Inspired by Milestones

Today marks the first official day of our 10th year here in Oberlin. Two days before Sukkos my family and I arrived in this then unknown town justin time to build a sukkah. Boy have things changed. When we first got here Oberlin felt so big, then we realized the entire city is a square mile. Also when we first moved here we didn't know anyone, obviously, so we would buckle the kids (we only had 2 then) into the stroller and walk around town in hopes that someone might say hello and introduce themselves. Now, Thank G-d we can't walk out of our house without bumping into a minyan of people that we know. The most profound thing that has impacted us upon reflecting on our time here in Oberlin is how much our family has grown. No I don't mean our biological family, but the countless students and others who have come through Oberlin and have had a profound impact on our lives. The fact that we moved to Oberlin just in time for Sukkos was perfect timing. Sukkos is a holiday all about happiness and on a personal level nothing could make me and my family more happy than having established our roots here in Oberlin, and we hope we have brought a lot of joy and smiles to Oberlin as well.

In looking back on our 9 years here I was looking back at my old files and read the article about Chabad at Oberlin that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago. It was a beautiful piece that I believe encompasses many of the values that we strive to live by. Read the article wsj article.pdf

I watched a short YouTube clip that was touching about Sukkos and how one community shared an Etrog because they were so hard to come by in that village. In 90 seconds we learn such a valuable lesson in the beauty of sharing the resources that we have. Also I have a few extra lulav and etrog sets, please email if you would like one.

I also read a series of stories of people who felt estranged from their Judaism and through various ways found a way to reconnect. Some of those folks were Berkley hippies, some were adults, some children, they really came from all walks of life, but there was one story that had me gripped. It deals with an elderly man and his adult daughter. I don't want to spoil the story so read it here, then come for Shabbos and we can discuss. Read it here

Have a great Shabbos,

Shlomo

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p.s. there is a lot of great stuff coming up this week, obviously tonight is Shabbos, so come pop in and join us, Sunday morning there will be a discussion at JHouse about variants in Jewish practice where I will be sharing some thoughts along with the Hillel Director and Professor Shari Rabin. Sunday night at 7:30pm there will be sushi in the sukkah at Chabad there will also be a sukkah on Mudd for you to use and enjoy

And lastly, if you haven't heard already plug into the newest episode of the Soul Searchers ChabadCast with special guest Emily Jacobson. Listen here, or put chabad cast into any podcasting app.





Posted on October 11, 2019 .

Inspired by Yom Kippur



This week was chock full of Rosh Hashanah, and it was absolutely inspiring. I was thrilled that on Monday we had our first ever minyan for Rosh Hashanah morning, and a beautiful service on Tuesday as well. I was also inspired by how many people were so eager to hear the shofar being blown both days of the holiday.

I've been listening to Oberlin alumni, Malachi Kanfer's rendition of Kol Nidrie to get ready for Yom Kippur which starts on Tuesday night. It's pretty darn soul stirring, and I love listening to this every year to get the Yom Kippur energy flowing. Listen here

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I've been watching a recording from a slichos service in Manhattan in bits and pieces all week too, with the famous Jewish singer Yehuda Green. It's long, so I've been watching in bits and pieces. What inspires me about it is the absolute joy in the prayer. I feel like we often think of prayer as a drag and forget it is supposed to be ecstasy. Watch it here

It's been a busy week, so I'm gonna keep it short. I'm looking forward to spending timein prayer, contemplation , and meditation with you on Yom Kippur, so the last thing that would really inspire me is if you would RSVP (especially for Break-fast) so we know how much bagels, lox, and other goodies to get before the holiday) RSVP here

Good Shabbos,

Shlomo

p.s. mark your calander for Sunday Oct 14th at 7:30pm for sushi in the sukkah at Chabad



Posted on October 4, 2019 .

Inspired By Storytelling

I have never used this platform before to ask anything of you and I'm reluctant to do so because this is where I like to share with you what has inspired me this week, but if you will allow me to ask two things of you before I share my inspirations of the week.

