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Chabad of Uptown and personal diary updates! Please comment on our posts, we would love to hear from you!

Campus conference & NY roundup

Dear Friends,

  • A very special thank you to Matt & Yael Trusch for so ably filling in for us and leading Chabad of Uptown classes and Shabbat services!
  • This past Sunday we (RC & Chanie) flew down to Ft Myers for a very special wedding of Eric and Amanda Rubenstein! Mazel tov to both of them as they establish a Jewish home! May it be everlasting home filled with light and love. 
  • We have had a very special week at the Hudson Valley Resort where hundreds of Chabad Shluchim and Shluchos serving college campuses converged to share inspiration and best practices.... See news stories at www.chabaduptown.org/news
  • The Torah's View on Love and Relationships for Young Professionals: Following the successful class on Frank secrets on Jewish intimacy, we were asked to offer a more comprehensive six week course, covering on the laws and meaning of Jewish marital intimacy. Take this class and think about love, relationships and marriage in a whole new way! Gals with Chanie, Guys with Rabbi Chaim. Wednesdays, July 7 - August 11!  Facebook event here.

Please join us this Shabbos Parshas Balak for another great weekend with Matt & Yael!

 

Friday, June 25

Services at 7:30 pm 

    Candle Lighting at 8:06 pm / RSVP for dinner

 

Shabbos, June 26 

Preprayer Kabbala Study at 9:00 am

Services at 10:00 am

    Followed by lunch kiddush

 Mincha at 8:10 pm

    Study of Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 6

Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos Ends at 9:07 pm 

Have a great Shabbat!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie 

 

NY Ohel & DC report...

Dear Friends,

An uplifting week was had as we trecked the US highways for 26 hours of driving and 43 hours of travelling door to door.  At 3am  on Monday night the courtyard(s) near the ohel was teaming with thoousands of people, yet the line perhaps only had a few hundred. We, along with the children, had a meaningful few moments at the Rebbe's Ohel, on this asupicous day. We haope and pray that all of the prayers that we delivered on your behalf should be accepted upon high, and fulfilled in their entirety.

Meanwhile an event honoring the Rebbe in Washington was wrapped up today. for a special event honoring the Rebbe. A reported highlight was the annoucement of the a couple would be filling the position of the new directors of Chabad in Mumbai.

Mazel tov to Omri & Anat Shafran upon the birth of a baby boy! 

Please join Matt & Yael Trusch for a spirited and meaningful Shabbos!

Shabbos, Parshas Chukas 

Friday, June 18
Services at 7:30 pm
    Candle lighting at 8:06 pm Please RSVP for dinner!

Shabbos, June 19
Preprayer Study at 9 am
Services at 10 am
    Followed by Kiddush
Mincha at 8:10 pm
    Ethics of our Fathers, Chapter 5
Maariv (& Kiddush Levana), Havdalla and Shabbat Ends at 9:06 pm

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie 

 

Personal Favor & Prayers

Dear Friends,

A beautiful week was had at Project Talmud! Please join us tonight for the concluding event "An Evening of Tribute to the Lubavitcher Rebber" entitled "A Meeting of Souls" marking the sixteenth Yartzeit this Tuesday, the Third of Tammuz. The event, with guest speaker Rabbi Ovadia Goldman of Oklahoma will be held tonight, Thursday evening, June 10, at 8pm, at Chabad Lubavitch Center, 10900 Fondren Rd. The entire community is warmly invited.

Next week our family will bejoining many thousands from across the globe to visit the Rebbe's  Ohel, for the 16th yartzeit and will be bringing many letters and prayer requests to be placed at the Ohel.

PERSONAL PRAYERS: I would be honored if you would like me to bring your name and the names of loved ones for a blessing. Please email me your prayer request. When mentioning someone, try to use their full name and son of or daughter of their mother's name (for example, Jacob Chaim son of Rivka Sarah). It is preferable to use Hebrew or Yiddish names when known. Gentiles use their father's name. Last names are not needed.
 

PERSONAL FAVOR: It is customary for the Chassidim of the Rebbe, his spiritual children, to receive an aliya to the Torah on the Shabbos before his yartzeit. I would be much obliged if you can help us make the minyan this Shabbos, so that I may fulfill my personal obligation as a Chassid an emissary of the Rebbe. Please let me know if we can rely you for the minyan.

Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Parshas Korach

Friday, June 11
Services at 7:30 pm followed by dinner
   Candle Lighting at 8:04 pm

Shabbos, June 12
Perprayer Kabbala Study at 8:30 am
Services at 10 am with Rosh Chodesh Hallel and Musaf
    Follwed by special Kiddush and Farbrengen in tribute to the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Mincha at 8:05 pm
    Ethics of our Fathers Chapter 4
 Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos Ends at 9:03 pm

We look forward to seeing you on this very special Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie 

 

Flotilla Hate Boats, Project Talmud, condolences

Dear Friends,

Please scroll down after the annoucements for an important message addressing the recent situation in Israel. 

