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August 27, '20
Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mazel Tov
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• COVID-19 Update August 27, 2020
• Divrei Torah: Ki Seitzei
• New Publication: Kuntres Hoche’ach Tochi’ach
• Bukharian Jewish Link: Rosh Chodesh Elul Conference
• 5TJT: Chief Rabbis at Rosh Chodesh Elul
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 9 Elul-16 Elul
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Joins With Chazaq and National Council of Young Israel for 78th Annual Pre-High Holiday Chomer LiDrush Homiletics Session
• Rabbi Mirocznik on Anti-Semitism

Please let us know about your family simchos and l"a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to

Mazel Tov


Chaplaincy Commission Update

From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and Externa; Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/ Igud HaRabbonim
August 27, 2020

In Jewish history, in our Torah, Tanach and so one we learn of the remarkable deeds women have accomplished through the years up to and including the present. They are women who brought and continue bringing greatness to the Jewish nation with tremendous Kiddush H through their magnificent maysim tovim including our Rebbitzins and others in many professions. My wife did not want to be addressed as Rebbitzin, though many did refer to her as such. She was humble, modest, and never wanted to be in the limelight. Just this week, I was stopped by a young woman, as I was returning from Maariv and asked to speak to me. She shared how sorry she was for not reaching out to me earlier to offer her condolences, as she was going through some difficult times. She mentioned that even though there was no major connection between both, but when ever my wife saw her would be so kind, courteous and ask how she was doing. She shared with me how she knew many of the wonderful gemilus chasadim, the many kind deeds my wife did for people with out any fanfare. Most of all how she would make this woman feel so good. This woman went on to share her difficulties she has endured and a forthcoming surgery she will be having in a few days.

One of my Rabbeim was HaRav Moshe Eliyahu Shisgal ztkl who was a son in law of HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein ztkl. Whenever he removed or returned a seifer to the bookshelf in the yeshiva (MTJ) he would hug and kiss it. He mentioned how special each seifer is for his Rabbeim are in them and he continues to learn from them everyday. HaGaon HaRavDovid Feinstein shlita may he have a refuah shelaima some time ago was being interviewed about his father HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein ztkl. To paraphrase what he told the interviewer most people who will be reading about his father know about his gadlus in Torah knowledge, but what is important is to read about his gadlus in his midos.  There is so much we can learn from each other and I surely from you. Honestly, all of you could offer me chizuk and for me to learn from you chashuva Rabbanim and Chaplains. I continuously also learn from my wife who I can proudly say was mechanach so many in what she did and yes as you will read what she taught.

So, you most be wondering what the animal on the man’s head was about. Well this story is about a single Jewish woman who lived in Sharon Massachusetts, with her two sons. I have decided to include the following article written by Rivka Kirwan, Director of Communications for Oorah found in the June 24th edition of the Yated Neman. You may ask me why?  Remembering my wife Keila Lutza bas Shalom HaKohen A”H is not about memories, but her inspirations, her encouragements and what she did is a continuous limud for myself and for so many others.  It started with a kollel wife in her community who decided The Zone camp was just what the boys needed. Rebecca, a single mom bringing up her sons the best way she knew best didn’t quite agree. So, the well meaning Rebbetzin called Oorah herself, posing as Rebecca, to find out how to get her boys in to camp. Through some miscommunication, “Rebecca” was told she’d first need a Torah Mate. So that’s how Rebecca ended up with a voicemail from Torah Mates coordinator Chani Miller on her answering machine. She had no idea what this Torah Mates thing was about but Chani sounded too nice for Rebecca not to give her a call back. And though she was totally uninterested in learning more about Judaism or making time in her life for Torah study, Chani persuaded her to give it a try – with her own mother-in-law, who apparently was looking for a new Torah Mate and would make the perfect partner for Rebecca. Several months later, Rebecca still had little to no interest in Judaism, but she was hooked on Keila Blank, Chani’s mother-in-law. Keila had also been a single mom, raising three rowdy boys on her own, and Rebecca found her non-judgmental advice refreshing and her genuine warmth and interest in Rebecca compelling. “She wasn’t trying to make me frum,” Rebecca reflects. “Just to answer my questions and to be my friend.” [In fact, Keila had tried volunteering for Torah Mates before, but earlier partnerships had never panned out, for various reasons, and she was just about ready to call it quits. But like a shidduch, a Torah Mates partnership needs to click, and with Rebecca, Keila had finally found the right match.]

