Sunday, December 16, 2018


What Was Wrong With Edom?

Parshat Vayishlach

The Book of Ovadya, which we read this week as our haftarah, focuses upon the sins of Edom, depicting the ultimate destruction of the nation of Edom, the descendants of Eisav. In identifying who exactly this prophet was, many meforshim, including Rashi,

Interesting Words in Hallel

I previously wrote about interesting words in Az Yashir and the Amidah. Now I will turn my attention to Hallel, which comprises Tehillim chapters 113-118. I will discuss these words in the order they appear. I will use ḥ (and Ḥ) for the letter “ḥet.”

Akeret: Here the meaning is

All Charged Up

October 26-27, a few weeks ago, was the week of the Shabbat Project, when Jews of all affiliations and backgrounds throughout the world were united in observing Shabbat.

It has become in vogue at the end of shabbatons to have a Carlebach-style Havdalah. Before beginning Havdalah, with the lights

Not Bound By Time

Reviewing: “Time in the Babylonian Talmud: Natural and Imagined Times in Jewish Law and Narrative,” by Lynn Kaye. Cambridge University Press. Hardcover. 2018. English. ISBN-13: 978-1108423236

Getting a true definition of time is not as simple as it may seem. And that

Five New Great Reads for Chanukah

“Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer” by Margalit Fox. Nonfiction. Random House. 2018. English. 318 pages. ISBN: 0399589457.

In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered

Out-of-the-Box Orthodox

Reviewing: “Search Engine: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts, Volume 2,” by Rabbi Gil Student. Kodesh Press. 2018. $24.95.


Rabbi Akiva: The Great Out-of-the-Box-Thinking Tanna

His path was so different

New Book Brings the ‘Aliyah’ Experience Home

Reviewing: “Becoming Israeli: The Hysterical, Inspiring and Challenging Sides of Making Aliyah,” by Akiva Gersh. Rimonim Press. Paperback. 263 pages. 2018.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll feel what it’s like to breathe the air of Israel on a daily basis.

How Michael Wildes Unlocks the Golden Door for Immigrants

Reviewing: “Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door” by Michael Wildes. American Bar Association. 2018. English. Hardcover. 200 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1641051897.

Immigration into the United States has long been a dream for men and women in foreign countries

‘Perfect Flavors’ Is a Global Tour of Kosher Cuisine

Reviewing “Perfect Flavors: Creative, easy-to-prepare recipes inspired by my family and travels.” By Naomi Nachman. Artscroll Mesorah Publications Ltd. 2018. English. Hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-1422622384.

“Perfect Flavors” is

From Sutton Place to Satmar:  The Remarkable Journey of Henry Litchfield

“Life is full of choices,” we often hear. The truth is, however, most of us set out on a rather mundane life journey, differing little from our parents or other caretakers in our life goals, traditions and practices. Certainly this is a generality that applies to the everyday decisions that we make, if not the

Parshat Vayishlach: Seeing Beyond What Lies Ahead

At the beginning of this week’s parsha we learn that Eisav was coming with 400 men to attack Yaakov and his family. The pasuk then says: “vayira Yaakov me’od, vayeitzer lo” (Bereishit 32:8), that Yaakov was very afraid and was very distressed about this meeting. Rashi tells us that this fear was not for his own life, rather

In Our Control? Not in Our Control? The Power of Choice in Education

There are many things in life that we as individuals have little control over. Rockets are flying in Israel, friends are getting sick, we fear anti-Semitism, school shootings seem to be more common. Mental illness is on the rise; anxiety and depression are rampant in our children. Our children face bullying, while at the same time