We look forward to seeing y'all this Shabbos Mevarchim Tammuz Parshas Shelach!

  • Friday, services at 7:30 pm (RSVP for dinner). Candle Lighting at 8:01 pm
  • Shabbos morning, Tehillim at 8:30 am, Shacharis of and blessing of New Month at 10 am followed by kiddush and farbrengen
  • Mincha at 8 pm, followed by Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 3. Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos ends at 9 pm 

In other news: 

  • We extend our sincere condolences to the Wedelich family upon the passing of their father, grandfather and great grandfather, Earl Lefkowitz, obm. Jackie will be sitting shiva at her home along with her family until Wednesday morning with daily services at 7 am and 7 pm (besides shabbos). Please contact us for location and contact information. 
  • Next week's (Wednesday young professionals and Thursday) evening classes will be "relocated" to Project Talmud. Project Talmud is week long mini-yeshivah complete with dinner from 6-7, multiple four part course choices from 7-8 and daily dynamic guest lectures from 8-9. Rabbi Chaim will be giving a four part course on "Prayer: A personal connection" and Chanie will be giving a class as part of the "Women Only" course on Monday, "Kabbala and the Feminine Mystique". See complete schedule, details and preregister for dinner at a discount at www.ProjectTalmud.com.
  • Our Thursday lunch hour course from 12-1:15 pm on the environment remains on schedule dicussing the upcoming topic of Human dominance and eco-friendliness.

Flotilla - A call to action 

Another week has  flown by. We need to ensure that this week be better than last. As we learned in our Thursday classes, the Biblical spies who scouted the land felt that we can not conquer it naturally. Their mistake was that even nature is controlled by Hashem and is miraculous as the only difference between natural and miracle events lies in their consistency.

This week has been a hard one for our Land of Israel, but, we can rest assured that the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps and will surely guard the interests of the Holy Land. 

Yet, we CAN turn the tide of opinion be demonstrating the stark truth. Regardless of its comfortability or our readiness to do so we are the ambassadors of Eretz Yisrael. As the famed Sage Hillel used to say: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, When? (Avot chap1; 14)

I encourage each and every one of you to do your best to broadcast the truth in any way you can, and to whomever possible. As our beloved Rebbe (now) famously told PM Benjamin Netanyahu 25 years ago regarding standing up for Israel in the UN: "if you light a candle of truth it will dispel a great deal of lies and darkness."

Some practical tips: 

  • Utilize your email and social networking services (twitter, facebook), to circulate supportive articles, videos, and messages. (Check IDF YouTube channel daily). Visit www.giyus.org and www.mfa.gov.il.
  • Read and comment on our local media articles at the Houston Chronicle, and other local news media outlets.
  • Consul General of Israel, Asher Yarden, will be interviewed live and taking questions regarding the recent events of the Gaza flotilla, tomorrow, Friday, June 4th 2010 on KPFT 90.1 FM Pacifica Radio Houston from 3:00pm-4:00pm. Streaming broadcast will be available on KPFT's website: www.kpft.org. The number to call in to the show is (713) 526-5738

Below are some talking points, as well as the text of a speech the PM delivered yesterday. Please use them well and help illuminate the darkness. We can, we must and we will succeed... because in the end the truth always triumphs! 

Sincerely,

Rabbi Chaim

Talking Points

  • Israel made every effort to avoid a confrontation. The organizers of the flotilla - prior to their departure and later while at sea - were invited to dock at the Port of Ashdod for the sake of transferring their cargo to Gaza, subject to security inspection. The organizers refused. 
  • The passengers on the boat initiated violent clashes. Israel very much regrets that people have been injured and killed, but responsibility lies with the organizers and participants of the flotilla who initiated the violence. The troops were simply defending their lives. 
  • IDF troops were physically attacked with live ammunition and other weapons. This happened as soon as they arrived on the ship. The activists were wielding knives, axes, metal clubs, pepper spray, stun grenades and firebombs which had been prepared in advance. A weapon belonging to one of soldiers was snatched and, apparently, fired on the soldiers. 
  • The activists had intentionally planned this pre-meditated violent response. The ill-informed soldiers were surrounded by a lynch mob and quickly engulfed in a life-threatening situation. They had no choice but to take extreme measures to protect themselves. 
  • There is no famine or humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel delivers 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid including medicine, food and water each week. Unfortunately, the area is under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization that continues to arm itself with weapons and rockets for the purpose of attacking Israelis - as it has done in the past. 
  • Hamas continues to hold captive an Israeli soldier, in contravention of international law and has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli towns and cities. Accordingly, Israel stands on its natural right to inspect all cargo entering Gaza. 
  • The entire flotilla was designed as a media stunt and political provocation by elements that are hostile to Israel, primarily the IHH - a violent, extremist group with court-proven ties to Hamas and Al Qaeda. They have previously supported terrorist organizations under the guise of humanitarian activity. 

