Parasha of the Month

This Shabbat is Parashat HaChodesh, the Sabbath of “The Month.” The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional reading) after the conclusion of the reading…

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Live Long And Prosper

Every "Trekkie" knows that Spock’s Vulcan salutation is accompanied by a strange hand gesture. What many don’t realize is that Leonard Nimoy borrowed this symbol from his traditional…

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The Missing Hero

According to a hand written document shared by the Soviet Union in 1957, Raoul Wallenberg died of heart problems in his cell on July 17, 1947. By the time the document was released, both…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five students who began studying with Rabbi Akiva after the horrible plague that…

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Pure Olive Oil

While a large number of Jews today light Chanukah candles, the more traditional custom is to light the Chanukah candles using olive oil. This is done in order to most accurately…

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Rabbi Meir

The Mishna is a collection of citations of the oral law by an array of brilliant scholars. There are, however, many Mishnaic statements that are anonymous. According to…

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Stay Cool

As the summer heats up, people everywhere are turning to whatever means possible to keep cool. Many find relief in the artificial coolness of air conditioning. (Thank goodness for living…

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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), whose yahrtzeit is on Lag Ba’omer, was one the five survivors of the plague that took the lives of  24,000…

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Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

Tonight starts the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, literally the Gathering of the Eighth, a connected, yet independent holiday, that immediately follows Sukkot. During the seven days of…

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A Math Teacher’s Life

If Irving (Isaac) Adler had 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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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…

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Four Cups of Wine

Like almost all festival meals, the Passover seder begins with Kiddush, the sanctification of the day. On Passover, however, the first cup of wine is followed by three more mandatory…

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Are They Out There?

People have always been intrigued by the unknown, such as far off lands and just-out-of sight mysteries. One of the most fascinating avenues of exploration, both real and imaginary, is…

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5761-2001

"Jews Sanctify Time, Not Space" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week, we read the double portions, Vayakel-Pekudei, and with these two portions we complete the Book of Shemot,…

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Pure Olive Oil

While a large number of Jews today light Chanukah candles, the more traditional custom is to light the Chanukah candles using olive oil. This is done in order to most accurately…

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Wise and Understanding

For the “person-in-charge,” one of the most difficult, yet important, jobs is delegating responsibility. Choosing the men and women with whom one will work most closely requires knowing…

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Charitable Intentions

It would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone was honest. Unfortunately, the news is full of stories of dishonesty, and phone scammers and identity thieves abound. The fact that…

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The Many Wives of Esau

Have you ever wondered who Esau married? In fact, Esau’s marital history is explicitly detailed in Genesis: “And when Esau was forty years old, he took as his wife wife Judith (also…

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Controlling Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl is one of the prominent contemporary environmental concerns. It is, understandably, a modern issue that started at the time of the industrial revolution. Oddly enough,…

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All That’s Left

August 13th is annually celebrated as “Left Hander’s Day.” Most Lefties, also known as “southpaws” due to the orientation of baseball stadiums in regard to the sun, are proud of their…

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Fast of the Firstborn

There has always been a lot of pressure on firstborn children, as they were often expected to care for the family property or business in order to ensure stability within the family and…

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Parasha of the Month

This Shabbat is Parashat HaChodesh, the Sabbath of “The Month.” The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional reading) after the conclusion of the reading…

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The Story of Chanukah

The Story of Chanukah Around the year 167 B.C.E., the Syrian-Greek rulers of Judea tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Hellenic culture. They summoned the Jews to the town squares…

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Put On a Happy Face

"When one shows his teeth [smiles] to his fellow man, it is better than giving him milk to drink" (Talmud Ketubot 111b). How does the song go? “When you’re smiling the whole…

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Costume Time

Those who first hear about the custom of wearing Purim costumes might assume that the tradition began as an imitation of Halloween. Research, however, places the origin of Halloween…

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Purim’s Villainess

Anyone familiar with the basic Purim story knows that the primary enemy of the Jewish people was Haman. What may not be as well-known is that there are several other…

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What’s in the Book: Joshua

The Book of Joshua (Yehoshua) is the first of the ten books known as Nevi'im, the Books of the Prophets. It begins after Moses’ death, when Joshua bin Nun assumed the leadership of…

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Parasha of the Month

This Shabbat is Parashat HaChodesh, the Sabbath of “The Month.” The Torah portion that is read as the Maftir (additional reading) after the conclusion of the reading…

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Deep in the Caribbean

The thought of a Caribbean vacation readily arouses lovely fantasies as the cold days of winter set in. Consider, perhaps, a trip to Curacao, where one can enjoy sun and surf and also…

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Rebecca

Of the four matriarchs, it is Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, for whom the Torah provides the most background information. Notably, she is the only matriarch whose birth is recorded: “And…

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