Friday, February 20, 2015

Chief Rabbi invites our youth to Moscow!

Thanks to our donors and Rabbi Yossi Marozov a group of Students who take part if STARS chapter in of Ulyanovsk (United Students Torah educational groups throughout Russia) traveled for a Shabbaton in Moscow. Also joining was a group of students from STARS chapter of the city Lipetsk.

The Goal of the Shabbaton was to show the students and teach them of true Jewish life 

A very rich program was awaiting the participants: visit the Great Choral synagogue and the Moscow Jewish Community center located in the Marina Rosche neighborhood. Tours at the Jewish museum of tolerance and the Tretyakov Gallery.

We prayed Kabbalat Shabbat in the synagogue with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, the Synogogue was packed as usual with hundreds of people, followed by a Shabbat evening program with Moscow youth club «JEWELL». 

On Saturday we were in for a lesson about the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Levi Drutz. Meal in the family of our dear sponsor Efreim Binyaminov,  joined by Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, which took place in a very warm family atmosphere and very informative conversation. A few girls took upon themselves to take a Jewish name! 

After Havdala, another meeting took place with Rabbi Berel Lazar, whom he personally handed each of us a wonderful book "The essence of the Jewish holidays." followed by an evening with the Moscow youth club "Jewell".

The students say: We learned a lot, get answers to our questions for a long time, made new friends and were able to assess the Jewish cuisine in the best kosher restaurants in Moscow. Time passed quickly, and we went home, but we are confident that this trip to Moscow will always be remembered.

Tu Bishvat farbreingen!

This past Tu-Bishvat the Jewish Center of Ulyanovsk enjoyed a nice farbreingen including 15 different types of exotic fruits, including dried Etrog! 

We did not only celebrate the new years of trees, but also a fest of thanksgivings for the first anniversary of the scary gal-bladder attack that afflicted Rabbi Yossi Marozov exactly one year ago, raveling on a 16 hour train ride from Moscow to Ulyanovsk.

Thank G-D last year on the day of 15th of Shvat, the best medical team in Ulyanovsk performed a successful life saving surgery on our Rabbi, hours after he arrived to Ulyanovsk. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kosher lasagna for ladies club

Every month, our ladies club gathers for a monthly class on contemporary Jewish topics. Most months the class is accompanied by a culinary lesson pertaining to that particular topic. 

This months topic was kosher meat. The ladies learned how to make lasagna out of meat, without using any dairy products.

"Mazal Tov" program in full swing

Nearly seven yeas ago, Rabbanit Sara established "Mazal Tov", a program to help mothers and newborns. After birth, the mother receives a huge gift filled with baby necessities such as pampers, wipes, diaper rash creams, shampoo, soap, nursing pads, baby clothing, baby food and much more!

This past month, two members of our community gave birth. The new moms were thrilled with their baby gifts!

Launching JLI for the fourth year

The Jewish Center of Ulyanovsk has launched its fourth year of courses, prepared by JLI, the Rhor Jewish Learning Institute. 

This years course, "The Kabbalah of You", is a comprehensive deep course on the meaning of ones soul and how to control ones deeds and emotions. Although it's a very tough topic, twenty people participated this past Sunday for the first class and stayed on to ask questions and debate upon the topic. 

What's incredible is that although people are very poor in our community, this course is a paid course, where every single participant must pay according to the rules of JLI, and indeed people were willing to pay in order to feed their souls spirituality.

JLI is an institute with affiliations in 400 cities worldwide. It is taught in many universities in the United States and many of its courses are accredited.

Farbrengen in honor of the 24th of Tevet

In honor of the Yortzait of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady - the first Lubavitcher Rebbe - our community had a farbrengen, a chassidic gathering, where we inspired each other and encouraged each other to grow in our spiritual life. We had deep discussions, shared inspirational quotes and we sang  spiritual songs. 

