Congregation Etz Hayim at Hollis Hills Bayside

The consolidated communities of Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Community Center

Am Yisrael Chai

AM YISRAEL CHAI  —  AM YISRAEL CHAI  — THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL LIVE

This is what I want to scream out to the world, as I watch the horrific slaughtering of innocent people in Paris.  To think that you can be strolling through a supermarket shopping for Shabbat and all of a sudden, you are face to face with a terrorist pointing a gun at you with eagerness to kill you. To think that you can be sitting at a meeting in your office and two gunmen storm in and start shooting. I ask myself…How can this be?  How can human beings hate so much that they are gratified to massacre people (Jews and non-Jews alike)? It is INCOMPREHENSIBLE!

During this time of terror, I learned that France has the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third largest Jewish population in the world (after Israel and the United States). The Jewish community in France is estimated at about 500,000. However, the overwhelming rise of anti-Semitism and terrorist acts against the Jews in France are causing tremendous fear. Therefore, many are deciding to move to Israel. It’s easy to understand why!

The Jews of France are a diverse and strong group. They contribute to business, culture, science and many other aspects of society. It is interesting to note that one of the most acclaimed French Jews, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi (רש”י‎), was a medieval French Rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and the Tanach.  Praised and celebrated for his unique ability to present the basic, concise & coherent meaning of the text, Rashi’s works remain a cornerstone of contemporary Jewish study. His commentary on Chumash is relied upon as an indispensable aid to students of all levels.

As so many did, I watched the Unity March that took place in the streets of Paris, with our very own Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu helping to lead the way. I saw the President of France, Francois Hollande, join Bibi at the Grande Synagogue in Paris and I was filled with emotion and pride. We, the Jewish people, are but a mere speck of sand, in terms of our numbers. We are less than 0.5% of the world population. Yet, the Jewish people and our State of Israel are always on the forefront, leading, revolutionizing, spearheading, guiding and transcending. We are survivors in the truest sense of the word! We are determined to thrive and to grow and to never be destroyed, no matter how hard some may try.

Just as I thought the gathering at the Grande Synagogue in Paris was coming to a close, my phone rang and it was a dear member of our Congregation telling me to hurry up and turn on CNN. He was watching the live broadcast of the events taking place in Paris and just after Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke, the Cantor & Choir at the Grande Synagogue led the entire congregation and guests in singing my composition of Avinu Shebashamayim. I was so incredibly touched and choked up.

I am extremely saddened and incredibly worried about the increase of anti-Semitism and terrorism as a whole, not only in France but across the world. Let us stand behind our Jewish brothers and sisters of France. Let us pray for them and support them in any way we can.

AM YISRAEL CHAI!! NOUS SOMMES JUIFS (We are Jews)

Let me take this opportunity to remind you all to SAVE THE DATE and to CONTACT THE SYNAGOGUE OFFICE to RESERVE YOUR TICKETS NOW

SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015 at 3:00 PM

CANTOR SOL ZIM AND FRIENDS IN CONCERT

Many of my friends and esteemed colleagues from the Cantors Assembly will come to Our Congregation, from all over the country, to treat us to a very special Evening of All Kinds of Music, as they join in celebrating my special Jubilee (50th) anniversary at HHJC. You will hear spectacular solos as well as magnificent combo performances. Each voice has its’ own uniqueness and beauty and combined together will captivate your spirits and transport you on a musical journey.

A RECEPTION TO FOLLOW…..RESERVE YOUR TICKETS NOW.

See you in Shul. B’shalom.

Cantorially always,
Cantor Sol Zim