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1) If you are going to be here in Oberlin for Rosh Hashana please come and celebrate the holidays with us. We have uplifting services (and if you would like to do a reading please message me) delicious meals, shofar blowing, and great vibes to start the new year. And here is what I ask, if you think you will be joining us please RSVP ASAP. When we know who is joining us it gives us an opportunity to make sure we have enough food and space for everyone and to be able to accommodate everyone's needs. Attached is all of the info for the holiday.

2) Chabad at Oberlin functions 100% from the kindness of donations from parents, alumni, and friends. We have been challenged to raise $36,000 in 36 hours (basically from Wednesday night until Shabbos starts) This $36,000 covers the expenses of all of the high holidays, shabbos dinners, and all the other great stuff that Chabad hosts for the beginning part of the school year. So if you can pass along this link to your parents, grandparents, or if you yourself would like to contribute to sustaining this amazing community we would be most grateful. Just hop over to JewishOberlin.com/36in36






Ok now on to the inspiration…..I've been getting ready for Rosh Hashanah (it's in just over a week!!!) So I've been gearing up with a ton of stories to make the days more meaningful and relatable. It's been a combination of old hasidic tales, modern parables, the Torah readings, etcetera and I'm looking forward to sharing some of them over the holiday with you. (pssst, you can see what Chabad has going on for Rosh Hashnah and RSVP here)
I just started reading an amazing book that was authored by Tzvi Kilov, called Not A Jungle. Tzvi actually visited Oberlin twice a number of years ago and this book does not disappoint. He has a website with the same name where he writes all kinds of musings fusing his love of writing with video games, fantasy, and rich Chasidic philosophy and now he complied those essays into his first book.
An Instagram that I'm following is Soul Snapshots. Every day they post a short video or two of regular folks sharing a little inspirational thought. Sometimes they sing a song, tell a story, a teaching, or a meditation. Most of the time I find the messages super helpful and a little ray of light in my day. If you are already on insta, follow me too for some great pics of jewish stuff in Oberlin, Chabad events, and some great pics of my kids.
A Quote I've been thinking a lot about this week: It is more important to be needed than needy -Manis FriedmanThis quote reminds me that G-d put me on this earth because the Divine needs me to fulfil some cosmic vision and I need to figure out what that is and accomplish it, rather that just think what do I need? How do I feel happy? I venture, as I find they why I'm needed, the happiness and fulfilment come with it.
I listen to a ton of Podcasts, some are better than others, I heard a new podcast from the Accidental Talmudist where he talks with actor Stephen Tobolowsky (he is in like everything, you may not know the name but you will recognize his face and voice). The conversation is real and raw, it's a bit long so I didn't listen in one sitting, but I couldn't wait to get back to it. Sal, aka, the Accidental Talmudist has 3 episodes out so far and they are all winners!
Have a great Shabbos,Shlomop.s. did you listen to the podcast where Devorah and I shmooze about our moving to Oberlin, the development of Chabad House, Devorah's international upbringing and moving to America, and much more. Listen here



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Posted on September 19, 2019 .

Inspired by Dancing

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a wedding in New York of a good friend. I first met him when he came to Oberlin a few years ago to help us out with Purim (if you remember Purim in Hogwarts, he was here then). At the wedding as we were twirling, and dancing, and singing along with the music twice I paused and was taken by beautiful sights.

The first was the elderly white bearded head of the yeshiva jumping and dancing with his students in pure joy and celebration of his student's special celebration. The fact that he is a distinguished man, and not a young guy didn't deter him for one moment and just like everyone else he was jumping and being jostled by the circle of dancing. The other time I stopped to take in the dancing it the moment when the bride and groom were hoisted atop some tables and danced their hearts out. I've attached a picture of the bride and groom on dancing on tables.

In the same vein as dancing I watched a mini documentary (about 5 minutes long) of a rabbi who is also a professional dancer, and he speaks of his relationship with G-d and his body, and his community. Watch the story of the dancing rabbi, Chanya Shwartz.

