Counterproductive Poultry

October 1, 2014, by

There is a custom, before Yom Kippur, to swing a live chicken over one’s head while reciting a brief text. The chicken is slaughtered and given to the needy. This is called “kapparos” (atonements). Not everyone does this. Many people – including yours truly – perform the ceremony using cash, which is then donated to

Emunah and Good Luck Charms

September 29, 2014, by

A generation ago, bingo games were serious fundraisers for Torah institutions. Most Yeshivas ran them, and as the staff at the game could only be volunteers, many a yeshiva bachur found himself “volunteering” to work the game. Every game had its version of Sadie—an older woman in her housecoat, sitting at the end of the

Ask Aviva: Nervous and Nostalgic

September 23, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, As the Days of Awe are fast approaching, my mind keeps wandering back to when I was a child celebrating these holidays. When I was younger, I enjoyed the holidays so much—the crisp fall days, crunching of the leaves on the walk to shul, hearing the shofar blasts, and dipping the apple in

On Rosh Hashanah, A Breath of Life

In the year that we are now parting with, 5774, it became dangerous once again to be a Jew. Israel, subject to sustained missile attack, discovered how hard it is to fight an asymmetric war against a terrorist group ruthless enough to place rocket launchers beside schools, hospitals and mosques. It found itself condemned by

A Spontaneous Decision That Made an Impact

September 23, 2014, by

It was a spontaneous decision to book a flight to Israel this summer the same day the flight left, but Batya Resnick couldn’t resist the opportunity to be part of a mission—the OU Solidarity mission—to strengthen the spirits of her Jewish brothers and sisters under fire. As rocket fire began escalating, Batya, a 22-year-old graduate

Custom-made Judaism

September 18, 2014, by

As a delinquent high school student, David Schottenstein toured the globe — jumping from one Jewish high school to the next. “My cousin used to say that I was escorted from the finest yeshivas in the world,” he laughed, recalling the various adventures he had as he crisscrossed the United States and Europe, traveling from

The Fourth Level of Emunah – Hashem Is Here

September 16, 2014, by

Imagine you are walking down a dimly lit street. It’s the middle of February, late at night, and you’re in a part of town you don’t normally frequent. You look around—not a soul to be seen. “It’s mighty quiet,” you think to yourself. You tighten your coat and walk a bit quicker, listening to the

Ask Aviva: Messy Mommy

September 11, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, I promised myself all summer that this year would be different for my kids and husband. They will not have to live in a messy house where mommy doesn’t know where anything is. But school is here, I am working slightly more hours, I am ready to give up but I really don’t

The Simplest Way to Save Lives (& Change Oneself)

September 11, 2014, by

Most of us are repulsed by the sight of blood. We bandage our razor-thin papercuts. We purchase pre-salted, pre-packaged meats. When reading about the avodah, some of us are secretly relieved not to witness the messy scene of sprinkled blood and animal carcasses. Most of us associate blood with war, pain, death or vampire stories.

Study Sheds Light on Jews of the Titanic

September 8, 2014, by

How many Jews were aboard the Titanic before it sank? This question will likely forever remain unanswered. “According to the White Star Line company’s list, there were several hundred Jews onboard,” says Eli Moskowitz, who studied the story of the Jewish passengers on the most famous ship in history, which sank 102 years ago, claiming

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