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Life

The Hug That Changed a Rabbi

My life was to change more than I realized on the night of my wedding. The prevalent custom was that the groom delivered a learned Talmudic discourse either before or after the signing of the ketubah. Generally, the groom would be interrupted by the spirited singing of his friends. Even if the groom wished to

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice: Was the Bard Antisemitic?

April 27, 2011, by

For more than four hundred years, Shylock — with his demand for a pound of flesh from a debtor — has been the symbol of the greedy, selfish, repulsive, alien Jew. As the loathed character in Shakespeare’s “romantic comedy,” The Merchant of Venice, he is referred to over and over again not by his name,

Anti-Semitism Examined in Merchant of Venice

March 23, 2011, by

This article first appeared March 17th on BroadwayWorld.com and has been reprinted with permission. On Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m., a panel of esteemed Shakespearean and religious scholars and experts will examine Shylock, Shakespeare, and the Jews: Anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice. Barry Edelstein, director of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative, and author of

Religious Compulsions and Fears

March 9, 2011, by

Religious Compulsions and Fears By Avigdor Bonchek Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 2009 98 pages It is often difficult to distinguish between “normal” meticulousness and behavior that is indicative of a problem. This is especially true among Orthodox Jews whose daily lives are regimented by the minutiae of halachah. In the Orthodox community, compulsive behavior may manifest in

Jewish Life in Egypt

February 16, 2011, by

As we continue to watch the current political drama in Egypt unfold, we can’t help but remember the once proud and flourishing Jewish communities of Egypt that are now on the verge of extinction. With a generous research grant from the Orthodox Union, Dr. Ari Greenspan and Dr. Ari Z. Zivotofsky visited the dwindling Egyptian

The Joseph Prototype; Justin Bieber’s Jewish Manager, Scooter Braun

February 16, 2011, by

When the Orthodox Union was approached with an invitation to interview Justin Bieber’s Jewish manager, it seemed like an absurd stretch. Yes, the timing was impeccable because of the Grammy Awards. Yes, Bieber had been scheduled to perform in Israel and attend a Passover Seder. Yes, the movie “Never Say Never” was set to open

Hilchot Tefilla

November 21, 2010, by

Synagogue attendees can now better understand how to pray with the publication of Hilchot Tefilla: A Comprehensive Guide to the Laws of Daily Prayer by Rabbi David Brofsky. This new book, published by OU Press, Ktav and Yeshivat Har Etzion, is a guide not only to the rules regulating how Jews pray but the reasons

One People, One Day. Join Us!

November 2, 2010, by

This article, reprinted with permission, first appeared Nov 1 on JewishHumorCentral.com SESAME STREET’S GROVER ASKS RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ: WHY DO PEOPLE NEED A DAY OF REST? Sesame Street’s Grover has been to Israel and learned all about Shabbat. Now he asks a good question: Why do people need a day of rest? And who’s responding

Gaining Our Freedom Each and Every Year: A Pesach Message

March 25, 2010, by

”In each and every generation” – and in fact every single year – we are obligated to see ourselves as having personally left the slavery of Egypt, no doubt an educational and experiential tool designed to fully sensitize us to the meaning of the holiday! Or, perhaps, do each one of us in some literal

PHOTO ESSAY: Visit to the Matzah Bakery

March 17, 2010, by

The hand matzah you’ll eat the nights of the seder could have come from any one of a number of bakeries, but if it came from the Charedim Matzah Bakery in Boro Park, then take a look at the exact story of its creation. The photo essay Visit to the Matzah Bakery shows you the