There is a podcast I listen to each week, about Jewish law in contemporary society. This past week the host of the program hosted several guests to talk about some pretty amazing stories from Jewish communities from around the globe, like Siberia, Istanbul, and Uganda. The show focuses on some pretty amazing differences in world view from Chabad and other Orthodox Jewish communities, and it made me awfully proud to be a part of Chabad and it's special work. Also I'll be honest, this podcast is intended for a specific crowd, so I hope you will appreciate it. Sometimes they slip into Yiddish or Hebrew, but I think you can grasp it. Listen to the Podcast here, also skip to minute 24, thats where he gets to the topic at hand.

I read a fascinating article about bespoke tailoring and the inner soul of the suit and the tailor who makes some of the finest suits in the USA. Check out this GQ article.

Have a great Shabbos,

Shlomo


p.s. I had a very special guest on my ChabadCast this week. After a few years I was finally able to get Devorah to be my very special guest. I'd love for you to listen to are chat we had a lot of fun doing it. Listen here.


Also this Shabbos we are celebrating Izzy's 1st birthday we would be honored if you are in Oberlin to join us for Shabbos and celebrate.

Posted on September 13, 2019 .

Inspired by People

This week was such a pleasure to have al the Obies back in town; getting to meet so many new and great first years and welcome back all of the returning students was so fulfilling. As the energy in Oberlin picks up I can feel my personal energy revving up too and that is a great feeling. I've loved hearing about all the great thing folks were up to over the summer whether it was traveling, working or reading.

A documentary that I've been watching is called Unorthodox by Anna Wexler. She documents her personal journey as well as the journey of several others with their dissatisfaction with their Jewish upbringing and how they come in (and out) of the Jewish community. I found the doc a phenomenal glimpse into the mind of an average teenager in America and how they relate to religion.

An article I read that was a curious glimpse into the mixing of the Jewish world and making a living. Who knew clicking on an Amazon link could take you deep into the warehouses of Chasidic Brooklyn and provide a secure financial living for so many families.

A podcast that I listened to that really made me think was from Neil Lazarus called Should Jews be Democrats or Republicans. He analyzes the absurd comment from Trump a few weeks ago about the disloyalty of American Jews who vote democrat. His take on the issues with such a statement and how Israelis relate (or don't) to American politics was quite thought provoking. I don't often write about politics but his observations some of which I agree some of which I don't are very insightful. In general I have found Neil to be very thoughtful and smart on a variety of topics.


Good Shabbos,

Shlomo

p.s. I'd love to hear about what inspires you and what you are learning, so send me a message or stop me in slow train to tell me

p.p.s. I have attached an image for all the great things happening at Chabad next week so you can see whats going on.

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Posted on September 6, 2019 .

Inspired by Newness

Well summer is coming to an end, the first years have arrived here in Oberlin and the slow trickle of upperclassmen has begun. Honestly, it is pretty refreshing seeing these new students coming into Oberlin, ready to drink in all the experiences that await them for the next for years. I also enjoy listening to the returning students talking about all the things they love about Oberlin, and kinda falling in love with it all over again. I also went late last week to the county fair with my kids, and watching them try the games and rides for the first time was so beautiful. Just seeing joy on their faces is pretty contagious. So where ever you may be, try to seek out a little new joy, you might be surprised the effect it will have on you.

This week I revisited one of the strangest and best documentaries I've watched. There was (maybe still is) a festival called "The Rainbow Gathering". Some Hasidic Jews come to the Gathering and set up a kosher camp amidst the hippiest of hippy gatherings. I love this doc because it highlights the beauty of human connection and spiritual growth through learning with people who on the surface seem radically different.

I also read a great little article that was written by a colleague of mine and was published in the student newspaper at WashU in St. Louis. Chana Novack writes advice to College students that attend WashU in an article entitled: Don't Take Advantage of Everything College Has to Offer. I think she hits on a really important point. Even if you aren't a 1st year in college think about what focusing on creating deep and meaningful experiences and relationships would add into our lives, rather than just trying to do it all. Kinda like the old adage "Jack of all trades, expert in none".