 
Statement by Prime Minister Netanyahu

 

Once again, Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment.  I'm afraid this isn't the first time.

Last year, Israel acted to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets into Israel's towns and cities.  Hamas was firing on our civilians while hiding behind civilians.  And Israel went to unprecedented lengths to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties.  Yet it was Israel, and not Hamas, that was accused by the UN of war crimes.

Now regrettably, the same thing appears to be happening now.

But here are the facts.  Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry - smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel's cities.  These missiles can reach Ashdod and Beer Sheva - these are major Israeli cities. And I regret to say that some of them can reach now Tel Aviv, and very soon, the outskirts of Jerusalem.  From the information we have, the planned shipments include weapons that can reach farther, even farther and deeper into Israel.

Under international law, and under common sense and common decency, Israel has every right to interdict this weaponry and to inspect the ships that might be transporting them.

This is not a theoretical challenge or a theoretical threat.  We have already interdicted vessels bound for Hezbollah, and for Hamas from Iran, containing hundreds of tons of weapons.  In one ship, the Francop, we found hundreds of tons of war materiel and weapons destined for Hezbollah.  In another celebrated case, the Karine A, dozens of tons of weapons were destined for Hamas by Iran via a shipment to Gaza.  Israel simply cannot permit the free flow of weapons and war materials to Hamas from the sea.

I will go further than that.  Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem.  And I would go beyond that too.  I say to the responsible leaders of all the nations: The international community cannot afford an Iranian port in the Mediterranean.  Fifteen years ago I cautioned about an Iranian development that has come to pass - people now recognize that danger.  Today I warn of this impending willingness to enable Iran to establish a naval port right next to Israel, right next to Europe.  The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they will be targeted tomorrow.

For this and for many other reasons, we have a right to inspect cargo heading into Gaza. 

And here's our policy. It's very simple:  Humanitarian and other goods can go in and weapons and war materiel cannot. And we do let civilian goods into Gaza.  There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  Each week, an average of ten thousand tons of goods enter Gaza.  There's no shortage of food. There's no shortage of medicine.  There's no shortage of other goods.

On this occasion too, we made several offers - offers to deliver the goods on board the flotilla to Gaza after a security inspection.  Egypt made similar offers.   And these offers were rejected time and again.

So our naval personnel had no choice but to board these vessels.  Now, on five of the vessels, our seamen were not met by any serious violence and as a result, there were no serious injuries aboard those ships.  But on the largest ship, something very different happened.

Our naval personnel, just as they landed on the ship - you can see this in the videos - the first soldier - they were met with a vicious mob. They were stabbed, they were clubbed, they were fired upon.  I talked to some of these soldiers.  One was shot in the stomach, one was shot in the knee. They were going to be killed and they had to act in self-defense.

It is very clear to us that the attackers had prepared their violent action in advance.  They were members of an extremist group that has supported international terrorist organizations and today support the terrorist organization called Hamas.  They brought with them in advance knives, steel rods, other weapons.  They chanted battle cries against the Jews.  You can hear this on the tapes that have been released. 

This was not a love boat.  This was a hate boat.  These weren't pacifists.  These weren't peace activists.  These were violent supporters of terrorism.

I think that the evidence that the lives of the Israeli seamen were in danger is crystal clear. If you're a fair-minded observer and you look at those videos, you know this simple truth.  But I regret to say that for many in the international community, no evidence is needed.  Israel is guilty until proven guilty.

Once again, Israel is told that it has a right to defend itself but is condemned every time it exercises that right. Now you know that a right that you cannot exercise is meaningless.  And you know that the way we exercise it - under these conditions of duress, under the rocketing of our cities, under the impending killing of our soldiers - you know that we exercise it in a way that is commensurate with any international standard.  I have spoken to leading leaders of the world, and I say the same thing today to the international community: What would you do?  How would you stop thousands of rockets that are destined to attack your cities, your civilians, your children? How would your soldiers behave under similar circumstances?  I think in your hearts, you all know the truth.

Israel regrets the loss of life.   But we will never apologize for defending ourselves.  Israel has every right to prevent deadly weapons from entering into hostile territory.  And Israeli soldiers have every right to defend their lives and their country.

This may sound like an impossible plea, or an impossible request, or an impossible demand, but I make it anyway: Israel should not be held to a double standard.  The Jewish state has a right to defend itself just like any other state.

Thank you.

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