03/25/2015 03:46:47 PM
03/17/2015 01:33:50 PM
Recently we set out to endeavor to bring yiddishkait to the less fortunate in our community. These beautiful people are from Mac Town where they are institutionalized due to various mental challenges.
I want to thank Dina Lapco and all the dedicated volunteers for helping me realize this emotional experience for our Mac Town friends.
A very special thank you goes out to Henry Grunberg for being so gracious and donating his time and expertise producing the video.
Have a box of Kleenex near by...
Rabbi Skylake synagogue
02/17/2015 12:15:51 PM
- Orly Shapiro
- Yael Herman
- Larry Abbo
Message from the Rabbi
10/13/2014 07:18:59 PM
The holiday of Pesach celebrates freedom. The Exodus out of Egypt, following centuries of servitude and bondage, is a testament to the triumph of good over evil and of light over darkness. True, the focal point of the Passover narrative is independence, liberty and the right for self determination but there seems to be another very important, key detail in the story, that of great and graceful leadership. It called for intelligence, compassion, resolve, humility and courage and Moses delivered on all counts and much much more.
At the end Deuteronomy, in the Torah portion Vayelech, Moses passes the mantle of leadership to Joshua announcing him as his successor. It's a shame Korach is not alive to see this. His rebellion in the desert was a complaint about Moses' supposed nepotism - Moses is the leader, his brother Aaron is the High Priest, etc. But when Moses hands out the biggest position of all, that of his successor, it goes to Joshua - a complete outsider, with no family or political connections.
He is simply the best person for the job.
We see something similar with King Saul when he is appointed as the first king of Israel. He comes from nowhere. The prophet Samuel is told by God to appoint him, but no one - Samuel included - has ever heard of him.
What the Torah values in a leader is very different than what one sees in the rest of the world. A leader is not chosen for his oratory. If Moses had needed to debate US president, perhaps he would have lost, even with a teleprompter.. A leader is not chosen for how much he appeals to the electorate. A leader is chosen for very different reasons. He is chosen for his humility, integrity and sense of justice amongst other virtues.
Moses and Saul had something in common: Neither was interested in the job. And that's what made them the ideal candidates. Because it's so hard for a leader to distinguish between his desire to serve the people and his desire to serve himself. The desire for honor and power are two of the strongest forces known to mankind and it is so easy to be seduced. If a leader has these desires before he even gets to office, he'll struggle all the more so once he's there.
Moses and Saul had the quality of humility, which meant that they had no interest in the power or the honor that came with their position. Once there, they were committed solely to serving the nation. They, too, asked not what the people can do for them but rather what they can do for the people.
Let us take a close look at some of Moses’ most striking leadership qualities. Qualities, that if only we can somehow live up to in our own small way, can help us begin to understand the exceptional and extraordinary individual Moses was.
CHARISMA AND PEOPLE MANAGEMENT:
The Midrash tells us that Moses had many names. Notwithstanding, the name Moshe, given to him by Batya, Pharaoh’s daughter, is the name this great leader is known by. This name means to draw. It was chosen by Batya after she 'drew' him from the Nile (Exodus 2:10). In its deeper sense this drawing refers to the ability of any great leader to draw his subjects close to his ideology, draw them close together and unify them around his ideas creating a strong, cohesive and solid following. In Moshe’s case he demonstrated the ability to draw the people together, unify them and draw them close to HaShem and the Torah. In addition, a wise leader does not operate alone rather he utilizes, ‘exploits’ and ‘manipulates’ in a positive way, the resources, strengths and weaknesses of his 'flock.' He, figuratively, 'draws' on their talents, skills and personal capabilities, all of which are at his disposal, in order to harness his followers' full potential and lead them with great efficiency and harmony.
FEELING AS AN EQUAL WITH HIS FOLLOWERS AND ASSOCIATING WITH THE PAIN OF OTHERS:
Moses grows up as a prince on Pharaoh’s lap. He was not exposed or subjected to the harsh treatment his fellow Jews were. The Torah says that Moshe goes out to his 'brothers' and witnesses their pain (Exodus 2:11). Growing in the palace far away from the Jewish community, enjoying royal status, riches, glamour and fame should have created a tremendous disconnect but despite all this Moshe considers the Jews his brothers. He associates with their pain and affiliates with their plight. The Midrash tells us that Moshe physically joined his fellow Jews in the hard labor.
STANDS UP FOR THE WEAK AND SHOWS COMPASSION TOWARDS HIS FOLLOWERS EVEN WHEN THEY FAIL:
Moshe risks his reputation, status and life by smiting the Egyptian officer when defending an oppressed Jew" (Exodus 2: 12). Moshe stands up for the right thing and stops at nothing to bring about justice. This conviction he shows even in regards to disputes amongst his own people as is evident in the episode of the fight between Datan and Aviram and Moshe stepping in to end it (Exodus 2:13). In addition, when the Jewish people stray and are pending punishment from G-d, Moshe intervenes on their behalf, prevents destruction and obtains forgiveness.
Moshe argues at the Burning Bush that he is not worthy of such leadership (Exodus 3:11). Moshe doubts that the Jews will ever believe him (Exodus 4:1). He is given signs and wonders to perform and all His concerns are addressed. Finally he tries one last trick: -- I stutter he says... (Exodus 4: 10). When even that is addressed by G-d, Moshe ‘throws in the towel’ and concludes by asking that G-d send someone else: -- (Exodus 4: 13). His great humility and feeling of unworthiness drives him to insist and resist to the point of angering G-d.
