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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Happy Bow Tie Day

Happy Bow Tie Day, celebrated annually on August 28th. The bow tie originated in the 17th century with Croatian soldiers who wore them as part of their uniforms in the Thirty Year War.…

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A Jewish Boy Goes to Hollywood

Joshua Charles Malina, a prominent Jewish American actor, was born January 17, 1966 in New York City. His father, an investment banker and Broadway producer, and mother, moved to…

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Batman and the Torah

On May 1st, 1939, the cartoon character, Batman appeared for the first time in Detective Comics, #27. As such, May 1st is known the world over as “Batman Day.” If you Google “bat” and…

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Inside or Outside?

Seder night is an event pregnant with tradition and ritual. As the Hagaddah instructs, “we are obligated to see ourselves as if we ourselves were slaves in Egypt.” So much of the Seder…

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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 community.…

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Nittel Nacht

Jews of the 21st century may comment, or even grumble, about the pervasiveness of Christmas in our society, but, let's be honest, in this day and age, the effects of the holiday season…

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Can the Theory of Evolution and God Co-Exist?

On this “Darwin Day,” commemorating the birth of Charles Darwin on February 12, 1809, we address the issue of Darwin’s own belief in God, given his authorship of the famed Theory of…

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A Ten-Light Chanukah Menorah?

In a summary of the Chanukah customs of Persian Jewry (Shlomo Tal edition, 1981, pg. 189-190), three options are offered regarding how to kindle the Chanukah lights. First, the common…

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The Tragedy of the Idol

Ever since Moses saw the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf and smashed the two tablets of the law, the 17th of Tammuz has been an inauspicious day for the Jewish people,…

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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 community.…

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The Family’s Blood

Today is World Hemophilia Day, designated to raise awareness of the hereditary blood disorder that prevents one’s blood from clotting.  Most forms of hemophilia are passed from…

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Strong and Gentle

It is not uncommon to hear facetious comments about the fractious nature of the Jewish people and how challenging it is to be a community leader. Many have heard the quip, “Two Jews,…

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This Tomato Was Grown Where?

The view of Judaism is that humankind has the unique ability to synthesize the physical and the spiritual elements of life. Hence, Jewish law requires a person to recite a blessing over…

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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 community.…

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Who Was Achashverosh

“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus--this is Ahasuerus who reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over a hundred and seven and twenty provinces..." (Esther 1:1).While…

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Assisting a Runaway

Once upon a time, slavery was an almost universally accepted economic system. Whatever our values and opinions about slavery may be today, slaves were a fact of life in the not nearly so…

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How Hot?

At what temperature does water begin to cook? According to Jewish tradition, that temperature is known as yad soledet bo, hot enough that “one pulls one’s hand away.”  It was an…

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Um, What Day Is It?

Living in the “Age of Information,” it is hard to imagine a person not being able to find out what day of the week it is. But in the days before data flowed across the airways, a person…

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A Symbolic Synagogue

It is a surprisingly ironic fact that a synagogue whose name means “ruin” has, for many decades, been a symbol of hope. The Hurva Synagogue of Jerusalem, which was once known for its lone…

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Judge Fairly

The Sixth Amendment in the United States’ Bill of Rights (requiring a speedy trial, impartial jury, confrontation of witnesses, council, etc) is, perhaps, one of the most difficult to…

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Who Was Rava?

The scholars of Babylon had a tremendous impact on Jewish life. Many of the greatest rabbis came from the academies in Babylon, whose thoughts and opinions were recorded in the Talmud.…

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The Tragedy of the Idol

Ever since Moses saw the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf and smashed the two tablets of the law, the 17th of Tammuz has been an inauspicious day for the Jewish people,…

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Death at the Inauguration

The story of the eldest sons of Aaron is a tragic tale that is described in the Torah in the vaguest of terms. On the grand day of the inauguration of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the Torah…

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In Uniform

The role played by dress codes is a topic that, every few years, sparks discussion and debate. Whether the question is school uniforms or the influence of “casual Friday,” people usually…

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Prayer’s Essence

According to many opinions, the minimum amount of prayer one should recite daily should consist of praise of God, a request of God and a thank you to God. Thus for instance, a mother of…

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A House Unfinished

The Hebrew name for the Holy Temple is the Beit Hamikdash, the House of Holiness, a term that invokes a warm sentiment of a place where one is at home. It is therefore, perhaps,…

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The Tragedy of the Idol

Ever since Moses saw the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf and smashed the two tablets of the law, the 17th of Tammuz has been an inauspicious day for the Jewish people,…

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Birthday Cake For Shabbat

It is highly unlikely that Moses, Hillel or even Maimonides (all experts on Jewish law) ever worried about what to write on a child’s birthday cake.But different societies have different…

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Cloudy With A Chance Of

Today, with the proliferation of personal electronics, most people check the weather forecast without giving it a second thought. But long before the development of scientific…

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