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High Holiday Schedule 5779

For a printable version: 2-HH Time Table 5779

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Purim Times 2018

For a printable version: purim times flyer 2018

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Rabbi David Shamsi -Parashat Vayera 5778

On the Upper West Side of NYC lived an assimilated Jewish man who was now a very militant atheist. But he sent his son Morris to Trinity School because, despite its denominational roots, it was a great school and completely secular. After a month, the boy came home and said casually, “By the way, Dad, I learned what Trinity means! It means ‘The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.'” The father could barely control his rage. He seized his son by the shoulders and declared, “Morris, I’m going to tell you something now and I want you never to forget it. Forget this Trinity business. There is only one God… and we don’t believe in him!”

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Shavuot Schedule 2017

For a printable version of this flyer click on the link below:

Shavuot schedule

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Lag BaOmer Celebration 2017

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Rabbi David Shamsi -Parashat Shemini-Mivarchim Iyar 5777

While it is an established minhag to read Pirkei Avot during these spring and summer months, it is unclear what its title – which roughly translates to “Chapters of Fathers” – actually means. Nevertheless, I would like to suggest a new interpretation based on my own life experiences.

The book primarily consists of ethical sayings from various great rabbis who lived immediately before, during, and after the destruction of the Second Temple. Its short “haikus” are a sharp contrast from the often difficult-to-follow reasoning that permeates the rest of the Talmud.

Based on this observation, I believe the title of the work actually means “Chapters for Fathers”: Once a hapless yeshivah bachur reaches parenthood, Pirkie Avot is pretty much the only Sefer he will have the brain capacity and time to read.

Just a thought -but then again I really didn’t have that much time to think this through.

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Parashat Shemini-Mivarchim Iyar 5777

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This Week at Ohel Shalom

Kiddush and Seudah Shilisheet Sponsorship

The Kehillah would like to thank Yosef Miller for sponsoring Kiddush and Seudah Shilisheet this week in memory of his grandmother, Miriam bat Tamar. May her Neshama merit an Aliyah.

Shabbat Mivarchim Iyar

This week we will publicize the arrival of the new month of Iyar, which will take place for two days, beginning on Tuesday evening, April 25th through Thursday evening, April 27th. May we be blessed with a good month of health and bracha.

Birkat HaIlanot

The two fruit trees in the front yard of the office building have B”H appeared to bud. This allows us to BE”H say the Birkat HaIlanot (the blessing upon the blossoming of the trees). The Birkat HaIlanot ceremony will BE”H take place this Sunday, April 23rd, a half hour before Mincha. Men and women are welcome to join us!


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Rabbi David Shamsi – Parashat Tzav-Shabbat HaGadol 5777

Don’t Pass Over Tisha B’Av

It is an interesting phenomena that Pesach and the following first day of Tisha B’Av always fall on the same day of the week. In fact, the Rema in the Shulchan Aruch says that some have the custom to dip an egg in salt water on the Seder night to express some level of mourning for the Beit HaMidash, as we do on Tisha B’Av. What is the thematic connection between Tisha B’Av and Pesach?

Perhaps the link is as follows: The Talmud tells us that the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed due to baseless hatred. If so, the ultimate remedy is “baseless” love and unity. The defining Mitzvah of Pesach in the times of the Beit MaMikdash was not eating Matzah but the slaughtering and eating of the Pesach Offering. The unique quality of the Pesach Offering was that, unlike all other offerings, it had to be eaten as part of a group. In fact, since the entire animal had to be eaten before midnight, it would have been impossible for an individual to eat it alone (-with the possible exception of the skinny Asian guy who keeps winning all the hot-dog eating contests.) Thus we see that the defining characteristic of the central mitzvah of Pesach is unity – the remedy for Tisha B’Av.

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Parashat Tzav-Shabbat HaGadol 5777

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This Week at Ohel Shalom

This Friday Night Early Mincha

Please note this Friday night there will be early Shabbat Mincha at 6:15pm inorder to accommodate the attendees of the Shabbat HaGadol Dinner. There will be NO later Mincha minyan.

Shabbat HaGadol Dinner – Approximately 7:15pm

This year B”H we are sold out and filled to max capacity for the Shabbat HaGadol Dinner! Reservations are now closed.

Kiddush Sponsorship

The Kehillah would like to thank the anonymous sponsor for Kiddush this Shabbat.

UPDATED: Dedicated Hours for
Mechirat Chametz/Selling Your Chametz

If you have not yet sold your Chamtz, time is running out. Rabbi Raccah is once again available BE”H to aid you in the sale of your Chametz. As in years past, he has set aside some specific times when you will be able to come to sell your Chametz. Three of those dedicated times have already passed and only one more remains.

The remaining dedicated hour is :

Motzei Shabbat, April 8th from 9:15-10:00pm at the Rabbi’s home, 7400 N. Albany

Please do not come either early or late.

The many additional Rabbinic responsibilities that Pesach requires place an increased burden on the rabbi’s schedule, so please respect Rabbi Raccah’s time and do not request time outside of this to sell you Chametz.

Rabbi Raccah’s Parashat HaShavua Shiur

There will be NO Wednesday night shiur on Wednesday Chol HaMoed and Wednesday Isru Chag.

Children’s Groups

Please note, there will be NO children’s groups the first days of Pesach. Groups will BE”H continue on Shabbat Chol Hamoed.


Please make sure to clean out your area in the Beit HaKinesset from any candy or chametz that is in your cubby or that your children have hidden. Chag Kasher V’Sameach.
Security Update

In order to increase security in the Beit HaKenesset, the codes on the entry doors were changed. Please refer to the hints posted on the doors for the new code.

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Rabbi David Shamsi – Parashat Vayikra 5777

The Alef Bet of Communication

There is a famous question regarding the first word of this week’s parasha: Why is the letter aleph in the word “Vayikra”, “And he (Hashem) called (to Moshe)”, written small? Furthermore, Rashi explains that the only one who could hear Hashem’s calling was Moshe and no one else. But the Torah already told us that Bnei Yisroel forfeited their right to direct communication with Hashem at Har Sinai; so what novelty is Rashi telling us?

Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein, in his magnus opus, Meor VaShamesh, explains: If someone speaks, just about anyone whether they know him or not, will be able to understand what he is saying. But will they really understand him? Words are a very limited form of communication – mere shadows of what is truly going on in the mind of the speaker. In order to move beyond words and really understand another person, it takes a very deep relationship: A husband can understand more about his wife by one flicker of her eyebrow than a thousand words could convey. This answers both our questions…

In regard to our second question: Even if Bnei Yisroel were still able to directly hear the words of Hashem, they would still not be privy to the intimate relationship with Hashem that Moshe had and therefore, would still not be able to hear what Moshe could. In response to our first question: The small Alef reflects the limitations of speech by itself without deep knowledge of the speaker.

Although it is a tremendous merit to learn words of Torah, if we want to deepen our understanding and appreciation of them, it is imperative that we deepen our relationship with Hashem as well.

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