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Ohel Shalom Torah Center Newsletter
Parashat Bo 5779

Contact Us

 Ohel Shalom 


Check out our new and improved website at 

To determine if the Eruv is operational either click on the phone number link below, or call
 1-773-74-ERUV-2 (743-7882) after 2pm every Friday afternoon or every Erev Yom Tov.

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In This Issue
This Week at Ohel Shalom
Project Connection Update
Personalities in the Bible Shiur Schedule
Amazon Smile
Eruv Check- In
Kollel Korner
Davening Times
Candle lighting 
4:20 pm
Shir HaShirim 4:15pm
Mincha 4:30 pm
Shabbat starts 4:40 pm
Shacharit 8:15 am
 Mincha 3:55 pm
Shabbat ends
5:32 pm

Regular Weekdays

7:45 am
Monday, Thursday
6:15 am

 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
6:30 am 

Sunday- Thursday
4:30 pm 
Late Arvit following Kollel 
10:00 pm

Regular Shiurim  

 Open Seder  
Rabbi Olstein
Parasha Shiur
Wed 8:30pm (Hebrew)
Thurs 8:00pm (English)
Rabbi Moshe Miller
Tomer Devorah
Sundays after Mincha/Arvit  
Father and Son  
Torah and Chamin
Thursday 8 pm  
Rabbi Yosef Asayag
Monetary Issues in Halacha
 Shabbat Afternoon
45 min. before Mincha (Hebrew) 
Ateret Chaya 
Simcha Hall  

 Nachat on Shabbat
Boy's learning program
45 min. before Mincha  
Men and Women

Ner Foundation 
Rabbi Raccah   

Parashat HaShavu'a
Wednesdays at 8:30pm 
Personalities in the Bible
Motza'ai Shabbat during the winter
Next Shiur
January 19th
at 7:45 PM



Seuda Shlishit






Breakfast Fund

Day- $15 

Week- $75 

Month- $250 

Year - $2400  


Fish Fund

$20 month 


Hamin Fund

Monthly contribution 



Chair Sponsors

(127 sold - 133 left)

$20 each  


New Set of Artscroll Talmud Yerushalmi  

$35.00 for Talmud Yerushalmi




Siddurim Shaarim Ba'Tifilla

($15.00 each) 


Chumash w/simanim  

($20 each) 

20 New Talitot  

(4 sponsored - 16 left)

$75.00 each 


This Week at Ohel Shalom
Friday Night Oneg Shabbat
THIS Week 
One of the special events that winter brings is the Friday night Oneg Shabbat. Two weeks ago (Parashat Shemot), we held the first Oneg Shabbat of the winter at the home of Rabbi and Rabbanit Raccah, 7400 N. Albany. BE"H this week (Parashat Bo), Friday Jan. 11th, we will hold the next Oneg Shabbat to continue discussing the Abir Yaakov, Rav Yaakov Abuchetzaira ZT"L and it will start earlier - at 8pm. It is open to men, women and children above the age of 12. Hope to see you there! 

We Need Help Before the Construction Starts
This Coming Week 
BE"H the construction on our Learning Center and Executive Offices will start this coming Monday. However, we must clear the building out before the construction starts. We are planning to meet following Shacharit on Sunday, Jan. 13 to clean out the space. There will BE"H be a generously sponsored breakfast for those volunteering to help. Mr. Meir Pierce is heading the building preparation effort. Please speak to him to learn how you can help.

 New Learning Group with Rabbi Raccah 
Began This Week on Pele Yoetz

We are happy to announce that B"H the new learning group with Rabbi Raccah studying Pele Yoetz met for the first time this week. There is still some space. However, due to space constraints, the group will only be open to male members of the Kehillah. If you are a member and are interested, please text Shlomo Mizrahi at 323-274-8178 to receive more information.

