Once I returned back to Chicago, I immediately jumped back into the motion of my normal business schedule, which usually called for a day a week, somewhere throughout the U.S.

My first trip was to Florida where I had meetings in Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota.

I need to pause and make a comment about Chabad.  You will read many posts about my experiences with Chabad throughout the country. Its quite amazing how warm, kind and accomodating these Jewish brethren can be to a total stranger. They dont care what affilitation your are…reform, conservative, orthodox, whatever….if your a Jew, they will go to the end of the earth to help you. Plain and simple. This is what I encountered with Chabad when I was saying kaddish for my father (z”l) 25 years ago and is still true today.

Before leaving for my Florida business trip I called Rabbi Konikov from Chabad Orlando. He happens to be the son of Chazan Velvel Konikov, who I know quite well in Brooklyn. Rabbi Konikov told me that there not normally minyans for maariv, however he would work to make sure I could have a minyan when I arrived. Lo and behold, there was a minyan.

I also davened a few times that same week at Chabad of Tampa, Rabbi Rivkin’s shul. My challenge at week’s end however was a meeting in Bradenton, Florida, about 90 miles west of Tampa with little or no Jewish community. Rabbi Rivkin went to work immediately for me and contacted Chabad of Sarasota, about 15 miles from Bradenton, helping to assure me a minyan following my meeting that afternoon.

This Florida trip was a classic example of what Ive found time and again from Chabads throughout the country, incredible accomodating Rabbis that will go all out to help a Jew in any need whatsoever.

The following week was Sukkot, so I headed down to Miami over chol hamoed to stay for a few days in Aventura.   I happen to enjoy VERY early shacharit minyans wherever and whenever I can find them and did I ever find an interesting minyan in Miami at Talmudic University.   Talmudic University is a Yeshiva located close to South Beach and has a morning minyan that begins at the crack of dawn.  There are actually signs posted throughout the shul with exact times, to the second, that various parts of the davening are to begin.  Ex:  Shemona Esrai, 6:45.07     Borchu   6:36.74 and so on.   There is also a clock on the bima which the person who was davening from the Amud ( leading the davening ) is expected to be constantly glancing at to be certain his pace is in concert with the posted times.    Again…my kind of davening !

Back in Aventura I always feel at home at Young Israel of Aventura.  Since we began coming to Aventura some years ago, this shul has become my favorite place to daven.  A close 10 minute walk from our building on the Waterways, we walk along beautiful boats of every possible design, to the small Waterways shopping area where on the second floor of the office building you find this small, quaint shul.  Never a problem getting a minyan as the familiar faces of “the old guard” of daveners are there each day, making sure no minyans are ever missed.