Thursday, May 23, 2019


Something Tragically in Common

“I don’t feel safe.”

A young Ethiopian-born elementary school child said this to a group of visiting journalists from Anglo-Jewish newspapers between the two Gaza wars of 2008 and 2014.

We were visiting the Southern Negev development town Sderot. We met

Thoughts on the Poway Shooting

Saturday night.

After finishing the Havdalah service, I turned on my cell phone. I was still very much under the influence of Passover; the morning services at Chabad were packed, with some new faces who joined us for Yizkor. Later in the day we celebrated the customary “Moshiach’s meal”

My Poway Story

We are saddened and our hearts are broken once again by the tragic events in Poway, California. We have all been touched in one way or another by the work of Chabad and, as it turns out, my roots run quite deeply at that particular Chabad in Poway, San Diego.

Twenty-six years ago my non-Jewish

King David and the Moon

Parshat Acharei Mot

“Machar Chodesh”

The story related in this week’s haftarah, a special one read when Shabbat coincides with Erev Rosh Chodesh, is found in the 20th perek of Shmuel I. The story related in this chapter is

The Modi’in Eruv and the Jewish State

Visitors to Israel plan for months how exactly they will be spending their precious time in our precious land. There are so many rich opportunities and activities and we wish to squeeze out the greatest experience possible during our time in Eretz Yisrael. Most people, of course, do not choose to take a tour of a community eruv in

Protecting the Image of God in the Modern World

Parshat Acharei Mot contains one of the more iconic phrases in the entire Torah. After repeatedly stressing the importance of mitzvah observance, the Torah concludes with the phrase “v’chai bahem,” which loosely translates into “You shall live by the mitzvot.” This evocative phrase encapsulates the interaction between

Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought

Rabbi David Bashevkin, director of education for NCSY and an instructor at Yeshiva University (and Teaneck resident), has just authored a fascinating book. The creative title is “Sin-a-gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought” (Cherry Orchard Books, 2019). There is much to be learned from this book. I am going to present a very

Is Your Child Ready?

As we head back to school after Pesach break, many of us are busy thinking about the coming school year. Sure, there’s still almost two months of school to go, but let’s face it: the children are thinking about summer camp, the teachers are thinking about summer break, and the administrators, well, we’re trying to stay

Please Look Up Instead of Down

It has become an incredible phenomenon. It’s called “always looking down.” Rarely does one see a person walking along the street looking up. Heads are overwhelmingly looking down at phones which are being held in the hands of each passerby. We do not think that people even realize what they are doing and how this can impact

iRemember: This Yom HaShoah, Video Your Grandparents

How do we remember the Holocaust, and pass on that memory to our children? Survivors are growing older and fewer, and this is now a critical question for educators, leaders and parents to grapple with. The answer might just be in the palm of our hands.

One of the key ways that we as a community

Table Talk

There are several schools of thought concerning the family Shabbat table. One position is that this is primarily a learning occasion. Children and guests are expected to discuss the weekly parsha and offer insights and novel commentaries. Table talk is primarily about Torah topics. This works well in situations where the entire

How Do We Know Anything About the Holocaust?

As Michael Shermer and I noted in our book “Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened, and Why Do They Say It?” we know the past through a convergence of evidence. When describing the history of the universe, cosmologists employ evidence from astronomy, astrophysics, planetary geology and physics. Archaeologists