A few weeks ago I tried a new app for when I go to sleep. I only tried it once, thought it was cool, but didn't do anything with it. But this week I decided instead of listening to a podcast, lecture, or story, I was going to use this app called Smiling Mind when I was going to bed. When I use it I fall asleep pretty quickly (within 10 minutes) and though I'm finding myself sleeping for a shorter time period, I'm waking up more refreshed and wasting less time in my morning routine. I don't know if it will work for you, but let me know.

keep me posted on the great things you are reading, listening to, apps you are using, and things you are learning.

Have a great Shabbos

Rabbi Shlomo

ps. If you are in Oberlin Friday night come and join us at 7:30 for Shabbos dinner and on Monday there is a welcome back BBQ at Chabad 6-8pm and if you want to see a preview of what we have going on this semester click here. Including a beginers Hebrew Exco with Devorah, Yiddish Exco with me, Supper Club, and more.

Posted on August 29, 2019 .

Inspired by Home

We finally made it back to Oberlin after a great summer in NYC. Devorah and I have been spending a lot of time devoted to thinking about our home community her in Oberlin. Thinking of ways to enhance what is already here, create new connections, and most importantly we are hopeful for students to "own" the community. We don't just want Chabad House to be a place where people come and Shlomo and Devorah entertain them, but a place that is their home. And when we say home we mean that with all that that implies. We look forward to seeing how you want to be a part of this community and help is flourish.

This week I've really been getting my bearings back after returning home and reflecting a lot about Oberlin's Jewish past and future.

I've been watching this great documentary called Crime After Crime. It was made by an Alum, Joshua Safran OC'97. It's a doc about how he changed California state law to help women who were victims of abuse. Another cool fact, when Jos was a senior at Oberlin, he lived in the house that we currently live in and would host his friends for Shabbat dinners and other Jewish stuff.

I've also been re-reading a really cool article from past Oberlin Alumni magazines. It is about the 700+ year old Torah scroll that is housed in the Oberlin College Archives. In 1985 the alumni magazine wrote up the history of the scroll, how Oberlin obtained it, and some other really cool facts. I'm attaching a PDF of the article for your reading pleasure. If you want to see the scroll let me know we can make a field trip together.

I just started a new book entitled Positivity Bias, which is a collection of letters, teachings, and excerpts that talk about how we look at the world, how we manage our challenges, and beyond.

I also got a new planner for this school year called the Full Focus Planner. Whoa! it is all about goal planning and ACTUALLY achieving those goals. I've been using it for just about a week and I already feel more productive and like I'm using my time better.

A quote I've been pondering this week: "I've learned over the years that when one's mind is made up. this diminishes fear. --Rosa Parks

I hope your summer is winding down nicely, and we can't wait to see all the Obies back in town, it's awfully quiet here. As always I love hearing about what you have been reading, listening to, growing from. Send me a little note with what you have been up to this summer.

Shabbat Shalom,

Shlomo

Posted on August 23, 2019 .

Inspired by Memories


This week has been filled with a lot of emotion, excitement, and memories. Today, is the yartzheit (the 11th anniversary of his passing away). So quite obviously I've been thinking quite a bit about him and all of the memories I have with him from growing up, and the desire to be able to sit with him for just one more chat or one more hug.

As you may already know I didn't grow up in a chasidic home, or even a particularly observant home, but my very last conversation with my father was telling him Devorah's and my dream to open a Chabad House and become a rabbi. This brought him a lot of joy. In fact, one of the last things he said to my mother was "My son the rabbi; I like the way that sounds" Those words have brought a smile to my face for the past 11 years and served as a major motivation for what we do at Chabad at Oberlin.

