Sign In Forgot Password

Rabbi’s Blog: Shtark Reminders

12/05/2023 11:17:11 AM


Join the new OZ Israel WhatsApp:

Dear OZ family,


The last two nights have been stark reminders for me, why I was able to lose 40 pounds during Covid, and how easy it is to find what I lost. For almost a year, we didn’t have dinners, Kiddushes, weddings and Bnei Mitzvah celebrations on the scale of what I had the last 3 days. After a huge Bar Mitzvah Kiddush on Shabbos, the YU dinner on Sunday, and then a wedding in Deal NJ last night, I’m beginning to find almost everything I lost. Each of these events had something important to teach, though. Eli Benovitz’s Bar Mitzva celebration stressed the true meaning of the term. The festivities were quite festive, but at the core of every part of the celebration was the second word, Mitzvah. The scotches and bourbons were excellent, but this celebration had more Mitzvah than Bar. Eli and I spent a large chunk of a small Friday doing Mitzvot, spreading joy and good will to elderly members of our community. I look forward to more of the same for Miriam Sack’s Bat Mitzvah this coming week.


The YU dinner was nothing short of inspirational. Every element of the dinner was dedicated to uniting us all for the sake of alleviating the pain that Israelis are encountering at every turn. There is no family that has not been affected by the Simchat Torah War. The amazing mobilization of the students of YU and Stern College is breathtaking. The wedding I attended last night was for two prominent families from Deal New Jersey. I had a Bracha under the Chuppah, and tried to imitate Rabbi Varon as best I could. The wedding was inspirational in the following way. The flowers were simple, there was no band, just a recording of non-stop music. The shmorg was the dinner and everyone served themselves. We saw that during Covid, we were able to significantly tame down the ostentation of our celebrations. Here were two very comfortable families, making all of us feel very comfortable at a fraction of the cost. God knows, the need in Israel is great, and if we can save money from our Simchot, in order to send funds to save lives in Israel, surely no one at any Simcha would object.


Stay well and healthy.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz    




Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784