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News & Shmooze

Tuesday Night: Live Class via Zoom

LIVE VIDEO CLASS:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Via Zoom Video Conference 

Join us for a fascinating discussion on the Haggadah and spiritual support in light of current events  

We suggest getting set up with the Zoom Video Conference app in advance. It is free for you and is available for your phone, tablet or computer.

Recording of this week's class: Passover, Current Times & True Freedom!

Listen to a recording of our most recent LIVE video conf class: 

LINK TO THE AUDIO - Click here to listen or download  

Passover, Current Times & True Freedom!
Get practically and spiritually geared up for a Passover unlike any we've had before, and gain inspiration for finding freedom and peace of mind in our trying times.

Note: The first part is on the practical prep, at around the 14 minute mark we discuss spiritual inspiration re the current times.

Shmurah Matzah - Pickup Info

The Shmurah Matzah has arrived and will be available for pickup from April 1 and on. 

Please contact the rabbi directly to coordinate a time for your Matzah pickup.

It is not too late to order your box of Shmurah Matzah.  To order - use our event order form and select "Shmurah Matzah Order" from the event list. Use the number of "Adults" to select how many pounds. 

Zohar calls matzah “Bread of Faith” and “Bread of Healing.” Our great mystics explain that this is especially true with Shmurah Matzah.

Shabbat Services at Home

Let's get ready for another special home Shabbat! 

PRAYER TIMES AT HOME:
Services Friday Night: after Candle Lighting at 7:18 pm
Services Shabbat Morning: 10:00 am
Let's try to all pray at the same time, to join in the "Minyan" spiritually! 

Torah Portion:  Vayikra
We start the book of Vayikra/Leviticus. We read about the important offerings that were brought in the Mishkan and Holy Temple. In addition to their direct meaning, the sacrifices also bear a message for us today, that we should endeavor to raise up the "animal" part of ourselves and bring it into holiness as well.  May we merit to bring the offerings in the Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem very soon!

We are now in the month of Nissan. Nissan is related to the word that means Miracles. We pray and hope to see great miracles of the Redemption for us and the entire world.

How to prepare for a home Seder

By all forecasts, it looks like this year it will be all about home Seders on Passover.  But making your own Seder at home is not really that hard! And let us remember that after all, that is what the Seder is really all about. 

So we'd like to share with you some helpful information and resources to help make it easy: 

PASSOVER / SEDER PREP CHECKLIST: 

Anytime in the weeks leading up to Passover is when you Sell Your Chametz, in a 1 minute online transaction. 

Order Shmura Matzah

Haggadah: you can order online, or from Houston's Jumbo Judaica, or even Print a Haggadah before Passover. 

Get rid of Chametz / Kashering your kitchen

THINGS TO PREP FOR THE SEDER: 

  • Kosher wine or grape juice
  • Maror (bitter herbs, typically romaine lettuce and grated horseradish)
  • Vegetable for dipping (traditionally: parsley, potato or onion)
  • Saltwater (just salt and water)
  • Food for your Passover feast (make sure its Kosher for Passover)
  • Roasted bone (Chabad custom is a chicken neck, which may be easier to procure than a lamb shank)
  • Charoset (one traditional recipe includes: ground walnuts, apples, pears and a touch of Kosher wine).
  • Eggs (a cooked egg goes on the Seder plate)
  • Cutlery (either disposable or kosher for Passover)

Full Seder Shopping List

Coronavirous Pesach Resources   

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need assistance. 

Seder Provisions

We encourage everyone to act early to get their Seder provisions from the stores in Houston. Genesis, the kosher steakhouse, is one of several kosher places offering a full kosher for Passover takeout. 

If you are having trouble getting out to get the items needed, please email us at passover@jbayarea.org and we will do our best to help you get what you need.

Services at YOUR own home this Shabbat!

This Shabbat, NOT getting together for services is the MITZVAH of the hour. It is the paramount Mitzvah of protecting health and saving lives.

PRAYER TIMES AT HOME:
Services Friday Night: after Candle Lighting at 7:14 pm
Services Shabbat Morning: 10:00 am
According to Jewish law, in such a situation we endeavor to all pray at the same time, to join in the "Minyan" spiritually! 

Double Torah Portion:  Vayekhel & Pekudei
These are the last 2 portions in the book of Shemot/Exodus. In it we learn how the Israelites meticulously carried out G-d's instruction to build the Mishkan, the temple in the desert. May we merit to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash together in Jerusalem very soon!

Special Maftir & Haftorah: Hachodesh ('This Month')
The Shabbat before the new month of Nissan we read a special Maftir that speaks of the first commandment to the Jewish People, to sanctify time with a Jewish calendar.