Talking about family I was moved by the photo of Aushwitz survivor, Shoshana Ovitz who celebrated her 104th birthday with all of her living decedents...over 400 of them!!! It is such a powerful image to see this matriarch, her four children and then hundreds and hundreds of grand children, great grand children, and great-great grand children. Makes me think about what we are leaving as a legacy in this world.

I watched this TED talk from my friend Mordechai Lightstone who talks about the internet being a powerful too for good, and the power we all hold to be messengers of good and inspiration into the world.

A podcast that I've been listening to for a while now, but keep falling in love with is Ear Hustle. Reporter Nigel Poor goes into San Quinten State Prison and along with some inmates from the inside, she produces one of the most authentic podcasts I've ever listened to. Having been a volunteer Chaplain for the past 9 years in Ohio prisons there are many facets that I have identified with and I've learned a great deal about people through this podcast.

Last week, along with tens of thousands of other fellow Jews, I concluded the annual study of Maimonides work called the Mishna Torah, where he explains every mitzvah in the Torah. Come and join me in the study, it takes about 3 minutes every day. Every year when the cycle concludes It feels very gratifying to look back and see how much was accomplished and also knowing that I am unified with so many others across the globe in learning the same thing.

Have a great Shabbos,
Shlomo
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Listen to this week's Soul Searchers ChabadCast where I shmooze with Jon Madof OC '96. We talk about his transition from majoring in Japanese to running a record label and fronting his own band. He was a really fun interview, we had never met before and we still have a bunch more to talk about, so look out for a 2nd episode at some point.

Posted on August 15, 2019 .

Inspired by Vison

This week was one focused on reflection and planning, which means a lot of goal setting and refining my vision for my life and for our wonderful little Chabad House. Also I'm still in Brooklyn which has afforded me the ability to meet up with some really great Obies from the 70's all the way to current students. It has been amazing, and they have also inspired me with some great content and fodder for my mind.

I'm watching a short documentary Jacob Baron OC17 shared with me. He made just before he graduated called Protest: Oberlin Across The Years. I have always been curious about the history of being a revolutionary, and the culture that surrounds it. This film didn't disappoint in giving a glimpse into Oberlin's long and fascinating history.

I just ordered a new calendar, because believe it or not the new academic year is about to begin which also means that Rosh Hashanah is getting close. This calendar is unique in the sense that the artwork is gorgeous, and the calendar itself is a circle. It symbolizes the cycle of the year and of self. They made a little youtube vid explaining it too.

I'm reading two interesting articles, one by Brian Blum OC83 about cultural Judaism and how tradition and culture intertwine (and dont'). I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a large swath the Jewish community. Read it here. The other article is about a middle school graduation and what the focus of the speeches were about. It helped me think about what is important to me, and where I want to put my focus for the future.

I always love hearing what you are learning, reading, watching, and listening please keep sending me what has you inspired.

Good Shabbos,
Shlomo

Also listen to this weeks Chabadcast with Oberlin Alumni Mark Finkle. Mark graduated in 1976 is one of my mentors and helps guide me when I feel a bit lost. He has been on quite the spiritual journey, learned a ton, and in his retirement he chose to teach others! In the podcast Mark talks about meeting his wife at Oberlin, going from a history major into the business world, and working as a Jewish person in places like Afghanistan and the United Arab Emerites, and he drops a ton more knowledge too. Listen, you won't regret it.
Listen on itunes, stitcher, spotify, or your favorite podcasting app

Posted on August 9, 2019 .

Inspired by lack of motivation

Happy Friday! I'll be honest this week was a hard one to be motivated to get stuff done. Maybe I was finally feeling the vibes of summer, but I mostly pushed through. I got to meet with some great alumni (from before I was even born) caught up with some friends, and got some good family time (minus Hadassah who is at sleep away camp and we miss her). Amidst my lack of motivation I've still found some inspiration in a few cool places.

Earlier this week I visited my friend who sells Jewish books and he had a book there that caught my eye called Homeward Bound. It is a book of short stories of folks getting in touch with their Jewish heritage and identities. As luck would have it, the compiler of the stories is from my home town in Atlanta, so many of the stories are about people that I know, makes it a little extra special and gave me a taste of home. So far its been a good read, quick stories with little bites of inspiration.

