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September 17, 2008 | 11:13 pmMaybe it was because I had just helped my daughter move into her freshman dorm room and I was envious of the deliciously named courses she was thinking of taking. Or maybe it was because I've always been a sucker for pitches like "Conversational Hebrew in One Day!" Or maybe it was...
September 8, 2007 | 8:00 pm
December 21, 2006 | 7:00 pmA number of years ago I had to fly from Los Angeles to Cleveland, with a stop in St. Louis. The plane was supposed to leave at 8:45 a.m. and arrive in Cleveland in the late afternoon. But due to a mechanical problem our flight didn't leave LAX until 1:30 p.m., which put our Cleveland...
November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm
As teenagers living in America, we are often encouraged to take advantage of our natural capacity to question. Throughout a regular school day, I've heard that the average student asks 25 questions, which is 125 questions a week and 4,500 questions in a school year. It is...
November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm
My Aunt Naomi is overwhelmed.
Now 78, she was widowed three years ago. She lost her husband, but inherited his piles of files, cancelled checks and warranties for current and formerly owned equipment.
Aunt Naomi also has her own collections -- beloved tchotchkes that are scattered...
August 11, 2005 | 8:00 pm
Boxer Praises FOUNDATION
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently recognized Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Washington, D.C., by bestowing on it the Boxer Excellence in Education Award.
"I am pleased to present my Excellence in Education Award to...
May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm
April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm
One day, Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar was riding his donkey along the coastal road. He was enjoying the beautiful scenery and reviewing in his mind the wonderful study session he had with his rabbi at Migdal Eder, when he encountered a man who was extremely ugly.
"How ugly you are,"...
October 28, 2004 | 8:00 pm
We Jews aren't exactly famous for agreeing with one another. Of our community, it is frequently said, "Five Jews, eight opinions."
Perhaps this is why it is especially noteworthy when an important opportunity for communitywide agreement presents itself. The 2004 election in...
August 12, 2004 | 8:00 pm
"Consolation: The Spiritual Journey Beyond Grief" by Rabbi Maurice Lamm (Jewish Publication Society, $30).
Grief erases all regular rules. All the logic that has ever seemed to govern one's life suddenly seems useless. More than useless, it seems pointless. In death, we are all...
July 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm
"Why do human fingers resemble pegs? So that if one hears something unseemly, one can plug one's fingers in one's ears." -- Babylonian Talmud Ketubot 5b
Between political campaigns and summer weddings, we've been witnessing a lot of promises and vows lately. As a rule, I find...
June 3, 2004 | 8:00 pm
What do Cal Ripken Jr. and Aaron (the high priest) have in common?
Not much -- except in the mind of a Jew who has passion for Torah and sports. So here goes!
Aaron receives the commandment to light the menorah everyday. The Torah states: "Aaron did so; he lit the lamps, just as...
May 27, 2004 | 8:00 pm
Rabbi Elie Spitz wrote a wonderful book, titled "Does the Soul Survive?," dealing with life after death, but for me this title is the question that I continuously ask in regard to life after birth. Does our soul survive the journey that we lead it through in our lifetime? How do we...
April 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm
In this week's Torah portion, Moses elaborates the laws of impurity. Touching or holding something impure will render people, clothing, food, beverages, containers, wood, leather, earthenware and ovens impure. Shemini is concerned with the consequences of contact with living,...
April 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm
Most of us remember our parents telling us when we were children that when they were our age they had to walk two miles, every day, in the snow, uphill, both ways, to go to school. In ancient times we can imagine our ancestors telling their children that when they were their age they...
January 8, 2004 | 7:00 pm
January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm
"Biblical stories are in our present -- in the cheder [Easter European elementary school] we cried when we learned of the sale of Joseph -- and we rejoiced in his ascendancy to power. There was a freshness, a vigor, a nearness, which we felt in that drama." -- Rabbi Joseph B....
December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm
Jordan Cinnamon, 15, has been crazy about the ocean since he was a little kid, so when it came to choosing a way to spend the summer, the idea of going to a regular sports camps didn't appeal to him.
"I really don't like that many sports," admitted the high school freshman from...
December 18, 2003 | 7:00 pm
Part of my traditional upbringing as a yeshiva bocher was the belief that anything that took my attention away from a page of Talmud was bitul Torah -- a waste of time. And while that may have been a good lesson for an easily distracted teenager, I have since discovered as an adult...
December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm
We are all familiar with Jacob, the refugee who returns to his homeland to the dreaded encounter with his vengeful brother Esau. I believe most of us read the story through Jacob's eyes, but is it the only way? What if it were possible to unearth these biblical heroes' diaries? What...
December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm
It was somewhat overwhelming, though not totally surprising, that listening to Simon and Garfunkel in concert turned out to be a significant religious experience for me. I found that they have the ability to remind us what the seeking and dreaming "Ya'akov" that is inside us actually...
November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm
A saleswoman, driving home in northern Arizona, sees a Navajo woman hitchhiking, stops the car and invites the Navajo woman to join her.
As they drive, the Navajo woman glances repeatedly at a brown bag on the front seat between them.
"If you are wondering what's in the bag," the...
November 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm
Abram was despondent in his tent, deeply wearied from battle, having just returned from chasing kings from Dan to Damascus.
Abram had looked death in the eye and sat distraught over his own future. God listened to His friend's lament and then He took him outside and said, "Look...
October 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm
October 30, 2003 | 7:00 pm
A newly religious female artist came to Chana Rochel Shusterman and told the Orthodox counselor that she was torn between her artistic drive and her religious sensibilities.
"I've stopped painting," said the artist. "My favorite subject to paint is intimacy, and now that I am...
October 23, 2003 | 8:00 pm
On the first Saturday of each month, while weekly, traditional Shabbat morning services are taking place at Adat Shalom synagogue, another service transpires behind the main sanctuary that is anything but traditional. Women of all ages dance between davening, beat tambourines and...
October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm
It is easy to feel small. As you fall asleep one night, try to watch yourself in your mind's eye, your body growing quiet on your bed as your mind begins to wander. You are one person falling asleep in one room. Beyond you are two, five, 20 others in your home or apartment building...
September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm
June 5, 2003 | 8:00 pm
This Shavuot, as we read about Ruth's decision to convert, we should examine our own religious connection: To what extent do we (and would we) internalize the essence of the Torah?
In fact this question touches upon the much larger issue of what it means to be a Jew. "The Jewish...
April 30, 2003 | 8:00 pm