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It’s Not Your Concern

January 24, 2017, by

The big news this past week was that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, asked a rabbi about attending the inaugural balls on Shabbos and received a heter (dispensation) to accept a ride in a car. (They were willing to walk but there are serious safety concerns involved. Remember how Ivanka was accosted on

The Age of Miracles

January 18, 2017, by

Recently, I had occasion to quote the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Boxer,” which tells us that “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” The context was Israel’s antagonists, who justify lobbing missiles into Israel as the desperate act of an oppressed people but who criticize Israel’s self-defense efforts despite

Eliana Sohn: Following Her Own Yellow Brick Road

January 18, 2017, by

Ever since I attended a performing arts summer program in Jerusalem 10 years ago, I’ve had my heart set on Aliyah. Having moved a few times as a kid, I used the label ‘home’ sparingly. Even when I had my own car in college, I never programmed a home address to my GPS. Israel was

Rabbi Shimon and Garfunkel on the UN Vote

January 11, 2017, by

Throughout the Talmudic tractate of Shabbos, there is an ongoing debate between Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Yehuda regarding what’s called a davar sheino miskaven – something unintentional – with Rabbi Shimon considering such actions permissible on Shabbos and Rabbi Yehuda considering them prohibited. The prototypical example is found on page 29b. There is a Biblical

Remembering Rav Moshe Shapiro zt”l

January 10, 2017, by

It had to be HaRav Moshe Shapiro Shlit”a. When I contemplated whom to honor as sandak for our newborn son with Down syndrome, Rav Moshe was the obvious choice. It wasn’t just because I desired a great and distinguished rav for the role. But it was because he had demonstrated sensitivity to our specific plight.

Midrashim: Don’t Be So Literal

January 3, 2017, by

I have observed a phenomenon among a large number of people who were raised Orthodox but became disenchanted (popularly known as “off-the-derech” or OTD). Many of them have a particular axe to grind: they complain about midrashim, which they find to be childish and simplistic. Now, I’m not suggesting that midrashim drove them away from

Why “Social Justice Warriors” Don’t Care About Israel or Jews

December 27, 2016, by

It’s gratifying that our society has become more open and tolerant. Whether it comes to race, religion, sexual preference or gender identity, there is an expectation of acceptance and accommodation the likes of which has never before existed. What’s frustrating, however, is the one glaring exception: Jews in general and Israel in particular. We get

The Modern-Day Maccabbees: Relive Entebbe 1976

December 22, 2016, by

2016 represents the 40th anniversary of the Israel Defense Force’s miraculous rescue of over 100 hostages whose Paris bound Air France Airbus was hijacked by cruel terrorists. After their heroic return, Menachem Begin referred to the Israeli commandos who risked their lives flying thousands of miles from home as “Dor Makabim Bi’yameinu” modern day Maccabees.

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