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Ohel Shalom Torah Center Newsletter
Parashat Metzora-Shabbat HaGadol 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
Office Contact During Construction
This Week at Ohel Shalom
Pesach Updates
Shabbat Hagadol Dinner
Project Connection Update
Amazon Smile
Eruv Check- In
Kollel Korner
Davening Times
Candle lighting 
7:08 pm
Shir HaShirim 7:03 pm
Mincha 7:18 pm
Shabbat starts 7:28  pm
Shacharit 8:15 am
 Mincha 6:43 pm
Shabbat ends
8:20 pm

Regular Weekdays

7:45 am
Monday, Thursday
6:15 am

 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
6:30 am 

Sunday- Thursday
7:18 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
Kids learning program
1 hour 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
see you next year!


Male Member Shiur
Pele Yoetz in English
contact Shlomo Mizrahi
Yalizu Chasidim in Hebrew
contact David Ben Abu 



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 


Office Contact Info During Construction
During office hours, Mrs Sror can be reached directly at

Office hours are Monday-Friday 9:15 am - 1:15 pm.

Use the regular 773-465-5274 to leave a message for Rabbi Raccah or for Mrs Sror outside of office hours. This number will not be answered during construction and is voicemail only.

This Week at Ohel Shalom
See the Pesach Updates Section below
for important information


Kiddush and Seudah Shilisheet Sponsorship
Kiddush this week is co-sponsored by Mr. Yosef Miller in memory of his grandmother, Miriam bat Tamar. May her Neshama merit an Aliyah. The Kehillah thanks Mr. Miller for his generosity.

Kiddush is also sponsored by David and Odelia Ben Abu in honor of the birth of their daughter, Tehillah Biracha.  May she grow to Torah, Chuppah and Ma'asim Tovim. The Kehillah thanks the Ben Abus for their generosity.
Seudah Shilisheet this week is sponsored by  Mr. Yosef Miller  in memory of his grandmother, Miriam bat Tamar.  May her Neshama merit an Aliyah. The Kehillah thanks Mr. Miller for his generosity. 
Kollel Break
BE"H the Kollel will learn through, and including,  Thursday evening, April 11th.  As well, BE"H there will an expanded Chamin on Thursday nightThe Kollel will go on break starting  Sunday, April 14th. Kollel will BE"H resume on  Tuesday, April 30th. Remember that when the Kollel is on break, the 10 pm Arvit does not meet. Please come in and learn though, even if the Kollel is not in session.
Maot Chitim - The Geshem Fund

As we all know, Pesach is an unusually beautiful but expensive holiday. For some families struggling with ever mounting bills and little or no income, Pesach can be daunting. To help alleviate the stress of the financial constraints, the Geshem Fund provides some relief. Many families turn to the Geshem Fund year-round for help. Please help us help these families. To participate in relieving some stress and enhancing the holiday of your friends, please make out a check to the Geshem Fund today. The checks can be given to the rabbi or any other officer of the Kehilla. PayPal payments through the Kehilla website are also possible.
Rabbi Raccah's Parashat HaShavua Shiur

The Wednesday Night Shiur will not meet on Wednesday April 17th and on Wednesday Chol HaMoed, April 17th. Shiur will BE"H resume Wednesday, May 1st
Learning Group with Rabbi Raccah on Pele Yoetz
Please join us for a weekly learning group with Rabbi Raccah on the Pele Yoetz. This group meets weekly, and is only open to male members of the Kehillah. For more information  text  Shlomo Mizrahi at 323-274-8178.    
New Yalizu Chasidim Learning Group
with Rabbi Raccah in Hebrew

Due to the success of the Pele Yoetz Learning Group, Rabbi Raccah has B"H started a similar group in Hebrew, Yalizu Chasidim. The group has B"H already met a few times. Interested? Contact David Ben Abu for more information. 
Pesach Updates

Dedicated Hours for 
Mechirat Chametz/Selling Your Chametz

Rabbi Raccah is once again available BE"H to aid you in the sale of your Chametz. As in years past, he has set aside some specific times when you will be able to come to sell your Chametz. This is in addition to selling your Chametz when you see him at the Beit HaKinesset after Tifilot.

Thursday, April 11th from 9:00-9:30 pm at the Rabbi's home, 7400 N. Albany. Please do not ring the bell.

Motza'ai Shabbat HaGadol April 13th from 9:30-10:00 pm at the Rabbi's home, 7400 N. Albany. Please do not ring the bell.

Sunday April 14th from 8:00-8:30 pm at the Rabbi's home, 7400 N. Albany. Please do not ring the bell.

