GoPro Judaism

Friday, 17 November, 2023 - 10:51 am

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
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: 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 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 – The Unity Torah for people of all ages –
  • 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 For the Metairie course
  • Take a tour of a Mikvah and explore the secret to Jewish family purity and harmony. For more info,


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