Lev Avot - New Kollel Program
The Sephardic Community Kollel is pleased to announce the new Lev Avot Program by which Kollel fellows will partner with fathers  to prepare them for what their children are taught (Hebrew studies) at school. The Kollel will work closely together with the schools, Rabbeim and fathers to make sure the children will have the proper learning support from their homes and make sure the parents feel comfortable with their children's learning advancement. Please contact our dedicated Kollel Director, Rabbi Yosef Olstein for more details.  

Lost & Found- Tallitot Edition
Several tallitot were found in the Beit HaKinesset with no markings on them. If you are missing a Tallit please speak to Chanoch Raccah. Tallitot not claimed by January 15th will be considered Hefker.
Refuah Shelemah and Name Change 
We have been informed that Mr. Mordechai Bitton, father of our friend and member Mr. Tomer Bitton, has had his name changed. His name is now Mordechai Zev ben Tamar. Please join us in praying for a full and speedy recovery for him.
לרפואת מרדכי זאב בן תמר

Personalities in the Bible Shiur   
Rabbi Raccah's next Personalities in the Bible lecture will BE"H be Motza'ai Shabbat, January 19th. The title of the shiur is: "Names: Their Importance and Influence."  Please note that this Shiur will begin at 7:45 PM (please note time change). There are only three Shiurim left for this season. If you haven't tried it yet, then now is a good time because the last three Shiurim form a single unit. Please see below for the full schedule of Shiurim for the season. 
Safety Procedures
Please be sure to review the new safety procedures with your family members. An email has been sent out about it. We will only be using the front smaller door near the Beit Midrash to come in and to leave the Beit HaKinesset on Shabbat and we will have greeters at the door. Please do not use other entrances and do not open the door to anyone. We know this may be an inconvenience, but we have been advised by the police that the best way to protect our facility is to limit the amount of entrances into the building.  
New Shiur Series with Rabbi Kalman Worch Continues 
The Illinois Center for Jewish Studies and the Sephardic Community Kollel are happy to announce the next class in the new series of monthly classes for men with Rabbi Kalman Worch. The Shiur will take place BE"H on February 5th.  Topic and more details to come.
Upcoming Melaveh Malkah Shabbaton
We are happy to announce that BE"H our annual Melaveh Malkah Shabbaton weekend will be over the February 23rd Shabbat. Our guest speaker will be the renowned Rabbi Paysach Krohn. Rabbi Krohn was our speaker five years ago and his lectures drew the largest audiences. This was part of the calculation in choosing him as the first repeat speaker since we started the Annual Shabbaton Program over a decade ago. Please look for more information about this exciting event. 

Project Connection UPDATE

It has been almost a decade since our Kehillah's last major remodel - the Ateret Chaya Simcha Hall. We have known for some time that our growing Kehillah's programming and planned future projects require additional and more specific space. With tremendous thanks to HKB"H, we are pleased to announce that after concerted effort by the Rabbi and the Committee, we are posed to commence a complete remodel of our present office building to allow better usage of the space. The new Learning Center building will contain office suites, a new Beit HaMidrash/Shiur room and a large space for the Kehillah's children. Additionally, there will be a walk-through connection between the Beit HaMidrash building and the multipurpose building. This will permit fluid movement through all three buildings without going outside. To meet the extensive costs of this vital project we are commencing a new Building Campaign. Please find here a page presenting many different dedication categories. The Committee desired that all our members feel that they can participate so there are dedication opportunities that are very affordable. The pledges for this campaign are payable over the next two years (till Rosh HaShana 5781 - 2020). It goes without saying that the pledges towards this campaign are separate to all other pledges and charges. The opportunities are on a "first come first served basis" so don't delay!!

UPDATE: B"H after an excruciatingly long and lugubrious process, we have the construction permit! Construction will BE"H commence next week. We will need to clear out the house prior to the beginning of construction. For that we will need volunteers. Please come and volunteer this coming Sunday, following shacharit. B"H very exciting!

