During the pandemic a year ago, Mr. Robby Neuman, Founder of Chickens for Shabbos, approached Mr. Robbie Aboff, Events Coordinator for Chazaq, and suggested that klal Yisrael needed to turn Saturday night into Motza’ei Shabbos. We needed a special program to elevate our Motza’ei Shabbos. This suggestion catapulted Robbie Aboff to reach out to Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, well-known speaker and author, and Dr. David Lieberman, well-known speaker and author, and the amazing Chazaq program. “Turn Saturday Night into Motza’ei Shabbos” was born. Baruch Hashem, this program has reached its one-year anniversary with wonderful feedback and results.

On Tuesday evening, May 11, the Navigating the Medical System Lecture Series presented an informative virtual lecture hosted by Congregation Etz Chaim on the topic of leg pain. Dr. Mel Breite, Founder and Director of the Lecture Series, introduced the program and the guest speaker, Varuna Sundaram, MD, FACS, RPVI. She is an assistant professor of the Department of Vascular Surgery at the Weil Cornell Medical Center and a surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. Dr. Breite shared that he has seen people misdiagnosed when they have leg pain, so he realized that we need education on this topic. This lecture was planned for a year ago, but due to COVID it was postponed until now.

On Sunday evening, May 23, Let’s Get Real With Coach Menachem featured Rabbi YY Jacobson speaking about life after divorce. This was Coach Menachem’s 55 virtual shiur. These Sunday night shiurim grew out a need during the pandemic and they continue to inspire and uplift people. Though this particular topic sounded depressing, in truth, the shiur was extremely uplifting. The Torah ideas communicated in a sensitive way by Rabbi Jacobson could resonate for anyone going through any type of challenge.

Rabbi Yitzchok Bistritzky, well-known speaker, shared that Hashem gave klal Yisrael the Torah in the desert because the desert is a free place, open to everyone, and He also gave it on Har Sinai, the lowest mountain. We need to be humble like Har Sinai, but at the same time we should know our self-worth, that all we have is from Hashem and we are worthy to serve Hashem. We need the correct amount of humility and to know that everything is a gift from Hashem.

Chazaq hosted its sixth distribution to a very special group of people in our community. Before Shavuos, we need to focus on who are transmitting our mesorah: our rebbeim and moros. They give their time, energy, and lives to our children, teaching them Torah with enthusiasm. On Tuesday evening, May 4, over 175 rebbeim and moros participated in the distribution.