I'm also listening to some more new podcasts, being in NY and riding the train is prime time for listening. So I stumbled into this Podcast called Jewish People and Ideas. I heard this episode with Yossi Klein Halevi speaking about growing up in Boro Park in Brooklyn and living on the border of the Jewish neighborhood, and then moved to Israel and lives butted up next to his Palestinians neighbor. Yossi once embraced an extreme political position and found himself migrating toward the center over time. I found myself not agreeing with everything Klein Halevi said but was fascinated how he articulated his beliefs.

A quote I've been thinking about related to Tikkun Olam

"If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly in the world, then it is you, yourself that needs repair." -- Rabbi MM Schneerson


Have a great Shabbos

Shlomo

p.s. You might with to listen to our summer Podcast series. This episode was with my good friend Didy Waks who is the Chabad rabbi at Hamilton College, we give out some good secrets :) Listen here. Or search for Soul Searchers on your favorite Podcast app.


Posted on August 2, 2019 .

Inspired by Anonymity

We are still in Brooklyn and it's been a busy week. Yanky turned 10 and I also had my Birthday so lots of good things to celebrate. I with thinking a lot about Rabbis (shocker right) and anonymity this week. Here in Crown Heights rabbis are aplenty and its one of the few places in the world where I can just be a face in the crowd. Crown Heights is a Chabad community, and also pretty transient, so I don't really stick out. I can walk into a room and no one wonders who is that guy. So on one hand its pretty nice to be a nobody, on the other hand it sometimes feels pretty strange. At the same time, coming into this community is rather uplifting and realizing in what seems like a homogeneous community each of us are unique personalities.

Earlier this week I was at a friends house and there was another (rabbi looking guy there) and casually he said he was a photographer, I didn't think too much about it, though he was the "run of the mill" wedding photographer, but later in the week I found out he is a high fashion photographer and he started a photo project called The Rabbi Project. He does an awesome job at showing the color in the black and white world of Chasidic Brooklyn. I've visited this site about 25 times this week, just memorized by the photos.

I've also watched a great documentary about some rabbis who are very, VERY far from Brooklyn. Outback Rabbis is about 2 rabbis and their families who move to the Australian Outback to find the Jews spread around the huge area. Awesome film, and quite inspiring.

On the theme of anonymity, I've just listened to an episode of Beautiful Anonymous with Chris Gethard. It's a cool podcast where people call in and tell the host, whatever they want for an hour. Only rule is they have to stay anonymous. This week's episode was a woman who has been through quite a tough life, but her outlook is remarkable.

I also did a Narcan training course yesterday with an organization call Amudim, where I had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing our communities around Opioids, and how to help folks who are suffering from an overdose. The class was eyeopening and I hope to never need to use the Narcan, but just incase someone is in crisis now I can be equipped to help. If you are interested in having this kind of one time class offered in Oberlin, please let me know.

Have a great shabbos,
Shlomo

Posted on July 26, 2019 .

Inspired in Brooklyn

We finally made it to Brooklyn and it feels good. We've got Obies around and in the heart of chasidic NY. Devorah and I also were able to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary together with a beautiful dinner and even more beautiful conversation. (btw if you are in NYC we would love to see you, so please send us a message). As the old Jewish adage goes if you change you location, you change your "mazel". So my mazel has become pretty introspective this week here is what I've been up to.

I just started listening to a podcast called Potential State. Someone recommended this podcast to me and when I heard the name i realized it was my friend Galit Romanelli's husband Dr. Assael Romaneli. The topic of the podcast is about best relating to yourself and others and Assael brings his knowledge as a therapist into your ears. Its pretty awesome. I'd start with the 2nd episode called Supermen, Superwomen. Some episodes are 2 minute, most are around 15 minutes and a few are longer.