At this time, you may want to dedicate an item. As you can see, B"H many items have already been taken. The Rabbi and Committee still have not begun fundraising efforts so this is your chance.

For a printable version of this flyer click here

Personalities in the Bible Shiur Schedule
During the winter, in conjunction with the Ner Foundation, Rabbi Raccah delivers a series of Shiurim on Personalities in the Bible. BA"H this winter is the 21st season. The Shiurim are thought provoking. For the rest of the sason, the Shiurim begin at 7:45pm. The schedule is subject to change, so be sure to check back here. 

The seventh shiur will BE"H take place BE"H Motza'ai Shabbat, January 19th beginning at 7:45 PM. The title for the Shiur is "Names: Their Importance and Influence."
1. October 27 וירא       Beginning at 8 PM
2. November 17 ויצא    Beginning at 7:30 PM
3. November 24 וישלח
4. December 1 וישב
5. December 22 ויחי
6. January 5 וארא
7. January 19 בשלח     Beginning at 7:45 PM
8. January 26 יתרו       Beginning at 7;45 PM
9. February 2 משפטים   Beginning at 7:45 PM

Amazon Smile

Do you purchase items from Amazon? If so, you are in a perfect position to provide the Kehilla with much needed financial support with zero cost or additional effort from you, beyond following a few easy steps just one time.

Amazon has a philanthropic branch called Amazon Smile. All you need to do is sign up (no cost) and select our Kehilla as your charity of choice and Amazon will give the Kehilla 0.5% of all your eligible purchases! There are millions of eligible items.

Please take advantage of this opportunity
and sign up immediately.

Click here to select Sephardic Community Shaare Mizrah as your charity.

The Geshem Fund

It has been very busy for the Geshem Fund. Significant sums of money have been distributed to dozens of people to help with rent, utilities, food and many other purposes. This has depleted the fund. Please help us help those in need.

Please open your hearts and your wallets and make checks out to the order of GESHEM FUND and give to Rabbi Raccah or put in the mailbox of the office or the shul and Ayelet will give it to Rabbi Raccah.  As you thank Hashem for all that He has blessed you with, remember the less fortunate who are struggling and in desperate need of assistance. Thank you.
Eruv Check-In
Is the Chicago Eruv up and operational for Shabbat? If you utilize the Eruv, it is your responsibility to check each week before Shabbat if it is up. There are now some new and easy ways to do this.

The Chicago Eruv has set up a website with this information, as well as other pertinent halachot and information about the eruv. The web address is

You can call the hotline on Erev Shabbat after 2pm and listen to the recorded message or sign up to receive a weekly e-mail update on the status of the eruv.

Click here to sign up to have the eruv weekly email update sent directly to you! 
To Determine if the Eruv is Operational either click on the phone number link here, or call 1-773-74-ERUV-2 (743-7882) after 2pm every Friday afternoon or every Erev Yom Tov.

Kollel Korner of the Sephardic Community Kollel
Sephardic Community Kollel
Come learn with the Sephardic Community Kollel from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, Sunday through Thursday. Please contact the Kollel Coordinator, Rabbi Yosef Olstein to arrange a learning partner or to receive information about the Kollel and its programs. Rabbi Olstein can be reached at 773-338-8046 or by email at Sephardic Community Kollel.   
Donations to the Kollel
Donations to the Kollel can also be made via credit card. Please call the shul at 773-465-5274 or email the Kollel for details.
Sponsor Learning in the Kollel
Our Rabbis tell us the great power and merit associated with supporting Torah learning. To that end, consider sponsoring a week or a month of learning in the Kollel.