After speaking regularly on the phone and learning ‘Gateway to Judaism’ together, they met for the first time in May, when Rebecca was invited to speak about her experience with Oorah on the radiothon. That weekend was Rebecca’s first real Shabbos, spent in Westgate with Chani’s family. “I remember she pulled up just a few minutes before Shabbos, telling us she was sorry she was late, they’d stopped off at Burger King for a snack on the way.. Chani recalls. For her part, Rebecca looks back at that weekend fondly. She was flabbergasted that a family she barely knew was willing to have them stay over for the weekend – like, what happened to not talking to strangers…?! – and blown away by the simple beauty of an authentic Shabbos. As Rebecca’s relationship with Keila flourished and deepened, so did her connection to Yiddishkeit. Keila never lectured and never pushed, but with every new mitzvah Rebecca took on, Keila was her biggest cheerleader. She answered Rebecca’s questions – and when she didn’t know the answer, she’d speak to her rabbi, HaRav Dovid Feinstein, shlita, and find out. She counseled her through the anxieties of having her sons leave public school and start yeshiva. She walked her through the changes she slowly made to her lifestyle, from keeping Shabbos and kashering her home to the more subtle changes to the way she dressed, acted, and spoke. Keila was there for Rebecca when she remarried, to a Bostoner chassid who was well liked and respected in his community.

More than anything, Keila gave Rebecca access to her life: invited Rebecca to her Lower East Side home for Shabbos and took her along on her usual chesed stops, from buying flowers for nursing home residents to visiting Rebbetzin Feinstein on Friday night while she waited for the Rosh Yeshiva to come home from shul. Rebecca was a part of every simcha in the Blank family, given a seat at the family table since she knew none of the other guests. Keila shared with her resources most frum people take for granted, such as introducing her to Torah Anytime and specific speakers Rebecca could relate to. Everyday conversations about what was going on in each others’ lives revealed aspects of Keila’s greatness but in ways she saw as natural: the unquestioning and uncomplaining faith in face of the pain and weakness of cancer, the looking out for others and care taken never to offend.

And in the final days of her life, concern for Rebecca was top of mind. One of her last conversations with her daughter-in-law, Chani, was to ask her to make sure Rebecca would have someone suitable to learn with to take her place. And who better to carry on the relationship than Chani herself? In her family and in Rebecca’s, Mrs. Keila Blank’s legacy lives on. Yehi zichra baruch.

I had the pride and joy of being with my wife for the Shabbos with Rebecca and sons. When my wife was interviewed live on the Oorahthon, I sat right next to her. When my wife and I joined Rebecca at one of Oora’s Shabbatone she noticed a man wearing something strange to her for the first time and asked my wife  “what is that animal on that man’s head” it was of course a strimal. Her husband, a Bostoner Chasid for some reason showed up in Sharon. He was introduced to Rebecca, they dated, married and the rest is history. Her husband by the way wears a strimal on Shabbos. Her husband is a genuine mench, genuinely caring, devoted, and dedicated husband and father to the two boys who have become outstanding in their Torah hasmada, wonderful midos and doing excellent in their secular studies as well. My wife, children and I have enjoyed having them for Shabbosim and participating in many of our simchas as you read in the above article. In a recent article, I mentioned our participation in her wedding, her sheva brachos, both of her son’s bar mitzvos speaking at all their simchos and her shul. Her husband showing up in Sharon, as if he was a malach only the Ribono Shel Olom understands why things happen the way they do. I mentioned to Rebecca that she, her husband, and children are an inspiration to many. It is an honor for her to have shared with me not only her deep appreciation for my wife, but how she treasured all that she learnt from her. Rebecca has much gratitude to the Aibershta for her life is always uplifting in all that she does with her husband and the tremendous nachas they have from their sons. She gives much credit to Oorah for all of their assistance and support to her and her family and to Rebbitzen Bracha Frohlich for initiating it all . We can see from the story of Rebecca the “Hand of the Ribono Shel Olom”, but of course, deep down inside Rebecca’s heart, her neshama was seeking such an opportunity. It had to come at the right time. We never give up. Every Yid has that small flame from within. There was something special about Rebbitzen Frohlich about Chanie Miller and my wife that made Rebecca so interested and felt she could trust them not to force feed Yiddishkeit on her. Instead it was with sincere love for the Aibershta and the tremendous support Oorah gave her and her sons who blossomed so much.

