Reflections on the Power of Prayer

April 23, 2014, by

This article was featured in Jewish Action Fall 2009.  There were precious few things that I shared in common with my father, Velvel Herschkopf a”h. He was born at the turn of the 20th century in a shtetl in Eastern Europe; I was born in the second half of the century in the most cosmopolitan city

Busy Law Students Don’t Pass Over Seder

April 11, 2014, by

Forget mock trial. How about a mock seder? This March, Jewish students and alumni at St. Thomas University School of Law enjoyed a mock seder courtesy of Southern NCSY. More than 30 Jewish students, alumni and guests gathered for a three-hour seder in the weeks before Passover, despite being in the midst of finals. With

Ask Aviva: Muzzled Mother

April 10, 2014, by

Dear Aviva, I am hosting my three married kids and their families for the first days of Pesach. My youngest son’s wife is a very difficult person. She is very clingy to my son. When we are gathered around the table, she monopolizes the conversation and if someone asks my son a question she answers

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