Wednesday, April 17th from 8:00-8:30 pm at the Rabbi's home, 7400 N. Albany. Please do not ring the bell.

Please do not come either early or late. Additional dedicated times may be added. Please look for more details.

The many additional Rabbinic responsibilities that Pesach requires place an increased burden on the rabbi's schedule, so please respect Rabbi Raccah's time and do not request time outside of this to sell your  Chametz.

Rice Information
Rice is a staple in many Sephardic homes on Pesach. Although it may seem simple to identify rice without potential Pesach issues, that is in fact not the case. The ever-changing methods of production have created many complications.

For about a decade and a half, Rabbi Raccah, after investigation and consultation, had found Royal Basmati Rice to be acceptable. However, with new production changes at the plants, Rabbi Raccah can NOT RECOMMEND Royal Basmati Rice this year.

After having learned that, Rabbi Raccah devoted many hours to find a comparable and available alternative that would be acceptable. This involved substantial investigation and research, as well as  considerable consulting with numerous Kashrut organizations. The Star K does list many rice brands in their Pesach publication but many of them are not easily available in the Chicagoland area.

Of course, our friends at Hungarian Kosher have rice available. Be certain to double check to verify that the rice has Pesach specific certification.

In addition, Rabbi Raccah has found that Regal Harvest Basmati Rice bearing a regular Star K symbol is ACCEPTABLE for Pesach (even without a Pesach specific certification) and is plentifully available in Chicago. He has seen it at Fresh Farms Produce where it is available in 10 and 20 lb. burlap bags. This applies only to this rice type, this specific brand and only when bearing the Star K. It may be available elsewhere as well.

Here is a photo

As well, the Iberia brand Basmati Rice that the Star K lists as acceptable is available at Amzaon in a few sizes. It is acceptable only when bearing the Star K (even without a Pesach specific certification). Rabbi Raccah did not see a Star K on the 18 lb. bag. It is possible that it simply didn't show up on the photo. However, he consulted with the Star K who told him to only utilize those with a Star K.

Here is a picture:

Times for Hagala for Sephardim

Once again Rabbi Raccah has coordinated a Hag'ala time for those who have items, such as plastics and/or stove grate for Hag'ala, which Ashkenazim do not typically perform Hag'ala upon. The time for Sephardim is between 5:45-6 pm on Sunday, April 14th and Monday April 15th at Telshe Yeshiva (3535 W. Foster - entrance through back parking lot). This is only for people with a small quantity of items. Please do NOT be late. Mincha is at 6 pm, and after Mincha is the time for those who made appointments. If you can't make this window, then attend during regular hours: 7:30-9 pm. For those who have a large amount of vessels, please call 773-727-5241 to make an appointment.  

Shabbat HaGadol Dinner
The Shabbat HaGadol Dinner is by reservation only.  
For a printable version of this flyer  click here

Project Connection UPDATE
(new info below)

As the construction B"H has significantly advanced, 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.

Two things to keep in mind:
1) Items have been set at all price points from as little as $180 and up. This was done intentionally to allow all our members to BE"H participate and be a part of reaching this vital milestone in our history.
2) The pledges for this campaign are payable over the next year and a half (till Rosh HaShana 5781 - 2020) and 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 the Sacramento Entrance has been dedicated.

For a printable version of this flyer click here

Construction Updates

With the new roof work mostly complete, work this week focused on different trades. The HVAC crew was in and laid much of the duct work. As well, the plumbing crew was in to install a good portion of the plumbing pipes. Additional work was done framing the different rooms and sections. Windows went in for the new office addition.

HVAC duct work on the main floor

Windows going in for the Office Addition

Stairs from the Children's Level
to the connection point between buildings

Progress on the new Bet HaMidrash on the main floor

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.   
Kollel Break
BE"H the Kollel will learn through, and including, Thursday evening, April 11thAs well, BE"H there will an expanded Chamin on Thursday nightThe Kollel will go on break starting Sunday, April 14th. Kollel will BE"H resume on Tuesday, April 30th. Remember that when the Kollel is on break, the 10 pm Arvit does not meet. Please come in and learn though, even if the Kollel is not in session.