These are some of the many millions of reasons why I miss my dear wife Keila Lutza bas Shalom HaKohen A”H We shared so many values of being sincere and caring for all. No hidden agenda, no hang ups. We never professed to be anything other than ourselves, but my wife, was brilliant in what she did with so much love for other Jews no matter what their background was or present state of Judaism might have been and her respect and sincerity for all people was so wonderful. She made such an impact on so many people, not withstanding every one of our family and extended family. She was and remains an inspiration to us all. She was a magnificent Bubby loved by all of her grandchildren and how she kept in touch with every child and grandchildren is in itself so remarkable. She found many opportunities for her family, her friends, her neighbors, and her various mitzva activities. Of course for the loving relationship my wife and I had that knew no bounds. She was loved and respected by so many. Just to fast forward somewhat those three rowdy sons mentioned in the above article grew up becoming distinguished well known askanim, talmidei chachamin well liked and respected in more ways than one – all single handedly by their mother with tremendous love and care. When we married she brought two families together with that same nurturing love and care. She found room in her heart for all the children and all miss her so very much.

Our esteemed Rabbanim, Rebbitzens and Chaplains are immensely privileged with the honor of bringing the spirit of kindness, goodness, Kedusha, the warmth of our Torah, most of all the beautiful and meaningful relationship with the Ribono Shel Olom and as role models with sincerity the world can look upon in a positive light. To all of our Rebbetzins our sincere gratitude and deep appreciation not just for your support of our Rabbanim and the Kehillo’s, but also for the vital and important efforts in  bringing and instilling the sweetness of Judaism of Yiddishkeit through all that you do. To our chaplains who are involved in often serious, challenging and difficult situations, may you continue to be zoche to continue your vital work helping and caring not only for all those of our Jewish nation, but caring for all of humanity in the various positions you serve in. Their praise worthy mido tovos and maysim tovom are not just now in the month of Elul, before the Yomim Nearim, but throughout the year.

In some of my previous articles, I wrote about mask vs no mask. This was purely about understanding, being empathetic and caring for each other. Many who are at risk have been told by their doctors to be careful. Many are truly fearful about contracting the coronavirus and having to be hospitalized. This week the, Bobov Kehilah of Boro Park and Hatzalah of Rockland County issued statements about the need to help prevent the spread of this virus, how to do so and anyone over the age of 60, or with underlying medical conditions or with no anti bodies should take the appropriate precautions. I still remain firm on Klal Yisrael not to be tempted to speak loshon horah which could spread to becoming sinas chinam about who does what regarding decisions regarding COVID-19. However, we should not take lightly the recommendations of the doctors and specialists who all along have shared their medical opinions and advice about the coronavirus, May we be zoche for a kesiva vechasima tova, and a shana tova umesuka. May all those who are in need should have a refuah shleima. Let us be mispallel that the coronavirus and all types of illnesses be gone forever.  Sincerely, Yehuda Blank

There are many exciting things happening with the RAA including a new retirement plan for Rabbanim who are members of the RAA. Plus, a soon to be announced collaboration with OHEL.

Please read the flyers from OHEL, Testing and Training International and from MJHS about a virtual Holocaust Museum Program which also includes a virtual tour of the core exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Please remind your congregants, family members and others to register to vote and to complete the US Census Thank you. YB


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COVID-19 Update August 27, 2020

Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD, RAA/Igud’s Director of Halacha and Medicine Commision

There is a lot of new information to impart this week, and Iy”H I will expand on these important subjects motzei Shabbos on our Zoom talk.

We will move up the start time to 9:15 PM this week, and consider earlier times going forward. You can join the session via:

Zoom at Meeting ID 980 3243 6809; Password: SUMMER2020;

or by phone: 929 205 6099

or via YouTube link obtainable from

What has happened this week in our area?

