Rabbi's Blog

The Jewish Awakening

Over the last few weeks we are seeing a tremendous awakening of the Jewish soul, all over the world. This, along with a natural surge in Jewish solidarity and unity, is turning out to be one of the most positive result of the heartrending events that have taken place in Israel.

Each and every one us contributes and is part of this. 

I want to encourage everyone to continue in this direction. The greatest answer to the vicious attacks is to unleash the Yiddishe Neshama (Jewish Soul) within. To unleash that desire, passion, drive, to uncover and embrace all things Jewish. The Torah, Mitzvot, connection with the Al-mighty, to take the side of goodness and G-dliness and ultimately to transform the world for the good. 

Together, we will overcome the darkness and ultimately reveal the greatest goodness and light the world has ever known.

Message to our community on events in Israel

All of us are shocked and horrified by the events that have taken place in Israel.

Israel is facing a war cast upon it by a most savage enemy, who commits barbaric atrocities against men, women and children in Israel, the likes of which we have not seen since the second world war. 

Every one of us is outraged. Anyone who cares about the most basic morality, the most elementary concepts of right and wrong, is outraged.

I'd like to share with you a few points:

First, we must understand what we are seeing. 

We are witnessing hatred of Jews that is not very different than the hatred that has existed for thousands of years. It has come in different forms, and with different excuses, but it is essentially the same.

Yet, despite the thousands of years of hate, the Jewish people are here. And that, as many have pointed out, is one of the greatest miracles of all. A testament, in the darkness, that there's a higher power. And a reminder, that ultimately, goodness will win and righteousness will reign.

We must not allow the evil terrorists to fill us with fear, for that is exactly what they want. Instead, all good people everywhere must strengthen their resolve to defeat this evil scourge. At the same time, we must strengthen our confidence and trust in the One Above, for ultimately all is in His hands. And it is with that Divine blessing that we will succeed, that Israel and the side of goodness and righteousness will succeed. 

We must speak the truth and speak up, loudly and publicly. Although the atrocities are simply acts of hate and have nothing to do with land, but the claim is made as if the attackers of the Jews have a rightful claim, and it misleads many. The facts are true and undeniable. The Land of Israel is the eternal homeland of Am Yisrael, the Jewish nation. There is no nation on earth that has a more reliable claim to its land, as the Jewish people have. Our deed of ownership is literally in the Bible, the Torah. From every perspective: whether historic, legal, spiritual and moral, the fact that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation and to them alone, is irrefutable. We must internalize this truth, understand it and share it, and when we do, it will also be respected by the nations of the world.

As Jews we know that the physical and spiritual are deeply connected. 

When our people are attacked, we must come together, both inside and out. First of all, by increasing in Jewish unity and Ahavat Yisrael – loving our fellow Jew – for our biggest strength and blessing comes through unity. Second by awakening the Jewish soul within, invigorating our bond with G-d, our Creator and Protector, whose Providence is with us at every moment, by enhancing, if even just modestly, in our Torah and Mitzvot.

While the security forces answer the highest calling, risking their lives to protect the innocent, we must do our part to back them up, not only with all the material support that we can possibly send their way, but also, and especially, in the spiritual area where each one of us, no matter where we are in the world, can make a difference. 

When we pray or dedicate a good deed to our brothers and sisters in Israel, we create a spiritual defense shield for them that will help them through difficult and dangerous times.

See our website for links to send support to those who need it most and links to online mitzvah campaigns.

With prayers for complete victory and for the speedy arrival of the ultimate and complete redemption.

Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler
Director, Chabad of the Bay Area

Visit w/ Governor for signing of Education & Sharing Day

RYS w Governor Abbott 2023.jpgIt was an honor this week to visit with Governor Greg Abbott together with a delegation of Chabad rabbis from across Texas, for the signing of Education and Sharing Day.

The governor received us very graciously and in addition to signing the formal proclamation, also set the tone by performing a physical act of charity and sharing, handing all of us a coin to place in the ARK charity box on his desk.
Education and Sharing Day USA is marked across the country annually on the birthday of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, in recognition to his work in this area. It will be celebrated this year on Sunday, April 2nd - The Rebbe's birthday, corresponding to the 11th of Nissan.

Small Miracles Abound at Public Menorah Lightings

“What’s happening here?” A 15 year old kid passing with his friends, asks my wife Malky, as she was putting the finishing touches on the refreshments table for the Menorah lighting at Pearland Town Center Mall. “We’re celebrating Chanukah, a Jewish holiday,“ she explains.

“Oh, we read about in Anne Frank,” he proudly shares.

Another one of the teens speaks up: "I think my grandma used to light those candles," he reminisces.