Some art I've been enjoying is called Parsha Posters from Hillel Smith of California. He makes amazing graphic representations of each weeks Torah portion. Kinda want to get some prints for the Chabad House walls.

In a similar vein to the podcast I'm listening to, I've started reading "It's Within You It’s Within You: A Detailed Road Map to Igniting, Deeper Self-Worth, Richer Relationships, and Greater Personal Freedom by Aryeh Weinstein and Ilene Cohen PhD . It's a fantastic book that is a powerful synthesis of modern psychology and Ancient Spiritual Wisdom. What if you could just stop worrying about what others think of you? How much more could you accomplish in life?ONE simple shift could make it happen…Burned out. Struggling. Undervalued. Conflicted. Invalidated. Anxious. Angry. Empty. All signs that your self-worth isn’t coming from within. We’ve all been there, and it’s not a place where healthy relationships, personal freedom, and peace of mind can thrive.

And lastly, I've watched this video about three times already. I've wanted to express so many of the thoughts here but could never find the words. Brian Strauss the rabbi of the Conservative synagogue Beth Yeshurun in Houston Texas shared some of his thoughts and experiences about Chabad and summed it up rather perfectly here.

Have a great Shabbos
Shlomo
p.s. I'd love to hear what you are reading/listening to/watching. Let me know. And for a bonus follow me on Insta for some great pics of Brooklyn @Obierabbi

Posted on July 19, 2019 .

Inspired and Reflecting

Wow, this week has flown by! Devorah and I are wrapping up our second week teaching at the Jewish Summer Fellowship, and it has been fantastic. We are teaching women between the ages of 19-30 who are exploring their Jewish identities in new ways. We have served as scholars in residence where we are teaching classes and fielding questions throughout the day. It has been intense, and a whole lot of fun too. So in between preparing classes, teaching, and fielding a ton of questions I've been reflecting back on the past year a bit and also filling my mind with new things.


I've been listening to some past episodes of my "Soul Searchers" podcast. Particularly the episode with Rami Teeter OC '20 where we get into a some pretty thoughtful conversations about how he was raised, and if G-d was a topic of conversation in his home, or schooling. This episode went on a bit longer than all of my others and it was worth every second.


What I'm Watching

Last summer I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a Fellow in a very special community. It is called the ROI Fellows. As a closing ceremony we took part in a really unique experience with an organization called Kooloolam. It is a group singing activity. Wherever I rewatch this video I get a little emotional. The experience of us all taking a song and learning it about 45 minutes and then singing our hearts out brought about this amazing feeling of unity that is quite difficult to articulate. I low key (well not so low key) want to bring this group to Oberlin and get us all together and just SING!!

A story that I read

Psychologist Barry Schwartz and political scientist Kenneth Sharpe in their book Practical Wisdom tell a story about a hospital janitor named Luke. In the hospital where Luke worked, there was a young man who'd gotten into a fight and was now in a coma, and he wasn't coming out. Every day his father sat by his side in silent vigil, and had done so for six months. One day, Luke cam in and cleaned the young man's room. His father wasn't there; he was out getting a smoke. Later that day, Luke ran into the father in the hallway. The father snapped at Luke and accused him of not cleaning his son's room. Luke could have snapped back "I did clean your son's room" but he responded by cleaning the room again, so the father could see him cleaning the room. What do you think you would respond?

One other important thing

Chabad at Oberlin, along with some other campuses is doing a summer fundraiser. We are hosting a raffle, where you can win $10,000 and some other great prizes. Tickets for the raffle are $36. Over $30 from each ticket goes directly to supporting the work Chabad is doing at Oberlin, like shabbos dinners, holiday programming, and all kinds of great classes, etc. So please think about grabbing a ticket (or a few). And if you win the $10,000 its a double win because you got $10k and you are helping to support the great Jewish community at Oberlin. Feel free to tell your friends and family about the raffle too!!! Last day to buy tickets is July 21st.


Good Shabbos,

Shlomo

Posted on July 11, 2019 .

