Light and Happiness

What is the connection between the holiday of Purim and Havdalah, the ceremonial conclusion of Shabbat? The simple answer is the single verse from the Book of Esther that is recited by…

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Light and Happiness

What is the connection between the holiday of Purim and Havdalah, the ceremonial conclusion of Shabbat? The simple answer is the single verse from the Book of Esther that is recited by…

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Jews and 2020

On Rosh Hashana eve 2007, late night comic, David Letterman, quipped, “It’s Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year 5768, and I’m still writing 5767 on my checks.” As Jews worldwide woke up…

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Fire and Ice

A news story in June, 2017, reported that a combination of ice and fire doomed the Titanic and caused its sinking on April 14, 1912. Photos of the ship prior to its departure from Belfast…

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Joe DiMaggio and the Jews

Joe DiMaggio, considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, was born on November 25, 1914. “Joltin’ Joe,” as he was known, played his entire thirteen-year career, from 1936…

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I’m a Poet and I Don’t Know It!

August 21 is annually celebrated as Poet’s Day (not to be confused with Poets Day, which is celebrated weekly, on Fridays in Great Britain, similar to TGIF). Poet’s Day was initiated on…

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Of Shamrocks, Snails and Survivors: the life of Rabbi Isaac Herzog

Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the State of Israel’s first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, passed away, at age 70, on this date - the 19th of Tammuz – sixty years ago, in 1959, corresponding to July 25th.…

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The Milkman and So Much More

Born in Bavaria, but raised from the age of six in America, Nathan Straus made a fortune as the co-owner with his brother of Macy’s Department Store and the Abraham and Straus Department…

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Cruel and Unusual Punishment

One of the most repeated instructions in the Torah is that judges must do everything possible to provide equitable justice. In Deuteronomy 1, Moses reiterated this point once again,…

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The Royal Family and the Jews

On February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne of “the United Kingdom and her other realms and Territories” upon the death of her father, King George VI. While the Queen is…

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Soles and Souls on the Danube

The Danube River is closely identified with the city through which it runs, Budapest, Hungary. Yet that river was defiled in late 1944. On March 19, 1944, the German army conquered…

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Presidents’ Day: The Jews and Martin Van Buren

In 1840, the news of the terrible fate of the Jewish community of Damascus (Syria) reached the shores of America and brought the disparate Jewish communities of the young American nation…

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Reward and Punishment

While the existence of Divine reward and punishment is one of the primary tenets of Jewish faith, the question always arises: Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked appear to…

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Man and Woman

G-d created the Adam in His own image, in the image of G-d He created him, male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). A critical word in most discussions of gender in the Torah is…

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Presidents’ Day: The Jews and Martin Van Buren

In 1840, the news of the terrible fate of the Jewish community of Damascus (Syria) reached the shores of America and brought the disparate Jewish communities of the young American nation…

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Brotherly and Sisterly Love on Tisha B’av

The theme of “unconditional love” can be found in the Tisha B’Av kinnot, as the ideal that was absent during our history’s lowest moments. In kinnah number 26, the author, Elazar HaKalir,…

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Her Son Hur, His Grandson, and His Actions!

On the 15th of Tammuz, we observe the yahrzeit (anniversary of the day of death) of Hur, a relatively unsung hero from Biblical times, who was the first Jew to die al Kiddush Hashem,…

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Lions and Jerusalem Day

The original city of Jerusalem, conquered by King David from the Jebusites, is now known as Ir David, situated in the Silwan neighborhood, south of the Temple Mount. Over time, Jerusalem…

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The Chassidic Rebbe and His Snoopy Tie

On January 3, 2000, the final edition of the “Peanuts” comic strip appeared in the daily edition of newspapers worldwide. For the followers of Charlie Brown and his gang, it was the end…

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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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Love and Hate

The juxtaposition between love and hate is fascinating. The relationship between love and hate has been a muse for poets, a conundrum for philosophers and a source of anxiety for…

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It’s At the Lost and Found

Many a comic strip cartoon has tried to gain a laugh by focusing on the strange objects returned to the “lost and found” department of large stores or buildings. Anyone who has ever…

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Priorities: The Lessons of Reuben and Gad

From early in our lives, we are drilled about “priorities.” It usually begins, in earnest, during the high school years, as teenagers are pushed to think about the future, to get their…

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Lions and Jerusalem Day

The original city of Jerusalem, conquered by King David from the Jebusites, is now known as Ir David, situated in the Silwan neighborhood, south of the Temple Mount. Over time, Jerusalem…

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Pekudei 5763-2003

"The Lesson of the Basin: 'Don't Judge a Book by its Cover'" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Pekudei, opens with a reckoning of all the precious materials that…

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Locate Your Friend and Ask for Forgiveness

Whether the creation of the wheel, and tools to create and advance civilization, or the discovery of penicillin or the polio vaccine, our lives have changed profoundly because of such…

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The Right and Wrong Ways of Declaring Independence

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, officially seceding from the British Crown. This year, July 4th falls during the week of parashat…

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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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Rabbi and Statesman, Rabbi Moses Schorr

Rabbi Moses Schorr was a passionate academic who dedicated most of his indefatigable energy to the Jewish people. Born on May 10, 1874, in Pryemysl, Galicia, when it was still part of…

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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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