I was expecting guests/friends from out of town for Shabbos yesterday. I felt bad that I had to teach at the time they would arrive, so I set the task to my children to greet them and show them to their room.
I returned at 9pm, and greeted them and by 10pm it was time to bake the challah for Friday, and I asked my friend Esther and her husband Gary if they wanted to join. “Sure, said Esther, I’ve never baked challah before. So we poured ourselves a glass of wine, and set to the task. I explained to Esther that our Jewish bread is called challah, because, it is the name of a portion of our bread dough that is given to the cohen/priest in the time of the holy temple. Like Terumah, which is a portion of our belongings which we give to the for the benefit of the building of the mishkan/the temporary temple which we carried in the desert, the challah reminds us that our bread, as is everything in our lives, comes from G-d and we have to acknowledge and give thanks to G-d for all that we have.
Oh the joy, of watching Esther do the mitzvah for the first time, doing it with her, and my thoughts went to my neighbors Chanie and Zalman Wolowik, the Rabbi and Rebbetzin of the Chabad of the Five Towns, who dedicate their lives, and that of their children and household, to bring the joy of Judaism to the Five Towns. When they discuss the opportunities they have to bring Jewish souls closer to G-d, their faces light up with the joy mixed in with the Jewish spirit.
So it was this past Sukkoth, for a month actually, that there was a million dollar RV, recreational vehicle parked on our street, plugged into the Wolowik house. A man decided to become religious, and he spent the full month dedicated to learning more about Judaism, which culminated in his having a circumcision, having mezuzahs placed in his RV and having his granite kitchen koshered.
In all kinds of weather, Rabbi Meir and Hadassah Geisinsky stand on a corner near Hewlett middle school, bringing joy to the teenage students as they walk to their lunch. Sharing hot cocoa, challah, jokes and activities with them.
Last week, was the women’s gathering in Crown Heights of all the tens of thousands of Jewish Rebbetzin shluchot/emissaries from around the world, who come to receive inspiration and inspire each other. Had their been a blackout in NYC, the light from these holy women, would have lit up the city.
When Chabad came to the five towns almost 25 years ago, I thought to myself, why would Chabad come here when we have so many shules already? Among the beauty that they have added to the community are the following:
The Levi Yitzchak Jewish lending library, in memory of their son, Levi Yitzchak, obm, who died nine years ago, at the age of nine.
Open Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur services, where you don’t have to pay to pray.
Sukkoth fair in Cedarhurst Park
Chanukkah lighting in Cedarhurst Park and daily Chanukkah activities
Multi-media Purim Megillah reading with Megillah readings on the hour at night and during the day.
Communal Passover Seder
Lag B’omer fair in the park
And year round activities and classes for Jews at every stage of life.
In this week’s torah portion, G-d asks us to give a part of our lives for the community temple, I ask that you do the same this week for Chabad’s annual dinner coming up next Sunday, February 25th. Because, while I ask you to give a part of your sustenance to Chabad, Chanie and Zalman have given their entire lives dedicated to HKBH, and His work, to bring the joy of Judaism to every soul. CLICK HERE TO DONATE. Give your terumah for the temple that supports our entire community.