ChabadNewOrleans Blog

Gratitude: 2021 Edition

As Jews we are constantly expressing our gratitude to Hashem. We say thank you three times a day in prayer, each time we eat, drink or benefit from Hashem’s creation, and any other opportunity we might have. Since Thanksgiving has been formalized by our society as a time for expressing gratitude to Hashem, it is a nice thing to do in connection with this season as well.

Malkie and I celebrated the recent birth and bris of our son, Shneur Zalman.

We are grateful for a healthy baby and healthy mother.

We are grateful for a smooth birthing process.

We are grateful for a devoted medical team, who made the experience so pleasant. (Join me in supporting our NOLA healthcare workers by participating in the Torah scroll in their honor –

We are grateful for the nurse who shared with us that she has been involved in delivering 50,000 babies into this world.

We are grateful for the nurse who came dancing into our room calling out Mazel Tov – Baruch Hashem. She shared with us that she had done a stint up in New Jersey during one of the COVID surges and she got a heavy dose of delivering Jewish babies, while dealing with Jewish bubbies.

We are grateful for our doctor and her incredible supportiveness of our large family lifestyle.

We are grateful for our loving family and their support before, during, and since Shneur’s birth.

We are grateful for the embrace of our NOLA community as we celebrate this simcha.

We are grateful for the privilege to name our son, Shneur Zalman, after the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. He has been one of the figures in Jewish history by which I have been fascinated. His towering impact on my life and the life of anyone that has been touched by Chabad over the last 250 years, is hard to quantify. His revolutionary doctrines have transformed the way we have approached Judaism in a most powerful manner. To know that our child has the honor of bearing his name is very meaningful to us.

Chanukah begins this Sunday night. Our sages frame Chanukah as a time for praise and thanksgiving. Couldn’t have come at a better time!! I hope to see you at Chanukah @ Riverwalk Sunday night and any of the other Chanukah programs coming up over the next week or so.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

A Torah for NOLA Healthcare Heroes

We are very excited to announce that Chabad of Louisiana is partnering with the Jewish Medical Society to dedicate a new Torah Scroll for the welfare of the Healthcare Heroes in our community.

These last two years have been very challenging for the healthcare community due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. During an 18th century plague in Eastern Europe, the Baal Shem Tov spearheaded the writing of a Torah Scroll as a protection for the community in the face of the plague.

Hope, Security and Unity! These are the primary things we seek during these challenging times. As Jewish people we have always found comfort in our Torah. Every Jew is connected to the Torah and the Torah connects us with G-d, creating an unbreakable and eternal trio.

The final Mitzvah in the Torah is that every Jew own a Torah scroll or at least part of one. It is for this reason that the Rebbe, requested that Torah scrolls be written to unite Jewish people and that every Jew acquire a letter in these Torah scrolls. The prophet Daniel proclaims: "It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being. At that time, your people will be rescued, all who are found inscribed in The Book." The Rebbe explained that "The Book" alludes to a Torah Scroll that will be written for all Jewish people and in which every Jew should have a letter.

·       Honor a healthcare hero by participating in the writing of the Torah scroll in their honor.

·       Are you a member of the healthcare community? Participate in the writing of the Torah scroll as a merit for you and your family.

·       Do you know some that passed away from COVID? Participate in the writing of the Torah scroll in their memory.

·       Make this Torah scroll honoring healthcare heroes a reality by participating in the writing of the Torah scroll in their honor.

You can be a part of this special project now at

You can sponsor one of the five books of the Torah. You can dedicate a special passage, such as the prayer for healing, the doctor’s mandate, the Ten Commandments and more. Dedicate a Torah portion, an Aliyah, a verse, a word, or a letter. There is an option for everyone.

Join us for the Siyum - Conclusion and Dedication Ceremony - Sunday, Dec 19 – at the Tulane University LBC Quad, featuring Chassidic music superstar, Shulem Lemmer in concert, and a Torah parade to Chabad on Freret St.

Do not miss this amazing opportunity to honor those who have sacrificed for all of us. Go to and participate now!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

We Are Shortchanging Our Children!

Imagine that some children were the heirs to a multi-million-dollar fortune. Their wealth was set up so that some of it was easily accessible with a simple password. However, this was just a miniscule sliver of the vast riches that was theirs. To access the real extent of the fortune, there was a complex process of several steps and verifications that had to be traversed before one could get to the big bucks. Now imagine parents who only taught their children the simple password and neglected to teach them about the steps needed to access the treasure that was theirs. Take it one step further. What if those parents didn’t even bother to inform their children about the existence of the fortune altogether?

This scenario is playing out every single day in Jewish families around the world. Each Jewish child is the heir to a precious treasure called Judaism and the Torah. The treasure can give us a beautiful life of a meaningful relationship with G-d. Access to this treasure requires becoming aware of its existence and getting trained in the steps necessary along the path to luxurious enjoyment of the enrichment that this treasure can infuse into our lives.

For some odd reason, the vast majority of Jewish parents are content to give their children a superficial exposure to the training needed to access the treasure. Kids barely learn the password that gives them just mediocre benefit from what is rightfully theirs. We neglect to open them up to the endless possibilities that this fortune has to offer. They come away thinking that Judaism is about self-defense against haters, commitment to a land whose importance they don’t really appreciate, and a devotion to social justice values that are not uniquely Jewish. These ideas are even often in conflict with each other…

What about the richness of Hashem’s love for us? What about the depth of the Torah’s ageless wisdom? What about the transformative power of a Mitzvah? What about the unique insight Judaism has into human character? What about the life-altering altruism of seeing another as I see myself? What about the mystical treasures that reveal a vista to a spiritual cosmos that changes everything we know about life?

Why are we shortchanging our children? If and when they discover the treasure on their own, they will confront us with a legitimate demand, wanting to know why we cheated them!

The reason might be that we weren’t told about it ourselves. But ignorance is not bliss. Start exploring the treasure that is yours, and don’t delay for a moment sharing this discovery with your children. They will bless you for all eternity for giving them the most precious gift in the world.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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