Shabbat Chazak: We declare "Be strong, be strong, and be strengthened!" as we conclude the book of Exodus!

Shabbat Mevorchin: We bless the upcoming new month of Nissan which will begin on Thursday, March 26.
 

 

Make this Shabbat a SPECIAL SHABBAT!

I'd like to share a Facebook post by my sister, Rebbetzin Devorah Shanowitz, Westmount, QC: 

We are living in extraordinary and uncertain times. We have all been blindsided by one invisible! organism. It does not discriminate: rich or poor, famous or not; it pays no attention to nationality or background. It's an equal opportunity offender.

Science is flummoxed, economies are threatened, and governments are at loss... all because of one, invisible nasty bug.

And we are unnerved.

Our sense of control seems wrested from under us, the sureness of our footing seems to be challenged by a seismic event, caused by something not even visible to the naked eye.

But did we ever really have control? Or was it an illusion that we all bought into...'cause things were going our way?

Of all observances in Jewish life, Shabbat is the primary vehicle in which we cede control. We get off this treadmill called life, turn off the technology that drowns out our inner voice and bow to the reality that there is a Creator and Creation. We acknowledge a Divine origin and a Divine plan and we let go. We transform time and space and surrender to a Higher reality.

Jews have been practicing Shabbat for nearly 4,000 years. The adage: More than the Jew has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jew rings more true than every before. In this topsy-turvy world, where nothing seems certain, one thing stays the same: At sundown on Friday, we welcome Shabbat and we cede our sense of time, schedule and control to an eternal truth.

Ironically, this week, much of the world has been imposed into a Shabbat like reality. In Israel a strict curfew means that Shabbat will be observed in the fullest way in its 7 decade history. We are being conditioned by circumstances to yield to a reality higher than we can reach on our own.

We're experiencing a cosmic paradigm shift: Control is an illusion, gifted to us, but sometimes withheld. At this historic juncture in time, let's bow to that reality, and the freedom that it affords us.

There is a Creator and there is Creation.

And Shabbat is the most romantic, beautiful and auspicious time to acknowledge that reality.

We're all home this week. We're having dinner. All we need is some candles to kindle and a bit of wine for the Kiddush. And the acknowledgment of the gift of life, the gift of time, and the gift of a Divine plan.

In the Jewish mystical teachings, Shabbat is associated with the feminine Malchus, which represents the actualization of the Divine purpose. We Jewish women are intrinsically connected to Shabbat, and are endowed with the incredible privilege of ushering in Shabbat to our homes.

As women, perhaps we experience the instability of our world more viscerally and deeply, but we also hold the key to bring more peace, light and blessing into our homes.

So, lets do a little more Shabbat this week. The world needs the blessing of the Feminine energy that is Shabbat... and we women will help make it happen.

Let's Shabbat.

May the light and blessing that ensues, bring healing to all those in need around the world, and usher in a world healed and united in peace.

FeminineBlessing
ShabbatShalom TheWorldNeedsYourLight

Tuesday Night: Join us for an INTERACTIVE video class!

Planned for Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 pm

Topic:

PASSOVER, CURRENT TIMES & TRUE FREEDOM!

In this class we will have an opportunity to check-in with each other, get geared up spiritually, mentally and practically for a Passover unlike any we've had before, and discover new inspiration & insight for finding true freedom in our trying times!

GET THE ZOOM APP:
We plan to do our upcoming video classes using the Zoom app. This will allow us to have an interactive video discussion (audio-only option is available in the app as well). To get ready for the class, download the Zoom app (free) in advance and get it set up on your phone or computer. Go to zoom.us to get yourself set up. 

Note: this is a very easy and intuitive technology to use. 

Watch Replay of our 1st video class

Watch recording of our first LIVE video class

Spiritual Encouragement & Inspiration in the CORONA CRISIS
By Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler 
Recorded Thursday, March 19, 2020

"Seder Plans"

Now, those two words together sound really funny. SEDER + PLANS.

We all thought we can just go ahead and make our Seder plans, but G-d had another plan.

This is compelling each and every one of us to go back to the basics, back to the core. It seems G-d is telling us that this year, the most important Seder to be had is the one in our own homes, with our own family. Similar to how it was when we went out of Egypt!

We'll have more to say about that in the Tuesday night class.

But for now, please try your best to get the provisions you need as soon as possible (Randalls & HEB in Meyerland are good sources) and make the preparations for your Seder at home.

Let's try to make this year's Seder the most meaningful one ever.

