Sunday, December 16, 2018


Animal Talk

I think it’s awesome that we’re always finding out new and exciting things about animals. And by “we,” I mean “scientists who apparently already know all there is to know about humans.”

For example, according to scientists in Budapest, dogs can understand human language. At least

Sushi Sensation

There is something fishy going on in the Jewish world. At nearly every simcha and celebration, Jews are stuffing themselves to the gills with creatures that once had gills. We, of course, are talking about the sushi sensation sweeping the nation. It is washing over the Jewish community as Jews show their affinity for fins.

Gaza Ceasefire Exposes Conflicting Narratives

After 24 hours of intense exchanges of fire, Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire on Tuesday, and two very different narratives emerged in Israel to describe what had happened.

But first, the bare facts: A special-forces operation in Gaza was exposed by Hamas on Sunday night, and in the

Rav Ben Zion Abba Shaul: The Quintessential Sephardic Rosh Yeshiva

A review of contemporary Sephardic halacha is not complete without including the great Chacham Ben Zion Abba Shaul. Of the great Sephardic poskim of the second half of the 20th century, he may be regarded as the quintessential Sephardic rosh yeshiva.

In contrast to his peers, the three great

Chasidut and Living in Israel

Typically, the month of Kislev is associated with the great miracle of Chanukah. Over the past 200 years, though, this month has acquired an additional historical layer: a period to consider and appreciate the enormous impact of chasidut upon the Jewish world. Having been falsely accused of treason and incarcerated, the first

Menachot 91

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

This week we learned Menachot 91. These are some highlights.

If there is no wine at the wedding, can sheva brachot be recited on

The Meaning of the Word ‘Netzach’

Since Kislev is the month of a Jewish military “nitzachon,” I thought I would discuss the root “netzach.”

I always knew that N-Tz-Ch was an interesting root, as it meant both “eternal” and “conquer.” But only recently did I decide to investigate it. Of course, the precise meaning

Thoughts About Death

A mourner who has buried a beloved wife, mother or father returns home from the graveyard where he has left part of himself, where he has witnessed the mockery of human existence. He is in a mood to question the validity of an ethical universe guided by a caring God. The house is empty, dreary, every piece of furniture reminds the

The Spiritual Journey from ‘I’ to ‘You’

Part II

Even though we are well past the Yomim Nora’im, throughout the year it is important to remember the central theme of our tefilot. This is a time when Jews all over the world express their gratitude to Hashem for the gifts He bestows upon them; they are also asked to commit themselves

An Attitude of Gratitude

Parshat Vayeitzei

The Sefer Hoshe’a, the first book of Trei Asar, the 12 minor prophetic books, centers about the navi’s condemnations of the transgressions of the Northern Kingdom (commonly referred to as Efraim). Hoshe’a delivered his harsh words to the northern tribes

Predicting Success and Happiness

For thousands of years, educators of children have focused on two important areas: the intellectual development of their charges, and the moral development of their charges. For a long time it was thought that the greatest predictor of success and happiness in a person’s life lies in the realm of the intellect. The thinking went

A Time to Build

We in the North American Jewish Day School (JDS) world have good reason be proud of what we have created. Our various, varied educational institutions around the continent inspire children to live lives of meaning, both Jewish and secular. We present learning opportunities on a high level, and our students take advantage of the