January 2011

February 2011

Don’t Miss a Kiss

As the world celebrates the arrival of the “New Year”, one of the “rituals” of this celebration is the “Midnight kiss”.

In Judaism, kissing is also a ritual – one that is practiced very often. We are taught to kiss the Torah in the Synagogue, as well as our holy books like the Siddur (Prayer books).

Upon entering the home our first move, while still on the threshold, is to kiss the Mezuzah.

Kissing is an expression of love. By kissing the Torah, Mezuzah or Tzitzis, we are actually sending a kiss to G‑d.

Don’t miss a kiss!

Tiger Mother

Author Amy Chua triggered a heated conversation advocating the Asian approach of tough Chinese mothering to raise accomplished and successful children.

Throughout history, the Yiddishe Mama was a strong force in the education of her children, pushing for the “doctor” and “lawyer.” But it was not done the Tiger Mother way – because with love (and a dose of Jewish guilt) one can reach even higher.

The Jewish culture also achieved the goals of raising educated and accomplished children but we did it the Jewish way, with high expectations – and love.

March 2011

April 2011

   Youthful energy

 During the last few weeks we are witnessing a revolution in the Arab world that is completely led by young people.   All over the news, the faces of the youth stand out.

 Judaism recognizes the energy and passion that young people possess and directs it towards positive goals. This is why the age of Bar & Bat Mitzvah is 12 and 13.

 Teenagers are not looked down upon as troublemakers; on the contrary, they are entrusted with the responsibility of upholding the Jewish traditions and heritage


Is America the Police of the World? Is it our responsibility to get involved in conflicts in far away countries? This is the question that is on the mind of many Americans. 

There is a story of Moses when he ran away from Egypt and arrived in Midian.  He witnessed an injustice being committed against a group of girls and immediately, Moses, a total stranger, interfered in the conflict and saved Jethro’s daughters.

Moses’s swift action is a legacy to the Jewish people for all generations, that wherever there is oppression, it actually is our business! 

May 2011

June 2011

 Zachor – Remember 

As the Holocaust Day approaches, we are all called to “Remember.”   

Jewish Tradition has two types of “Zachors.”  One is to remember the destruction and the other is to remember the world and life that was before the destruction took place.        

As much as it is important to remember the atrocities that were committed by the Nazis, it’s even more important to remember and to rebuild Jewish life as it was before the Holocaust.

Let’s Remember!

Ten Commandments

...and I’m not referring to the movie where Charlton Heston played Moses!

I’m referring to the real thing - before He gave the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people on Shavuot, G‑d looked for guarantors to ensure the survival of the Torah. After ‘negotiations’, the Jews offered the young children as the guarantors.

There is a tradition that every year, when the Ten Commandments is read in the Synagogue on the holiday of Shavuot, the guarantors should be present. 

On June 8th, Shavout, make sure your children are part of this tradition.

July 2011

August 2011

Spiritual Responsibility  

Throughout history, Jews have been known to take responsibility for the well being of their brethren.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose Yahrtzeit is commemorated on July 5th, introduced a new dimension to this feeling of responsibility.

The Rebbe taught us that in addition to caring about the physical welfare of our brothers, we must also take responsibility for the spiritual well being of every Jew.

When the Holidays come around, it’s not enough to make sure your neighbor has what to eat; we must ensure that they also have a place to pray.

 Kindest Man

Last month, our family lost our beloved grandfather, Rabbi Zalmen Kazen.

In addition to being a warm and caring father, grandfather and great grandfather to our family, Rabbi Kazen, was dubbed by the media as “the kindest man in Cleveland.”

His whole life was dedicated to helping Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union. His legacy of giving and caring will inspire us for many years to come.

Miriam and I want to thank everyone for their heartfelt messages of sympathy. May we only share happy occasions together.

September 2011 

October 2011

 Number One

On Money Magazine’s list of best small towns in America, Solon made it to the 3rd best place. 
Number 3 is a very lucky number in Judaism. We have three Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. There are three types of Jews; Kohen, Levi, & Israel. The Bible is divided into three sections; Torah (Five Books of Moses), Prophets and Scriptures. 

Ultimately, though, Number One is the most important number. As we say in the Sh’ma, Hear O Israel.... G‑d is ONE.

Solon may be number 3 in the country, but Solon Chabad is number ONE!  

United Nations 

Last week the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivered a historic speech in the U.N.

He shared with the audience that in 1984 when he was appointed ambassador of Israel to the U.N., he came to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  The Rebbe told him that he’s going to enter a House that is full of lies, but lighting a candle of  truth will help illuminate the darkness.

This message is for every one of us.  Whenever you are confronted with distortions about Israel, don’t shy away – light the candle of Truth!

November 2011 December 2011

Steve Jobs

While introducing the iPad, Steve Jobs once said that Apple doesn’t do market research for new products.  He said, “The customer doesn’t have to know what he wants.”

Judaism believes in the same philosophy. G‑d never took a survey among the Jewish people to see if they wanted to observe the Mitzvah of a Bris.  He didn’t ask us if we like the idea of fasting on Yom Kippur.

Yet, Jews circumcise their baby boys with joy and celebration.  And they leave the Synagogue at the end of Yom Kippur with a big smile on their face.

G‑d knows better than us what’s good for us! 

 Occupy Wall Street

Whenever I meet a person who introduces himself as an atheist, I get excited. Finally – someone who thinks – who cares – who argues!

There are so many people for whom the word G‑d is not on their agenda. I’d rather deal with an   atheist who actually dedicates many hours thinking about G‑d, than the guy who tells me, “G‑d – what’s that?”

Without taking a side in the Occupy Wall Street movement, one thing is certainly clear. They care.