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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


Shalom from Israel! Yes, you read that correctly. I left for Israel on Tuesday night and arrived Wednesday night. Johni has already been here for a few weeks. Our second daughter, Shalhevet, is having a Bar Mitzvah for her second son, Yehuda David. The flight went well and there were no problems or anything to complain about at either SFO or BGA. 

The plan is to be “back in the saddle” on August 30th. Though I will not physically be in town, I’m available via phone (regular number), text and email. Please remember that Israel is ten hours ahead of California (8am in SF=6pm in Israel). 

Over the three Shabbatot that I will be away, there will be different Rabbis “taking the reins.”

On the first Shabbat (8/13), Rabbi Mendel Levin, who a year ago started “Chabad of the Neighborhood” in West Portal, will lein, give the drasha and lead an interactive discussion between Kiddush and Mincha.

On the second Shabbat (8/20), Rabbi Jonah Keyak, son of Vicki and Jeff ob”m, will give the drasha and lead an interactive discussion between Kiddush and Mincha. Rabbi Nosson Potash will do the Shacharit leining and Rabbi Keyak will lein Mincha.

On the third Shabbat (8/27), Rabbi Nosson Potash will lein and give the drasha. 

As you may have noticed, next to the name of the parasha, Vaetchanan, is the word “Nachamu.” The Shabbat after Tishah B’Av is called Shabbat Nachamu, meaning the Shabbat of comfort. It is named after the first words of the Haftarah from Isaiah 40, “Comfort, comfort my people…” 

After the deepening mourning of the three weeks (not eating meat or bathing), leading up to the day of the Temples’ destruction on Tisha B’Av itself, this Shabbat is meant to bring comfort and relief.

Nachamu is no ordinary Shabbat. There is a long tradition of treating it almost like a Yom Tov. The Ritva, commenting on Ta’anit 30a, says that the food we eat on this Shabbat should be extra special — like that of a chag, a festival. This is the first of seven Shabbatot of consolation, but the only one that has this status.

Enjoy! Shabbat Shalom!