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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rav Amar's Visit

This past Sunday, our community was privileged with hosting Rav Shelomo Amar, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel.

To anyone's recollection, this was the first visit by any Sephardic chief rabbi, sitting or former, to the Chicago area. (If anyone has knowledge otherwise, please let me know.)

The purpose of his visit, among other reasons, was to honor Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, the Av Beit Din of the cRc, in a ceremony in which a plaque was dedicated in the cRc Beit Din Chamber in Rav Schwartz's honor. (That gathering in-and-of-itself was special, where rabbis from all streams of the Orthodox Jewish community of Chicago and beyond gathered together in a show of Ahdut to show Kavod for Rav Schwartz. It was further enhanced by the presence of Rav Amar, Shlit"a, who spoke about the Ahdut of the community.)

After the plaque was installed, Rav Amar prayed Minha at one Sephardic synagogue. He later spoke and prayed Arvit at another Sephardic synagogue. His lecture was about not letting the Yetzer Hara get to you when Heshvan starts and the spiritual high of the holidays are over, comparing it to No'ah's drinking wine after leaving the spiritual high of the ark. He also mentioned the importance of learning Torah. His calm, easy-to-understand spoken Hebrew was welcomed by the Hamon Am.

Rav Amar had to leave to catch his flight right after Arvit, and we were all sorry he couldn't stay longer. After he left, I heard from someone who spoke with him that he will BE"H try to make a another, more prolonged visit to the city in the future.