Yaakov

Come Together

For Rabbi Yaakov Klein, Moscow is about building community
Yaakov Klein is a member of the Chabad movement, the world’s largest Orthodox Hasidic group.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Rabbi Yaakov Klein moved to Moscow 10 years ago. He heads the International Jewish Community of Moscow. He and his wife Rivka run a community center and synagogue on Kaloshin Pereulok, near Arbat.

The specific community that we serve is the English speakers: expats, tourists, foreigners. The people that come to the center are not necessarily Orthodox: We believe that labels are for shirts, not people. We all serve the same God, Judaism is Judaism, it’s not necessarily your affiliation or your familiarity with the religion – we’re here to teach. We give them a place to have services, community events and different programs: a home away from home.

There are over 3,000 centers around the world, so growing up as a child I knew that I was going to end up moving out somewhere. I’m the youngest of 10, and my siblings live all over the world, so growing up I knew this was something that was sort of in our system: That we’re going to move somewhere, to give back the service, so you’re prepared for it.

I actually went to Milan to meet my wife. Our parents were classmates, and [my wife] Rivka’s mom moved to Italy about 50 years ago. In our community it works more that we’re set up together, but the decision is on us.

My mom was born in Moscow, and then when she was three years old, during the war, they left through France and they came to the United States. When we sort of decided to move to Moscow, we called my parents over for dinner at our apartment in New York. My dad was very excited – he has this love for the Jewish community in Russia. My mom listened, [but] only a few years later, after she’d come to visit quite a few times, she told me that she really wasn’t excited [for us]. This was a place that she left, it was a tough time for the Jewish people, but when she came back and saw how the Jewish community is today, she was ok with it.

Having five kids born here makes Moscow feel like home. This is their life, they don’t know of anything else. There’s two parts to it. There’s a spiritual part, a sense of responsibility and mission – not really missionary, but a sense of purpose. Chabad philosophy says that every human being is unique: there are no two alike. And God doesn’t make junk. If you’re here then there’s something important for you to do.

There are a few kosher restaurants that we go to. There’s another synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya which has a beautiful terrace on the fourth or fifth floor where you can go outside. It has great food and great company. You would think that because it’s in a synagogue it would only limit itself to Jewish people or religious people, but it’s a full house and a real diverse crowd. Then there’s one right behind the McDonald’s on Pushkin Square, called Mestechko, and it’s also great food.

It’s a little bit difficult to get all the foods that we need. We actually still bring in some food from the United States and other places, but that’s changed and it has really seen the community grow together with the city as the Jewish community in general has been growing in the last couple of years. There are three different kosher supermarkets, one of them is sort of based on Globus Gourmet – it’s called Kosher Gourmet.

Right now it’s probably the best time for the Jewish community than it ever was in the history of Moscow. There was a time when the Jews weren’t allowed to live in Moscow, and at the moment the current government really supports the Jewish community. We recognize that we’re here as guests, this is not our country. We recognize that this is not our homeland, and therefore take that approach of first of all appreciating what we have.

Source: The Moscow times, LINK

Feel the love

Feel the Love!

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 27th
Light Candles at 16:34

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 28th,
Shabbat Ends 17:55
Torah Portion: Va’eira

Feel the Love!

To feel loved is to feel trust.

To feel loved is to know that you have a safe relationship, one which even your greatest weaknesses can’t destroy.

To feel loved is to feel that someone genuinely wants you to be your best self, because that’s the best for YOU.

To feel loved is to never be alone, even when there’s no one around for miles.

G-d’s profound gift to us is pure love.

Our very existence is an act of G-d’s love.

And our opportunities to develop an ever-greater connection with the Divine, our Mitzvot, are given to us as an act of love.

Years ago, I met with a young lady who professed disenchantment with her Judaism. She told me that she had completed Hebrew School, been “Bat-Mitzvah’d and confirmed”, and majored in Judaic Studies while at University. Yet, she still hadn’t found a single Jewish authority figure willing to tell her that G-d loves her.

