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Ohel Shalom Torah Center Newsletter
Parashat Pikudei 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.

Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Office Contact During Construction
This Week at Ohel Shalom
Project Connection Update
Amazon Smile
Eruv Check- In
Kollel Korner
Davening Times
Candle lighting 
5:29 pm
Shir HaShirim 5:24pm
Mincha 5:39 pm
Shabbat starts 5:49  pm
Shacharit 8:15 am
 Mincha 5:04 pm
Shabbat ends
6:40 pm

Regular Weekdays

7:45 am
Monday, Thursday
6:15 am

 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
6:30 am 

Sunday- Thursday
6:39 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  
No class on March 20th
Personalities in the Bible
Motza'ai Shabbat during the winter
see you next year!


Male Member Shiur
Pele Yoetz
contact Shlomo Mizrahi 



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 Manager Out of Office 
NOTE: As of Wednesday, March 13th, Mrs. Sror will be out of the office until Wednesday, March 27th. If you need to leave a message for the office PLEASE EMAIL ONLY! Voicemails to the office will NOT be returned promptly.
Emails will BE"H be checked regularly.

This applies only to voicemail messages for the Office Manager. You may leave messages for Rabbi Raccah as usual.

Office Contact Info During Construction

During regular 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
Get ready to Spring Forward! Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 10th at 2 AM. Also it's time to check and change your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries! Be safe!  

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 Learning Group with Rabbi Raccah in Hebrew

Due to the success of the Pele Yoetz Learning Group, Rabbi Raccah is considering starting a similar group in Hebrew. More information will BE"H be forthcoming if this idea materializes.

Rosh Chodesh Adar II

Rosh Chodesh will be for two days beginning on Wednesday evening, March 6 through Friday evening, March 8. MiShenichnas Adar Marbim B'Simcha!!

Rabbi Raccah's Parashat HaShavua Shiur 
Rabbi Raccah's Wednesday evening Parashat Hashavua Shiur will BE"H be meeting this coming week on the 13th, however there will not be a Shiur the following week of March 20th, due to Ta'anit Esther and Purim. The Shiur will BE"H resume on Wednesday, March 27th  at 8.30 pm.
Geshem Fund Appeal

Each week's newsletter contains a small section about the Geshem Fund - the Kehilla's Chesed Fund. This fund is administered by the Rabbi alone, and provides aid to members of our Kehilla who are facing financial challenges. The holidays always place an additional stress upon the Geshem Fund to help people celebrate with joy and dignity. As of now, the Geshem Fund holds no fundraising events, so funds are raised by the Rabbi alone. Please help us help others! Donations can be given to the Rabbi, any of the Kehilla officers or to the office. If you make the check out to Ohel Shalom, be sure to note Geshem Fund in the Memo line so that the funds will be properly allocated. Thank you! 

Purim Cards to Help Support the Geshem Fund

With Purim around the corner, consider honoring a friend with a Mitzvah instead of some more candy/Chametz. You can come pick up some elegant Purim cards, which will support the Geshem Fund. Cards can be purchased at $18 for 10 cards or individually $2 each. Checks should be made out to the Geshem Fund with "Purim cards" written in the memo. If you are interested in these beautifully designed cards, please contact Ayelet in the office or Tani Seruya.

Purim is just around the corner! See below for more information.   
Lost and Found
This stroller has been sitting in the entrance of our Beit Kinesset for quite some time now. If you know who it may belong to please have them claim it as soon as possible. If the stroller is not claimed within two weeks from today it will be considered hefker and will be disposed of.
These 3 coats have been sitting in the Women's Section of our Beit Kinesset for quite some time now . If you know who they may belong to please have them claim them as soon as possible. If the coats are not claimed within two weeks from today they will be considered hefker and will be disposed of.

Please keep checking this spot for upcoming information about Purim and the annual Seudah.
If you would like to help plan and prepare for the Seudah, please contact Elliott Alvayor.
With Purim around the corner, consider honoring a friend with a Mitzvah instead of some more Chametz.

You can come pick up some elegant Purim cards, which will support the Geshem Fund. Cards can be purchased at $18 for 10 cards or individually for $2 each. Checks should be made out to the Geshem Fund with "Purim cards" written in the memo. If you are interested in these beautifully designed cards, please contact Ayelet in the office or Tani Seruya. 
For a printable version of this flyer click here.

B"H one of the most anticipated events of the year is the Annual Purim Seudah. Please join us for our Purim Seudah on Thursday, March 21st at (tentatively) 6:15 pm. Due to the anticipated absence of the Office Manager, please call the office to make your reservation by Monday, March 11th. Otherwise, reservations will have to nbe emailed to the office. Hope to see you there!

One of the unique elements of the Purim Seuda is the activities for children. There will BE"H be a special Purim carnival and arts and crafts. As well, there will be some NEW very fun (and tasty) activities for them! Not to be missed! 
For a printable version of this flyer  click here

Avot U'Banim Purim Learning

Project Connection UPDATE
(new info below)

B"H work on both floors is in full gear. As well, the opening on the east side that will BE"H serve as the connection point between the two buildings is well advanced. Much work was done on the western side for windows and the new Sacramento Avenue entrance.

The new opening from the Kollel building to connect to the Learning Center
Also visible are the supports for the extended floor in the Learning Center Shiur Room

The new Sacramento Avenue entrance taking shape

The connection point in the Learning Center for stairs that will BE"H both go up to the first floor and down to the Children's Area


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.

The pledges for this campaign are payable over the next two years (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 another Mezuzah has now been generously sponsored.

