November 21, 2012

How Jewish is Thanksgiving?

A message of gratitude from Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann

Our tradition teaches that gratitude is the cornerstone of all blessings. From the early pilgrims to the millions of our brothers and sisters who have been spared from an onslaught of missiles targeted at them - we are so thankful.
I have been blessed with gifts too numerous to count; my wife, Esther, our eight beautiful children, beloved friends, and all that Hashem has brought to my life. This year as I reflect on Thankgiving, I am especially thankful for:

Our energetic, adorable preschoolers at our Gan Menacham Preschool that bless us with their smiles, laughter and joy of life each day.
The 2000 children that attend LifeTown each year. We are grateful to be a part of their lives and see their growth with each visit
The 350 LifeTown volunteers
who give their time and talent to our beloved students. Our selfless volunteers are the heart of LifeTown. From Geno in the Huntington Bank, Lynne and Cody in the Marketplace, Sally in the Art Studio and so many others - they are what makes LifeTown the nurturing program that it is and we are so grateful.
For our active shul members who choose to worship, study, volunteer and celebrate together as part of our Chabad family. You are the building blocks of future generations of our vibrant community.
For the many big hearted donors who help build and support the programs we care so much about - our shul, LifeTown, Friendship Circle, Camp Gan Israel and Gan Menacham Preschool. It is because of your generosity that we are able to do what we do today. We are eternally grateful.
Our Friendship Circle teen and OSU volunteers
who reach out and connect with special friends and make a difference in their lives. Whether they are doing yoga, art, basketball or cooking together - these teens make lifelong friends and bring smiles to their buddies' faces.
Our Friendship Circle families who embrace our program and see first-hand what a difference friendships make to us all.
To Hashem who has given me so much goodness in the faces and hearts of all of you. I am grateful for each and every one of you and know that I am a better friend, better person and better rabbi because of what I have learned from each of you.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you have a meaningful day with those you love.
With much love and deep appreciation,


 July 27, 2012

Shabbot Shalom, friends!

What a wonderful whirlwind of activity I’ve had lately. Last weekend I returned from Australia where I spent two weeks visiting my family and was delighted to take my daughter, Chaya, on her first visit. It is a blessing to be able to visit my parents and I thank G‑d that I still have them. While I don’t get to travel to Australia very often, I never feel too far from family and friends because I have my wonderful extended family in Columbus that is our Chabad. What a blessing each of you are to me and my family!

After a long journey home to Columbus last weekend, I returned in time to host the Midwestern Conference of Chabad Rabbis, called Kinus, here at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center. Fifty Chabad rabbis came from Chicago, Wisconson, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. We spent two days together praying, sharing, learning, eating great food (thank you Esther, Cindy Phillips and Chef Melissa), and celebrating. It's been 13 years since we've hosted the Kinus and our first in our new building. What a joy and blessing it was to be able to accommodate our group and the various workshops and meals so comfortably in our new Chabad House. It was a great conference and we were honored to host it. Look for pictures on our website and newsletter.

I hope you are enjoying the summer sunshine and are spending time with your friends and family both near and far. May you enjoy the journey and travel safely home. And if your family is far away too, remember, your Chabad is close to home and to us - you're family.

Only good news,