Ahhh…Cholent

The highlight of many Shabbat lunch tables is cholent, a hot stew which simmers overnight in a crockpot, on the stove or in the oven. Known also as chamim by many…

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Spin the Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play!The dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before…

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The Book(s) of Maccabees

Chanukah is neither directly ordained in the Torah (like Rosh Hashana, Passover, etc.) nor mentioned in any other biblical text (as Purim is in the Book of Esther). The Books of Maccabees…

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Can We Build A Snowman?

With terms like Nor’easter (Northeaster) and Polar Vortex peppering the local weather reports, there is little doubt that winter has arrived. Individuals and families can now look forward…

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It’s Electric

In the early 1900s, rabbinic authorities had to determine exactly what electricity was from a halachic (Jewish legal) perspective. The first uses of electricity were, of course,…

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Nu, Don’t Eat

A popular joke: Most Jewish holidays can be subsumed under the pithy phrase: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” For a nation obsessed with food, what’s with all the fasting?While…

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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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Spin the Dreidel

I have a little dreidelI made it out of clayAnd when it’s dry and readyWith dreidel I shall play! The dreidel is a four sided top, with a single Hebrew letter on each of its sides. Before…

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Purim Katan

In a Jewish leap year, a second month of Adar is added to the Jewish calendar, creating Adar I and Adar II. The question that arises is, in which Adar does one celebrate the important…

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Seeking Gold

 This week’s confluence of the Olympic Games and Valentine’s Day means many more people than usual will probably have gold on their minds. While gold is not the most expensive…

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The Stolen Child

From the perspective of Jewish history, the story of Edgardo Levi Mortara was a minor event in a long history of Christian persecution. Nevertheless, it had an important impact on world…

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Re’eh 5761-2001

"Charity! The Investment with the Greatest Return" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week's parasha, Parashat Re'eh, is a truly edifying portion, and is filled with many…

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Bo 5769-2009

"It's Payback Time!" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In the concluding chapter of this week's parasha, parashat Bo, G-d commands Moses to inform the people to sanctify the firstborn. The…

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Re’eh 5779-2019

“Charity! The Investment That Keeps Giving” (Revised and updated from Re’eh 5760-2001) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Re’eh, is a truly edifying Torah portion,…

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Maimonides’ Approach to Purim

Consider following directive from Maimonides for the celebration of Purim: In his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah (Laws of Megillah and Chanukah 2:17), he writes: “It is preferable to…

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Korach 5781-2021

Korach 5781-2021 “The Origin of the ‘Big Lie’” (updated and revised from Korach 5762-2002) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s Torah portion, parashat Korach, we read of Korach…

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Take A Sabbatical

It is interesting that the two most common professions which offer sabbatical leaves are academia and clergy. These two professions are fields in which practitioners devote a great deal…

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Bread and Clothing

Until recently, the repercussions of converting to Judaism meant more than just renouncing one’s previous religious beliefs. More often than not, a person who converted to Judaism also…

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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 of…

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With This Ring…

The traditional Jewish wedding band is remarkable only in its particular simplicity. The ring used in the marriage ceremony is customarily made of a single solid band of metal that…

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Miami Moves

If your second thought (after “hot”) when someone says Miami is “lots of Jews,” then you might be surprised to learn that in the not-so-distant past, the city was not always welcoming to…

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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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A New Martial Art

In his youth, Imri "Imi" Lichtenfeld (1910 - 1998) was a successful boxer, wrestler, gymnast and all-around athlete. He had inherited his physical prowess from his father, Samuel, a…

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Memorial Day Museum

Washington, DC, is a city of museums. Beyond the vast assortment of divisions and galleries at the Smithsonian Institute and the many political memorials, there are also smaller museums…

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From Holy God to Holy King

On Rosh Hashana, God judges the world (and all the people therein), but their fates are not sealed until 10 days later, on Yom Kippur. It is during these ten days that we must present a…

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Never to Forget

In 1938, when  native New Yorker Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz (1915-1990) was 23 years old, she traveled to Vilna, Lithuania, in order to immerse herself in the Yiddish culture that…

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The Harm of Gluttony

For most people, exploring the delightful flavors of the many foods of the world is one of life’s simple but great pleasures. As long as one gives thanks for the food and makes certain…

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Talk to the Expert

One of the greatest dangers of the age of the internet is the abuse of medical information by lay people with no medical training, who suspect that they may be ill. Whether it is a…

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What They Saw First

Ohrdurf Concentration Camp, located near Gotha, Germany, was a subcamp of Buchenwald. Its history was short and brutal, having only begun operation in November 1944. Indeed, other than…

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Harem Power

The place: Istanbul/Constantinople.  The Time: The Sixteenth Century                        In the sixteenth century, the…

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