Monday, December 10, 2018


True Strength

Parshat Mikeitz-Chanukah

There is much that connects this week’s haftarah to the chag of Chanukah. The basis of the rabbinic decision to read a selection tied to the holiday itself and not to the parsha finds its support in the Mishna and in the opinion expressed by the

Google Mapping Yosef’s Search for His Brothers in Today’s Israel

I don’t write and rarely give Divrei Torah, but several years ago I heard this from Rabbi Krohn of Young Israel of Teaneck and it always stuck with me, and I have repeated it often. This time I decided to write it down and add some interesting facts having spent a lot of time on the detailed route.

The Rebbe and the Rock

The 11-year old child went to school and told his wonderful rebbe that he was taking a mini-vacation with his family for the weekend. The rebbe, with much excitement (and perhaps partly in jest) asked the child to bring him back a souvenir. “Bring me back a rock!” he suggested. The child agreed.

Upon Reflection

The partition between the men’s section and the women’s section in my shul has panes of one-way glass in it. With brighter light on one side of the glass it is see-through for the women but to the men it appears as a mirror. I often chuckle to myself as I see men and boys straightening their ties or adjusting their hats in the

West Orange Celebrates Chanukah

On Monday evening, December 3, a sizable crowd celebrated the second night of Chanukah at West Orange Town Hall. The menorah lighting was officiated by Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz, director of Chabad of West Orange. Mayor Robert Parisi shared words of encouragement and support. Township employees, council members and residents

Comparing Current Version of the BDA/RCA Prenuptial With 1952 Moroccan Prenuptial

Rav Mordechai Lebhar (Magein Avot EH 134) voices criticism of the BDA/RCA agreement based on the criticisms offered against the Moroccan prenuptial. Rav Lebhar documents the well-established Moroccan rabbinic court practice to avoid administering a get if there is any concern that the husband is giving the get due to a penalty.

What Is the Meaning of ‘She’ol’ (Netherworld)?

I wrote a column about this word before. But I thought about it again when I wrote my new book “Roots and Rituals,” and there I revised some of my original conclusions. So I am writing my revised thoughts here.

The netherworld location she’ol is mentioned over 60 times in Tanach. On the

Not Exactly

For almost a decade I had the great privilege of being the guidance counselor in Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch. On one occasion, I was conversing with the yeshiva’s executive director, Mr. Yehuda Avrohom Most. I mentioned to Mr. Most that I was impressed with a particular speaker who was always careful to check the veracity of his

Fighting to Keep a Chabad House From the Wrecking Ball

It’s 7 p.m. on a Sunday.

Nineteen college students, male and female, gather around a table of chanukiot.

A little girl jumps up and down with glee, singing a Chanukah song while her Tati, Rabbi Mendy Rivkin, lights the first

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always loved Chanukah. Truth is, I love any holiday that revolves around family (read: latkes) and a heaping dose of presents and parties (read: latkes). Sorry, George Wyle, but I think you’ve got it wrong. Chanukah in Israel “is the most wonderful time of the year.” And this is coming

Bimshoch Hayovel: Celebrating A Triad of Milestones

The religious and spiritual identity of Modern Orthodox adolescents and young adults in our community are shaped by their experiences in various educational, familial and communal structures. These primarily include six specific settings (in no specific order):

  1. home and family

From Myrtle Beach to Chanukah: Infusing Meaning Into Our Everyday Lives

It was only a few hours on two plane rides, but where we ended up was a world away. I am talking about a trip I recently had the privilege to go on with 10 young men from Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA). This trip, coordinated in partnership with NCSY, brought us to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a community that had