PEOPLE IN NEED:
For those in need, alone, who might be limited in going out and getting the provisions, there are resources being worked on to help you out as best as possible. These might include, places to order Kosher to-go seders (from kosher restaurants or community orgs), and possibly other options as well. Please stay tuned for info. Chabad centers in the Houston area are working together with other community organizations to help out in this area.

If you are able to volunteer to help someone who is home-bound, please email us as well.

If you are able to contribute towards this, please visit: jbayarea.org/give (indicate Passover in the note field). 

Message to the Community - Re Coronavirus

Dear Friends,

We'd like to share some information and thoughts in light of the current coronavirus situation. Firstly, we'd like to wish everyone, stay safe and healthy! 

Please remember to call and check in on people who might be living alone and in need of assistance.

We will not be holding services this Shabbat. This is in accordance with professional guidance to help minimize community spread. As of now, this is for this week only, we will reassess as we go along.

G-d Willing, we plan to offer live video classes during the week.

On a spiritual note:

The physical and spiritual are interconnected. Everything comes from above. While we need to take all necessary steps to physically protect ourselves and our community, we do well to also strengthen ourselves spiritually.

Some suggestions:

  • Daily prayer & recitation of Tehillim (Psalms)
  • Increased Tzedaka and acts of kindness
  • Torah study
  • Each in our own way take steps to strengthen Mitzvot like Shabbat, Kosher, Tefillin and Mezuzah.

Finally, if there's any support or assistance you need, physically, emotionally or spiritually, please don't hesitate to contact us.

May this worldwide challenge pass as best as possible, and may we speedily usher in the era of Geulah/Redemption for all mankind!

Rabbi Yitzchok & Malky Schmukler
Chabad of the Bay Area
rabbi@jbayarea.org / 281-724-1554

 PS Some additional points:

  • Specific Psalms might recommend: 23, 91 & 121. You may also join in the reading of daily Psalms as it is divided by the days of the month.
  • Re Mezuzah scrolls and Tefillin, it is important to ensure that they are in kosher condition, for even if they were properly written by hand by an expert scribe, they can deteriorate over time and from weather conditions. Judaism teaches that having Kosher Mezuzot properly placed on one's home offers a special protection.
  • The Rebbe encouraged very Jew to acquire a letter in a Torah scroll written specifically for them. This too brings special blessing, especially in spiritually uniting all Jews through Torah. To do so, for children (under Bar/Bat Mitzvah): jbayarea.org/333008 or for adults: jbayarea.org/409282 

Purim Recap!

It was another joyous and delicious Purim at Chabad Bay Area! Stay tuned for the photo album to be posted next week. 

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Opportunity: Discount on Memorial Board

If you've been thinking about getting a Yahrtzeit plaque for a loved one on our beautiful Jerusalem of Gold Memorial Board -

We will be placing an order within the next week or so for an additional batch of plaques, so we are pleased to make available the opportunity for you to order Yahrtzeit plaques at 10% off. This means $486 instead of $540. 

See here for the order page

Or contact the rabbi at rabbi@jbayarea.org or 281-724-1554. 

Please order soon as the offer is for this batch only and the board is filling up as well. Thank you!

Special reading on Shabbat - March 7

SHABBAT MORNING:
  • Coffee & Kabbalah at 9:00 am

  • Shacharit Service at 10:00 am

    Torah portion: Tetzaveh - We learn about the special garments & prep of the Kohanim for service in the Temple

    SPECIAL MITZVAH READING: "Parshat Zachor" where we fulfill the Mitzvah of "Remembering" what Amalek did to us, the Jewish People, when we left Egypt.  Question: What's the connection between what Amalek did to us then and our lives today? Come and find out!

    Service followed by a Kiddush lunch with hot cholent!

    Sponsor a kiddush in honor of a Yahrtzeit, birthday or other special occasion.

Hear the Megillah!

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It is a mitzvah to hear the Megillah read on the Eve of Purim and again on the Day of Purim

OPPORTUNITIES TO HEAR THE MEGILLAH: 

MONDAY, March 9, Purim Eve:
at 7:45 pm

TUESDAY, March 10, Purim Day:
at 10:00 am  -or-  at 6:00 pm at the start of the party

Learn more about the 4 Mitzvot of Purim! 

Purim in Paris

Kindly RSVP at your earliest opportunity to help us with planning & prep for this wonderful event! 

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This Tuesday, March 10th at 6:00 pm

  RESERVE ONLINE
Suggested Cover: Adult $18, Child $8 / Family $54
Sponsor: $54, $72, $180 
Underwriter: $540, $1000

SHARE WITH A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK!

Save the date: Community Seder

Community Passover Seder
1st night, Wednesday, April 8th

Reservations for Passover Seder will open after Purim

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.