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Digital Tu B’Shevat Seder Guide and Table Runner

January 16, 2019, by

With Tu B’Shevat in just a few days, now is the perfect time for this amazing activity guide and table runner. Published in a joint effort by the English Department of Torah VeHa’aretz Institute and the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Organization, these documents are great for your Tu

There’s Always Something You Can Do

January 9, 2019, by

Almost immediately following the conclusion of the shiva period commemorating the tragic passing of my 33-year-old wife, I wrote an article titled, ‘Reflections on Shiva.’ The goal of that article was to share my personal reflections, of providing some rudimentary guidance to those seeking to comfort mourners during shiva. And, while those seven days are no doubt critical to

When Bad Ideas Happen to Good People

January 8, 2019, by

I’ve long had a soft spot for Rav Ovadia Seforno’s commentary (okay, for many commentaries; it’s my thing) – in particular, his perspective on the story of Yosef and his brothers, which I happened to get to teach recently. Little-known fact, unless someone corrects me: Seforno (15th-16th centuries, Italy) is the originator of the idea

In the News: The Doctor Who Threatened to Poison Jews

January 7, 2019, by

It’s probably the most appalling story of the year (so far. The year is young, so give it time!). Dr. Lara Kollab, a resident at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, was fired after a tweet was revealed saying that she would give Jews the wrong medications. Kollab had worked in the internal medicine program since July

So Why Risk Exile?

January 2, 2019, by

Last week, I shared some of the fears that go along with writing for public consumption – such as the possibility of being misunderstood, maybe even with disastrous results – but in the interests of space, I left out an important element of the topic: Why do it, if it’s so fraught with danger? One

Am I Exiled Yet?

December 26, 2018, by

It’s been about a year since I first submitted an article – which turned out to be two, because yes, I tend to write at great length – to OU Life. It wasn’t the first time I published online, but did precipitate a particularly prolific period of public ponderings. (I don’t always alliterate, but when I

Almost Cut My Hair

December 25, 2018, by

(With apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler at Buena Regional High School in New Jersey, was told that he could not compete at a December 19 meet in Atlantic County with his dreadlocks. Johnson was wearing his usual headgear and covering, but the referee said it was not

Excavating a Story

December 25, 2018, by

Her paper is missing, and it’s driving me crazy. Let me back up. My grandmother was Ada Goldberg Gertz, a”h (1908-2001). She was an extraordinary woman. In addition to raising her family in Baltimore, MD, she also attended Johns Hopkins University (one of the first women to do so), got a Masters in linguistics, and

Yaakov Could Complain, Maybe

December 19, 2018, by

A friend once took a poll on Facebook about how people use social media – primarily, whether they share more positivity or negativity. A large number of the responses, as I recall, were along the lines of “There’s enough negativity in the world; I’d rather spread positive thinking and inspiration!” Not me, I said. My