Rabbi Chaim Zaklos

Is all this religious observance inhibiting or liberating?

Free at last. These weeks Jews around the world are reading the story of the great Exodus. “Let my people go that they may serve me” was the divine call transmitted by Moses to Pharaoh. If the purpose of leaving Egypt and Pharaoh’s whip was to be able to serve God, where is the freedom? […]

January 24, 2016 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 5 Replies

Hanukkah: A time to be the modern-day Maccabees

Next Sunday evening, the homes of the Jewish people will be filled with light – the eternal and permeating flame of Hanukkah. All of us want this holiday to be a meaningful one. And so, it’s important for us to find some personal relevance and a contemporary message in this 2,200-year-old holiday. For children, Hanukkah gelt and […]

November 29, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Meet life’s storms in the sanctuary of the ‘ark’

At this time of the year, we usually start to feel the weather change. The heat and radiant sun are behind us. The clouds, rain, brisk fall and forthcoming winter are fast approaching. Not only meteorologically, but spiritually as well. This past week we said goodbye to the radiant, blissful and energetic month of festivals […]

October 18, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Jewish living memories, not history, guarantee a future

They say that Napoleon was once passing through the Jewish ghetto in Paris and heard sounds of crying and wailing emanating from a synagogue. He stopped to ask what the lament was about. He was told that the Jews were remembering the destruction of their temple. “When did it happen?” asked the Emperor. “Some 1,700 […]

July 12, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Celebrating the day that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people

In exactly one week from today, May 24, the Jewish Community around the world will be celebrating the holiday of Shavuot, commemorating the day on which G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah on Mount Sinai 3,327 years ago. We are told that at Mount Sinai G-d asked us for a guarantor to ensure that the […]

May 17, 2015 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

Carrying on a legacy, reaching out to fellow Jews across the world

It was a cold winter night on Jan. 17, 1951, (10th of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar, corresponding to Jan. 30, 2015). A group of Chassidic Jews gathered in a small room on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. They were commemorating the first anniversary of the passing of the saintly Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch, the Previous […]

February 08, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Be a Maccabee

This coming Tuesday will begin the famous holiday of Chanukah. It’s important for us to find some personal relevance and a contemporary message in this 2,200-year-old holiday. (For children, Chanukah presents will infuse great meaning, but for us adults that might not cut it!) Yes, we can, and certainly should, light our menorahs and eat those […]

December 14, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Can we let go of our favorite pastimes, things and be content?

A new (Jewish) year is upon us (Sept. 25). One year chases another, one decade follows the next. Our lives unfold, our circumstances evolve, but how about us? Do we grow as well or are we stinted in our spiritual and emotional growth? It is a probing question and one we ought to ask of […]

September 07, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

The Fourth of July carries an extra special meaning this year

Flying the flag, expressing our patriotism, and appreciating our country and the liberties it affords us – these are the sentiments and feelings that surround us as we approach the July Fourth weekend. For me, this year’s July Fourth weekend carries with it an extra special measure of meaning and calling. This is because this year it follows two […]

June 29, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

We dumped the Pharaoh, but the river is still ‘mine’

We recently celebrated the great holiday of Passover, the Festival of Liberation from slavery in Egypt. The prophet Ezekiel describes the Pharaoh, of Passover fame, as “the giant crocodile who couches in his rivers, who proclaims, ‘My river is mine, and I made myself . . .’ ” I made myself? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? […]

April 27, 2014 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

Miracles sometimes are a matter of perspective

Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever experienced any? Think back to this morning, to the moment when you opened your eyes. Have you experienced any since then? Before you answer, consider this: You opened your eyes! Is that anything less than a miracle? How about your mobility, hearing, cognition? Are these things that […]

March 02, 2014 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

The convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving

It hadn’t happened since 1918 and it won’t occur again until 2070. This year, American Jewry enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinner adorned with the lights of their Hanukkah menorah marking a historic convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. While the Jewish calendar is slightly shorter than its Gregorian counterpart, rarely does it linger so far behind as to offer us […]

December 08, 2013 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Jews refuse to forget, so there will always be a future

Memory vs History This coming Tuesday is the Jewish national day of mourning (Tisha B’Av) when we will recall the destruction of our Holy Temple nearly 2,000 years ago by fasting and mourning among other observances of the day. But why remember? Some people cannot understand why we Jews go on about the Holocaust – and […]

July 14, 2013 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Remembering the Ten Commandments on Shavout

The holiday of Shavuot is the day on which we celebrate the great revelation of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, 3,324 years ago. The souls of all Jews, from all times, came together to hear the Ten Commandments from G‑d Himself.  This year, on Wednesday, many went to their local synagogue to […]

May 19, 2013 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

Pass on history through stories during Passover Seder

Monday evening marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, an eight-day holiday commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The highlight of Passover is the two “Seders,” observed on the first two nights of the holiday (Monday and Tuesday evening). The Seder is a fifteen-step, family-oriented, tradition and ritual […]

March 24, 2013 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

Faith and reason – rabbi’s synthesis of two never intersecting planes

Faith and Reason. It’s not just that they’re natural antagonists, but that they seem to inhabit two different, never intersecting planes. Faith is unequivocal; reason is reasonable. Faith is supra-human and thus (to us) unreal; reason is realness made human-sized, defined and confined, drained of wonder and life. For many centuries each dwelled on its […]

January 27, 2013 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Gather around the Shabbat table on Friday nights

Despite the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy, close to 4,500 Hasidic rabbis, community lead­ers and activists gathered in Manhattan on Nov. 11 for the grand banquet of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. With a growing scope of centers worldwide, Chabad attracts millions of Jews and non-Jews alike. Seated in the crowd along with my […]

November 18, 2012 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

Rosh Hashannah: More than just a New Year

Throughout the year, the Jewish calendar is filled with holidays commemorating key historic spiritual and physical milestones in Jewish history. Passover recalls our flight from Egypt, Shavuot receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, Purim the saving of the Jewish nation. One might wonder as the Jewish High Holidays approach (Rosh Hashanah Sept. 17-18 and Yom […]

September 09, 2012 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

‘The Rebbe’ continues to be an influence, 18 years after his death

Yesterday, June 23, marked the 18th anniversary of passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of righteous memory. Rabbi Menachem M. Shneerson is considered to have been the most phenomenal Jewish personality of modern times. To hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of admirers around the world, he was, and still is, “the Rebbe.” Undoubtedly, the one individual […]

June 24, 2012 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

It’s important Passover story remain relevant

On Friday April 6, Jews around the world will sit down with family and friends to celebrate Passover with a traditional meal called the “Seder.” During the Seder, we relive and discuss the Exodus from Egypt and we observe various traditions such as eating the “Matzah,” an unleavened cracker, with horseradish and drinking four cups […]

March 23, 2012 | Posted in Religion | Tagged ,

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