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54 in 1: Laining for the Cycle

October 24, 2017, by

As is the case with virtually every ba’al k’riyah with whom I have “talked shop,” I too began laining (reading the Torah) within a couple of months after my bar mitzvah, initially taking on one aliyah every week or two, until I worked my way up so that right before college, I was able to

A Fresh Torah

October 19, 2017, by

I have never enjoyed learning Chumash. While I love learning Torah She Baal Peh, and find that my passion and appreciation for the logic of the halachic process can help make the material come alive for my students, I have never felt that way about learning Chumash, and therefore, I have always stayed away from

I Am So Sick of Your Oxford Comma

October 18, 2017, by

A few months ago, a $10-million Maine lawsuit involving overtime pay for dairy workers was decided on the basis of the lack of an Oxford comma. The problem lay in the following list of activities for which workers could not receive overtime pay, to wit, “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for

In Defense of School on Chol Hamoed

October 17, 2017, by

Over the past number of years, a debate has quietly simmered beneath the surface of the American Jewish Day School community regarding school on Chol Hamoed Sukkot. My sense is that more schools are moving away from having school on Chol Hamoed than moving towards it, and not without good reason. It is true that

Daven Like Water on a Rock

October 3, 2017, by

Under normal circumstances, I don’t happen to be one of the world’s most impressive daveners. There are fast daveners and there are slow daveners and most days of the year I fall into the fast category. The exception is the yomim noraim (the “High Holidays”). I learned long ago that davening with kavanah on Rosh

Ephemeral Mentality

October 3, 2017, by

Gourmet Coffee A “Push Present” is a gift a husband gives to his wife to mark the occasion of her giving birth to their child. After our most recent child was born my wife reversed the trend and surprised me with a gift (during her difficult pregnancy she rightfully “pushed” all other responsibilities on me.)

Temporary Dwellings

October 3, 2017, by

Last Elul, I put all my belongings in storage and hit the open road. For the next ten months, I had no home. I was a nomad living on the road, visiting cities and Jewish communities across the United States. The trip began in New York and took me from the East Coast to West

Israel’s top tennis player quits mid-match for Yom Kippur

October 2, 2017, by

Dudi Sela, Israel’s top-ranked men’s singles tennis player, quit mid-game at the Wuhan Open in China on Friday due to the imminent start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Sela, ranked 77 in the world, was down 1-0 in the third set of his quarter-final game with Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. They split

Sukkot: Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

October 1, 2017, by

Anger is a force of nature stronger than any tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake I’ve experienced. While the latter can destroy cars and buildings, anger can destroy human beings. Every day during my morning commute on the bus, I see regular people—moms and dads, lawyers and accountants—screaming at each other over who gets the window seat.

When Death Comes Around the High Holidays

September 28, 2017, by

When I was a little girl in Hebrew School, September and October always came with the teaching of the High Holidays, of course. The image that always stuck with me most – from year to year – was that of God writing in his Book of Life – which I’d always pictured as big and

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