Bamidbar 5776-2016

“A Tiny Letter Conveys a Profound Lesson" By Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Bamidbar, is the opening Torah portion of the fourth book of the Torah, Bamidbar, also…

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Shelach 5776-2016

“A Name Change Becomes a Game Changer" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Shelach, we read the well-known story of the scouts who are sent into the Land of…

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Vayigash 5777-2017

“No ‘Man’ was with Joseph” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayigash, the extraordinary story of Joseph and his brothers reaches its dramatic conclusion as…

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Shelach 5778-2018

“Moses Called Hoshea the Son of Nun, ‘Joshua’” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Shelach-Lecha, the tragic story of the scouts is recounted. The scouts’…

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Lech Lecha 5779-2018

“Why Did G-d Choose Abraham?” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Lech Lecha, G-d, seemingly arbitrarily, calls out to Abram (whose name had not yet been changed…

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Tzav 5780-2020

“Behold, I am Sending You Elijah the Prophet” (Revised and update from Tzav 5761-2001)   by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   On this coming Shabbat, the Shabbat of Erev Pesach, we…

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Shalom Aleichem

Shalom Aleichem On the eve of Shabbat, two ministering angels accompany a person home from the synagogue. One angel represents…

The Disputation of Paris

The month of June in the year 1240 C.E. was not a good time for the Jews of Europe. The trouble began with a Jewish apostate named Nicholas Donin. Wanting, perhaps, to prove his loyalty…

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Terumah 5771-2011

“The Message of the Holy Ark” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Terumah, we learn, in great detail, of the building of the Tabernacle. G-d tells Moses to…

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Who Was Mordechai?

There are some people in this world who always seem to be right in the thick of the action. As described in the Book of Esther, this was Mordechai. It is Mordechai’s cousin who is chosen…

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Data Privacy: Yesterday and Today

The Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data was passed on January 28, 1981. “Data Privacy Day,” established…

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Jews and the Crimea

In 2014, the Russian army seized control of the Crimea. This occurred after Russia claimed a referendum of Crimean citizens, many of whom are Russian nationals, overwhelmingly favored…

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Why is Jerusalem Not Mentioned in the Torah?

In the first aliyah of parashat Re’eh, the Torah mentions 16 times an unknown place where God will choose to rest His Presence. Now, thousands of years later, we know that place to be the…

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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 where they were forced…

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Consolation after the “Morning of Mourning”

The Jewish sages taught that there can be no mourning process without a consolation process. For centuries, Jews have spent Tisha b’Av morning surrounded by sadness, tragedy and…

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An Historical Dip

Parashat Vayeshev can certainly be a strong candidate for saddest Torah portion of the year, as we encounter the tragedy of the hatred borne by Jacob’s sons for their brother Joseph, the…

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The Disputation of Paris

The month of June in the year 1240 C.E. was not a good time for the Jews of Europe. The trouble began with a Jewish apostate named Nicholas Donin. Wanting, perhaps, to prove his loyalty…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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King David’s Day

According to tradition, King David was born and died on Shavuot. To try and summarize the life of King David in a 300 word Treat would be impossible. In the annals of Jewish history,…

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A Piece of U.S. History

As much as the United States prides itself on its religious freedom, each of the original 13 colonies had different policies in this regard. Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island…

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The Sadducee King Yannai

Alexander Jannaeus (Yannai or Y’honatan in Hebrew) served as the second Hasmonean king of Judea from 103 BCE until his death in 76 BCE. The third son of John Hyrcanus, he succeeded his…

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Biblical Twins

Twins have long been a source of great fascination for many, as demonstrated by the vast number of studies and stories that have used twins as their subject. Twins, however, do not seem…

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The Fast of the Fifth of Tevet

Aside from Yom Kippur, which is mentioned in the Torah, all the other fasts on the Jewish calendar are Rabbinic in nature, and find their rabbinic source in a single Scriptural verse:…

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Mourning Jerusalem I: A Brief History of the First Temple

Jews all over the world will be observing the fast of Tisha b’Av on this coming Saturday night and Sunday. It is on Tisha b’Av that the Jewish people mourn the destruction of both the…

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Joosiers

Individual Jews first came to what is known today as the State of Indiana in the early years of the 19th century. Jacob Hays, who moved to Cahokia (now situated in Illinois) in 1822 was a…

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The Ba’al Ha’turim

Spain in the Middle Ages was home to scholars of great renown such as Abraham ibn Ezra (1089 - c. 1164), Judah ha-Levi (1086-1145), Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides/Rambam 1135-1204)…

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A Fast of the Past

In just over a week, on the 17th day of Tammuz, Jews around the world will fast to commemorate multiple tragedies and to mark the beginning of the three-week period that concludes…

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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 where they were forced…

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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 Thanksgiving Synagogue Service

While Thanksgiving is most certainly an American festival of gratitude, its founders prominently articulated its religious underpinnings, which ultimately find their source in Judaism.…

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