ALBANY – Colonie Chabad recently hosted “Yid Talks — Jewish ideas worth sharing!” at the 284 Osborne Rd., Loudonville Chabad house. The free program featured  local community members discussing their various ideas and lives.

Co-directors Rabbi Mordechai and Chana Rubin  have indicated that the talks are styled after Ted Talks, and the goal is to challenge, educate and inspire those attending.

The talks, on the outdoor deck, had many highlights according to Rabbi Rubin who sent The Jewish World a recap:

Rabbi Abba Rubin, Chabad rabbi in Saratoga, spoke about the power of words and speech, illustrating the theme through entertaining stories and parables.  One Talmudic story related how a rabbi, when asked to bring a “good thing” from the market, brought a tongue.  Then when asked to bring a “bad thing” from the market he also brought a tongue.  When questioned, the rabbi replied that the tongue can be used for both good and bad —it’s up to us how we choose to use it. (Begins at 6:40 in video)

Jesse Saperstein gave an inspirational talk on his ongoing journey to deal with the disability of Autism. He told the audience that one of his biggest challenges is to overcome the urge to be perfect.  He also told the audience that the best way to stand up to a bully is to agree with them — then they have nothing left to say!  He also shared that his appreciation for things Jewish has greatly increased through his association with  the Colonie Chabad Center. (Begins at 59:00 in video)

Daniel Vilk shared his journey towards greater Jewish observance and involvement. Growing up with a non-Jewish father form Ukraine and a Jewish mother, he was barely aware of his Jewish identity.   But, through a “chance” meeting with a Chabad rabbi from Ukraine, he began to learn more Torah and do more mitzvot. He reported that he especially enjoys putting  on tefillin. (Begins at 30:30 in video)

Dr. Kathleen Ozsvath, chief of surgery at Samaritan Hospital took some time out of to share with the audience her appreciation of the importance that Judaism places on healing. (Begins at 24:30 in video)

Ivan Vamos shared several stories of his and his family’s survival from the Holocaust in Hungary.  As a young child, he noted, he was unaware that he was even Jewish, but that as time went on, events pushed him to realize that he was not a Hungarian but was indeed a Jew. (Begins at 36:40 in video)

Anne Rappaport Berliner shared with the audience that her experience as a New York folklorist and as a Jew, allows her to appreciate other people’s cultures. She also related that the Jewish stories and mitzvah observances, such as mezuzah on the doorpost, are related to folk lore, as they allow people to connect to their Judaism. (Begins at 1:18:00 in video)