At the same time, our community, especially the youth, celebrated the birthday of Menachem Goldberg. Menachem is an extremely talented Yeshiva student who has come on Shlichus to Ulyanovsk for the year of 2015. He is here to help inspire and teach tradition to the children, youth, and adults in our community who want to enhance their Torah knowledge. 

Judaism for Prisoners

The Jewish Center of Ulyanovsk sees to the needs of all the Jews in the Ulyanovsk region, including those who are in prison. 

This week, our official chaplain, Mr. Nathan Vlasov, met some Jewish prisoners to pray with them! 

The Ulyanovsk Jewish Chaplaincy is under the auspicious of the chief Rabbi of Ulyanovsk, Rabbi Yosef Marozov. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Losing weight, the long but short way!

Dear Friends,
I would like to share with you a little bit of my past year.
This past year, I lost over 70 pounds! 
I also lost my gallbladder and appendix......
What can I say? I began gaining weight 10 years ago. From a skinny person, I became obese. Trust me, I tried every diet and went to the gym too. I even had a personal trainer at one point! The results? Well, from exercise? Zero! From Dieting? I lost weight fast, just to gain it right back with an extra inch!
Then after Sukkot last year (October 2013) I was diagnosed with a fatty liver, gallstones and more!
Last year Chanukah, I was rushed to the hospital to treat my first severe gout attack. On Tu B'shvat I was rushed off the train from Moscow to my city Ulyanovsk to have an emergency gallbladder removal. The night after Purim, I was rushed to have my appendix removed.......not a fun year for someone who is only 33.
I don't know what the cause of all this was, but Hashem has His plans. I must thank Him for all the good he does every single day! Yet what can I do to make my health better? lose weight? Na, that won't happen. Maybe just eat healthy?
So I decided to look for a good nutritionist. I entered the room of my wife's acquaintance, Tanya Rosen. I told her, "Tanya, I am not here to lose weight. That is not possible for me. I just want to eat healthy. I would like to be alive for my son's wedding.... I'm too young to live a sick life."
Tanya gave me an eating plan that was practical and healthy. I also happened to lose over 70 pounds in 9 months! And keep it the same weight for over the past 4 months. Trust me, I am always full. I never feel hungry! Actually, I am nervous of losing too much more weight, so I make sure to eat enough healthy food every day, so I don't lose any more weight!
All this without any exercise at all! Yes, I was told to avoid exercise by my doctors for a few months after the operations....
So what's the big secret? 
I will tell you what I did and do, so you can also be inspired to live a better life!
1- If you are serious about losing weight, go to a nutritionist. I mean go, just go! You will learn how to make the correct choices.
2- Make sure your diet plan is practical for long term, and for life. 
3- Oil, fried foods, and fatty foods make you fat. Very fat. Fried food is simply not healthy. It never was and never will be. Quit it. The amount of calories the oil gives you will deprive you from eating a lot of very yummy food the whole day. (I did not eat fried food for over a year) Every single fried dish can be substituted for the same taste, if you are not lazy and ready to read up recipes and practice cooking, barbeque etc...
4- Drink 10 cups of water a day. It will help your metabolism work.
5- Breakfast within an hour after wake up, is a must. It will get your metabolism working early and you will burn more fat throughout the day. 
6- Eat every single 3 hours to boost your metabolism. 
7- Every meal should include a protein and a starch. 
8- Whole wheat and whole grain foods are healthier and fill you up, they make you full! 
10- One once of red meat is 100 calories! When you are losing weight, eat red meat only once a week and only 3 ounces a meal, till you are normal weight and even then be careful when eating red meat.
11- Sugar makes you crave starches and sugar. NO sugar throughout the day. If you need a treat, wait till the night, then eat your candy or ice cream. Yes, you will be eating unhealthy calories at night, but at least you will not tease the craving for the whole day...
12- At night you are allowed any treat you want but no more then 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 20 grams of sugar. (You might be thinking: then what can I have? a doughnut is 400 calories!!! Well, the more you look out, the smarter you become and the more you figure out which ones of your favorite treats you can be eating and how much of it, the trick is portion control!) 
13- Eat unlimited vegetables everyday, all the time. Add veggies to each meal.
14- Eat up to 3 fruits a day, not more because it has sugar and calories.
15- All juices and all alcoholic beverages are sugar.... 
16- A side dish of grain is maximum a cup of cooked (like a cup of cooked rice or potato) 
17- If your grain is bread then up to 2 slices of bread
18- A protein of fish is up to 7 ounces , a protein of chicken is up to 6 ounces, a protein of eggs is maximum 2 eggs, a protein of cheese is maximum 2 ounces of fat free cheese. 
19- Only eat one protein and one grain per meal, unless its shabbos or a special occasion, then you can eat half of each protein (like 3 ounces fish and 3 ounces of chicken, with one thin slice challah, and a few spoons of baked potato) 
20- Vegetable soup is unlimited, but chicken soup NEVER eat or eat it instead of 3 ounces of protein (which is not worth it)
So what does a day of my eating look like?
Here we go: 
Breakfast: 1 bowl of oatmeal and a fruit, or 1 egg + 2 egg whites with 1 or 2 slices of whole wheat bread and a salad. Coffee and water.
Snack 1- Slice of fat free cheese, or string cheese, maybe also a fruit
Lunch: a turkey sandwich (2 slices of bread), tuna sandwich (very little lite mayonnaise), or homemade pizza (2 ounces fat free cheese and 2 ounces of dough). Some vegetables in the sandwich... or a salad on the side. 
Snack 2: 15 almonds or a cup of popcorn, some cut raw vegetables (maybe also a fruit)
Supper: A cup of buckwheat and a quarter of chicken, half plate cooked vegetables, and vegetable soup. 
Treat: bag of mini pretzels (55 calories), a small Hanukkah chocolate (30 calories), and one Twizzlers (35 calories), tea (without sugar), a fruit (like pomegranate)
All of the above will make you lose weight!
Personally, I am very thankful to Tanya Rosen for teaching me the trick of eating treats at night. We humans enjoy a treat sometimes. A true lifestyle diet will include some of that also!
Dear readers and friends, please eat healthy, and do exercise (to be in shape, healthy, energetic, in a good mood and a whole lot of important reasons. It is actually deadly not to engage in exercise according to the Rambam, Talmud, and also modern medicine. But you will not lose weight from exercise, so quit convincing yourself.
And most important, increase in your learning of Torah and acts of goodness and kindness, which will ultimately bring Moshiach - the whole purpose of our existence!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Weekly Art Lessons

