Friday, May 27, 2011

The Israeli Heart

Friday, May 20, 2011

Add a bit of Shabbat to YOUR Life!!


Celebrating Shabbat is meant to bring peace, joy and beauty into your life - and refreshment to your soul.
Shabbat is a great institution.  You work hard all week and then, come Friday evening, you stop rushing about and instead you turn away from the noise and blare of the Real World and pull in towards a deeper, quieter, more contemplative time - you rest and relax and enjoy and partake of ancient prayers and rituals, great ideas and ideals and share meals with warm, good people - such as your family and friends. 
Friday Night Live is an intimate and creative service filled with spirited singing, interesting discussion, and a warm and welcoming community -not to mention the kiddush following the program.

"Friday Night Live" was initially created in 2010 to bring unaffiliated Jews together to celebrate Shabbat. Blending traditional prayers with inspiring speakers and joyful singing, this weekly service now attracts over thirty people of all ages to Boca Raton Synagogue. Friday Night Live is the place to be on Shabbat. Following services everyone is welcome to join us for a Kiddush of cookies and refreshments and dialogue with visiting guests and participants. If you have never been to the program before, please join us this evening at 6:00pm. I can't wait to see all of you and share the experience I just had on the March of the Living in Poland and Israel.

Please read below and see inspirational articles and videos and don't forget to check out!!!

Inspire yourself to inspire others...

Shabbat Shalom and may God bless you.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back in the USA but not in Boca

What an amazing week it's been! After spending a week in Poland and seeing the horrors of the Holocaust with survivors and teens from our community, the March of the Living traveled to Israel to see and learn about the birth of the State. We spent Shabbos in Jerusalem and brought dozens of students to the Kotel for the first time in their lives. We joined a minyan of Israeli soldiers for an incredible Kabbalat Shabbat, met Matisyahu and had a special class at Aish Hatorah. We toured Masada and the Dead Sea, hiked in Ein Gedi, assisted in the Carmel Forest and met with Gilad Shalit's father and brother. On Yom Hazikaron, Israel's memorial day, we participated in meaningful community ceremonies while hearing the national siren. And finally when Yom Ha'atzmaut began I got to see thousands of teenagers from around the world rejoicing for one thing and one thing only - Judaism! Please let me know if you are interested in participating next year, and encourage your friends who have teenagers in local public schools to visit for more information. If you haven't had a chance to listen to hear the live broadcast from Poland and Israel, please visit or

Now that the March of the Living 2011 is over it's time to turn my attention to the next program. I am going to be in New York for Shabbos a JSU/TJJ (The Jerusalem Journey) conference to meet the rest of the staff who will be joining me on this awesome trip to Israel this summer. There are almost 350 public school teens that have signed up and I know that this will be an experience that they will never forget. I am going to do everything I can to try and get as many teens as I can to go on an Israel experience because I know that it has a huge impact on the Jewish Future.

I really expected to be back in Boca for Shabbos, but unfortunately for the Friday Night Live crew, I will not be able to be at the program this evening. But I will be back in Florida for the next program next Friday night and I cant wait to see all of you again. I miss you guys!!!

Inspire yourself to inspire others...

Shabbat Shalom and may God bless you.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BRS Yom Hashoah Program - Live from Poland

Its almost 1am in Krakow and as you just heard from Ariella and Alex, we just spent the day at Auschwitz and Birkinau. Both camps are incredibly large and each year, I find that there are always new area’s to visit.

One of those new places that we have never been to… was an area of Birkenau that is often locked and off limits to visitors. I am referring to the Women’s barracks and the Children’s Barracks. The women’s barracks were used as a holding area until space opened in the crowded gas chambers. Because they were already issued a death sentence, they had to live in the barracks with absolutely no food or water and often died due to starvation, even before they made it to the Gas chambers.

The second place was the children’s barracks, just imagine a large, dark wooden structure that was freezing cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer, and all it contained were wooden beds that 5 children had to share.