For a printable version of this flyer click here

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 February 12-March 12 for the Zechut of a Refuah Shelemah for Chana bat Elka. May she merit a full recovery.  
A week of learning has been sponsored for March 6-13 for the Zechut of a Refuah Shelemah for Mesoud ben Sultana. May he merit a full recovery. 
A week of learning has been sponsored for March 7-14 in memory of Yitzchak ben Sultana. May his Neshama merit an Aliyah.
A week of learning has been sponsored by Mr. Yehuda Shemer and Mrs. Aviva Tzur for March 10-17 in memory of their mother, Margalit bat Miriam. May her Neshama merit an Aliyah.
A month of learning has been sponsored anonymously for the month of March. The Kollel thanks the patrons for their generosity.
    Halacha of the Week       

"One Whose Sin is Covered Over"

Question: Is it permissible for a Ba'al Teshuva who has transgressed many grave sins in the past, among them idolatry, and has since repented to tell his life's story to others?
Answer: The verse in Tehillim (Chapter 32) states: "Of David, a Maskil, fortunate is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered over." The latter part of the verse refers to one whose sins are not known by others. Rav Kahana (Berachot 34b) states based on this verse, "It is audacious in my eyes when one recounts one's own sins."
Rashi (Yoma 86b) explains that the reason why one should keep one's sins hidden is in reverence of the honor of Hashem, for the more publicly one sins, the more this minimizes the honor of Hashem. Indeed, when people see others sinning, their fear of Hashem cools off and the honor of Hashem becomes diminished. On the other hand, if one sins but others do not know about it, this is not as much of a desecration of Hashem's name.
This teaches us that it is better for one to conceal one's sins, as the Rambam (Chapter 2 of Hlichot Teshuva) rules that regarding sins between man and Hashem, it is considered brazen to reveal these sins to others; rather, one should repent and confess one's sins only before Hashem. (There are many details regarding this law; we shall only discuss this in a general manner.)
Nevertheless, the Gemara (Sotah 32b) explains that the Torah commands one who has committed idolatry inadvertently to bring a she-goat as an offering to the Bet Hamikdash. The Gemara asks why this is so if by bringing a she-goat to the Bet Hamikdash, everyone will know that this individual is bringing this animal because he sinned with idolatry (for all sins require offerings using other animals which others may interpret to be for an Olah offering as opposed to a sin-offering)? The Gemara replies that since this individual transgressed the grave sin of idolatry, Hashem commanded that he bring such an offering so that everyone will know what sin he has transgressed; the shame that ensues will serve to atone for the individual's sin.
Based on the above, we see that one who has transgressed the sin of idolatry and repents fully nevertheless requires shame to atone for his sin. Indeed, the Mishnah (Megillah 25a) states that there were certain Torah portions that were not translated publicly for the congregation so as not to shame the individual mentioned in the Torah who had sinned (for instance, the sin of Amnon, son of King David is not translated in public in order to preserve the honor of King David). The Mishnah states that the Torah portion delineating the sin of the Golden Calf is read and translated publicly. The Gemara explains that although reading the Torah portion describing the sin of the Golden Calf causes a measure of shame to the Jewish nation, this is nevertheless worthwhile, for the shame this causes them to feel will serve to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. This is another source for the fact that the sin of idol-worship requires one to be ashamed to achieve atonement.
Thus, regarding our scenario where this Ba'al Teshuva also committed idolatry in the past, there is a basis for this individual to tell others what he has done in order to atone for his sin. Nevertheless, the above applies only when one is recounting this before several individuals in a manner which will cause him shame for what he has done in the past and this will not cause a desecration of Hashem's name since those listening will immediately realize this person's sorrow and remorse. However, if the individual recounts his past sins in a calm and complacent manner and certainly if he enjoys what he is telling over, this is forbidden, for this causes a desecration of Hashem's name. The Shaare Teshuva (Chapter 607) quotes the Panim Meirot who writes that one should never recount one's sins, even that of idol-worship, in front of many people. He proceeds to explain this matter there. Nevertheless, if one is doing so in a remorseful manner, especially if one exclaims that he has been punished as a result (See Bet Ha'Levi, Bereshit, Chapter 18), to several people, one need not bring anything to the attention of the individual telling the story. If, however, one is telling this over in a nonchalant manner, especially in public, this is certainly forbidden. (Response written by Hagaon Harav Yaakov Sasson).


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.  

March 20 - Ta'anit Esther
March 21 - Purim and Purim Seudah 
Community Section

College Learning Initiative at KINS
The new Chicago Orthodox Student Union continues its Learning Program directed by the YU Torah Mitzion Kollel, this Tuesday, March 12, at KINS: 7:45 PM - Dinner; 8:00 PM Shiur.    
CLIK - "College Learning Initiative at KINS".    
Shiur - "Who Were the Anshei Knesset Gedola", led by Rabbi Aaron Kraft.
Meat/veggie food included! For further information, please email
  Chicago Mitzva Campaign
The CMC is once again arranging for volunteers to
read the Megillah for patients in area hospitals, nursing homes, and in their private residences. Please call our office at 1-866-MY RABBI if you know anyone who can benefit from this service. 
Seventeen hundred mishloach manot need to be delivered on Purim to Chicagoland hospitals and nursing homes. We need volunteers to help the senior citizens carry out the mitzvot of mishloach manot and matonot l'evyonim. To help in this extraordinary mitzvah, please call the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign, at 1-866-MY RABBI.
Volunteers needed on Sunday, March 10th, 1:30-3:30, to assist in packing the mishloach manot that will be distributed on Purim day to area hospitals and nursing homes. All interested are requested t o come to the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign office, 2939 Touhy Avenue. Men, women and children are invited to participate in this great mitzvah. 


For a printable version of this flyer 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.