An Incredibly Inspiring Chapter of Passover Seder Law

April 9, 2014, by

This article originally appeared at When it comes to inspiration, most Orthodox Jews turn to glorious books of Mussar, or historical legends about our Torah sages, or fiery speeches by modern day orators, or the latest inspirational story, or other Torah content that is heavy on encouragement or equally overloaded with deprecation. When

Accepting Our Own: The Bias Against Black-Hatters

April 9, 2014, by

This article was originally published in The YU Observer. It was a recent Friday night in the Heights when, in the middle of a neutral conversation, someone suddenly slipped a derogatory aside about the ultra-Orthodox. I was sitting across from her at the Shabbat table, involved in the stimulating discussion until this point. Immediately, a round

Do What Worked for Our Ancestors in Egypt—4 Lessons from the Exodus

April 9, 2014, by

Our rabbis inform us that we are currently in the final stages before the arrival of the Messiah. The Sages teach that the future redemption will parallel the redemption from Egypt (derived from Micah 7:15). By understanding what occurred then, we will gain insight into what is occurring now. Before the Jews were redeemed from

The Pesach Notebook

April 7, 2014, by

It’s the day after Purim and time to take down my Pesach notebook. Unlike the pots and pans and dishes that are packed up and put away in the back of the basement shed each year, my notebook waits for me nearby on the closet shelf. It is always in sight, though it is stored

Ask Aviva: Supportive Sister

April 3, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, My sister is going through a very messy divorce right now. She has a handful of kids and turns to me a lot for support. She comes to us nearly every Shabbos, and needs to talk on the phone at least once a day. I am really sad about what she’s going through

Seattle NCSY JUMPS to New Heights

April 2, 2014, by

Seattle NCSY is launching a line of t-shirts, called Insecuri-T’s; gathered hundreds of dollars worth of canned goods, raised more than $2,000 for an NCSYer’s rehabilitation following an accident; and inadvertently saved a Mom-and-Pop movie theater in Seattle. All this, as part of Seattle NCSY’s first year of participation in the Jewish Unity Mentoring Program

Ask Aviva: Single Son

March 26, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, I read your article about singles living at home a few weeks ago and it really struck a nerve. I was wondering, do you think it’s possible for a parent to want to keep an adult child single? I am 24 and still living at home. The older I get, the harder it

Criminals in Our Midst

March 26, 2014, by

It happened again. An Orthodox Jew – a teacher and a prominent member of his community – has been accused of a particularly heinous crime. I say “accused” not because he’s an Orthodox Jew but because this is America and a person has a presumption of innocence until he’s been proven guilty. I don’t believe

The Hasidic Jew Who Feeds All People With Dignity

March 25, 2014, by

On the way to a speaking engagement in New Orleans this week, I found myself seated next to a woman with pink hair and lots of tattoos and piercings. We got to talking along the way. (I have this thing for speaking to people that end up next to me on planes as I believe