Saturday, April 20, 2019


Secularization and the Fight for the Jewish Soul

Rereading: “Paradise Park” by Allegra Goodman. A Delta Book, Dell Publishing, Random House. Paperback, 360 pages, 2001. ISBN 0-385-33416-8, ISBN 0-385-33418-4.

Allegra Goodman, who, with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, is considered one of America’s leading American Jewish

Eight Great Books for the Springtime Reader

1. “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel” by Matti Friedman, 2019.

This winner of the 2018 Natan Book Award follows the State of Israel’s first spies like espionage work, yet it is all based on truth. The four

A Stamp Collector’s Megillah in Hebrew and English

Reviewing: “These Purim Days: A Philatelic Book of Esther,” by Moshe Rimer with translation by David Dubin; Society of Israeli Philatelists, 2018.

Have you ever seen a perush (biblical commentary) that mentions Elvis Presley? Do you know what Achashverosh’s

Hyperfocusing: How Do You View the Picture?

On a daily basis, I encounter children and young adults who experience frustration with school work. Several of my older students bring to a session a backpack that includes a cell phone. My policy is that the student must put away the phone and not turn it on until the session ends. That policy of restricted cell phone use is very

My Purim at the Prison

As I was driving back from visiting the Jewish inmates at the Bergen County Jail, a quote by King Solomon came to mind.

“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.”

Why so? Because going to a party might be fun, but when

Seder Surprises

Are we telling that same story…again? The Seder is supposed to be the quintessential experiential program—the re-living of Yetziat Mitzrayim. But let’s be honest, the story is the same as it was last year. It hasn’t changed. So the fifth question of the night becomes how to take a rerun and upgrade it in a way to make even the most

Team HASC Jerusalem Serves Klal Yisrael…and Potato Kugel

Just two weeks ago was the one of a kind annual Jerusalem—and it was Team HASC’s most successful showing yet. Almost 300 runners came from all over the U.S. and Israel to raise money and to support the campers and families of Camp HASC. The dedicated runners surpassed the fundraising and participation goals

Ma’ayanot Drama Society and Black Box Studios Proudly Present ‘Paradise Lost’

(Courtesy of Black Box Studios) Back for another year and with a new take on the Great Depression, the Ma’ayanot Drama Society, in partnership with Black Box Studios, will be performing Clifford Odets’ classic three-act drama, “Paradise Lost.” The play follows a Jewish family forced to rediscover what family truly means and

Understanding Mediation

You would be hard pressed to find a family lawyer in the State of New Jersey who is opposed to mediation. Over the past decade, with the pressure of the over-docketed court system as well as divorcing couples (or other parties in conflict) who would rather keep their money instead of giving it to attorneys, mediation has become a

In Memory of Chazan Robert Frankel

Part 2

(continued from last week)

I include here a picture of Chazan Frankel during candle lighting on Chanukah. It reminds me of my youth, since the lighting, especially of the first candle, was a big affair at KAJ. Everyone came to shul, young and old. It

Sofa, It’s Not Working Out

Dear Mordechai,

My boys killed my couches. What should I do? Should I replace them?

Yes, definitely. Maybe replace them with girls. They don’t ruin couches as much.

Oh, wait. It just occurred to me that you mean the

Cantorial Quandary

Most synagogues have a rabbi but only some have an official, full-time chazzan. Those that do often struggle with clearly defining congregational expectations regarding the chazzan’s weekly performances. Consequently, the chazzans often are left to their own devices to gauge how best to balance davening vs. delivery, shaliach vs.