Examples of sponsorship purposes include: in memory of a deceased loved one for their Azkarah, to merit a Rifuah Shilamah, or to honor a loved one or friend. In addition to the great merit of supporting Torah in our community, your sponsorship will be marked with printed pages noting the intent of your support that are placed in stands on the tables in the Beit HaMidrash for the duration of your sponsorship period. 
Here are the costs for the various sponsorships:
A night of learning -  $52
A week of learning -  $100
A month of learning - $400
The Kollel appreciates the following sponsors of learning: 
A month of learning has been sponsored by Mrs. Elana Moalem for January 7-February 7 for the Zechut of a Refuah Shelemah for Chana bat Elka. May she merit a full recovery. 

A week of learning has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Tzur and Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Shemer for January 9-16 in memory of Yehuda and Aviva's father, Avraham Rachamim ben Sa'ada. May his Neshama merit an Aliyah. 

A month of learning has been sponsored anonymously for the month of January. The Kollel thanks the patrons for their generosity.
    Halacha of the Week       

Question: What is the correct blessing for "Baklava"? Also, what is the blessing on a cake that contains only one spoon of flour? Similarly, what is the blessing on soup which contains a small amount of flour?

Answer: In previous Halachot we have discussed that if a dish consists of several kinds of food, the blessing on the dish is that of the primary food. Thus, we have written that if one eats grape leaves stuffed with rice, one must recite the "Boreh Minei Mezonot" blessing on the rice, for that is the primary food and the leaves are secondary to it.

We have, nevertheless, added that this only applies to a dish comprised of two regular kinds of food. However, if the food contains a grain ingredient, such as flour or bread crumbs, the blessing on the food or dish will always be that of the grain ingredient, for the five grains (wheat, barley, oat, spelt, and rye) have an innate significance because of their satiating nature and are always considered the primary food.

The Blessing on "Baklava"
Based on this, a pastry made of thin layers of filo dough filled with nuts (Baklava) requires the "Boreh Minei Mezonot" blessing, for although the walnuts are the primary ingredient in this pastry, nevertheless, since the layers of dough are made of grain, the "Mezonot" blessing, and not "Boreh Peri Ha'etz," must be recited.

Cake Made With Only a Small Amount of Flour
The rule that we have discussed that a grain derivative is always considered the primary ingredient is actually contingent upon one condition, which is that the grain product must give a good taste to the food or dish. However, if the grain product is meant merely to stabilize the food or to bind the various ingredients together, it is no longer considered primary and the appropriate blessing must be recited on the food.

Indeed, the Gemara (Berachot 37b) discusses this law and states that if a grain product was mixed into a food merely as a binding agent, the "Boreh Minei Mezonot" blessing is not recited on this food. Maran Ha'Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 208) rules likewise.

Based on the above, regarding cakes made from eggs, oil, and sugar, when a small amount (such as a spoonful) of flour is added to the batter not in order to add flavor, rather, in order for the cake to stand well, the blessing on such a cake is "Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro," for the primary ingredients are the sugar and eggs while the flour is only meant as a binding agent, in which case it cannot be considered primary at all.

The same applies to meringues made from egg whites and sugar in that although some flour is sometimes added to them, nevertheless, the correct blessing on meringues is "Shehakol". Indeed, the Rambam (Chapter 3 of Hilchot Berachot) rules that if the grain product was added to the food merely as a binding agent, the "Boreh Minei Mezonot" blessing is not recited on the food. The Rambam adds that the same applies if the grain derivative was added to the food in order to give it a pleasant smell or color, for as long as the grain product was not added to add flavor, it is not considered the primary ingredient and the "Mezonot" blessing is not recited.

A Soup or Sauce Containing Flour
Based on the above Rambam, we can infer that the same applies when flour is added to a food in order to enhance its texture, such as adding flour to a soup as a thickening agent, and the blessing on the soup remains "Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro" since the flour is not intended to add flavor and was only added to change the soup's texture.

Similarly, those who add some flour cooked with water to a sauce or gravy in order to enhance its texture, the flour can certainly not be considered the primary ingredient and the blessing remains "Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro." The same applies to meatballs into which some bread crumbs are mixed in order to enhance the texture; the blessing on the meatballs remains "Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro," for the bread crumbs are not added for flavor and are added merely to enhance the texture of the meatballs and to prevent them from falling apart.


