Something More Than Food

Some people say that the difference between a human and an animal is the power of speech, others say it is consciousness, and, of course, others say that there are no differences. The…

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A Rabbi in Mexico

Mexico does not have a particularly long Jewish history due to the presence of the Inquisition, and its lingering influence. Today’s Mexican Jews are, in great part, the families of…

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The First Inquisition

Although it was not the first Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition* was unique from its very inception on November 1, 1478, because it was controlled by the monarchy rather than the…

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In Honor of Veterans Day- A Jewish War Hero Remembered

Sammy Dreben, “The Fighting Jew,” (1878-1925) was a new immigrant from Russia to the United States when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. It’s ironic that one of the main reasons that Dreben…

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The Little Terror

While some athletes are known to be Jewish only because of their Jewish-sounding last names, others wear their Jewish identity on their shirtsleeves – or, in the case of Alphonse Halimi,…

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Kindness Day

While giving charity (tzedakah) is an act of kindness (chesed), acts of kindness are not necessarily charity. According to the Talmudic sage Rabbi Elazar, “Acts of My kindness are greater…

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First On The Court

Born in 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, Louis Dembitz Brandeis was the child of European immigrants who maintained a minimal Jewish identity. However, his maternal uncle, Lewis Dembitz,…

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Jewish Work in Diabetes

Not so long ago, diabetes was often thought of as a “Jewish disease.”  This was before doctors and scientists understood genetics. The idea of diabetes as a “Jewish disease” also…

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Giving Tuesday- December 1, 2020

Support NJOP on Giving TuesdayDecember 1, 2020 is Giving Tuesday - A global day of giving! DonateYour contributions are…

For Dew and Rain

As indicated by Jewish prayer, the rainy season in the land of Israel begins just after the holiday of Sukkot and ends at the start of Passover. During this time, there are two special…

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An Extraordinary Run

When Harold Maurice Abrahams was born on December 15, 1899, movies were short, silent and black-and-white. It would have been impossible to imagine that this newborn baby boy would one…

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Is Chanukah Really Eight Days?

Tonight is the eighth night of Chanukah, known as “Zot Chanukah,” a reference to the Torah portion that is read on the eighth day of Chanukah. Chanukah is set apart as an eight-day…

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Favoritism

“A person should never discriminate among his children even to the extent of a thread [garment] weighing only two weight-measures of silk, similar to that which Jacob gave to Joseph but…

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IPO Music

On December 26, 1936, corresponding to the 12th of Tevet, the Palestine Orchestra, founded by Polish-Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, held its initial concert in Tel Aviv. At that…

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Humiliation Day

Surf the web and you will find that most days on the calendar have been designated as “holidays.” Many of these so-called “holidays” are intended to be cute. Others seek to acknowledge…

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Mikeitz 5781-2020

“A Dysfunctional Family Becomes Functional” (updated and revised from Mikeitz 5762-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Mikeitz, the soap opera, (just…

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What’s In A Name

What’s in a name? Lots--especially when you are talking about a person’s Hebrew/Jewish name. (Henceforth to be referred to as “Hebrew name,” even though some traditional names are…

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The Eyes Have It

January is Eye Care Month! Close to 2,000 years ago, the importance of treating even basic eye disease was recorded in the Talmud (Shabbat 108b), where the rabbis debate what one may do…

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The Challenge of a Cup of Tea

How do you make a cup of tea? Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Tea is easy. Simply take a mug, fill it with hot water, and then just add a tea bag. Let the tea steep and remove…

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Jewish Treats

Jewish Treats New blog posts each weekday sharing interesting and enjoyable observations about Judaism, called “Juicy Bits of…

We’re Not Taking Care of Business

On Shabbat, the Jewish people are commanded: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is Shabbat for the Lord your God; you shall not do any work” (Exodus…

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Va’eira 5781-2021

“Mesmerized by the Subtle Slavery” (updated and revised from Va’eira 5761-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Va’eira, G-d assures Moses that the Jewish…

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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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National Freedom Day

Today, February 1st, is both National Freedom Day and the first day of Black History Month National Freedom Day was initially advocated for by Major Richard Robert Wright Sr. (1855-1947),…

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Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement

The Mussar movement, the formal study and program of ethical improvement, was developed in the mid-nineteenth century by Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810-1883). Rabbi Israel’s family name was…

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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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Random Acts of Kindness

An entire generation of North Americans hear the words “random acts of kindness” and immediately think of Oprah Winfrey. Without question, the queen of afternoon television has done…

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The Fast of Esther

Tomorrow, the 13th of Adar, is the Fast of Esther. “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I…

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Rabin

Born in Jerusalem on March 1, 1922, Yitzhak Rabin grew up in Tel Aviv. He entered the military service in 1941 when he joined the newly formed Palmach. During World War II, he fought for…

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They Make us Laugh

When the hit comedy Funny People was released in movie theaters in 2009, it was frequently noted in the Jewish press that almost all of the comic actors in the film, including the…

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