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Life

Singing the Hadassim Blues in Memphis

October 10, 2019, by

With Sukkot on the horizon, one of my rabbinic tasks was making sure that the Young Israel of Memphis’s aravot (willow) and hadassim (myrtle) gardens were getting all the TLC they need. This year my concern grew after my wife, Layala, pointed out that while our aravot were thriving, many of the leaves of our

Three Keys to Success: Persistence, Advice and Prayer

September 26, 2019, by

I would like to tell you something about yourself. There is an area of your life that you have likely given up hope on. Perhaps you’ve given up on moving to Israel, getting married, becoming more observant, or any other goal. You’ve tried, you’ve failed and you’ve given up; you’ve thrown in the towel. But

Shavuot: Claiming What’s Ours

May 29, 2019, by

As Shavuot approaches, it seems like a good time to think about our relationship with Torah, and our role in that relationship. At the beginning of chapter 3 in the Laws of Torah Study, Rambam writes: Israel was crowned with three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of kingship.

The Six-Day War: A Personal Account

May 6, 2019, by

Goldie Warhaftig first came to Israel in 1966 to learn for a year in Machon Gold. She recalls what she experienced as a newcomer to Israel during the Six-Day War just months after her arrival. Recorded at OU Israel’s L’Ayla Rosh Chodesh Iyyar 5779 Women’s Event sponsored in memory of Mrs Linda Pruwer-Brachfeld, מרת חיה

Egypt in Contrast

April 10, 2019, by

Often, it’s not really a good idea to inspire through contrast. For instance, “Oy, your older brother gives me such trouble; don’t be like him!” is probably not the best way to instill positive values and behavior. Another great example can be found in the old Berenstain Bears books, in which Papa Bear was portrayed

Pesach is Coming! What Message are We Sending?

March 27, 2019, by

One of the scariest aspects of parenthood is the realization that we can never be sure what messages we’re sending our kids. We might make sure to have Conversations, we might consider what want to impart to them. But however much thought we put into it – communication is a two-way street, and it isn’t

Shaul vs. Esther: Learning to Live a Committed Life

March 11, 2019, by

As we approach Purim, the focus of the days immediately preceding the holiday becomes the long history of the relationship between Amalek and the Jewish people. Beginning with the few pesukim comprising Parshas Zachor, we remember Amalek’s original attack on the Jewish people shortly after the Jews left Egypt. Then, we read the less famous

Why Do We Eat Latkes and Sufganiyot on Chanukah?

December 4, 2018, by

Why do we eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) on Chanukah? The common, short answer is because the holiday of Chanukah largely revolves around the miracle of the oil but, perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s more to it than that. It would appear that the original Chanukah food was a fried cheese pancake, combining the

The Tooth Fairy-Chanukah Connection

December 3, 2018, by

Somehow, this time of year is reminding me of two conversations I had with my oldest when she was much younger. They might not seem to be connected, but I think they are. (I share them here with her permission.) One conversation occurred right around when she lost her first tooth, and it’s brought to