An extra special weekend to be inspired

This week is a special one. This Shabbos marks the anniversary of my spiritual mentor and guide the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Additionally, Devorah and I have been serving as scholars in residence at the Jewish Summer Fellowship for Women in upstate NY. So needless to say this week has been filled with lots of personal content and inspiration. So here is some of the things I've been filling up with, and this week you might notice a theme around the Rebbe and his message.

What I'm watching
over and over again is the CEO of WeWork, Adam Neumann, tell his story of being one of the most successful people on the planet yet feeling so unfulfilled. One day he found something that changed his life forever, deepened his relationships, elevated his business, and made him feel like he had a purpose. Watch it here.

A quote I often revisit when reflecting of the greatness of the Rebbes guidance and leadership
"A true leader does not seek followers, he wants to teach others how to be leaders. He does not want control, he wants the truth. He does not impose his leadership on others, nor does he take away anyone's autonomy. He inspires by love, not coercion. When it comes time to take credit, he makes himself invisible; but he is the first to arrive at the time of need, and he will never shrink away in fear. He is so passionate about your welfare that when you consult him for guidance, it is like coming face to face with yourself for the first time." -Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What I'm reading
Toward a Meaningful Life gives Jews and non-Jews alike fresh perspectives on every aspect of their lives - from birth to death, youth to old age; marriage, love, intimacy, and family; the persistent issues of career, health, pain, and suffering; and education, faith, science, and government. We learn to bridge the divisions between accelerated technology and decelerated morality, between unprecedented worldwide unity and unparalleled personal disunity.

Wishing you the most inspiring Shabbos, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Shlomo

p.s. We will be in NYC for a few weeks this summer and if you are going to be there. please let me know. Devorah and I would love to invite you for Shabbos in Brooklyn or meet up for coffee or drinks in the city.

Posted on July 5, 2019 .

Weekend inspiration 6/28


A video that shows what true joy looks like
This little clip of an awesome kids choir from America's Got Talent. They are having so much fun, and the raw happiness at the end is worth the 5 minute clip

The book I am currently reading
Second Mountain by someone named David Brooks. I found this book in an actual book store (gasp!). When I walk into a book store I feel like it is a religious experience of it's own. I walk around and look at books until one seems to call me over. This one called me, but I kept walking away from it, but after an hour of wandering around the Barnes and Noble, I knew that was my book. And is has not disappointed. He's a "recovering conservative" with a new look on living a purposeful life. Check it out. I was hooked before I finished the introduction.
Filling my ears with this podcast
A New Conversation is a podcast started by my friend Peretz and his wife Chanie, they are the Chabad family at Brandies. Last year they starting rethinking their Chabad House and the role they have on campus. So far they have posted 12 episodes, you can pick which one is gonna be your first, so far they all been good and they are short, usually less than 15 minute.


Have a great Shabbos,
Shlomo

Posted on July 1, 2019 .

What inspired me 6/21

A quote that was sent to me and made me think
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamott


An amazing story I heard (get some tissues ready)

This story of being in the right place at the right time, and how just a little love and caring can go a long way. Check out the short video.

The book I just ordered
Social Vision is about the only rabbi ever awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Despite wide recognition of the Rabbi's impact, this is the first volume to seriously explore his social ideas and activism. he not only engineered a global Jewish renaissance but also became an advocate for public education, criminal justice reform, women's empowerment, and alternative energy.

You might not know that I'm a bit of a podcast junkie.
This episode came out last summer, when I heard it I got hooked to the Unorthodox Podcast. It's pretty thoughtful, slightly irreverent, and talks about all kinds of stuff that impacts all corners of the Jewish world.

Have a great Shabbos,
Shlomo

p.s. Chabad at Oberlin is offering you a chance to win $10,000. We are taking part of a raffle where you can win some great prizes and all ticket purchase help Chabad at Oberlin directly. Grab a ticket or two (or more) also pass this link to your friends, parents, family members etc. Our goal is to sell at least 200 tickets. Get your tickets here

Posted on June 23, 2019 .