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 March 12-April 12   for the Zechut of a Refuah Shelemah for  Chana bat Elka . May she merit a full recovery.     
Two days of learning have been sponsored by  Pe nina Berdugo and Levana Freund for April 10-12  in memory of their mother,  Yakut Benizri bat Macha Deri. May her Neshama merit an Aliyah.
A month of learning has been sponsored anonymously for the month of April. The Kollel thanks the patrons for their generosity.
    Halacha of the Week  

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation customarily follows this order on the night of Pesach, as is printed in all Machzorim and Haggadot. Thank G-d, nowadays, there are many revised editions of the "Passover Haggadah" available that clearly delineate the proper way to conduct the entire Pesach Seder. Anyone who is leading a Pesach Seder would act wisely to purchase a Haggadah compiled according to the views of the leading rabbinical authorities of the generation. (We suggest using the Pesach Haggadah entitled "Chazon Ovadia" which was authored by Maran Rabbeinu zt"l and has since been printed several times in several new and beautiful editions. This Haggadah is especially helpful through its instruction on how to properly lead a Pesach Seder.)
Which Wine to Purchase for the Seder
The wine upon which one blesses "Boreh Peri Ha'Gefen" during the Seder and all year round must halachically consist of at least a majority of actual grape juice (some are more stringent and require more than this amount). Wine that has a large amount of water or sugar mixed in it does not retain the blessing of "Boreh Peri Ha'Gefen", rather, its blessing is "Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro" just as it is simple that soft drinks which contain approximately ten percent grape juice require the "Shehakol" blessing. One should therefore purchase only wine or grape juice which is known to retain the "Boreh Peri Ha'Gefen" blessing even according to the opinion of Maran Ha'Shulchan Aruch.
Grape Juice
If it is difficult for one to drink wine at the Seder, one may drink grape juice and one satisfactorily fulfills one's obligation of drinking the Four Cups in this way. If one acts stringently and uses specifically wine or wine mixed with some grape juice, one is especially praiseworthy.
The Amount of Wine One Must Drink
The amount of wine one must drink during the Seder is one "Revi'it" per cup, which is approximately 81 cc (or approximately 2.8 fluid ounces) per cup to be drunk without interruption, which means that one must drink all 81 cc in one shot (meaning without interruption) for every cup drunk. However, if one drinks only a majority of a Revi'it which is approximately 45 cc (or approximately 1.5 fluid ounces), one has fulfilled one's obligation and need not drink that cup again.
An Ill Individual
One who has difficulty drinking an entire Revi'it of wine and acts leniently and only drinks a majority of a Revi'it every time should be careful at least for the third or fourth cup to drink an entire Revi'it so that one may recite the "Al Ha'Gefen" blessing afterwards. (This is because regarding the "Al Ha'Gefen" blessing, which is the blessing recited after drinking wine, a majority of a Revi'it is insufficient to recite this blessing.)
If one suffers from diabetes and has been instructed not to drink the four cups of wine (or grape juice), such an individual may not drink the four cups and it is forbidden for him to try and act stringently.
Summary: One should only purchase wine with a respectable Kashrut supervision which upholds the Sephardic customs as well. If one cannot drink wine, one may drink grape juice instead. One should drink the four cups of wine based on the order set forth in the Haggadah. For every cup, one should drink at least 2.8 fluid ounces of wine. If it is very difficult for one to drink, one may be lenient and drink only a majority of a Revi'it, i.e. approximately 1.5 ounces. (One should, nevertheless, drink an entire Revi'it for the third or fourth cup.)


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.  

Shabbat HaGadol Dinner - April 12
Pesach - April 19-27
Community Section

Maot Chitim
This Sunday!

  Shred and Recycle Day   
 This Sunday! 
CRC Passover Fair
This Sunday!   

Chicago Chesed Fund Second Time Around
  Spring cleaning? Donate unused items and help your neighbor out! Chicago Chesed Fund's Second Time Around Program has extended their schedule for the Pesach season. Now, there will be more frequent trips to pick up your gently used clothes, shoes, housewares and other items directly from your home. Find your pickup location or schedule a pickup in your neighborhood for the weeks of Monday, April 8th, and Monday, April 15th, at
 Chicago Chesed Fund Yom Tov Gemach
Need anything for Pesach? Preparing for Pesach can be overwhelming, especially for those hosting for the first time. Luckily, Chicago Chesed Fund's gemach lends out all the essentials for Yom Tov and throughout the year-wheelchairs, pack n' plays, ramps, medical supplies and more. You name it, Chicago Chesed Fund provides it to anyone in the community who asks. To borrow, or for more information, please call 847-679-7799 or email 
Agudath Israel Pesach Services 
 Hag'olas Keilim: Sun. & Mon., Apr.14-15 . 7:30-9 PM, 3535 Foster (Big orders must reserve 773-727-5241).  
Pre-Pesach Garbage Pickup: Go to 50th Ward office 2949 Devon by 4/12; 39th Ward go to Agudah office 3542 Peterson to get a sticker. Be'ur Chometz: 4/19, 8-11 AM, JDBY corner lot, & YOB, 2828 Pratt parking lot. MBH Halacha Hotline 773-539-4141 
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.