Sunday, April 30, 2017


Passing Judgement on the Wrong Train

When I was a freshman in MTA I had an experience one morning that impacted not only that day, but weeks, months and years to come in a number of different ways. Every morning I would travel from Brooklyn to Washington Heights on a van that picked me up on my corner around 6 a.m. I was always able to rely on my mother to get me out

Bringing the Prophets to Life Troubling Stories, Eternal Message

The story of the death of Aharon’s two sons during the joyous celebration of the Chanukat HaMishkan, of which we read in this week’s parsha, is one of the most troubling and puzzling stories in the Torah. Similarly, the haftarah’s story of the death of Avinadav’s son, Uza, in the midst of celebrating the relocation of the

Striking a Balance in the Judaic Studies Classroom

Avraham is, at first glance, one of my most successful students. He presents himself as a proud, well-adjusted, Modern Orthodox yeshiva high school graduate. During his high school years he followed school rules, participated in our shabbatonim, competed on the wrestling team, demonstrated a deep commitment to the state of

NJ Yachad and NCSY Visit Six Flags During Chol Hamoed

Over Chol Hamoed Pesach, New Jersey Yachad joined NCSY at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari. Participants enjoyed rides, dancing together at a live concert by Benny Friedman and Mordechai Shapiro and spending time with friends.


Pesach Goes to Rest

We have lamen­ted the fact that we no longer make Pesach. Most people think we are slightly crazy for missing the preparations for when our children and grandchildren would arrive in Montreal. Three meals a day for eight days was quite an undertaking. This year we had a great chag with our children, grandchildren and

Miscellaneous Twains

Part II

With the success of my original recounting of Mr. Twain’s comments on various topics pertaining to current events, he recently provided me with some further observations that I felt it important to disclose to the editors of this fine publication. The editors, in turn, have

It’s All in What You’re Used To…Or Is It?

We have been celebrating several holidays that have many rich traditions; some traditions are more global in nature while others are personal and unique to each family. One story that has had many variations and has been popular in the email circuit is about newlyweds about to have the bride’s parents over for dinner for the

My Father’s Letters From the M/S St. Louis

Part I

I have just recently completed translating the letters that my father, Josef Strauss, Z’L, wrote to my mother, Bertha Strauss, Z’L, from on board the M/S St. Louis in May/June 1939. The letters were saved by my mother and brought to the US from Germany in 1941. After Hashem

Independent Contractor in the Sharing Economy: The New Relationship Between Companies and Their Workers

Can independent contractors form unions to collectively bargain as a group? A federal court in Seattle says no. The matter reached court after drivers for Uber and Lyft, classified as independent workers, filed to form a union to collectively bargain for rights and a contract between Uber and Lyft, and its drivers.

Hebrew in Day Schools—For What?

A while back, I attended a family simcha in New Square, a Hasidic village in Ramapo, New York. The lunchroom cum auditorium doubles as a simcha hall when school is not in session. Walking around the halls of the school (there was plenty of “waiting around” time during a very lengthy “yichud” when the young

Slightly Dimmer Ideas

So apparently, April 22 is Earth Day. Most of us don’t care about Earth Day, because we don’t get off of work. (Though this year it’s Shabbos.) If you want to promote awareness of something, you should really let people stay home from work. That way, people are talking about it.

“Why are

Stroller Derby

If you want to accurately gauge whether a particular synagogue is declining or thriving, simply count the number of strollers.

The more strollers parked outside on Shabbat morning, the brighter that synagogue’s future will be. In other words, every stroller carries not just a person, but also