My heart was broken.

Our theology is built on the faith that we all have a Divine Parent Who creates us and guides us through life.

Judaism shouts G-d’s love for us.

When G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai, G-d began with:
”I am G-d who took you out of Egypt”.
It’s strange. After centuries of history, G-d is finally communicating directly with humanity (as distinct from a specific prophet). It’s the big introduction.

Why not say “I am G-d Who created you”? Isn’t that a greater, more inimitable feat than freeing slaves?

Our Sages explain that G-d was establishing the First Principle, the backbone to Torah and of our relationship with the Divine: “I am G-d Who CARES about you. I took you out of Egypt, because I suffer when you suffer. I know that there will be individual “Egypts” in each of your lives and I will be there with you. Because I love you, and I’m always with you. Treasure this Torah and keep yourselves open to a relationship with me. Then you’ll feel the love”.

In G-d’s world, to live is to be loved!

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Torah Studies

A Weekly Journey into the Soul!

The International Jewish Community is proud to present our Torah Studies catalog of our weekly classes.

At the IJC , we value a deep, rich learning experience and we aim to provide this in an unequivocal way. This is why we have brought you a Torah Studies program of the highest caliber, developed by the world-renowned Rohr

Jewish Learning Institute. The program brings you a series of stimulating text and discussion based classes that take place on a weekly basis. Our lessons will engage you in a multidimensional way by challenging you intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. They explore contemporary issues through a Torah perspective as well as tackling timeless questions in the Jewish tradition.

I invite you to browse through the topics in this catalog and to join us for some weekly inspirational study. These classes are open to all, whatever your level of learning may be, and I encourage you to bring your friends along.

Shalom,

Rabbi Yaakov Klein
IJC – Center for Jewish Life

Torah Studies

Nature VS. Nrture

What’s more valuable? The obvious passion of the honeymoon moments, or the small but thoughtful gestures that represent the effort required in a relationship? Both elements exist and are crucial to cultivating our relationship with G-d.

January 25th 2017, 8:00pm-9:00pm

International Jewish Community

Art

The Art of Communicating

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 20th
Light Candles at 16:20

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 21st,
Shabbat Ends 17:43
Torah Portion: Shemot

Its a Girl!
With gratitude to Hashem earlier this week we were blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl!
We are overjoyed to welcome baby Rochel to our community and extended family!
She cannot wait to meet everyone!

The Art of Communicating

Birds chirp, dogs bark, frogs croak and people speak.

All creatures communicate. Yet, Torah pinpoints our ability to speak as the factor which distinguishes us from all other life forms. Why? What makes the conversation I just had with a friend, or what I’m doing right now (communicating through the written word), so different from the dog’s bark?

My words express my thoughts and feelings. Isn’t that dog doing the same?

Human beings don’t need to act purely on instinct; they have the capacity for self- analysis and self-calibration. A human can control his strong temptation for someone else’s property, by bringing his moral compass to bear on his actions.

Human beings have the capacity to put themselves in the other’s place. When we convey an idea, we can take into account the listener’s emotional-availability, their knowledge of the subject matter and their familiarity with the lexicon being used.

In other words, human communication isn’t just about getting something off your chest; that seems more akin to animal-level communication. Communication is a connection between two parties, which means we’re investing consideration and intent as to the kind of connection we want to forge.

We can respect a person who “says it like it is,” in the sense that this person is bringing boldness and transparency to the relationship. While that may feel uncomfortable, you have benefit of “knowing where you stand.”

At the same time, there’s almost no upside to angry or impulsive communications. That’s just unloading, which isn’t humanity’s claim to communications fame.

