Monday, February 18, 2019


The Bracha on Papaya: Ha’eitz or Ha’adama?

As we approach Tu B’Shevat, Sephardic Jews focus on the halachot of brachot. We will follow suit and discuss a topic on which Sephardic poskim have taken the lead: the proper bracha on papaya. We will present the responsum from Teshuvot Rav Pe’alim, Rav Yosef Chaim of Baghdad (known as the “Ben Ish Chai”) for direction

Chullin 44

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h, and Meirah Chayah Nechamah Brachah, a”h, bat David Mordechai Fishel sheyichyeh.

This week we learned Chullin 44. These are some highlights.

Creating Space Beyond the Clouds

As the Jewish people embarked on their historic exodus from Egypt, they were immediately accompanied by a divine presence, a pillar of clouds by day and a pillar of fire by night, that would escort them through the desert. The Talmud (Shabbat 23b) describes that the pillar of fire, far beyond the casual chaperone, would appear

‘Daily Giving:’ Changing the World $1 at a Time

Dr. Jonathan Donath wants to change the world, one dollar at a time. Several months ago he was at a maariv minyan at his shul and put a dollar in the tzedaka box. He realized his next day’s busy schedule wouldn’t allow him the time to get to shul. Having heard a powerful shiur emphasizing the importance of every

A History of Judaism and Idolatry

Reviewing: “God Versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry,” by Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein. Mosaica Press. 2018. Hardcover. English. 398 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1946351463.

The subtitle of Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein’s remarkable study says a great deal about the immense task

‘Dirshu Ruined My Life!’

“You ruined my life!!” he said, as he grabbed me by both arms. Those were the startling words that a Yid who met Rav Dovid Hofstedter told him to his face when he happened to meet him in the streets of Boro Park. “I don’t have a day, I don’t have a night, I don’t even have a minute to go to a simcha….” With

Remembering Music’s Schindler: Bronislaw Huberman and the ‘Orchestra of Exiles’

On December 26, 1936, Arturo Toscanini, indisputably the greatest maestro of that time, working under less than ideal conditions and in an area under tight British control, conducted a mostly pan-European group of musicians in Tel Aviv. Toscanini charged neither a fee nor expenses for his services. It was not the


Part 3

(Continued from last week)

After three days in Holland we had a “kosher driver” from Antwerp pick us up in Amsterdam and drive us to Antwerp. It turns out that this driver, who only does long trips, actually does the driving

A Time for Music 32: The Camp HASC Concert

Sunday, January 6, was a date that will go down in Jewish music history. It was the 32nd annual “HASC: A Time for Music” concert, and it was one for the books. The concert was produced by the amazing Eli Gerstner (EG Productions), and featured an all-star cast, with many singers making their HASC

Heart-Wrenching Decisions for the Better

It is difficult to describe the different emotions and feelings that parents of children with special needs experience day in and day out. Due to the “busyness” of most lives we are like robots, functioning without thinking seriously about how different our lives would be “if only XXX would have been ‘normal.’” There

Breaking the Walls of Silence

Part XIV

An editorial in Der Tog on January 25, 1940, expressed the paper’s relief that the atrocity stories had broken through the “walls of silence” that the American press had erected and were now being published as front-page headlines in most American newspapers. Der Tog believed

Schnitzel Shenanigans

Schnitzel is not uniquely Jewish yet 

it is beloved by many Jews. The question is: why? According to most experts, including several top schnitzologists, schnitzelticians and schnitzographers, there are many possible reasons for the strong Jewish connection to schnitzel.