A Woman of Chemistry

If you or someone you love has ever been treated for leukemia, lupus or gout (or a host of other ailments) then you quite likely owe a debt of gratitude to Gertrude Elion (1918-1999), who…

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The Baal Shem Tov

Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, known as the Baal Shem Tov (literally Master of the Good Name, often referred to as the BESHT), was born in 1698, in Okop (Ukraine). While there is little record…

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Does God Experience Difficulty?

In the middle of parashat B’shalach, we encounter the great miracle of God splitting the Red Sea. The sages in the Talmud (Sotah 2a) used this great supernatural phenomenon to declare…

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The Sabbath of Remembering

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembering. The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional) portion, after the conclusion of the regular weekly Torah…

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A Math Teacher’s Life

Had Irving (Isaac) Adler not lived during the fervent era of the rise and decline of Communism, his personal story might have been the simple life of a mathematician dedicated to the…

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When Bread Isn’t Bread

A question for those who bake and for those who love dessert: What is the difference between bread and cake? Yeast, some might answer. Bread has yeast and rises. But what about yeast…

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Who Was Rabbi Akiva?

Akiva ben Yosef was once an ignorant and illiterate shepherd. So poor and downtrodden a figure was Akiva that his extremely wealthy father-in-law disinherited his own daughter, Rachel,…

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Eat Your Vegetables

In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers 3:21), the sages declare that without flour, there can be no Torah. In Jewish texts, “flour,” meaning bread, often refers to material sustenance.…

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