Our instant information age has made it more challenging to maintain the human edge in transmitting thoughts and feelings. Years ago, if you awoke in middle of the night feeling resentment to someone, you couldn’t convey your feelings until the next day (unless the person lived in your house!). If you wanted to write a biting letter, you needed to sit down with a pen and paper, considering your words’ impact as you write, and then wait until you could actually deliver or mail it.

Today, the miracle of technology allows us to simply reach for the smartphone and send off whatever invective we feel.

We can do better. G-d gifted us human beings with the capacity to build real relationships. We can communicate in a way that creates connection, even when we’re criticizing.

Let’s remember: Technology can be a blessing. Or the opposite.

It’s up to us.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Regret

The Other Side of Victimhood

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 13th
Light Candles at 16:07

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 14th,
Shabbat Ends 17:31
Torah Portion: Vayechi

The Other Side of Victimhood

Sometimes, people do bad things, and sometimes you and I suffer from others’ bad choices.

So how do we respond to the pain? Sometimes there are no legal or defensive steps to take; the deed has been done and we’re left holding the proverbial bag. Revenge may feel appealing, but it doesn’t really help. Is helpless resentment the only option?

Let’s look at Joseph: He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. That’s pretty bad.

Then Joseph has an opportunity for revenge. Through a Biblically-described chain of events, Joseph rises to the top of Egyptian society, becoming vice-Pharaoh, if you will. Meanwhile, his brothers come to Egypt looking for food, because a famine has swept across the Middle East. They don’t recognize him, but he knows exactly who they are. And he hasn’t forgotten.

He has them in the palm of his hand. He can do whatever he wants, and they are totally vulnerable.

What would you do? Sell them into slavery? Kick them out of the country without any food? Worse?

Joseph actually doesn’t focus on revenge at all. He only wants to determine whether they regret what they did to him. Once he perceives that they have genuinely repented, he embraces them.

Then he says something odd: “G-d sent me ahead of you to provide [food] for the family…You aren’t the ones who sent me here, it was actually G-d [who sent me down to Egypt].”

What is Joseph saying? Of course his brothers sold him into slavery! Is he in denial? Revising history to make them feel better?

Joseph understood that people make bad choices and that we need to protect ourselves. He also understood that his life was not totally in his abusers’ hands. Beyond an aggressor’s bad choices, there’s a victim’s soul journey, which only G-d determines. Joseph felt the pain of his brothers’ misdeed and then dug deeper, and found that G-d was giving him a mission. He could proactively extract meaning from his pain.

Whether it was his own character development, his deepened ability to empathize with other victims, or something as dramatic as rising to the top of Egyptian society, Joseph knew one thing: On the other side of his victimization, he needed to find a better Joseph.

He became the leader of his own life, transforming himself from sitting duck to soaring eagle.

A lesson for the ages

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

HNK

Light over darkness – Chanukah Party!

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 23rd
Light Candles at 15:41

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, December 24th,
Shabbat Ends 17:07
Torah Portion: Vayeishev

Light over darkness

The Chanukah story happened so long ago – yet carries a timely message for us, even today.
Science has given us the greatest technologies and conveniences, yet it alone cannot free us from the moral and social challenges of our day. From gun violence and simmering racial tension, to corruption in politics and distrust of Wall Street, material pursuits alone do not lead to a happy and meaningful life.
Our children need a better diet than the value-system fed to them by Hollywood, the Internet and mass media. They need, nay, they want, inspiration, a noble cause to live for, a moral purpose that frames their pursuits and interests with meaning and direction.
Judaism teaches that every human being is created in the image of the Divine, charged with the duty to illuminate his or her surroundings, to make our universe a better place, a brighter place, a holier place.
A wise person once said, “Don’t chase away darkness with a broom; simply light a candle.” Darkness has no reality of its own – it’s merely the absence of light. Let’s teach our youth that they are the Menorah, and in a world of moral darkness, one small act of goodness and kindness will cast a light of epic proportions – just like the tiny flask of oil that miraculously burned for eight days.