The Jewish Center of Ulyanovsk has introduced a new weekly art class for teenagers and youth led by artist Daniel Tzadikovitch.

The aim of these art classes is not only simple art, but rather for the youth to express their Jewishness through the various Jewish themes they are learning to paint. We hope these classes will produce great artists and give our youth a sense of pride.

Ulyanovsk joins STARS!!!

The world wide STARS youth Torah learning project has reached Ulyanovsk. Students come to learn for a few hours every week and earn a free trip to Europe together with many youth throughout Russia and famous lecturers and Rabbi's.

Ulyanovsk has recently launched its branch of STARS. Thank God, we already have 10 students who have joined the program.

To enhance the level of learning at STARS we will be using courses prepared by JLI (the Jewish learning institute)!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grand Chanukah Concert!

Over 800 people packed one of Ulyanovsk's largest halls for our grand annual Chanukah concert! This year, the crowd enjoyed music and songs played by the Academic band "Jewish Jazz" and Ilezer Dabakarov! 

The concert began with inspiring words from government officials, and the lighting of the Menorah by Rabbi Yossi Marozov, Chief Rabbi of Ulyanovsk.

During the concert, the crowd was served delicious doughnuts. 

This years event had an interesting twist. During the concert, the president of our community auctioned off a silver Menorah!