Hatzalah has sent out notices to various communities in the greater NYC area regarding a slight increase they are seeing in COVID-19 calls. Boruch Hashem, the increase has been small, and the notices were sent out not to frighten or scare people but to remind everyone that COVID-19 is NOT over, and for the EMTs to take necessary precautions. This is a critical message to be heard in communities where there have been very few cases and little regard for masking and distancing.

Nassau County Hatzalah has also had some COVID-19 calls for the first time in a while.

The increases in cases, hospitalizations, and sadly, rachmana letzlan, deaths in Israel, as well as in some European countries previously “under control”, along with ongoing surges still in some US states, should serve as a significant wakeup call that COVID-19 could still drastically change our upcoming school and Yomim Noraim programs.

The state, city and county DOH are very carefully monitoring exposures and daily COVID-19 numbers, and are again imploring us to work with them should there be any new exposures.

What is new from the CDC?

1) The CDC  updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines. They now state: If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one. What does that mean?

Suboptimal testing capabilities for COVID-19 have been the single most damaging issue we have faced in dealing with COVID-19. Delays in obtaining results, accuracy of the results, and inadequate resources for mass testing have negatively impacted our ability to prevent COVID-19 spread. This issue is not addressed by the updated guidelines, which is still the crux of the problem…

What this practically means however to me as a clinician and epidemiologist is that we MUST still test individuals exposed to COVID-19 as possible at the opportune times. A positive test result remains very helpful to reinforce the absolute seriousness of the exposure, and testing should be obtained where possible to promote optimal quarantine compliance. However, as before, nothing new here, we must recognize that a negative COVID-19 test is worthless to rule out infection. A 14 day quarantine is still required for all exposed individuals.

2) Contrary to what many people saw in the news, the CDC did not dramatically change their travel recommendations this week. They stated there still is ongoing COVID-19 transmission within the United States and throughout the world, and as a result, you may be exposed on your travels even though you feel well and have no symptoms. You can be highly contagious without symptoms and spread virus. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a transmission risk, and regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, stay at least 6 feet away from other people not from your household – both indoors and outdoors. Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered. You must still follow state recommendations – so in NY, there still is a mandatory 14 day quarantine for people traveling back from certain states and countries.

If you had a known (or possible) COVID-19 exposure, stay home for 14 days after your last contact with that person and monitor your health. Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

3) The IDSA updated its antibody testing guidelines last week (that is what the NT Times article mentioned, and I alluded to last motzei Shabbos). Actually, little new information was delivered despite all the questions raised on the chat. Essentially, antibody testing has strengths and limitations, and in the appropriate setting, under the guidance of experts, it can provide useful information.

What is new from the FDA?

A big brouhaha emerged this week regarding convalescent plasma therapy, as the FDA announced emergency use authorization (EUA) for such products Sunday. To be honest, there was significant scientific controversy as to whether this should have been done at this time based upon the published scientific data. Indeed, senior officials exaggerated its benefit, which was followed by public retractions regarding efficacy. Very unfortunate.

My own personal opinion on the subject, which I stated prior to this EUA, and which I still believe is correct based upon the presented evidence, is that high titer COVID-19 convalescent plasma is somewhat effective in lessening the severity and / or shortening the length of COVID-19 illness in selected patients. Optimal usage criteria remain unknown and further studies are essential. Fortuitously, there is significant experience with the safety of plasma therapy – and the overwhelming evidence is that it is a very safe treatment.

Should I go to Uman?

NO. Absolutely no. Have people forgotten that measles spread like wildfire in Uman (do we have such a short memory?) and that Uman could be the world’s worst COVID-19super-spreaderevent? Last year roughly 30,000 people went to Uman for Rosh Hashanah alone.

Israeli Health officials (Minister Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, Health Ministry Director General Hezy Levy, and coronavirus czar Professor Ronni Gamzu) all strongly urged people NOT to go to Uman this year. They stated: “With all the pain entailed, the national responsibility implies that this is not the time to fly to Uman to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.” They urged the Ukrainian government to enforce a ban on these celebrations this year, as part of the entire global community’s effort to stop this horrific pandemic.

