Life

Jew in the City Picks Its 2014 Jewish Orthodox All Stars

October 22, 2014, by

Forbes-ranked hedge fund manager and philanthropist Henry Swieca, BCBGeneration Creative Director Joyce Azria, and Columbia Law School Dean Emeritus David Schizer are among ten individuals who have been named 2014 Orthodox Jewish All Stars by Jew in the City, the organization dedicated to re-branding Orthodox Jews and Judaism through digital media. In addition to Swieca,

A Bill of Rights for Jewish Converts

October 21, 2014, by

I am one of Rabbi Barry Freundel’s converts. He was my sponsoring rabbi and is the first signature on my RCA conversion documents. For a long time, I’ve been angry about my conversion, conversion in general and how I have been treated in the Jewish community post-conversion. I’ve been hesitant to speak out because I

Throwing Our Esrogim at the Shabbos App

October 7, 2014, by

This article originally appeared at rabbisblog.brsonline.org. It is fifteen years later and I still vividly remember how offended and insulted I felt. In my second year studying at YU’s Gruss Kollel in Israel, I joined a separate program twice a week that focused on training outreach professionals. I was the one YU guy among an

You Can’t Harm Me, You Can’t Help Me

October 7, 2014, by

“Do not take revenge.” [Vayikra 19:18] One day, you ask to borrow my shovel. I refuse. The next day, I say to you, “May I borrow your hammer?” You respond, “Yesterday, when I asked you for a shovel, you wouldn’t help me. I’m going to pay you back in kind. Now that you need something,

Ask Aviva: Don’t Wanna be Drugged

October 1, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, I was prescribed some anti-depressant medication after having recent bouts of depression. I am hesitant to fill my prescription though, due to a number of reasons. I feel that there is still a stigma with taking drugs for mental illness and if people were to find out, they would regard me differently. Secondly,

Counterproductive Poultry

October 1, 2014, by

There is a custom, before Yom Kippur, to swing a live chicken over one’s head while reciting a brief text. The chicken is slaughtered and given to the needy. This is called “kapparos” (atonements). Not everyone does this. Many people – including yours truly – perform the ceremony using cash, which is then donated to

Emunah and Good Luck Charms

September 29, 2014, by

A generation ago, bingo games were serious fundraisers for Torah institutions. Most Yeshivas ran them, and as the staff at the game could only be volunteers, many a yeshiva bachur found himself “volunteering” to work the game. Every game had its version of Sadie—an older woman in her housecoat, sitting at the end of the

Ask Aviva: Nervous and Nostalgic

September 23, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, As the Days of Awe are fast approaching, my mind keeps wandering back to when I was a child celebrating these holidays. When I was younger, I enjoyed the holidays so much—the crisp fall days, crunching of the leaves on the walk to shul, hearing the shofar blasts, and dipping the apple in

On Rosh Hashanah, A Breath of Life

In the year that we are now parting with, 5774, it became dangerous once again to be a Jew. Israel, subject to sustained missile attack, discovered how hard it is to fight an asymmetric war against a terrorist group ruthless enough to place rocket launchers beside schools, hospitals and mosques. It found itself condemned by