orleans several dozen Mezuzahs have been put up in the past two weeks. We recently got a shipment of 120 additional Mezuzahs and requests are coming in strong.

  • Tzedakah:  www.chabad.org/helpisrael is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see www.Jewishnola.com for the Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.

  • Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.

  • Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll –  www.chabadneworleans.com/332998. The Unity Torah for people of all ages –  www.chabadneworleans.com/409282.

  • Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. 

  • Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info, www.chabadneworleans.com/mikvah

GoPro Judaism

The story goes that the mission to Mars is finally successful. As the astronauts emerge from the spacecraft that brought them to the red planet, they look up and see a structure with a sign bearing a Menorah symbol on the outside that reads, “Welcome to Chabad on Mars.”

Yesterday several IDF soldiers brought printing apparatus into Gaza and printed a Gaza Tanya. The idea was to bring an infusion of spiritual light into a place that has been a hub of darkness for far too long. This echoed the Rebbe’s call to print a Tanya in Lebanon in the early 80s, during the original conflict in Lebanon.  

With the assault of negativity to which we are subjected regularly regarding the war, it is critical to share positive stories and demonstrate the avalanche of positivity that is ongoing. Of course, remember the action plan (included below).

A Chabad Shliach who was called up to reserve duty, serving near the northern border, shared a video of himself and colleagues in an Israeli Arab school teaching the kids the song, Thank You Hashem, translated into Arabic, Shukran A-llah. The children and their teacher were enthusiastically singing along and clapping.

My daughter Chana, who is in Israel, told me that she and a group of friends went to a nearby army base and did a Challah bake with the female IDF soldiers this week. She also mentioned, that wherever they go, they take Shabbat candle kits along to distribute. They never have enough. People are so awakened to Jewish connection right now.

This was on full display in DC this week, where tens of thousands put on tefillin, prayed, took Shabbat candles, and did Mitzvot during the rally. Someone posted a picture on social media of a group of Jews wearing Tefillin and doing a minyan before the event started. One of the comments on the post was from a non-Jew who wrote, “I love that they are wearing GoPros on their heads.”

So, I did some quick research into the origin of GoPro and discovered that the founder of GoPro created the camera to help him and his friends who were aspiring to become professional surfers. He merged his passion for professionalism with his expertise in technology and created a camera that could be worn and give high quality video even in the water and at high action speeds. The parallel is great. Mitzvot like Tefillin are our GoPro technology to become “professional Jews.”

I conclude with a story that drives home how the IDF soldiers view our prayers and Mitzvot on their behalf.

A commander called his Rabbi friend while on break from the fighting in Gaza to share the following anecdote. He walked into a command meeting that morning and noticed that everyone was shaken and disturbed. They were watching live drone footage of three tanks, each with a 12-man capacity, burning after taking a hit from enemy fire. The loss of 36 soldiers was too overwhelming to contemplate. Suddenly, a phone rings and a commander sees the cell number of a soldier in one of those units. He picks up and says, “how are you alive and calling me?” The soldier replies that he was in the lead tank, and they had a rotator belt malfunction. Realizing that they would be sitting ducks for enemy fire, they all jumped out and ran for safety. The two units behind them saw them running and assumed they were under attack, so they all jumped out and ran as well. As soon all three units were safely out of harms way, the three tanks took a hit and started burning. “Rabbi,” the commander concluded, “the prayers and Mitzvot are working. We feel the protection. Please encourage people to continue on our behalf.”

May Hashem protect those who are putting their lives on the line to defend the lives of their brothers and sisters. May Hashem bring peace and protection to Israel and the whole world. May Hashem send us Mashiach and the final Redemption, thereby eliminating all war, conflict, jealousy, and distress from our universe. Amen

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Highlights
See our page 
 https://onemitzvah.org/israel/chabad-louisiana
Add your Mitzvah today!

  • Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah. I am proud to report that we have experienced a significant surge in people coming forward to lay Tefillin.
  • Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 4:46 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them. Many women have committed to light Shabbat candles in our community. This is very gratifying.
  • Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home, or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up. In New Orleans several dozen Mezuzahs have been put up in the past two weeks. We recently got a shipment of 120 additional Mezuzahs and requests are coming in strong.
  • Tzedakah:  www.chabad.org/helpisrael is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well, see www.Jewishnola.com for the Federation’s initiatives. The main thing is to offer our support.
  • Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.
  • Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll –  www.chabadneworleans.com/332998. The Unity Torah for people of all ages –  www.chabadneworleans.com/409282.
  • Study Torah: Join a Torah class or study on your own. Register for The World of Kabbalah and introduce the calm that comes from the power of Torah knowledge into your life. For the uptown course www.chabadneworleans.com/jli. For the Metairie course www.jewishlouisiana.com/jli.
  • Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info, www.chabadneworleans.com/mikvah

 

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