In addition, they said: “Responsibility means not gathering together around the holiday table. If we all act with responsibility and follow instructions, we will also be able to beat this and we will be victorious without having to harm the routines of Israel’s citizens. In this issue as well, we will be an example for other countries.”

Will men’s mikva’os open this year erev Rosh Hashana / Yom Kippur?

Unless you are planning to use the ocean or another natural body of water kosher for ritual immersion, it is highly unlikely that most men’s mikvaos will be able to open safely and handle the volume usually demanded. Each mikvah and each Rav will have to decide if and how a men’s mikvah might open properly, and not engender a super-spreader event.

HaRav Schachter shlita has paskened that one does not need to do hatoras nedarim even if you always went to a mikvah in previous years but cannot do so this year. Another option this year is to rely upon the principle of “kavim” (a certain measure of water) in a shower. Ask your Rav…

And speaking of hatoras nedarim, that can and should be done via socially distanced groups, and HaRav Schachter has even permitted this to be done via Zoom if necessary.

Please note, and I cannot stress enough, that this entire discussion is only regarding men’s mikvaos, and has absolutely NOTHING to do with women’s mikvah usage, which remains very safe, and is strongly recommended, and for which there is no alternative in Halacha.

What will tashlich look like this year?

Probably, hopefully, exactly the way chazal intended it to be!

Meaning, it will be a private gathering at a body of water, utilizing tefillah and introspection as a way to symbolically release our sins through expressions of teshuva, repentance and atonement. Wow.

Certainly, it should not be the improper social gatherings that chazal actually strongly protest against every year! And even if this year were not inappropriate from a spiritual perspective, it would still be dangerous from a social gathering perspective.

Is wearing a mask dangerous? Will it make it harder to fast?

Not wearing a mask is very dangerous, and for non-medical, non-rabbinical, non-expert people and papers to continue to espouse that we must letG-d handle all infections is blasphemy and foolishness. Hypocrisy abounds – why is going to a dentist allowed but other medical care is wrong?

There is no scientific evidence that mask wearing causes one to breathe more carbon dioxide or that it could make you sick.

Lack of drinking leads to dehydration. Certainly, excessive heat facilitates dehydration, but there is nothing to suggest that wearing a mask increases dehydration.

To be best prepared, a person should discuss with their Rav any fasting questions before Yom Kippur. In general, if a person is fasting and there is a medical concern about potentially becoming dehydrated, they should stay home (or go home if already in shul) and remain quietly at home and / or in bed as possible. If symptoms begin, drink as per your Rav’s guidelines. Anything more significant, drink a lot and call Hatzalah as needed.

Should I take the flu vaccine now? Will it impact enrolling in a COVID-19 vaccine trial?

The CDC recommends taking flu vaccine earlier this year than in the past. We don’t want even one single extra case of flu making it harder for us to deal with COVID-19. While some have expressed concern that if you get a flu vaccine in August, you might not have protection in April as the vaccine will have worn off, there’s no real evidence to support this. I don’t think that’s true in a normal year, and I certainly recommend flu vaccination sooner rather than later for everyone.

Some COVID-19 vaccine trials will not allow potential recipients to get flu vaccine within 2 weeks of their entry into the study. So now is a perfect time to either enroll in a COVID-19 study, or get flu vaccine if you are not expecting to be enrolled in a COVID-19 vaccine trial right away.

Any proven cases of getting COVID-19 a second time?

The answer to this is finally YES. In a paper accepted in Clinical Infectious Diseases, scientists from the University of Hong Kong reported the case of an asymptomatic 33-year-old man with a second episode of Covid-19 episode 4½ months after his initial symptomatic infection. This case is considered proven based upon whole genome sequencing which demonstrated 24 different nucleotide sequences suggesting they were different strains and not dead genetic material. Two other cases were reported yesterday, and I suspect there will be more.

This is a very important finding, however, it must be understood in perspective. While it clearly suggests what we suspected – COVID-19 immunity might not be lifelong – it must be appreciated that these are the first proven cases after 20,000,000 plus COVID-19 diagnoses worldwide. So, while it is critically important to realize immunity may not last forever, at least in the short term, immunity is actually quite good.