Over Chanukah we will be having a few opportunities to shed Light over Darkness,
Please Join us:

1) Saturday evening December 24th at 20:00 Revaluation Square – Public Menorah Lighting
2) Monday evening December 26th at 20:30 Stari Arbat (corner of Kaloshin per.) Public Menorah Lighting
3) Thursday evening December 29th at 19:30 IJC – Center for Jewish Life – Chanukah Party – Asian Buffet – Details below:
Please join us on December 29th
at 19:30
for our annual
Chanukah Party!

* Asian Buffet
* Assorted Latkes
* Edible Sushi Menorah
* Fortune Doughnuts
* Oriental Menorah Lighting
* Dreidels & Gelt
* Music & Lechaim

International Jewish Community Center
“Center for Jewish Life”
per. Kaloshin, 12с1,
1500p. Per a Person
RSVP TODAY
Chanukah@JewishMoscow.com

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Finding peace

Finding Peace

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 16th
Light Candles at 15:38

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, December 17th,
Shabbat Ends 17:04
Torah Portion: Vayishlach

Finding Peace

What is peace? Is it just the absence of conflict? Or is it the result of active rapprochement between two otherwise incompatible parties, bringing them to a sense of unity and synthesis?
In other words, does a couple find peace when they’ve stopped quibbling, or when they’ve learned to work together toward a joint goal?

From a Torah perspective, it’s the latter.

And from that same perspective, our entire lives are about creating peace. An isolationist existence isn’t a genuinely peaceful existence. True peace is living an engaged existence, one in which I’m interacting with others – many of whom have personalities/approaches that don’t easily sync with mine – and creating quality, productive associations.

And it’s not just about human interactions; it’s about engagement with the world at large. Every day, we encounter situations and objects which need to be reconciled with our Higher Purpose. Our mission is to create peace.

Imagine the box top of a huge jigsaw puzzle. The picture gives you a projection of how the finished product should look, and that helps you discern how to properly place the seemingly – and sometimes annoyingly – random piece in your hand.

The Torah is our box top; it gives us an image of how life should look. We’re dealt little puzzle pieces all day – good news and sad news, pleasant conversations and irritating ones, food that’s suitable for our intake and some we should avoid, etc. Our job is to pause and consider the box top’s guidance. Pause and contemplate where this object or opportunity fits into life, put it into its proper place, and keep building that puzzle.

This process is the way we bring peace to ourselves and to our world. We bring oneness and synchronicity to a seemingly random, disconnected universe. We find wholeness. We find peace.

Every Friday night, we reflect on our week’s puzzle-building. And every Friday night, G-d takes pleasure in our progress.

Before we recite the Kiddush, sanctifying this Holy day of Divine Satisfaction, we turn to the angels and sing Shalom Aleichem’, ‘Welcome Angels of Peace.’

Angels are Divine functionaries which G-d creates to interface with humanity. Friday night’s angels represent the peace we’ve created all week. They, in turn, convey G-d’s blessing for the strength to create peace in the week ahead.

TONIGHT, put your life on pause. Join us for Shabbat services; take the opportunity to welcome YOUR angels.

Bring on the peace.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Connection

Finding Connection

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 2nd
Light Candles at 15:43

Join us Tonight!
PLEASE NOTE: Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 18:00
Shabbat FAMILY Adventure

Shabbat, December 3rd,
Shabbat Ends 17:06
Torah Portion: Toldot

Finding Connection

Jews pray.

Abraham prayed. Isaac prayed. Jacob prayed.

At the same time, it seems that prayer’s beauty doesn’t always come easily. Perhaps that’s because we can’t assume that simply opening a prayer book will bring us to an emotional connection with the

Divine. One needs the right mental posture, and some emotional availability, to bring prayer to life.

Prayer can be a powerful exercise, but it needs some preliminary attitude adjustment.

