Photos: 11th Annual Agudath Israel of Florida Shabbos of Chizuk


dayan-dunner[Photos below.] The oranges and strawberries may have been in deep chill but a distinct warmth arrived in South Florida last Thursday with the opening of Agudath Israel of Florida’s 11th annual Shabbos of Chizuk, sponsored by the Irwin Saks Irrevocable Trust li’iluy nishmas Reb Yitzchok ben Avrohom.

The event’s first session, that evening, took place at Yeshiva Toras Chaim in North Miami Beach.  Entitled “Back to Basics: Instilling the Principles of Emunah in Our Children,” it began with a powerful drasha by Rabbi Beryl Weisbord, Mashgiach Ruchani of Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, who expounded on yesodei emuna with regard to our total reliance on Hashem. The next speaker, Rabbi Dovid Sapirman of Toronto, gave a stirring presentation on how to best influence children to strengthen themselves in Jewish beliefs.

Local yeshivos were visited over the course of Friday morning by the guest rabbonim in attendance at the Shabbos of Chizuk.  At Yeshiva Bais Moshe Chaim, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva of Philadephia and member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, was introduced by the Rosh HaYeshiva of the institution, Rabbi Yochanan Zweig.  Rabbi Kamentzky then visited Yeshiva Toras Chaim in North Miami Beach, where the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Benyomin Luban, introduced him to the talmidim.  After an inspiring drasha, Rabbi Kamenetzky personally greeted each bochur.

Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner, Dayan, Hisachdus Kehillos HaChareidim, London, visited Magen David Congregation in Surfside, where he gave a shiur and met with Sephardic members of the community.  Dayan Dunner then shared thoughts with hundreds of students at Toras Emes Middle School, Bais Yaakov Miami and at the North Miami Beach Community Kollel.

Rabbi Weisbord visited Hebrew Academy and Shaarei Bina girls school, where he spoke to the talmidim and talmidos; and Rabbi Dovid Sapirman, noted lecturer and author, Toronto, Ontario, visited Yeshiva Elementary School where he met with students of both the boys school and the girls school.

Agudath Israel of America executive director Rabbi Labish Becker davened Shacharis with Pirchei leaders in North Miami Beach, and subsequently offered motivational thoughts – reminding the boys how their charges in future years will remember them as important figures in their spiritual growth – and practical ideas for running Pirchei groups.  Later, he met with Bnos Leaders in Bais Yaakov.  Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, honored the Pirchei leaders of Miami Beach with his views about and vision for Pirchei, made suggestions about increasing interaction between different local Pirchei groups and took questions from the boys.

One of the true highlights of the weekend gathering was the Oneg Shabbos on Shabbos night.  Hundreds of people in Miami Beach and North Miami Beach, in their respective communities, joined together for zemiros and divrei Torah.  The North Miami Beach community heard from Dayan Dunner, Rabbi Sapirman and Rabbi Becker; and residents of Miami Beach were addressed by Rabbi Kamenetzky, Rabbi Weisbord and Rabbi Zwiebel on the topic of “Honesty Is the Only Policy: Strengthening Our Reputation in the Eyes of The World.”

On Shabbos morning in North Miami Beach, Dayan Dunner spoke at Torah Veemunah, delivered a shiur on kibbud av in the Kollel and addressed Shalosh Seudos at Shaaray Tefilla.  Rabbi Sapirman presented a shiur for ladies on Shabbos afternoon, entitled “The Good Old Days: A Simpler Life With Simple Faith.”

In Miami Beach, Rabbi Kamentzky addressed Shalosh Seudos at the Miami Beach Community Kollel/Beth Israel and Rabbi Weisbord spoke at Rabbi Janowski’s Shul, Zichron Naftali.

The Motzei Shabbos Keynote Session was “an electric event,” according to one participant.  He was fortunate to have made reservations, as the hall was sold out and people had to be turned away.  The theme of the evening was “Taking Stock: Using the Economic Crisis to Reclaim Our Priorities.”

The program began with inspirational words from Rabbi Kamenetzky, who focused on the role of all Jews in bringing about the ultimate geula. Following the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Matz, executive director, Agudath Israel of Florida, delivered an impassioned speech on Agudas Yisroel as an effective vehicle for defending and promoting Daas Torah and Gedolei Yisroel.  

Rabbi Zwiebel remarked on how Agudath Israel brings together a broad spectrum of dedicated Jews – and, noting the range of ages in the hall, how it was especially evident in Florida how it unifies generations as well.  He spoke of the “precious” asset that is the survivor generation and how invaluable their testimony is to us all, especially in light of world events today.  And the Agudath Israel leader went on to speak of how the greatest revenge we can take on our enemies is the strengthening of our Jewish lives.

Dayan Dunner delivered the Keynote Address to a rapt audience, addressing the theme with a powerful drasha explaining the imperative of prioritizing and living within our means, and how doing so merits the brochos of which we are assured by Hashem. 

“A powerful and inspiring gathering” is how another participant, leaving the event, characterized it, as collars were turned up and the large crowd headed out into the Florida cold.

See below for photos of the event:

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{Noam Newscenter}