What other new information was published?

1) Superspreading events are real and are a great concern! An unpublished paper (but data released for all to examine) demonstrated through genetic analysis that a Biogen conference in Boston in March sparked numerous cases of COVID-19 throughout the country and the world. People traveled to this conference from across the world, were exposed to contagious individuals attending the event, and then travelled back to their homes across the world carrying the virus. The virus’s genome is like a genetic barcode; by tracking it, researchers traced the infections to their source. Genetic sequencing of the virus revealed the connections between seemingly disparate communities and showed how an indoor “superspreading event” accelerated and sustained transmission.

2) The European Respiratory Journal reported that people with asthma were not overrepresented among patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Worst outcomes were actually observed in patients with major comorbidities, but not asthma.

One of the most common concerns people ask me is – are they at increased risk with a “history” of asthma. This paper certainly supports that unless you have significant underlying illness secondary to asthma, you are probably not considered at any increased risk.

3) While I am not surprised, it is sad that people still send me “information” and talk about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Well, the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reviewed 53 randomized trials that evaluated the safety of HCQ. This meta-analysis indicated that the risk of adverse effects in the HCQ group was significantly increased compared with the control group.

I wish HCQ had worked, we used it in a lot of patients early on, with great hope. Unfortunately, the published evidence shows not only doesn’t it benefit patients, but it has the potential to hurt them.

4) The MMWR described Rhode Island’s positive experience reopening childcare centers following strict protocols, providing evidence that it can be done safely in the COVID-19 era.

A total of 666 of the state’s 891 childcare centers reopened, providing care to 18,945 children. The investigators concluded: “The apparent absence of secondary transmission within 662 of the childcare programs was likely the result of efforts to contain transmission and child care programs’ adherence to protocol requirements, in particular maximum class sizes and use of face masks for adults.”

In four centers however, secondary transmission couldn’t be ruled out. At one of those centers, health department investigators found that state regulations weren’t being adhered to, and five children, four staff members, and one parent acquired COVID-19. The program had to be closed, with 60 children and 21 staff members quarantined for 2 weeks.

If we follow the guidelines, there is a chance we can open successfully. If we don’t…

May the safe sounds of Elul Shofar blowing herald in a year of peace and health for Klal Yisroel.

Kesiva vachatima tova, and good Shabbos.


Divrei Torah: Ki Seitzei

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Rabbi Student - Shiur on Teshuvah
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Ki Seitzei - Rabbi Kirsh 5775 (2)
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Ki Seitzei - Rabbi Rokeach 5770
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Ki Seitzei - Rabbi Rokeach 5773
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Ki Seitzei - Rabbi Ziegler 5773
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Ki Seitzei - Rabbi Ziegler 5775
Ki Seitzei – Liska Rebbe 577*


New Publication: Kuntres Hoche’ach Tochi’ach

Rav Efraim Kachlon, of BeEzrath Hashem, has graciously made available for free download his new booklet, Kuntres Hoche’ach Tochi’ach.

With any feedback, please contact Rav Yaron Reuven or Rav Efraim Kachlon.

Click here to download
Kuntres HoCheAch TochiAch by Rabbi Efraim Kachlon


Bukharian Jewish Link: Rosh Chodesh Elul Conference

The Bukharian Jewish Link, August 27, 2020, highlights the RAA’s Rosh Chodesh Elul Chomer LiDrush conference


5TJT: Chief Rabbis at Rosh Chodesh Elul

The Five Towns Jewish Times, August 28, 2020, highlights the RAA’s Rosh Chodesh Elul Chomer LiDrush conference

RAA Joins Chazaq And NCYI For 78th Annual Pre-High Holiday Chomer LiDrush Homiletics Session On Monday, August 24, the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim (RAA), Chazaq, and the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) partnered to present the RAA’s 78th annual pre-High Holiday “Chomer LiDrush” (homiletics) session. An annual event, the Chomer LiDrush session offers…

The 5 Towns Jewish Times The 5 Towns Jewish Times




Upcoming Yahrtzeits 9 Elul-16 Elul


The Rabbinical Alliance of America Joins With Chazaq and National Council of Young Israel for 78th Annual Pre-High Holiday Chomer LiDrush Homiletics Session

