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Life

Women, Kids – and Men! – in Shul on Simchas Torah

September 20, 2018, by

Recently, I wrote about parents bringing kids to shul and trying to navigate the interplay of their own needs, their kids’ needs, and the needs of those around them. Predictably, reactions varied widely, ranging from “Yes! I relate to this so much! Every word!” to polite but firmly worded expositions on the reasons not to

From Charleston, SC: Hurricane on Shabbos Shuva

September 13, 2018, by

Storm of the century! This one will be worse than Hugo (chilling words for a South Carolinian)! The Carolinas have never seen one this bad! Anticipated to be the most expensive storm ever. Evacuate now before it’s too late! Hard to imagine you can joke about words like these but last night my friend said

You’re Capable of That

September 12, 2018, by

As I write this, we are in the midst of the Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah, the Ten Day of Repentance that last from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur. In the laws of Teshuvah (3:4), the Rambam tells us that a person should always consider himself as if his mitzvos equally balance his sins and the world’s

Everything Matters

September 12, 2018, by

Learning halacha can be tricky, as it often seems to devolve into a complicated laundry list of “do this” and “don’t do that.” If we haven’t studied the background in depth, some of the details can seem kind of weird. Does it really matter how many handbreadths wide my sukkah is or how low my

A Refresher Course on Bikkur Cholim

September 4, 2018, by

(This is the fifth and final installment in the series of articles on things I learned from my recent back surgery.) After my procedure, I was in the hospital for three days. While I was there, I didn’t entertain much. The first day was the day of the operation itself, so I spent the entire

The Positivity Challenge

August 29, 2018, by

The alarm goes off and the kids jump out of bed. They put on their uniforms, which are laid out carefully on their beds, eat breakfast while chatting with each other about what they are looking forward to that day and head out to the car excitedly, while holding onto their neatly packed backpacks. On

In Praise of Waste Removal

August 28, 2018, by

(This is the fourth of five articles I’m writing about things I learned from my recent medical experiences. It is by far the most personal.) It’s no secret that I wasn’t raised Orthodox, though my family always had such leanings. My parents switched the family from a large, ornate Reform temple to a humble shtiebel

Beyond the Letter of Judgment Day

August 28, 2018, by

Somehow, this time of year – the lead-up to Yom Hadin – often makes me think not only about Heavenly judgment, but about humans who judge each other. Maybe it’s just the word “judgment”; maybe it’s coming off of the Three Weeks, when we talk so much about sinat chinam; maybe it’s the necessity of