Barkai Blog

שפתון משחת שיניים ומי פה בפסח

שאלה:  שלום וברכה. האם מוצרים כגון משחת שיניים מי פה ושפתון צריכים כשרות לפסח? ​ תשובה:  שלום וברכה, לכתחילה טוב (ואף חובה לחלק מהפוסקים) לקנות משחת שיניים, מי פה שפתון וכדומה עם כשרות לפסח. ואף שמוצרים אלו לא ראויים למאכל ואף אין כוונה לאוכלם, מכל מקום כיון שיש להם טעם שנשאר בפה או מתערבים עם אוכל, יש להחמיר. ​ מקורות:  בתרומת הדשן ...
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The Myth Surrounding Suicide

The Barkai rabbis recently completed "Gatekeepers" training provided by Bishvil Hachaim, an organization dedicated to preventing suicides in Israeli society and running support groups for the families of suicide victims.  The painful topic of suicide is often not spoken about because of the mistaken belief that speaking about it will increase it. However, studies done during the last several years prove just the opposite. In fact, raising awareness of suicides, as long as it done in a mature and responsible way, drastically lowers the number of suicides.  The rabbis learned how to become "Gatekeepers" – how to identify people in their communities who are suicide risks and refer them for proper treatment. During the training, the rabbis heard painful personal stories from families that experienced suicides. These encounters highlighted the importance of providing the hope and assistance that someone who is contemplating suicide so desperately needs. As our tradition tells us,...suicide
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Financial Management and Budgeting Skills

As part of their studies at the Barkai Center, the rabbis were recently instructed by the Mekimi Institute in responsible financial management and budgeting skills.  Many times a rabbi assists families in financial distress. Usually this assistance is in the form of giving charity or a loan to the family in need. However, in the Mekimi sessions for the Barkai rabbis the goal was different. The goal was to enable the rabbis to assist these families in managing their budgets properly, so that they are able to permanently remove themselves from the cycle of poverty and become financially independent.money

The Lew Pell Chaplaincy Training Program

The rabbis have received 80 hours of classroom instruction in chaplaincy and are currently doing their field work at hospitals, adult day care centers and old age homes around the country, as well as in their communities. Below, Rabbi Ro'i Levy, rabbi in Kadima, described one of his field work visits: Menashe, an elderly man of over 90, is lucid, has a healthy sense of humor and is very involved in everything going on around him. He is active and attends synagogue on Shabbatot. He often leads the davening and gets called up to the Torah. Recently, Menashe began to feel weak and had to stop from time to time to rest. Then walking became difficult and stairs insurmountable. A few weeks ago, Menashe was really not feeling well and he was hospitalized in an internal medicine unit. When I went to visit him, he was very pleased to see me...nl barkai chaplaincy
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Whose Synagogue is it Anyway?!

Young families or seniors? Men or women? Bachelors or marrieds? Inreach or outreach? Is there a place for children in the synagogue? A synagogue community is comprised of many different individuals as well as groups. At times the needs of some greatly differ from the needs of others. Whose needs take precedence? As a community in whom should we invest more of our resources? Will one group be pushed out of the synagogue and another group become dominant? The existence of different groups in one synagogue can create tensions, some that are obvious and others that are less evident. There will be some that will say "There is no room for all of us in the same synagogue. That other group should leave and start its own shul." It IS possible that at certain times this is the best approach. But it is also possible to create an atmosphere that attempts...
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The Ringing Telephone in Synagogue on Shabbat

One of the recent shabbatot we had in our congregation for secular bar mitzvah boys is one that will not be forgotten so quickly. Many guests were invited. Some of the guests brought their telephones with them to synagogue. Some of those who brought their phones forgot to set them on "vibrate" or "silent". Suddenly in the middle of the services a phone rang very loudly. The congregants heard it and became very excited, some became agitated looking to the rabbi for guidance as to how to respond to this (for this synagogue) uncommon incident. The Rabbi takes his time deciding how to respond and some of the regular congregants begin to lose their patience pleading with him to do something already! The question, of course, is how to respond and gain the most from this incident. There is one school of thought which says: if someone does not respect me...
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The Need for a Community Rabbi

Our community has a powerful veteran gabbai who makes sure that everything runs smoothly (allocating aliyot, appointing chazanim, and resolving disputes that arise). We also have a ba’al koreh who reads beautifully and precisely. We have a rotation of congregants who give divrei Torah in shul (a short devar Torah on Friday night and a shiur on Shabbat morning after davening). So why do we need a community rabbi? It is commonly thought that the rabbi’s main job is to be the community’s “halakhic technician,” making sure that the shul is maintained, answering halakhic questions, delivering sermons, and giving classes. He is like the religious services NCO in the army, who makes tefillin available and ensures that prayers are held and the food is kosher. Yet this is only the most basic and narrow aspect of the rabbi’s job; his real job is spiritual guidance. He must know how to speak,...
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The Attitude a Rabbi Needs to Lead his Flock