On Monday, August 24, 2020, the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim (RAA), Chazaq and the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) partnered to present the RAA’s 78th annual pre-High Holiday “Chomer LiDrush” (homiletics) session. An annual event, the Chomer LiDrush session offers timely examples of sermon material from master speakers and thinkers, to help rabbis prepare their own speeches and classes during the upcoming holidays. This year’s conference, held online due to the global pandemic, prepares rabbis for a particularly challenging holiday season full of opportunities to discuss personal, communal and theological issues. To offer useful and compelling Torah content during this unique year, RAA partnered with NCYI and Chazaq in bringing six distinguished rabbis to address the gathering:

  • Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Chomer LiDrush Session Chairman; Presidium Member RAA/Igud; Rav, Congregation Bnei Matisyahu, Brooklyn, NY; Shoel U’Meishiv, Kollel Ayshel Avraham Rabbinical Seminary, Monsey, NY; Torah Editor, The Jewish Press.
  • Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
    Chief Bukharin Rabbi Yitzchak Yisraeli, Chief Bukharin Rabbi of USA & Canada
  • Rabbi Dr. Hanania Elbaz, Presidium Member of the RAA/Igud; Rabbi of Congregation -Ahi-Ezer, Yeshivah Synagogue, Brooklyn, New York.
  • Rabbi Yaakov Spivak, Presidium Member RAA/Igud; Rosh Kollel, Ayshel Avraham Rabbinical Seminary, Monsey, NY.
  • Rabbi Moshe Taub, Rabbi of Young Israel of Holliswood, Holliswood, NY; Menahel at Telshe Riverdale; Halacha Rebbe at Queens Beis Yaakov Shevach High School; and Rabbinic Editor of Ami Magazine

RAA partnered with Torah Anytime to make this conference widely available around the world. Through its effective use of technology, Torah Anytime has quickly become one of the greatest promoters of Torah learning in the world, particularly during this stressful period of isolation. RAA is proud of its close relationship with this important organization.

This special conference was sponsored by Rebetzein Fayge Eisner in memory of her husband, HaRav Shlomo (Saul) Ben HaRav Levi Yitzchok Eisner, ZT” L, Rabbi Saul Eisner, previous Executive Vice-President of the RAA. Rabbi Saul Eisner was a leading figure in the post-World War II generation, a scion from an illustrious Chabad family, a graduate and Musmach of the Mir Yeshiva. Rabbi Eisner nobly served a myriad of Jewish institutions, of which the most beloved to him was the Igud HaRabbonim. For nearly 40 years Rabbi Eisner dedicated his life and energy to the Igud HaRabbonim for the sole purpose of advocating for the honor of the rabbinate and the Jewish people. Since his passing in 2011, the RAA has dedicated the Chomer LiDrush session in his sacred memory.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman of the Igud HaRabbonim, explained, “Rabbi Eisner firmly believed that the American rabbi must be a genuine Talmid Chacham with additional expertise in conducting himself professionally with his congregation and positively influencing American Jews by making them comfortable in order to be receptive to the message of authentic, Torah-true Judaism. A rabbi must carefully prepare his speeches and classes for the High Holidays because during this season he reaches his broadest audience. For these holy days, the rabbi needs a powerful, heartfelt message. Rabbi Eisner made certain that the Igud HaRabbonim, under his careful watch, brought together the best array of Chomer LiDrush presenters as possible. That is why on his passing, the RAA dedicated this important homiletic session in his memory.”

The Chomer LiDrush conference offered a wide variety of thoughts about the current crisis and the upcoming holidays. During the sessions, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks offered philosophical insights on faith and community as related to Rosh Hashanah. Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yisraeli emphasized the current opportunity to improve how we speak about others and strengthen our synagogues and prayers. Rabbi Yaakov Klass discussed crucial halachic questions in this unusual time of illness. Rabbi Yaakov Spivak explored reasons for the crisis, and its connection to the Holocaust, in search for the appropriate response during the holidays. Rabbi Moshe Taub stunningly highlighted the impact of a single individual’s actions on the whole world, as evidenced in the genesis of the Coronavirus from a single person’s actions. Rabbi Hanania Elbaz expanded on lessons of faith in the practices and prayers of the High Holidays.

