Monday, February 18, 2019


The Profound Secrets of Aggadah

Reviewing: “The Land of Truth: Talmud Tales, Timeless Teachings,” by Jeffrey Rubenstein. 2018. The Jewish Publication Society. Paperback. English. 328 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0827613089.

“Those who taught the TaNaKH metaphorically said, “If you wish to know the One who

Yeshivas in Poland During the 17th Century

Part 1

And now for a change of scenery.

Up to now I have been writing mostly about my life, and sometimes (Chover title and wimpel articles) about subjects that were only related to my life.

Now I will present you with

Black Box Presents ‘Significant Other’

(Courtesy of Black Box) Black Box PAC’s first main stage show of 2019 is “Significant Other” by Joshua Harmon. BBPAC is no stranger to Harmon’s work, as one of the first hits at the Black Box Performing Arts Center was Harmon’s hit “Bad Jews.”

“Significant Other,” presented in

Hungry Hungry Hippo

I’m in middle of a diet. I’m always in middle of a diet. And as is the tradition when someone is in middle of a diet, I’m going to talk about it.

After all these years of trying to lose weight by not really eating less, I finally decided to bite the bullet and count calories. (A bullet is

Crazy Conversations

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once remarked: “It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” This Yogi-ism accurately describes the scene in synagogue immediately following davening, a wonderful cacophony of quality conversations blaring throughout the sanctuary, lobby, hallways, coatroom and

‘The Invisibles’ Is Testament to Creativity, Determination and Mazal

In 1940, it is estimated that, despite Nazi laws forbidding it, about 7,000 Jews remained underground in Berlin. Concealed in attics, basements and warehouses, and protected by courageous non-Jewish Berliners, these Jews, often hiding in plain sight, were well aware that, if detected by anyone, they and their guardian

Everything You Wanted to Know About Phobias But Were Afraid to Ask

As part of my never-ending quest to force knowledge on my students against their will, I’ve been teaching them vocabulary.

They don’t love it. Especially since they found out that they had to learn how to spell the words too.

I’ve been building my

Can Modern Orthodoxy Survive the Smartphone Generation?

For years, Modern Orthodoxy has fought hard to allow elements of secular culture into the Torah world. Modern Orthodoxy must now face a new challenge, unparalleled by any other in its history.

Once upon a time, most American Jews were able to set up their own barriers of how much influence

The Riddle of the Word ‘Chidah’ (Riddle)

The word “chidah” (chet-yod-dalet-heh) appears 17 times in Tanach in various forms. The basic meaning of “chidah” seems to be a riddling question. (But sometimes the word is used with a broader meaning.)

The earliest example of a riddle in Tanach is one that Shimshon challenged to the

In the Heart of the Beholder

During the past few years I have perused the advertisements in our community’s wonderful weekly publications. Based on those advertisements, I have come to a realization of the ideal manner in which a person in our community should spend his year. I may have missed some events, so don’t take any omission to mean they

Parshat Beshalach Victory Without Unity

One of the themes of Sefer Shoftim is that of chet and onesh, sin and punishment. The book relates to us the pattern of sinfulness repeated by Bnai Yisrael generation after generation and the resulting punishments. Having failed to fulfill Hashem’s demand to remove the idolatrous natives and, with them, their depraved behavior,

Seeds of Hope: The Secret of Tu B’Shevat

If you were to choose a time to celebrate the new year for trees, when would you make it? Springtime, when budding leaves announce the tree’s renewal? Summertime, when trees and flowers are in full bloom?

Or how about the dreary, barren dead of winter?

Even in Eretz