One aspect of this can be found in the Talmud’s advice to give charity before we pray. Many spiritual
Masters would, as preparation for their prayers, seek opportunities to help the poor, because we believe that one’s personal prayers are energized by one’s contribution to another’s life.

Why? Charity is a great thing. But what connection does it have with my prayers? How do we connect the dots between helping the pauper and our personal prayer enthusiasm?

Authentic prayer requires a sense of need. Prayer is about yearning and connecting. Yearning for, and connecting with, my G-d. Yearning for, and connecting with, my destiny. Yearning for, and connecting with, my higher self. Yearning is the soul of prayer, because it means that I recognize something beyond me. I yearn to reach higher, to do better, to outrun my weaker self.

Conversely, if I’m all wrapped up in myself, I’m not yearning for anything. I’m not seeing higher; I’m just seeing me.

Scripture describes the human soul as “G-d’s flame”, and that imagery reflects the yearning idea.

Just as the flame flickers higher, seemingly trying to reach beyond itself, so too does the soul consistently yearn to touch the Divine. In this vein, Chassidic thought sees our charity as important therapy. If we can bring ourselves to feel for others’ needs, if we can crawl out of ourselves to empathize with someone else, then we’re ready to yearn. The Tzedaka exercise helps us leave our own self-focus, and venture into the world of relationship with Other. It enables us to connect with the people you see to your right and to your left.

And it enables you to connect with G-d. Just look up.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Greetings NYC

Greetings from New York

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, November 18h
Light Candles at 15:50

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, November 19th,
Shabbat Ends 17:11
Torah Portion: Chayei Sarah

Greetings from New York

This week I write to you from Brooklyn, NY as I join over 5000 of my colleagues at the annual International Convention of Chabad Lubavitch Shluchim.

Shaliach – the word means “agent” and “emissary” – is a Torah-legal term for a person empowered by someone else to act in his stead. The concept first appears in this week’s Torah portion, in the person of Eliezer, whom Abraham commissioned to find a wife for his son, Isaac.

The shaliach does not abnegate his intellect, will, desires, feelings, talents and personal “style” to that of the one whom he represents; rather, he enlists them in the fulfillment of his mission. The result of this is that the sender is acting through the whole of the shaliach — not only through the shaliach’s physical actions, but also through the shaliach’s personality, which has become an extension of the sender’s personality.

Indeed, each and every one of us is a Shaliach of the A-lmighty, empowered by His very being to perform a task in this physical world, namely; to make this world His home. Make your daily acts one of G-dly pursuits. Every thought, speech and action can be one additional opportunity to lend your personal touch in building and beautifying G-d’s home.

The Rebbe took the concept of shelichut and transformed it into a calling and a way of life. He recruited, trained, motivated and commissioned thousands of men, women and children to act as his personal representatives and emissaries in hundreds of communities throughout the world. Sharing stories with my classmates who now live in Utah, Paris France, Pasadena California and elsewhere, it is truly humbling to be part of a worldwide effort bringing the joys of Judaism to every corner of the earth.

Perhaps unparalleled in the history of our people has one man built a following so large in number, so diverse, so highly motivated, and so successful in the furtherance of his vision. At the core of this phenomenal success is a seemingly benign legal dynamic, first employed more than 3,600 years ago when Abraham sent Eliezer to find a wife for his son.

I encourage you to read a special article on our website, entitled “The Emissary” about the Rebbe’s vision to change the world… it is fascinating!

This weekend, as I join together with thousands of Shluchim from around the world, we will utilize the time for sharing ideas and energizing the body and soul to formulate the most efficient manner to prepare ourselves and those around us to actualize the immense power laying dormant inside each of us, ready to be utilized – there for the taking.

The annual banquet culminating the convention will be streaming live this Sunday -Click here to tune in at 6:30 PM (EST) to be a part of a remarkably extraordinary evening like none other! With thousands of Chabad Rabbis along with hundreds of friends, partners and supporters of Chabad worldwide – the energy in the room is electrifying.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM