The Impossible Bar Mitzvah

July 2, 2015, by

Five years ago, I was in a store when an eight-year-old boy from our community saw me, came over, and said one word: “Rabbi.” I didn’t think anything of it until later that evening when the boy’s mother texted me to say that I had witnessed a miracle. I didn’t know what she was referring

Sir Nicholas Winton, British Schindler, Dies at 106

July 1, 2015, by

Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler,” died today at 106. Winton, a stockbroker, ferried 669 Jewish children out of occupied Prague as “the one-man children’s section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia.” He organized eight trains and then found homes for all of the children in England. As the BBC notes, his death

The Stories You Should Tell Your Child This Summer

July 1, 2015, by

Two years ago, The New York Times featured an article written by Bruce Feiler that discussed the work of Marshall Duke, a psychologist at Emory University. Duke explored ritual and myth in American families and discovered something surprising: children who know a lot about their families and their histories tend to do better when they

Becoming a Member of the Miscarriage Club

July 1, 2015, by

“It’s over,” the doctor said. “We did all we could.” He didn’t even need to tell me – I felt my water break. I was totally helpless and devastated. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen! I was five months pregnant and everything was supposed to be perfect. We had a crib! We had

Do I Really Want Facebook to Just Be Pictures of Babies and Food?

July 1, 2015, by

This post originally appeared on Life in the Married Lane. Last week I saw a Facebook post which got me all emotional in a defensive way, and, after some (not enough) reflection, I commented, even though I was aware that my opinion might not be well-received. I rationalized my decision to comment by telling myself

The Trilogy Ends: Superheroes in Jewish Thought and Law Part III

June 29, 2015, by

(This is the final part of a three-part series. To read the second part of Rabbi Student’s discussion of the halachas of superpowers, click here.) V. Shape Changing Some superheroes have the ability to alter their appearance, change their actual physical shape. Can someone with such power change his shape on Shabbos? One concern is

The Stories Behind South Korea’s Love of the Talmud

June 25, 2015, by

If only yeshiva and day school students were as enthusiastic about the Talmud as South Koreans. The New Yorker’s PageTurner blog has a fascinating article about the popularity of the Talmud in South Korea. It’s kinda wild and corroborates what many of us heard as rumors. The writer, Ross Arbes, also does his homework and traces some

New Perspective From Charleston

June 25, 2015, by

The night of Wednesday, June 17, was a scary one in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live. Helicopters flew overhead all night and police cars patrolled the streets, as a murderer was believed to be at large in the city. Downtown residents were asked to turn on their porch lights to help police with the search, and

The Other Cheek

June 24, 2015, by

We are all familiar with the tragic details of the mass murder at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Roof murdered nine people at a Bible-study class in what was clearly a racially-motivated attack. Within 48 hours, family members of the victims had expressed forgiveness for their killer.

If We Want Freedom of Worship, Then We Need Freedom From Fear

June 24, 2015, by

News of last week’s terror attack — and that’s what it was — at the Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that left nine dead during a Bible study session has rightfully yielded both our outrage and our sorrow. In the African American community it has sounded echoes of the bleakest days of the 1960s. In the Jewish community, it called to mind