Friday, September 21, 2018


My Stories

Part 40 (written 2014)

(Continued from previous week)

On Friday, July 15, I was originally scheduled to be picked up at 9:15 a.m., but a phone call from the teacher two days earlier changed it to 10:15 a.m. The next day, a second phone call

Jews Around the World to Participate in ‘International Yom Limud and Tefillah’

Selichos is upon us and Rosh Hashanah is around the corner. It is a time for introspection and tefillah. Moreover, it is the week of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit, to whom we owe an enormous spiritual hakaras hatov for bestowing upon us the twin brachos of the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, sefarim that

Escape to Your Own Backyard at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy

If you step out of your house and go on Teaneck Road, just past the Care One Facility, on your left, you will end up at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy on Puffin Way. I have been there on many occasions, either by myself, or with my sister or one of my children. It is relaxing and peaceful because it is

Save a Life This Sunday

“Beloved teacher with AML [Acute Myeloid Leukemia] is desperately searching for a bone marrow donor to save her life.” Even though I was sitting down, I could feel my knees buckle just reading those words. I had just marked 18 years since my mother passed away from leukemia after an extensive but fruitless search for

Bar Mitzvah Project Funds Alzheimer’s Research

Many bar and bat mitzvah students find a meaningful way to mark their simcha with a chesed project, but Gavriel Friedbauer’s unique project is fine-tuned to his family’s history, indicating deep family love and sensitivity. Gavriel was inspired by an article he read in The Jewish Link about Dr. Eitan Okun’s

Understanding Jewish Enclaves in Arab Neighborhoods

“For some 2,000 years the Temple Mount was forbidden to the Jews. Until you came—you, the paratroopers—and returned it to the bosom of the nation. The Western Wall, for which every heart beats, is ours once again. Many Jews have taken their lives into their hands throughout our long history, in

Menachot 7

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk a”h.

This week we learned Menachot 7. These are some highlights.

What should a student do: listen to the shiur on the phone, or walk a half hour in

Two Interesting Old Siddurim With Aleinu

Aleinu was part of the Rosh Hashanah Musaf Amidah for centuries before it began making its way into the end of the daily Shacharit service in France, England and Germany in the 12th and 13th centuries. One of the interesting questions in Aleinu research is when and why it first entered the end of the daily Shacharit.

V’Yatzmach Purkanei V’Kareiv Mishichei

“Nein” (no), cried the gabai (sexton) at the German-Jewish synagogue in Switzerland. A guest was leading the congregation in prayer and added “v’yatzmach purkanei v’kareiv mishichei,” arousing the ire of the gabai. Chasidic Jews who pray nusach Sefard add these words, following in the footsteps of Sephardic Jews.

Get Into It

I have been attending summer camp for almost three decades. I have been a camper, masmid, office boy, junior counselor, counselor, learning rebbe, head waiter and the division head of almost every age. But I have a confession to make: as a camper I absolutely abhorred color war. I hated the change of schedule, the loud cheering,

True Comfort

Parshat Ki Teitzei

This week’s prophetic selection, the third and fifth in the series of seven haftarot of consolation, is taken from the 54th and 55th chapters of Yeshayahu. Interestingly, the opening prophecy of Chapter 54 is read for Parshat Ki Teitzei, while the later prophecy is read

The Differences Between Being at Home and Returning to Your House

Numerous times over the past year we have been asked when we will no longer be “New in the Neighborhood.” We have thought of what would be the appropriate way to properly address that query. After spending five days in Montreal last week we think we can explain the answer more succinctly.