Sure enough, it’s his mom’s mother that he’s speaking of. He and his friends were soon laden with doughnuts and chocolate gelt, and the boy who just discovered that he’s Jewish, was given his own Menorah to kindle when he got home.

And this was before we even lit the main Menorah. Just setting up.

Stories like these abound at public Menorah lightings.

There are many reasons for the kindling of the public Menorahs initiated by the Rebbe. But first and foremost, it would be for the uncountable number of souls touched and inspired; nearly lost heritages, Jewish identities, re-discovered and re-ignited.

And non-Jewish people, as well, are inspired by the universal message of the Menorah, and moved by the gentle radiance of its sacred light.

That’s why we’ll spend night after night of this beautiful holiday, not around the table with our family, but running public Menorah lightings and celebrations across our area. Programs that take much time, expense and effort to put on. Why do we do it? Because who can possibly put a price on the Jewish pride it generates, on the souls inspired, heritages rediscovered and lives changed for the better by the glow cast by the Menorah’s light, lights that still bring on miracles, ‘in those days’ and ‘at this time.’

As we celebrate all eight lights on this final day of Chanukah, I invite you to come and partner with us ( in kindling ever more light, not just during Chanukah, but all year round. Your support and partnership will make all the difference.

The world is delicately balanced between good and the opposite, Maimonides famously taught, one more good deed, word or even thought, has the power to tip the scales, to change the tide and help usher in the foretold age of redemption, Geulah, for each one of us and for the entire world. Let’s tip those scales.

Let’s share the light!

Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler
Chabad of the Bay Area TX

See original post on Facebook 

Response to Uvalde

I was interviewed by the Jewish News Service - they were getting rabbi's responses to the horrific Uvalde school shooting. 

This is what they included from what I shared:

Offering a listening ear in the aftermath of a school shooting is something that Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler of League City, Texas, knows a little about. In May 2018, 10 people were killed in a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas—just a 15-minute drive from his home. As a rabbi and chaplain, Schmukler was on hand the next day to help offer counseling and spiritual support.

“Interestingly enough, some of the people who needed support were the counselors themselves, some of whom came from other parts of the country to help. A school shooting is hard on everyone, including those who are there to give answers,” he said.

The rabbi, who is a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to League City near Houston, believes strongly that the time has come to focus on morals and ethics in all schools, including public schools.

“There is something very deeply wrong when this is happening, not only in society, but to children,” he said, “and if any goodness comes out, it is to take heed and see how to increase the moral and ethical education that our children are receiving; the accountability to a higher power; and a sense of right vs. wrong, no matter how aggrieved one feels.”

He also suggested that adults empower children to find ways to answer the “darkness” with goodness.

“Find ways for children to volunteer,” he said, “to do an act of kindness, visit a senior, get involved in a way to channel their fear and concern.”

See here for original newstory as published in various Jewish newspapers. 

A Toast to Truly Breaking Free!

The message of Passover is that we are not enslaved. Not to a foreign power and neither to the foreign forces that tend to want lock us down from within. 

Every person is free by virtue of being created in the Divine image. And when G-d took us out of Egypt he declared, 'The children of Israel are my servants to Me' - subservient to G-d and to no one else. When only G-d is above us, it means we have the full freedom and responsibility to live up to our amazing G-d given potential. 

In life, we often make excuses for ourselves and our own shortcomings. Pesach says, no need for excuses, you have the power of personal freedom. Live up to who you can be and who you truly are inside!

The Rebbe taught us that the final barrier we must break in order to bring the Torah's prophesied era of Geulah (Redemption) is the one where we finally learn to overcome our own internal Mitzrayim - our own internal Egypt. When we do, we bring a personal Geulah to our ourselves and soon, as a result, a cascading complete Geulah for all humanity. 

L'Chaim, may we open those internal gates and break free as we enjoy the four cups, matzah and delve into the Haggadah!

Wishing you and yours a Happy, Kosher and Redemptive Passover!

Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler
Director, Chabad of the Bay Area

Ukraine - Time for a better world!

The world watches in trepidation as a terrible war unfolds in Ukraine. 

We are all praying for peace there and in the entire world. A world that has known too much war. It is time that people and nations learn to truly respect one another and learn to resolve differences as human beings are meant to, through dialogue, mutual respect and understanding, based on the G-d given universal principles of morality and goodness. 

It is a reminder that the world needs, we all need, what the Torah promises us, the era of Geulah/Redemption. A time when mankind will live together in peace and cooperation, and will focus on bringing out the true beauty of G-d's creation, making this place a beautiful home for the Divine reality. 