“This year is different than all of the past Chomer LiDrush Sessions of the RAA”, stated Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the RAA. Mirocznik continued, “Last year, when Klal Yisrael assembled for the High Holidays, we had no idea that the year would bring the Covid 19 pandemic, along with it quarantine, loss of life, and disruption of the world we once knew. Our lives turned upside down, our economy took a beating. Our children and seniors, our most vulnerable together with the rest of the world are suffering immeasurably both physically and emotionally. This year, the RAA decided to share our Chomer LiDrush and to partner with Chazaq, a national outreach organization that successfully reaches out to all Jews across communities, and the National Council of Young Israel, a premiere synagogue organization, to bring hope and inspiration to rabbi and laymen alike. What better way to help get the Jewish community in the holiday spirit than to collaborate with like-minded organizations in bringing forth a message of hope and inspiration. We were particularly honored to have two chief rabbis speak — Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Yitzchak Yisraeli — who offered their experience and wisdom to our diverse membership of rabbis across the Orthodox spectrum. With Hashem’s help, we will get through this trying time and, through the power of unity, build a foundation of resilience and strength that will make us as individuals and as a community stronger and more unified.

“On behalf of the RAA, I thank the multi-talented brothers, Rabbi Yaniv Meirov and Rabbi Elan Meirov of Chazaq, for joining forces together with Rabbi Binyamin Hammer, the venerable director of Rabbinic Services of the National Council of Young Israel, and the Igud HaRabbonim, to produce an exceptional program of Chomer LiDrush with a message of hope and inspiration for 5781. It is our prayer that we succeed in renewing the faith of our listener and offering them spiritual strength to succeed in this difficult time. I also thank Rabbi Dovid Katz, Menahel/Director of the RAA and Rabbi Moish Schmerler, Administrative Director of the RAA, for coordinating with Robbie Aboff and for producing a wonderful Chomer LiDrush Program.”

Rabbi Yaniv Meirov stated, “We at Chazaq are proud to have hosted and worked together with the Igud HaRabbonim and National Council of Young Israel in making this program the success that it was. We look forward to further collaboration with the Igud and National Council with the aim of bringing hope to the Jewish Community and strengthening their Jewish identity. Thank you, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik and Rabbi Binyamin Hammer, for your true friendship and partnership in spreading the warmth, joy and love of Torah.”

Rabbi Binyamin Hammer stated, “The Igud HaRabbonim enjoys a long working relationship with the National Council of Young Israel spanning over 78 years. I thank Rabbis Yaniv and Elan Meirov, Rabbi Mirocznik and the leadership team of the Igud HaRabbonim for jointly working together with us in developing a great program. This program gave encouragement and support to our rabbis so they are prepared to bring energy and spirit to their communities. May we merit to join for the 79th Igud HaRabbonim’s Chomer LiDrush session next year in a fully rebuilt Jerusalem.


Names in Pictures
Picture (1) Left to Right, a group of members of the Igud HaRabbonim visiting Chazaq, left to right, Rabbi Yehuda Blank, director Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs RAA; Rabbi Akiva Homnick; Clergy Liaison, RAA; Rabbi Yaniv Meirov; executive director of Chazaq; Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman of the RAA; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the RAA; Rabbi Moish Schmerler, administrative director of the RAA; Reb. Mordechai Schmerler, son of Rabbi Moish Schmerler and the next generation of the RAA; and Reb Robbie Aboff from Chazaq and coordinator of the Chomer LiDrush session.

Picture (2) Left to Right, Rabbi Yaniv Meirov; executive director of Chazaq; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the RAA; and Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman of the RAA

Picture (3) Members of the Igud HaRabbonim touring Chazaq

Picture (4) Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the RAA Addressing Chazaq.

Picture (5) Rabbi Yaakov Klass, presidium chairman of the Igud HaRabbonim addressing Chazaq


Rabbi Mirocznik on Anti-Semitism

Rav Mendy Mirocznik speaks to a Christian audience about Anti-Semitism today on the Healing Voices podcast with Pastor Dave Watson.
Link to audio


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