Raytheon and the Rabbi

Rabbi Laibel Berkowitz sent me this story written by Ted Roberts (“The Scribbler on the Roof”):

Here in Huntsville, Alabama – the buckle of the Bible Belt – one of our fanciest, blue ribbon eateries, 801 Franklin, has conducted a Kosher banquet.  Strictly Kosher.  Moshgiach (inspector/monitor) and all. Chabad Rabbi Laibel Berkowitz was in charge…

The restaurant, 801 Franklin – one of Huntsville’s finest – was the site of this feast – provoked by the need for Raytheon to host a group of Israeli service people for a program review.  Rather than limit the Israeli menu to an apple decorated by lemon slices – a simple solution – the Raytheon folks served a bountiful Parev meal centering on Salmon and fancy sides.  A banquet like Esther prepared for achashveros…

Raytheon went all out – with acceptable food sources, a ritually clean salmon and even a Moshgiach (kitchen inspector) to assure the religious cleanliness of the meal.  A mitzvah – a step beyond, as we say in Judaism.


Mazel Tov to Raytheon, 801 Franklin, and Monty Williams.  Monty moved to Huntsville to open Green Hills Grille and then 801 Franklin -  he is a blessing to Huntsville.

Pirsumei nissa


Mayor Battle and Rabbi Berkowitz

Mayor Battle and Rabbi Berkowitz












If there’s a Jewish holiday more suited to Southerners than Hanukkah, someone please let me know.  Hanukkah is fried-food centric and child-friendly, plus “Rock of Ages” is the theme song.  Thanks to ‘zenjenn’ for the heads up.

Our new Rocket Rabbi Laibel Berkowitz invited Mayor Tommy Battle to help light the Public Menorah at Bridge Street Sunday night.  Glenn Clayton of Appleton Learning (and Right On Huntsville) was one of the sponsors, along with Buffalo Rock Beverages.  Rebecca Shlien of WAAY 31 and Venton Blandin of WHNT 19 reported on the event.

Rabbi Berkowitz leads the Chabad Jewish Center of North Alabama:

Chabad Lubavitch of North Alabama is dedicated to strengthening the Huntsville Jewish community by promoting Jewish pride, study and celebration. 

- To serving individuals and families looking for a non-judgmental, accepting, personalized Jewish experience and to establish a warm and traditional community center where everyone is made to feel welcome and comfortable.

- To providing for the spiritual & material needs of all Jews living in and visiting Huntsville – regardless of their background or affiliation.

Hanukkah – The Festival of Lights – commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the Miracle of the Oil:

Chanukah celebrates two miracles:

a) The 2nd century BCE victory of a small, greatly outnumbered and out-armed army of Jews, known as the “Maccabees,” over the mighty Greek army that occupied the Holy Land. The rebellion was in response to the Greek attempt to force a Hellenistic G‑dless lifestyle on the Jewish inhabitants of Israel.

b) The kindling of a seven-branched Menorah (candelabra) was an important component of the daily service in the Holy Temple. When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found only a small cruse of pure and undefiled olive oil fit for fueling the Menorah. The problem was, it was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new pure oil. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days and nights.

…Originally, the sages who established Chanukah instituted that the menorah be lit at the entranceway to one’s home. The concept of pirsumei nissa, “the publicizing of the miracle,” is, and always was, part and parcel of Chanukah.

Fried foods like potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts are traditionally served at Hanukkah to remember the Miracle of the Oil.

What was the reason that G-d made the miracle in the oil? The reason was to show that generation and all succeeding generations that the need for spiritual purity is a cornerstone in the Jewish religion and thought.

Shalom y’all.