This was a place for little children who had been torn away from their parents upon arrival and had no one to turn to anymore. There was no mommy or daddy to run too when they were scared at night and no parents to help them when they were in pain. As we entered the fridged cold building we all reflected on the emotions we were feeling and then sang a song together.

At that moment it started to pour and we got up to Daven Mincha. You could hear and feel the children tears pouring down from heaven as they hit the roof.

There was no doubt in any of our minds that these children were comforted by the special prayers that were offered in their barracks – the Children’s Barracks.

I must tell you that the group of teenagers that are on our bus from WYHS, Donna Klein, and JSU clubs from local public and private high schools are a very special group.

I want to thank Rabbi Goldberg for his support of the March of the Living and also Dan Katz and the Executive Board and Board of Directors of Boca Raton Synagogue. I also want to thanks Simone for letting me go once again on this special trip and my mom and kids for helping while I’m away.

You – the members of Boca Raton Synagogue - should be very proud because for the second year in a row BRS is the only local synagogue in Palm Beach County to send a Rabbi to support the emotional and religious needs of the teenagers.

Finally, as we are about to leave in morning for the actual March of the Living – and walk arm in arm from Aushwitz to Birkenau - with 8,000 teenagers from around the world, I would just like to thank and acknowledge all of the survivors in our community for continuing to be a source of strength and inspiration to all of us and especially the youth.

We are here to make sure that there will be a bright Jewish Future.

Never Forget...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Shema Yisroel Story

A Day in Auschwitz and Birkenau

After a two-hour drive from the hotel in Krakow, we arrived at Auschwitz. Although this is the fifth time that I have been to the Concentration camp, you can never get used to the experience. To think that you are touring a place of mass murder is just unthinkable. Today was particularly cold and it began to rain, which always makes the experience a lot more meaningful. You could hear everyone complained about the weather, but soon enough you realize that all you have to do is brave the elements for a few hours, while the people living in the camps had to endure it for a lot longer. Auschwitz is so big that every time I visit I end up seeing something new that I hadn’t seen in the past.

After Auschwitz we visited Birkenau or as it is also known - Auschwitz II. Birkinau is much larger and was the essential killing machine of the Nazi's. Approximately 8,000 Jews were sent to the gas chambers and then burned in the Crematoria every single day. We visited the bunkers where approximately 800 people spent their days, in the freezing cold of winter and the hot summers. The conditions were terrible and the fact that anyone survived is a miracle. For the first time, I visited the women's barracks, place that they literally left women to die, by not feeding them anything. Finally we ended our stay in Birkenau by visiting the children’s barracks. This was extremely hard to see, but at the same time it became the most moving experience so far. While we were waiting for the other bus group to join us we all sat on the floor and I told our group a story about Reb Lazer Silver and how he would attempt to rescue young children after the Holocaust. We then sang "Kol Ha'olam". When the other bus arrived Rabbi Meir Tennenbaum told the story of children who lived in the very barrack that we were in and spoke about the fact that on Rosh Hashana they went to ask their Rebbi if he could come and blow the Shofar for them, and when he agreed they asked if they could daven. At that moment we all got up to daven Mincha, probably the very first Mincha that had been said in those barracks since those children uttered the prayer.

After dinner we arrived at a hall to hear a number of survivors tell their true-life stories.

Tomorrow is the March of the Living 2011.

Headed to Auschwitz

We spent Shabbos in the city of Krakow and had an opportunity to hear from the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau. He spoke about the Mitzvah of Ve'ahavta L'reyacha K'mocha and the challenges that we face when it comes to loving our neighbor as much as we love "ourselves". This is a lot easier said than done and he gave 3 different suggestions. First, this is not the beginning but the conclusion of 18 other verses that are each a step in the right direction. First stop hating them etc...
Last night we went to the Concentration Camp known as Plashow for a ceremony and Havdalah.

We are about to leave for Auschwitz...