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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shabbos Nachamu Meets the Fifteenth of Av

Av is the month of the Father. For the first two weeks Hashem deals with us a strict father, punishing us when necessary. For the second half of the month G-d draws us closer. As the Mishna records, “there is no happier holiday than the fifteenth of Av”. (Kedushas Levi).


“Nachamu, Nachamu, Ami”. 

Stranded just outside the city limits at 7:56, they welcomed Shabbos as they trudged over the rivers and through the ‘hoods through a town they didn’t know. And at 11:00 this past Friday night they burst into my house in the person of five wet, sweaty, smelly, desperate and singing Yeshiva Boys. 

Their car was broken-down, their possessions abandoned and their muscles aching, but they were able see the comfort in it all as they danced and sang and davened in a way that would have made Shlomo Carlbach and Yirmiyahu Hanavi proud. After Maariv, we welcomed the malachim with Shalom Aleichem and enjoyed a sumptuous seudah punctuated with Divrei Torah and Niggunim. It was well into the morning hours when we took to the streets, armed with pillows and blankets to finalize the boys’ sleeping arrangements. 

The Jews have traveled a long journey through many tough neighborhoods and stormy nights. It’s not always easy, but we’ve learned to dance and sing anyway. 

Is Shabbos a burden? Not if you ask the old man with gold teeth by the tunnel into Norfolk. You see, his mother was Jewish.

Posted on 08/17 at 09:53 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at