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Weekly Message

The Dynamic Duo!

Incredible! Unbelievable! What a Night! These are just some of the expressions of joy shared by those who attended our Tenth Anniversary Gala and Maccabeats Concert that rocked the Museum of the Rockies on Sunday (videos and pictures coming soon). On Monday, my friend Larry from Manhattan (Manhattan, Montana, that is) left me a voicemail saying “Hey Rabbi, Leibel here…Last night was truly an amazing, historic, spiritual, monumental, milestone, blown-away, event. I mean, it was just incredible, I still can’t stop thinking about how wonderful it is on so many different levels and thank you for everything you’ve done with Chavie for everyone in the community….”.

L’Chaim to the next decade of Yiddishkait!

This week’s Torah portion is Lech-Lecha. In her eloquent words Sunday evening, Chavie mentioned, that it’s surely no coincidence that as we celebrate a “Decade of Light” we read about Abraham and Sarah. Our founding matriarch and patriarch, were entrusted with a G-dly mission to journey out of their hometown, comfort zone and familial community and to change the world. They traveled through the middle east, educating and inspiring pagans to become monotheistic, thus transforming Canaan into Israel. This dynamic duo were the original Lubavitchers, doing everything in their power to deepen the relationship of humanity with their Creator. They single handedly changed the trajectory of the world from atheistic to believing, from G-dless to G-dly.

Recently, Kaign Christy, a relative of a key family at our Shul, passed away from a sudden illness. In 2004, Kaign left his successful law practice in Arizona and, together with his wife Jean, were determined to fight the travesty of modern day slavery and sexual exploitation. In a little over a decade, using the laws on the books in Cambodia, the Philippines and, most recently, Ghana, they forced these countries to implement the law and end human trafficking. Just one couple, determined to make a difference, succeeded with flying colors. As Steve Jobs once said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do”.

Don’t think it’s possible? Just ask the Maccabees!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

Come Out of Your Cocoon!

It was a month infused with holiness and joy. Hundreds came through The Shul, The Sukkah and our home during Tishrei. It’s hard to describe the warmth and energy felt by all, as we connected with our Creator during the many holidays. Yet, every good party comes to an end, and yesterday I headed to Billings to do the Tahara (together with the amazing Dr. Brian Shnitzer), and officiate at the burial, of Mark Lurie, Mordechai Dovid Ben Moshe, a beloved father and husband from Roundup. It was quite the wake-up call, challenging for me, as I was thrust back into “regular” life that is accompanied too often by a harsh reality; but then I thought of Noah.

In this week’s Torah portion, Noach, we read about the great flood. Noah, his family and a whole slew of animals are saved. The waters recede and Noah, daunted by the task of overseeing humanity’s rebirth, is told by G-d “Tzei Min HaTeiva – leave the ark”; he needed that extra push to look the devastation in the eye and say, “I’m coming for you”. Undoubtedly, living in a cocoon would be easier, living in a bubble can absolutely protect us from the craziness on the outside, and on occasion, even I, who loves socializing, is slightly jealous of authentic hermits. Yet, it was G-d’s will for Noah - and all of us – that he gets off his cozy couch and makes a difference in the world. The past is only relevant, if it energizes us to create a bright future.

Yesterday, I commemorated the first Yahrtzait of my beloved grandfather, my Zayde, Rabbi Shimon Goldman. He entire family was slaughtered by the Nazis, but he wasn’t obsessed with his past. He was a force of light, focused on making a good life for himself and his decedents. He missed his parents and six siblings dearly, but used their sacred memory to enjoy everything they couldn’t; enjoying life, family and his relationship with G-d. Zayde could’ve bottled up the Holocaust in his heart, making it who he was, as many others did, never moving forward; but like Noah, he understood that G-d wants him to ensure that tomorrow is brighter and you can’t do that by being stuck in your past.

Be kind: share the holiday energy with the rest of your year!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be.Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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