Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Communal Challah Bake—Opportunity and Caution

Separating challah is one of the three essential “feminine mitzvot,” and yet many women do not have the opportunity to fulfill this special mitzvah. Indeed, Hacham Yitzhak Yosef, in his Yalkut Yosef, writes that every woman should make an effort to separate challah at least once a year.


Original Sin (and Original Shin!)

Today, we pronounce the letter sin the same way as the letter samech. Was this always the case? And why do shin and sin share the same letter? The only difference between shin and sin is the location of the dot. But dots were markings that did not arise until much later.

To answer the first

The Turbulent Search for Faith

“Flight attendants, please be seated for the next 10 minutes.” Just the words I didn’t want to hear! I was heading home from a trip not long ago, when the pilot came on the speaker system and warned us about the bumpy air that was certain to create an uncomfortable feeling for the passengers on board our flight. The

Not in Vain

Three of our children have had food allergies throughout their lives. The earliest indication of the allergies was from eczema that developed on their skin during late infancy. Of course, it’s most challenging for the children who cannot eat what their siblings and peers are enjoying, but it’s also extremely hard, as parents,

Mishkan vs. Mikdash

Parshat Teruma

The selection of the fifth and sixth chapters of Sefer Melachim as the haftarah for Shabbat Parshat Teruma requires little explanation. This morning’s Torah reading calls for the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, with the words “V’asu li Mikdash, And they

Lost Potential and Performance Evaluation

“You see, she was gonna be an actress,
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off to find the sky.”
- Harry Chapin, from the song “Taxi”

The late songwriter Harry

FDR and the Jewish Refugee Crisis

Part I of III

My previous topic (serialized in the Jewish Link editions of January 21, 28 and February 4) was “Churchill Was Anti-Semitic! Really?” That topic had been chosen by me as a result of a question from the audience when I spoke on the subject of

How to Survive Purim With Your Teen

Parenting on Purim is always challenging, no matter what age your children are. When the kids are still in diapers, you discover that a baby Purim costume costs a fortune. When they’re toddlers, you discover that your child has split personality disorder (“But you loved the butterfly yesterday!”). At this point in time, grade

On the Other Hand

Whenever people realize I’m a lefty, they always feel the need to mention someone else they know who’s a lefty, like we might know each other. Like there’s some kind of club. Lefties only. The doors open the wrong way, the pencil sharpeners are backwards, and we can all arm wrestle fairly and not have a hard time finding

Festive Fraud

Many bar and bat mitzvah parties feature an all-time classic game, Coke & Pepsi, which is supposed to be a super-competitive contest based on speed, agility and teamwork. Sadly, however, Coke & Pepsi has become the most anti-climactic party game ever because, from the very start, we all know exactly who the winner

Even on Vacation Venom Spews Forth

The horror in the news of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis and one more recently in Philadelphia having many tombstones uprooted, decimated and totally destroyed is a reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the United States. Fear of going to a local JCC because of bomb threats having been called in to them is definitely on

Cyber Warfare … It’s Already Here

After the security breaches of Anthem, Sony and Home Depot where more than 133 million records were stolen, the IRS was targeted and 700,000 identities were compromised. Yet those breaches pale in comparison with the two Yahoo breaches where more than 1.5 billion records were stolen in 2016. The proliferation of internet