Parshat VaEra contains a verse that is difficult to understand: “And God spoke to Moshe and to Aharon, and He gave them a charge for the Israelites and for Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt” (Shemot 6:13). The phrase “He gave them a charge for the Israelites” (“Va-yetzavem el Bnei Yisrael”) baffled the commentators. Rashi explains, based on Shemot Rabbah: “He commanded them regarding [the Israelites], i.e., that they should lead them calmly and with forbearance.” But this, too, is ambiguous. Does Rashi mean that the leaders must conduct themselves with pleasantness despite the vast amount of work to be done with the people, or does he mean that they must do so even when the people curse, insult, and cause their leaders to suffer? Rashi’s comments elsewhere (Bamidbar 11:12) indicate that the latter explanation is the correct one. There, Moshe laments: “Have...
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The Worlds that Barkai has Opened Up For Me

I live in Nahariya which is located very close to Israel's northern border with Lebanon. I must begin by saying that the trips to Barkai for me take a lot longer than for the other rabbis (By the way- I have no problem with getting the extra mitzvah points for the effort of travel - especially when it's by train)! In the course of several of these trips I was able to have several in depth conversations with fellow northerner Barkai rabbi, Matan Goldberger, who lives in Kiryat Tivon. I was very moved by Rav Matan's many activities on behalf of the community. Among his many activities, Rav Matan also teaches a conversion class to conversion candidates at the Technion in Haifa. Due to the strong bond that developed between the two of us we thought that it would be a good idea if my wife and I sponsored and guided...
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The Flowering Glory of Redemption

It is almost Yom Ha'atzma'ut, the day on which the establishment of the State of Israel was declared. As usual, people as questions like: "Why are we rejoicing? Over what? Do we really need to recite Hallel for a secular state?" and so forth. This issue is rooted in a different question: how is the redemption supposed to appear? Will it be miraculous, a sudden announcement in the media that the anticipated redemption has arrived, or will it be a natural progression? The Talmud Yerushalmi (Brakhot 1:1) tells the story of two sages who were walking and saw the light of the morning star, Ayelet Ha-shachar , begin to twinkle: R. Chiya and R. Shimon b. Chalafta were walking in the Valley of Arbel before dawn when they saw the twinkling light of Ayelet Ha-shachar . R. Chiya Rabba said to R. Shimon b. Chalafta: "The redemption of Israel will be...
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No One Left Behind

The medrash (שמות רבה ב') gives us a glimpse into the making of the first leader of the Jewish nation. Before yetziat Mitzrayim , Moshe Rabbenu was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Yisro, when a young lamb ran away into the fields. Moshe, unwilling to lose even one lamb, ran off in search, eventually catching sight of the thirsty lamb quenching its thirst by a distant stream. Concerned that the lamb was weak and tired, Moshe gently lifted it and carried it back to the rest of the flock. Hashem had prepared this incident as a test to determine the extent that Moshe was concerned for every member of his flock. Moshe passed the test, proving himself worthy of becoming the leader of the Jewish nation. By extending himself to care for the wayward little lamb, he showed that the quality of a true leader is to be sensitive to...
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Our Site Visit to Dimona

Rav Sobol and I, as the Deans of Barkai, have begun making weekly site visits to our rabbis in their own communities. The purpose of these visits is to see how Barkai can best assist the rabbi to succeed in his community. Last week, we had the privilege of visiting Rabbi Ziv Abramovitch in Dimona. Dimona is in the Negev desert and is the second largest city in the Negev. Its population is closing in on 40,000. Under the forward, creative thinking of its current mayor, Dimona is attracting businesses, university students, dynamic young families and exciting housing projects. It is projected that by 2020, the city will double its size to 80,000 residents. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the desert, and bolstered by the increasing level of excellence in its school system, this town is reaching beyond its humble beginnings to establish itself as a leading city in the...
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People Hearing Without Listening

Listening is in the air. Vayishma Yitro (And Yitro heard) last week. This week we begin the parsha with the slave who does not want to go free and has to have his ear pierced. (According to Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai in the Midrash – the reason that he must undergo this procedure is because "The ear which heard at Mount Sinai 'we are slaves of G-d only', and defied this by selling himself as a slave should be pierced.") and we end the parsha with Naase VeNishma (we will do and we will listen). Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa (and according to some my Facebook doppelganger!) wonders why the portion that contains the Ten Commandments would be named for Yitro – a non-Jew. Chapter 19 of Exodus is about the important lead-up to the giving of the Ten Commandments. Chapter 20 contains the actual giving of...
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Barkai News

Israel National News: What is the Rabbi's role when dealing with abuse?
Israel National News: What is the Rabbi's role when dealing with abuse?logo-arutz7
Haaretz: Orthodox Jews Grapple With How to Talk About Sexual Assault, Domestic Abuse
Barkai Award for Outstanding Religious Figures in Israel.

Barkai Blog

שאלה: שלום וברכה. האם מוצרים כגון משחת שיניים מי פה ושפתון צריכים כשרות לפסח?​ תשובה: שלום וברכה, לכתחילה טוב (ואף חובה לחלק מהפוסקים) לקנות משחת שיניים, מי פה שפתון וכדומה עם כשרות לפסח. ואף שמוצרים אלו לא ראויים למאכל ואף אין כוונה לאוכל...
The Barkai rabbis recently completed "Gatekeepers" training provided by Bishvil Hachaim, an organization dedicated to preventing suicides in Israeli society and running support groups for the families of suicide victims. The painful topic of sui...
As part of their studies at the Barkai Center, the rabbis were recently instructed by the Mekimi Institute in responsible financial management and budgeting skills. Many times a rabbi assists families in financial distress. Usually this assistan...

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