I am sometimes asked what I do during the summer. After all, everyone knows that most college students are not on campus during the summer. I usually respond that I spend my days drinking martinis on the beach. But that is not true. So I thought I would share with you some vignettes of my week.
On Sunday, I attended an event for my son’s 5th grade class. They were celebrating the completion of their study of Seder Moed, which deals with the laws of the festivals, of the Mishna. It’s a bit challenging to explain how significant of an accomplishment that is for a bunch of 10-year-old boys, but suffice it to say that all the fathers and grandfathers in attendance were glowing with nachas.
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On Monday evening, we hosted a Sheva Brachos (one of the seven days of post-wedding celebrations) for QC alum Yerachmiel (Andrew) Goldstein and his new wife, Nessia. Tzipah cooked up a storm, and numerous alumni from Yerachmiel’s time at QC joined us for the feast. Thank you to Allan & Barbara Goldstein for making a donation to the Chabad House in honor of the wedding!
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As you may know from my previous weekly emails, we are in the midst of our annual $10,000 fundraising raffle. That means that I am reaching out to alumni, parents and friends, requesting their help to make this year’s raffle an even greater success. All proceeds from the raffle directly benefit Chabad QC, and I urge you to get involved. Tickets are only $36, and can be purchased at www.QueensRaffle.com (or give me a call 347-688-4770 and we can set it up over the phone).Last year, I sold 430 tickets, and this year I have set a goal of 500 tickets. So far, I have sold 101 tickets. The last day to purchase tickets is July 9th. Would you please consider purchasing 5 tickets? (Of course, any amount helps!)
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On Wednesday evening, we had an incredible meeting in the Chabad House with our Advisory Board and the newly-formed Alumni Board. The Alumni Board is an exclusive group of young, proactive professionals who value the work of Chabad QC, and want to be involved in the vision and enhancement of Chabad’s reach.
Advisory Board member Gedalye (Corey) Breier of Aventura, Florida, warmly recounted his experiences at QC from 1972-76, and the importance of being an active member in the Jewish community. Alumni Board member Zvi Bushwick ’12 spoke about his passion for creating alumni events and continuing the relationships developed at QC and especially in the Chabad House.
The highlight of the meeting was a 10-minute, no-holds-barred brainstorming session. Anything goes. Suggestions flew left and right; the energy was palpable. After the 10 minutes, Advisory Board member & QC mom Haina Just-Michael declared, “I am a member of many boards, and have been to many board meetings. That was the best 10 minutes of any board meeting I’ve ever been to.” Motioning to the alumni, she said, “And it’s all because of you!”
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I learned an interesting passage in the Talmud this week (Taanis 2a; translation from the Koren Talmud):
Rabbi Yochanan said: There are three keys maintained in the hand of the Holy One, Blessed be He, which were not transmitted to an intermediary (i.e., G-d tends to these matters Himself). And they are: The key of rain, the key of birthing, and the key of the resurrection of the dead.
The Talmud goes on to explain that in the Land of Israel, they say that the key of parnassa (livelihood) is also in G-d’s hands. If that is so, then why didn’t Rabbi Yochanan include parnassa in his list?
“Rain is the same as parnassa,” he responded, in that rain is essential to all livelihoods. Perhaps Rabbi Yochanan is also referring to the fact that the Hebrew word for rain (geshem, גשם) is related to the word for physicality (gashmius, גשמיות).
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And of course, we are all praying for the safe return of the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped last week.