We can take positive action, through increasing in activities that bring more light, goodness and kindness into the world. Do a good deed, help another person in need, give Tzedakah (a daily mitzvah), increase the spiritual light in your own home with Shabbat candles, Kiddush and the sacred Shabbat, and add in prayer and Torah study.  

A central fund has been setup to help Jewish communities acrossUkraine, see here for more info:

May we blessed with a peaceful Shabbat, a truly joyous month of Adar and a Spring of true redemption with the coming of Moshiach speedily!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler 


Our hearts are once again broken by a terrible tragedy, the collapes of the residential tower in Surfside, FL. We all join in hope and prayer that survivors will still be uncovered and saved. 

To give Tzedakah to help families with relief supplies click here

Here is a link to Psalms 20. Please include the following names in your prayers:

Moshe ben Toba
Moshe ben Shoshana
Ariel Leib ben Ita
Ilan ben Kalman
Leib ben Shoshana
Chaim ben Sara
Malka bas Sara Rochel
Yisroel Tzvi Yosef ben Toba
Ita bas Miriam
Tzvi Daniel ben Yehudis
Sara bat Ida
Nancy bas Sofia
Franky ben Nancy
Jay ben Nancy
Deborah bat Haia
Yehuda Arye Ben Feiga Rivka
Rut bat Sara
Nicole bat Andrea
Mikael ben Hans
Gabriela bat Sara
Linda bas Clara
Ilan ben Ronit
Deborah bat Clara
Yaakov Reuvein HaCohen ben Devorah
Tzvi hakohen ben Devorah
Estella bas Linda Leah
Lein ben Ilana
Debora bat Sara
Yehudis bas Dvora

A very meaningful Yahrtzeit coming up

This Sunday, June 13, Tammuz 3, world Jewry will mark the 27th anniversary of the Rebbe's passing.

It also marks the 40th completion of the worldwide cycle of study of Maimonides' main work, Mishna Torah. 

In invite you to join us this Tuesday at Chabad of the Bay Area as we join in a worldwide program of story and song reflecting 

Unity and light

At a time when our sisters and brothers in the Land of Israel once again find themselves under attack, let us remember:

We stand together as a People. We unite and give each other strength. 

We speak up for truth and morality.

We increase the light by doing Mitzvot and joining in Torah study, prayer and charity.

We yearn and ask G-d for a healed world and a perfected world, to see the fulfillment of the Torah's promise of Redemption, speedily in our days.


The world Jewish community is reeling from the tragedy that occurred last night, on the eve of Lag B’omer, at Mt. Meron, in the Holy Land of Israel. 

We mourn and grieve the loss of so many lives, which took place at this joyous, historic event. Our hearts are with the families and the communities of the bereaved. May G-d console them, and heal the terrible heartbreak in our midst.

Lag B’omer is a day marked by expressions of Jewish unity. In unity, we elicit Divine blessings. Let us join in together to do an extra Mitzvah to honor the lives lost and pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

May the unity of the Jewish people, especially on Lag B’omer, bring true healing to the grieving families and to all of us who grieve with them. We pray for an end to all pain and suffering with the ushering in of the Geulah - the ultimate redemption.

Welcoming a 'Wonder-Full' Year of 5781!

Oh, how we want this to be a good new year...

How about year of Revealed Wonders?! Wouldn't that be good?

In a teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, back in 1991, he talked about how that year, 5751, would be a year of wonders and miracles. Indeed, many incredible changes on the world stage happened at that time, including Israel's miraculous imperviousness to the attack of Iraqi Scud missiles. 

In that teaching, the Rebbe wrote a fascinating commentary related to the Hebrew letters which form the acronym for this year, of 5781. In it he stated that 'Pey Alef' (standing for '81') stand for the words "Pla'ot Ar'enu" - "He will show us wonders." Specifically describing a transformation from place of difficulty and darkness, to a state of Revealed Wonders. 

So as we welcome this new year, we are filled with optimism and hope that in this coming year we get to see a transformation from darkness to light,  from challenge to achievement, and from Exile to the Torah's promise of ultimate Redemption and goodness for all mankind. 

Shana Tova!

Rabbi Yitzchok 

Video of last night's class

Watch a video of last night's weekly Zoom/Facebook Live Torah portion class. 


Discover some of the many interesting Mitzvot in this week's Parsha! 

Making history at Friendswood City Hall

I'm grateful for having had the opportunity this week to deliver the invocation at the opening of the Friendswood City Council. You can say we made history, as I understand this the first time that a rabbi has opened for the council!

Thank you Councilman Brent Erenwert and the City Council for their gracious invitation.

If you want to see the clip, see the beginning of this video:

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