If you have a Simcha occurring within the next few months that you would like to have added to the calendar, please call the off ice at 773-465-5274 or email the office with the link provided in the sidebar at the top of the email.  

January 11th - Friday Night Oneg at the Raccahs 
January 19th - Seventh Personalities in the Bible Shiur
February 5th - Rabbi Kalman Worch Series
February 22-23 - Annual Melaveh Malka Weekend
Community Section

Chicago Orthodox Student Union 
The Chicago Orthodox Student Union is a new initiative for Orthodox college students, sponsored by Ida Crown Jewish Academy in collaboration with the YU Torah Mitzion Kollel, offering
opportunities for Jewish Learning and Social Events.  
For information about programs and events, please email
For Orthodox College Students - The Chicago Orthodox Student Union invites you to "Meat and Greet!" on Sunday, January 13, 6:00 PM, at Northwestern Hillel, 629 Foster, Evanston, IL 60201.  Meet new people, eat great food!
Questions?  Please email
Shalva Symposium
For more information  click here
Important Information about the Measles and Vaccinations
We regret to inform the community that the Illinois Board of Health has confirmed our community's first case of measles in a vaccinated young child. Unfortunately, an entire playgroup of children too young to vaccinate has been exposed.
This outbreak has underscored the importance of vaccination. 
A couple of facts about measles.
1) Measles is the one of the most contagious diseases on the planet. 90% of those who encounter an affected individual will contract the disease unless they are already immune
2) Measles is a very dangerous disease. 5% of those infected will get pneumonia, 0.1% will get encephalitis (brain involvement) and 1-2 out of every 1,000 infected children will die from measles.
3) People are contagious starting 4 days BEFORE they show any symptoms
4) Children under 4 or 5, who have only received one measles vaccination only have a 90% chance of being immune.
5) Individuals who are fully immunized with two measles vaccinations, still have about a 3% chance of not being immune.
6) For the medically vulnerable (infants, immunosuppressed children and adults, pregnant women, etc.) this is quite literally life threatening
In the meantime, vaccinated individuals may continue to attend school, shul and other public gatherings. Unvaccinated individuals must exercise extreme caution as we do not know how many contagious people are walking around the community at present.
Dr. Adam Aronson M.D  Dr. Irwin Benuck M.D
Dr. Yossi Borenstein M.D Dr. Cathy DiVincenzo M.D
Dr. Cheryl Donovan-Hunt M.D Dr. Steven Goldberg M.D
Dr. Valerie Kimball M.D Dr. Teri Merens M.D
Dr. Michael Rosenbaum M.D Dr. Dov Shapiro M.D
Dr. Edward Traisman M.D Dr. Melanie Thomas M.D
For a printable version of this letter click here. 
Maot Chitim is proud to tell you about another Volunteer Opportunity

Momma Chef's Soup Kitchen at Congregation K.I.N.S. has opened their doors to feed meals to those in need.

Once a week on Tuesday evenings they will provide a four-course homemade hot dinner, as well as bagged lunches to-go, at no costs to their guests.
Please help to spread the word.. whether it be to volunteer or to invite someone who may be in need of food and a friendly face... 
All food served is Kosher and prepared in a supervised kitchen.

Click Here to volunteer or email for more information.

Gift of Life
Please consider registering to be tested to see if you could be Roni's bone marrow donor. She is from a Yeminite, Moroccan and North African family and only people with Yeminite or combined Yeminite-North African Heritage will likely be the match she needs. A bone marrow transplant is her only cure! Joining the registry is as easy as a simple swab of your cheek. Eligible donors must be between the ages of 18 - 45 and in good general health. Please join the registry today!   Please share this message with others.  
(Even if you aren't Yeminite and don't match Roni, you may be able to save someone else! Everyone should be on the registry!)