Sunday, June 19, 2011

V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha

                                                         Week 7
                   V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha (IN OUR ACTIONS)  
                    Love your Fellow Jew as you Love Yourself

                                          FOCUS OF THE WEEK:
                Smile or be friendly to someone you might not have ordinarily have  interacted with.

                                          Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

     Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, a synagogue consisting of nearly 600 families located in Teaneck, New Jersey, and one of the most vibrant centers of Orthodox Jewish life today. He has served since August 1994. Previously, Rabbi Pruzansky was for nine years the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills, New York. While in New York, he served a two-year term as President of the Vaad Harabonim (Rabbinical Board) of Queens.Rabbi Pruzansky graduated from Columbia University in 1978 with a B.A. in history, and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in 1981. He practiced law for 13 years as a general practitioner and litigator in New York City until assuming his current pulpit. Rabbi Pruzansky studied in yeshivot in Israel and the United States, and was ordained at Yeshiva Bnei Torah of Far Rockaway, New York under the guidance of Rabbi Yisrael Chait, shlit”a. He resides in Teaneck with his wife Karen, a speech-language pathologist, and is the proud father of four married children and eight grandchildren.
See more about R' Pruzansky as well as read thought provoking articles by the rav, on his blog,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Party time!

                                                 Let’s Say Amen!

    Chasdei Hashem, Chaim’s “numbers” have been improving since his bone marrow transplant. Please understand that while this is a good first step B"H,  it is still a long road ahead for him. At this time, Chaim really needs us to continue davening and doing acts of kindness on his behalf.  As he awaits a more definitive prognosis in the coming weeks, Chaim is excited about our newest campaign to generate more zechuyos on his behalf and he really appreciates all your efforts.         

      Many stories have been told about amazing things that have occurred to people after they made a sincere effort to say amen to a bracha.  Think about the powerful connection we make with Hashem when we recite amen properly: we are listening to someone praise Hashem for His infinite kindness, we reflect upon the truth of this praise and we then actively affirm our belief in that truth!  All the more reason for us to say brachos out loud in the presence of others who will say amen, and to concentrate and answer amen when others recite brachos out loud.
An Amen Party is a beautiful way for people (children and adults alike) to get together to say brachos and amens in a festive environment filled with fun, friendship and spiritual growth. If you have never attended an Amen Party before, here is how it is generally done:

 Each person should have his or her own portion of grape juice for Borei Pri HaGafen and a food item from each of the following four brachos categories: Borei Minei Mezonos, Borei Pri HaEitz, Borei Pri HaAdamah and Shehakol.  Start with Mezonos.  One person is designated to recite the first Mezonos on his or her portion of a Mezonos food item.  Everyone responds amen out loud to this bracha.  Then go around the table, one person at a time reciting Mezonos on his or her portion, with everyone else responding with an amen out loud.  Then do the same for HaGafen, HaEitz, HaAdamah and (the kids’s favorite) Shehakol.  Again, the order is Mezonos, HaGafen, HaEitz, HaAdamah and Shehakol.

 Some halachik guidelines: Make sure that at the time a bracha is recited, everyone else around the table is prepared to say amen (i.e., listening, mouth empty from food and not speaking or making their own bracha).  Also make sure to hold the relevant food in your right hand while you recite a bracha on it.  The shehakol should not be a liquid since those are covered automatically by the HaGafen you recited earlier.  No interruption (including reciting amen) should be made after reciting a bracha until one has swallowed at least some of the food.  Remember to think about the meaning of the words that you and the others are saying.One more thing: At the outset of the party, please announce that in the merit of all the brachos and amens to be recited at the Amen Party, all cholim should have a speedy refuah shleima, including Chaim Yissachar ben Chaya Mushkit.

WHAT: Amen Party
WHEN: During Chag HaShavuos
WHO : All children and adults
WHERE: Wherever you are!!!
WHY: To bring more zechuyos for Chaim and all cholim

Last thing we ask (for now) ... Please post a comment under this post after Shavuos letting us know if you were able to have an amen party and how many people were involved. (It can be anonymous if you prefer). It gives Chaim and everyone else much encouragement. Thank you!

 Please watch the video below to get some more insight and inpiration about the power of Amen.

                                    R' Moshe Tzvi Weinberg