On Wednesday, April 7 2021, on Yom HaShoah, we remember the victims of the greatest crime against man-kind – the young, the old, the innocent, the million and a half children, starved, shot, given lethal injections, gassed, burned and turned to ash, because they were deemed guilty of a crime of being different – a JEW. We remember what happens when hate takes hold of the human heart and turns it to stone; what happens with victims cry for help and there is no one listening; what happens when humanity fails to recognize that those who are not in our image are none the less in God’s image. We remember and pay tribute to the survivors, who bore witness to what happened, and to the victims, so that robbed of their lives, they would not be robbed also of their deaths. We remember and give thanks for the righteous of nations who saved lives, often at risk of their own, teaching us how in the darkest night we can light a candle of hope.
My name is Gaby Oleksnianski, and it is a great honor to have been elected President of our beloved Cuban Hebrew Congregation. I step into this role knowing that our Temple faces challenges, as all temples do in this day and age. I will do my part to insure our doors remain open, first and foremost. I welcome the opportunity to share in our continued success. Your involvement and financial support will insure our prosperity.
The story of the Cuban Hebrew is one that must be shared, it is of perseverance and resilience, and the many sacrifices of those that
built this organization. This year is our 60th Anniversary, an amazing achievement that must be celebrated and recognized.
As we look forward, we must find ways to protect and secure the legacy of Temple Beth Shmuel--for all Cuban Jews that have passed through our doors and to make this a special place for generations to come.
I look forward to a new year of possibilities.
What Blessing should you say when you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
This moment felt far off at the beginning of the pandemic, but it has arrived. Both Moderna and Pfizer have produced COVID-19 vaccines to immunized 100 million people in the first quarter of 2021.
Here are some blessings that you should consider; The shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God who brought us to this day; She’asah li nes bamakom hazeh, who has done a miracle; and Shenatan michochmato I’basar v’adam, who has given of His wisdom to flesh and blood.
What do you say upon receiving the vaccine that one day lead to communal life again? To bench gomel on the Shabbat after receiving the vaccine. Gomel is a prayer said when one has come through a harrowing threat of life. It is received by the congregation and responded to by the full community, each person asking for more good to come to the one who has survived.
The vaccine will allow people in isolation to soon reintegrate with their family and friends, there will be much to celebrate. One must offer words of praise and blessing to Hashem upon the amazing event of receiving the vaccine!
Dear Members and Friends,
As the end of this challenging year 2020 approaches I want to express what an honor and privilege it has been to be the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation these past 3 years. It was my mission to preserve our history and legacy with the knowledge that there was much work to be done. With the help of our beautiful loyal members we know our vision and plans will persevere and become reality.
When I took over the Presidency in 2018 the Temple was in distress financially, our properties were lacking in proper maintenance and our facilities were underused. It was overwhelming. It was then I decided to focus full steam ahead to turn this situation around and put our beloved Congregation back on its feet. This would then enable us to move forward with our many plans and vision.
We are once again financially sound which allows for the proper care of our properties, use our facilities to its fullest potential and accomplish plans for our future. It was a monumental task to restore our properties but I’m happy to say we now have qualified, licensed and certified companies performing for us in a timely skillful manner and in many cases at a cost saving to the Temple.
We also hired a first rate caterer Shaike. Prior to the Pandemic our fabulous caterer was booking many large events, including professional and business conferences. We’re already planning for future events once acceptable.
The Yizkor book was incredibly successful this past year, spearheaded by Becky Kobrowski. The memory of our departed family members was more than ever in the forefront, with much love “We remember them”...
There have been many accomplishments these past 3 years too many to mention in this President’s farewell message. I must mention that I could not have accomplished them without the support and help of our Board members and office staff. Volunteers such as Becky Kobrowski-Cohen our Executive VP who works tirelessly both in our administration and in planning incredibly successful events and Gena Gutman our Treasurer who helps me review our financials and find additional avenues for improvement. Our Rabbi Stephen Texon and Rebbetzin Nancy Texon, Vice President of Women’s League, have both done a great job with our spiritual side and have supported our initiatives and members especially during these Pandemic times.
Many accolades and thanks to our office staff, Avi Ashkenazi and Marivi Leander, our devoted and outstanding employees, could not run the operations of the Temple without their help.
Our Board members Rosita Boruchin, Raul Moncarz, Gladys Sapayo and Gaby Oleksnianski whose input, support and advice enabled us to move forward with confidence and get the Temple “back on its feet”. Their support and love helped us immeasurably through some difficult and challenging times.
Looking towards the future I would like to introduce our new President for 2021, Gaby Oleksnianski, a long time loyal dedicated member and current Vice President on our Board of Directors. The Oleksnianski family have been devoted members of Cuban Hebrew Congregation for many years. Gaby is a successful business owner who has the understanding and capability to continue in the trajectory we have embarked on, to build upon the success of the Congregation and implement our vision for the future.
I will remain in a supportive position to the President and will be there during the transition to assist as needed. Many congratulations to Gaby Oleksnianski, who is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of Cuban Hebrew Congregation and to its future. Let’s welcome our new President Gaby Oleknianski with best wishes for great success with his term as President.
Much Love to all, Shabbat Shalom, Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2021 New Year.
Many blessings, stay safe,
Cuban Hebrew Congregation 2018-2020
Gay Pride or LGBT Pride is the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a social group. Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma.
