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Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of six books, including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion. His latest work, The God Book, is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.

Things Happen; That’s Not Your Fault

August 14, 2018, by

In a previous article, we discussed the interplay of hishtadlus and emunah – human effort and faith in God, respectively. While the degree of our emunah may be fairly constant, the amount of hishtadlus we are able to invest can vary from situation to situation. If your car breaks down on the highway, a passenger

My Week in a Wheelchair

August 8, 2018, by

As I write this, I am recuperating from spine surgery. I found this experience to be very enlightening so it’s going to inform the content of my writing over the next few weeks. Long story short, I threw my back out in March. When it didn’t bounce back, I went to a doctor, who diagnosed

My True Ghost Story

July 30, 2018, by

The following is a true story. It takes place about two decades ago in the second-floor apartment of a two-family home. The stairs led from the front door straight to the living room. In that living room was the family computer, a big, clunky desktop job with a dial-up connection to AOL because that’s how

If Anti-Semitism Isn’t Real, Then Neither Are Guinea Pigs

July 23, 2018, by

It’s happened before and it will invariably happen again but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t irksome. I was following a Twitter discussion about a certain anti-Semitic incident and it wasn’t long before some wannabe linguist was holding court that anti-Semitism isn’t a real thing. The basis for this assertion is the brilliant and unassailable

9 Questions for 9 Av

July 18, 2018, by

1. What is Tisha b’Av? Tisha b’Av – the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av – is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a number of tragedies that occurred on that date, most notably the destruction of both Temples, some five centuries apart. 2. Why did so many tragedies occur

Putting People Before Disabilities

July 6, 2018, by

Did you ever read George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984? Written in 1948, it takes place in the then-far-flung future of… well, 1984. In the superstate of Oceania, the official language is called Newspeak. This language has been artificially constructed to control thought. In addition to eliminating bothersome concepts from the language, the Party (rulers of

Bar Kamtza – Victim or Villain?

June 25, 2018, by

As the Three Weeks begin and Tisha b’Av approaches, we focus a lot on the idea of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, which the Talmud in Yoma (9b) cites as the reason the second Temple was destroyed. (Other sources in the Talmud attribute the destruction to different reasons, particularly Shabbos 119b and Baba Metzia 30b, but

Don’t Fear the Barista

June 18, 2018, by

I used to have a funny habit. Remember toll booths? Before EZ Pass, we used to wait on line to reach a little booth, where we paid our tolls to a live human being. Well, I always used to crack jokes and banter with toll booth workers. It didn’t take my wife long to notice

Trigger Warning: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

June 12, 2018, by

This article is not only about trigger warnings, it also is one: we are going to address suicide. Please stop here if you find such discussions triggering. People of my generation tend to scoff at the ubiquity of trigger warnings, content warnings and other emotional accommodations afforded in this day and age. Things like a

It’s Not Mitzvah Time

May 29, 2018, by

Being a commuter on the New York City subway, I am no stranger to street preachers. Honestly, I find them kind of annoying because people are trying to read, sleep, have a conversation or just generally mind their own business. Nevertheless, I don’t say anything because I recognize that these people see “witnessing” as a