LEADS TRUTHFULLY WITH DISREGARD TO POPULARITY:
Moshe is criticized time and again by fractions of the community to the limit of rebellion resulting in life threatening situations. These accusations come as an angry response of rebel rousers towards Moses for taking a stand, advocating the truth and championing justice. Moshe follows his beliefs and the word of G-d despite it not being the most popular, convenient and easy way.
COURAGE TO CONFESS MISTAKES PUBLICLY:
Moses describes the disastrous episode of agreeing to let spies go into the Land of Israel, and says that initially the idea found favor in his heart (Deuteronomy 1:23). It was one of the most devastating events in Jewish history. It was the very act that caused the Jews to wander in the desert for 40 years and resulted in many of them never being able to enter the Land of Israel. It is the reason for all of our exiles, persecutions and holocaust. But as catastrophic as it was, Moses still had the courage resolve and honesty to admot that "the idea was good in my eyes."
UNWAVERING AND UNSHAKEN SELF ESTEEM:
The higher our self-esteem, they more readily we will be to admit our mistakes because we don't see poor decisions as a reflection of our own self-worth. This is rarely how leaders or people act today. All too often, heads of corporations, governments, or households back away from their previous words if the results turn out differently than they had believed. This isn't leadership. Leadership is about being honest and having the trust of those who believe in and follow you. Like most people, we don't want to look foolish - and we believe that admitting we made a mistake makes us look foolish. It doesn't. Ironically, it shows you to be a man or woman of conviction who isn't afraid to stand up when you make a mistake. Taking responsibility will always make you feel great. Moses demonstrates this quality when admitting his mistake by attempting to judge the entire nation without delegating some of the judicial responsibilities to others. He accepts his father in-laws' (Jethro) criticism in this regard and changes the judicial system to include a hierarchy of judges and elders.
ABILITY TO ADMIT TO NOT ALWAYS KNOWING THE ANSWER:
Moshe admits to not knowing the law on a few occasions (i.e. one being that of the daughters of Tzlofchad who wanted to know if they are entitled to inherit land due to the fact that they had no brothers). Moshe brings their matter before G-d to decide (Numbers 27:5).
COMPLETE, SILENT, SELFLESS DEDICATION TO A MENTOR:
Parshat Pinchas tells of the heroic deed of Pinchas, who with a spear in his hand saved the Jewish people from a plague of immorality. When the moment called for bold action, Pinchas was ready and willing to step forward. Later in the parsha, God announces Joshua as Moshe’s successor. The Talmud explains that the greatness of Joshua was that he stayed by Moses' side - day-in, day-out. Joshua didn't perform any incredible heroics that earned him front-page headlines. But in his own quiet and consistent way, Joshua made it his priority to emulate Moshe and learn the lessons of leadership. He started from rock bottom as the Talmud says: Joshua came to the synagogue early each morning - to help set up the chairs and tidy the room.
It was not beneath his dignity to do this because it was done in service of the nation. He did what needed to be done, when it needed to be done, no matter what people might think. Moses too, went from riches to rags and lead the sheep of Jethro in the wilderness of Midyan. Humble acts of dedication are valued more than dramatic demonstrations of bravery. Teachers, public servants, dedicated parents are true Jewish heroes and leaders that often forgotten and left unrecognized.
TOTAL CARE AND FULL RESPONSIBILITY EVEN AFTER STEPPING DOWN:
God showed Moses the Land of Israel and told him that he wouldn't be allowed to bring the Jewish people into the Land. Moses immediately got busy with choosing a successor. When Moses was told by God that he wouldn't be able to lead the Jewish people into the land of Israel, his knee-jerk response was not focused on his own fate, but rather to make sure that the Jews would still have someone in his absence who would continue to lead them. This is why Moses was one of the greatest leaders ever. The true colors of a leader are on full display when he leaves his leadership position and to see if he ever gives even a passing thought to all those who believed in him, his vision, and his dream.
As for Moshe, the Torah concludes: -- ״ולא קם עוד נביא כמשה אשר ידעו ה׳ פנים אל פנים״ -- (Deuteronomy 34: 10). There are good leaders, great leaders and then there is the greatest leader of them all!
My wife and our children join me in wishing you a very happy and joyous Passover!
Message from our President, Eduardo Nicolaievsky.
10/06/2014 07:12:47 PM
The primary source of strength and continuity in Judaism is the synagogue.
Sky Lake Synagogue is a very unique institution it is a truly warm, caring and intimate community.
We have a long life commitment to Jewish values.
We function as a Beit Midrash (learning center), a Beit Knesset (community center), a social hall, a hebrew school, a youth center, a community service center with substantial values for a lot of people.
Every day at sky lake shul is rich with possibility, surprise and the enchantment that comes from opening this great gift that we call Judaism, This congregation has always striven to be a family of support and strength in times of need and joy.
We welcome and encourage congregational participation in our many religious, social and educational programs offered throughout the year.
Our institution is going through exciting times, times of renovation, expansion and consolidation were will be able to accommodate our families, events and simcha’s in a more efficient and comfortable manner.
We strive to develop a lifelong love of Jewish learning, pride in our Jewish heritage, and commitment in the future of Jewish life for or members
Lets continue working together to raise our children and support our congregation by making Judaism a living part of our lives
We are open to have a constant communication with the members and families. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you