HISTORY OF PRIDE MONTH
In New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting. Among many leaders of the riot were black, Trans, bisexual, gay men and women. This lasted 6 days, the message was clear, protesters demanded the establishment of places where LGBT and people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear or arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, known as “The Mother of Pride.” Brenda organized Gay Pride Week, this eventually morphed into what we know now as the New York City Pride March. Today the biggest International Gay Pride Parade is in Telaviv, Israel. Miami Beach is the host to the world known Gay Parade with weeklong activities.
The famous rainbow flag came about when gay politician, Harvey Milk asked a talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to the San Francisco Pride March in 1978. This flag is used today universally as a welcome sign.
Bill Clinton was the first US President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009-2016 Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month.
In getting ready to re- open for Shabbat services we have complied with City of Miami Beach ordinance, Miami Dade County Emergency Order 23-20, Faith Base Task Force and CDC. We will be opened Saturday, May 30, 2020 for Shavuot.
• Implement procedure to ensure all participants remain 6 feet apart
• Facial covering MUST be worn by congregants or they may NOT enter building.
• Provide alcohol base hand sanitizer.
• Provide disinfected wipes
• Provide gloves
• Sanitize bathrooms
• There will be NO hugs, kiss, shaking hands or moving around during services.
• Participants must reserve in advance by phone or email in order to attend. This will allow us to limit the number of attendees.
We will start with 10-12 people. If you have not reserved you will not be let in. We will not open to the Public at this time.
• Comply with 50% occupancy restriction as we move forward
• Refrain from gathering before and after services including food service.
• There will be NO sit down Kiddush time. The Women’s League has prepared Kiddush To Go bags.
• There will be NO touching of the Torah except for the Rabbi while conducting service.
• Aliyots will be given and done by standing up directly from your seat.
No one will approach the bima except for the Rabbi.
• All prayer books used during services will be placed in the back table to be sanitized.
• After services Tallits and Kippot are to be dropped in a green box to be sanitized.
• No challah bread will be offered. A symbolic blessing will be said
• For the wine, disposable mini cups will be used. After drinking they are to be disposed in a no touch waste bin.
• There will be an orderly entrance and exit of service.
Doors will open at a certain time and they will close at a certain time. Doors will NOT open once services have started.
If anyone has symptoms of fever, cough, sniffles or weakness they should not leave their home to attend services. They will be asked to leave. The Rabbi will follow up with them at a later time.
As the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation I must comment on the recent headlines and articles that were circulated among many Jewish publications regarding the state and future of Cuban Hebrew Congregation.
A reporter who seems to be quite negative in her view of our Congregation called our Rabbi out of the blue and showed up on our doorstep on a Saturday while we were conducting our Shabbat services. She showed up late but sat for the remainder of the services, she also took part in our kiddush following services. At the end of services she was quite insistent and "pushy" about an interview right there and then and proceeded to turn on her recording device which she manipulated on and off at will. My protestations of it being Shabbat and she can come during the week fell on deaf ears. She claimed this is the only opportunity she had available as she was leaving town and was expected someplace else. By the way she never interviewed the Rabbi which we thought was her purpose for contacting him in the first place.
Little did we know and now after publishing her infamous headlines that her intentions were less than honorable. I requested that she send us the article prior to publication which she did not do and which we find unprofessional and untrustworthy. This conduct on her part should have been an indication that she was not upfront about her purpose for coming to our Temple and she meant to do us harm.
Let me assure our friends and Jewish community that the headlines of our "struggling" and "future in jeopardy" and of our “premature demise” are greatly exaggerated and unfounded. It is true that at one time under different leadership we were suffering but NOT NOW. The truth is that our Congregation is doing better than ever. Under this current Administration and Board of Directors we are moving forward and finally are starting to see the "light at the end of the tunnel".
After doing many improvements to the Temple and together with our new exclusive world renowned Chef and Kosher Caterer Shaike LLC, Venue2020 we are proud to say that we are again booking weddings, bar mitzvahs, conferences, tours, concerts and other major events with maximum participation and success. Not everything is about membership numbers or if our congregation has still many elderly congregants. They are people also and deserve respect and not the condescending and dismissive attitude exhibited in the article.
The NEW Cuban Hebrew Congregation is moving in a new direction and expanding our horizons. We are focusing on becoming a Learning Center and we have much interest developing in this direction. Our facilities are perfect for it.
I want to reassure our friends and members that the "State of the Union" of our beloved Congregation is in great shape. Our finances are finally solid and our future looks bright. The finances of our Temple were never discussed with this reporter so where she got this information must be from parties who do not believe in our Congregation.
Let me further assure everyone that Cuban Hebrew Congregation is NOT FOR SALE now or in the near future. If that ever becomes something the Board of Directors wants to entertain we will let our community know.
All the rumors and innuendos as a result of the headlines and this article are just plain “Lashon Hara”. It is propagating unpleasant and harmful facts which is forbidden and a serious sin in the Jewish tradition. Please think before you speak and if you have any questions related to the article or our status, feel free to call the Temple office at 305-534-7213 but do not speculate on what is going on. You can speak with myself, Becky or any Board Member.
Join us for Shabbat Services and our Kiddush, we promise you will enjoy it.
Have a Blessed Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom,
With much love, Your President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation has just acquired 10 cemetery lots in the beautiful Mount Sinai Cemetery located at 1125 N.W. 137th St. [Opa-Locka Boulevard], Miami, FL 33168.
These lots will not be available for long.
If you would like to purchase a cemetery lot please contact Becky Cohen @ 305-534-7213
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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