Friday, September 21, 2018


Making a Difference Beyond Our Jewish Bubble

Unlike previous generations, today’s teens are expected to be constantly connected to the internet, to know what happened 10 seconds ago and to be able to predict what will happen in 30 seconds. This continuous pressure acts as a vortex, sucking teens in until their entire world revolves around their phone. Their whole world will

Davening Along

I don’t think we go to shul just to daven.

It’s just a theory. I’m not a rabbi, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, unless you’re reading this during the Yomim Nora’im, when you can take it with a grain of honey.

Look at the typical

Facile Fasting

Fasting on Yom Kippur is not easy but it is not intended to be torture or even a punishment. According to most scholars, it is intended to help a person shift the focus from the physical to the spiritual. On the Day of Atonement, we should be consumed with prayer, not praying to consume. We should be full of utterances, not utterly

Mi K’Amcha Yisrael

July 7, 2018, Shabbos morning, 5:50 a.m. I was lying in an ER bed in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in despair over the slow-as-molasses medical care. Don’t get me wrong, I love middle-America, but medical treatment shouldn’t be like country music songs. This was my second visit to the ER in just a few days,

A Shidduch Made in HASC Center Heaven

Going to my mailbox several weeks ago, I encountered a beautiful silver envelope embossed with the names Tzvi and Esther Fass, and Reuven and Fay Weiss, with their respective addresses on the flap. Upon opening the invitation, the reality struck that Bassi was indeed going to be married to Baruch on the eighth of Elul 5778,

A Lifelong KBY Friendship Enables Chananel’s Miracle

We may take it for granted, but breathing is not something everyone does easily.

Chananel is an Israeli teenager living in Maaleh Adumim. He is a wonderful 14-year old kid, very personable and so full of life. Unfortunately, for practically his entire life, he

5778: The Highs and Lows of an Historic Year

If there was one month, in particular, where the news perhaps impacted us the most during 5778, it had to occur roughly in the month of Sivan, or May.

This was the month when two hugely important news events impacted the Jewish

Back-to-Shul Supplies

Cruising down the aisles of Walmart, firmly holding my (almost) fourth grader’s sweet little hand as she excitedly waved her freshly printed school-supply list, I could not distract myself from one particularly gnawing thought, which relentlessly clamored for my attention: why were two pink erasers needed for the year ahead?

Forget HaMelech HaMishpat? Does It Depend If You Are Sephardic or Ashkenazi?

A Lenient Ruling of Rama

I recall learning as far back as elementary school that if one forgot to recite HaMelech HaMishpat during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva one need not repeat the Amidah. The well-known ruling of the Rama (Orach Chaim 118:1 and 582:1) is based on the idea that since one in any

The Teshuva Diet

It’s the million-dollar question: Why do we feel like we never change? The truth is that the question itself is a fallacy. Who doesn’t change over time? The experiences of life invariably affect and change us. We aren’t the same people we were a year ago, and definitely not who we were five and ten years ago. But there is

The Shofar: Our Past and Our Future

The Mishnah in Masechet Rosh Hashanah 26b records that in the Beit Hamikdash on Rosh Hashanah the shofar blast was accompanied by two trumpets that were blown simultaneously. The Gemara questions this practice because it is impossible to distinguish two sounds made at the same time, and therefore no one would fulfill the mitzvah of

Does the Jerusalem Talmud Encourage Shaving for Rosh Hashanah?

In the Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 7B, we find: “Customarily, a man who knows that he is on trial wears black and wraps himself in black, and lets his beard grow, for he doesn’t know how his trial will turn out. But Israel is not thus, rather they wear white, and wrap themselves in white, and shave their beards, and eat, drink and