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The Reading Lesson

March 2, 2006, by

My father always used to say to us that the story of George Washington and the cherry tree is not a good one for Jewish children to hear. He cut down a cherry tree and then he said ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie. It was I.’ The result was that his father was so

An Artist’s View of Jewish History

March 2, 2006, by

I grew up in a household of non-practicing Jews in Brooklyn, NY. The once a year Passover Seder was my only link to my heritage. In fact, I had no idea what the Seder was really about or why we did it. I just knew it was an obligatory family event. As I grew up

Shabbos Waits for No One

February 23, 2006, by

My father passed away on the 29th of Sivan, June 18, 2004. “How did he die?” many visitors asked during the week of shiva. I answered, “I’ll tell you how my father died. But first, I’ll tell you how he lived.” When I think back to the Friday afternoons of my childhood, many of my

Missing the Rabbi

February 22, 2006, by

Rabbi Shlomo Twersky,ztl, with his son, some years ago. Most people are highly corruptible. They may have ideals and lofty visions, but very often, they can be deflected off course by their own drives and desires. The Rabbi was incorruptible. I knew it when I sat across from him during one of our private talks,

Tipping the Scales

February 15, 2006, by

I met her in the park in Bayit Vegan last week and she told me the story. I saw the glad look on her face and knew she had good news for me. “We’re staying,” she announced, as she sat down next to me on the green, wooden bench. “Shulamis, that’s wonderful. I’m so pleased

Super Bowl Champion Becomes Super Ba’al Teshuvah

February 14, 2006, by

In 1992, Alan Veingrad, former offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, made all the right moves to protect the quarterback and ward off the other team’s advances, helping to secure his team a Super Bowl victory. Today, he’s taken that same sense of discipline and strength of will to focus his sights on what he

A Tu B’Shevat Prayer

February 8, 2006, by

Sometimes I think I’ve been endowed with an overabundance of feelings. Things often seem to affect me more deeply than they do other people. I used to think this heightened sensitivity was a blessing, a gift to be treasured, but lately I’m beginning to have my doubts. It often seems to bring more suffering than

Have your soup now. Cry later.

February 2, 2006, by

We called her Imma, Hebrew for Mommy. And ever since we were children, we all knew a wonderful story about her. It happened in Poland on a Friday night back in 1929, when Imma was six years old. The adored youngest of ten children, she sat at the dinner table, probably singing the wonderful Sabbath


January 26, 2006, by

Sometimes I find myself choking on silence, and I fear all my thoughts must come out or I’ll simply burst, the unsaid gushing out and drowning us all. I sit quietly while they tell me how to live, but I have a million reasons why what they’re saying simply won’t work for me. I’m different.

The Silver Spice Box

January 19, 2006, by

The silver spice box stood at the back of our mahogany sideboard.  The box was tarnished, and the flag up top was bent over.  As a child of six or seven, I would sit at the dining room table and spin the flag as I pictured the tiny princess who lived behind those silver filigree