The Irreplaceable Lives We Lost

October 7, 2015, by

Commenting on the tragedy of the Holocaust, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach once said, “It’s not just the number six million. We lost so many holy people.” These words kept circling in my mind the last few days… “Its not just the number—we lost so many holy people.” The media reported: “Four people murdered in two terrorist

A Very Urban Sukkot

October 2, 2015, by

Sukkos – for many, it’s summer’s last hurrah. Being outdoors, hopefully in green, lush and warm (or not too cold) surroundings. A pleasant return to nature before autumn really kicks in. A great time to spend away from home, perhaps in a rural environment. (Imagine spending Sukkos at a sleepaway camp or a bungalow colony…)

Savitsky Talks: Do We Have Free Will?

September 24, 2015, by

In this episode of Savitsky Talks, Stephen interviews The New York Times bestselling author Dr. David Lieberman about his new book, “How Free Will Works: The Blueprint to Take Charge of Your Life, Health and Happiness.” (Feldheim) The book explores the Jewish view of free will along with notions of maazel and divine providence. “It’s

Bringing Stolen Torahs Back Home

September 20, 2015, by

We often mistranslate teshuva as repentance, but that is not exactly accurate. The Alter Rebbe, R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that teshuva is not reserved for sinners. The root of the word teshuva is lashuv, to return. Teshuva is about returning our souls to the pure, pristine state in which we receieved them. Even

Is Everything Forgivable?

September 16, 2015, by

“No matter how many times I attempt to apologize, it will never be enough. There are simply no words available to sufficiently assuage the hurt that I caused among conversion candidates, congregants, students, family, friends, and rabbinic and academic colleagues. I am sorry, beyond measure, for my heinous behavior and perverse mindset that provoked my

The Teshuva of Shabbat

September 16, 2015, by

(Excerpt from When God is Near: On the High Holidays, by Rabbi Yehuda Amital) For decades, thousands from around the world gathered to join Rabbi Yehuda Amital zt”l as he led the High Holiday prayers at Yeshivat Har Etzion. Right before the most critical points in the services, at moments of high spiritual intensity, he

The 8 Item Repentance Checklist

September 16, 2015, by

Can you check off these items? If not, which one will you strengthen?   The purpose of this checklist is to focus your attention to areas you may want to improve. Look over this list and choose one area you are motivated to address. Just focus on that area and once you have strengthened it,

Mindfulness in the Service of Hashem

September 10, 2015, by

Today we had our lunchbreak webinar: Tishrei: Tools & Techniques for Family-Friendly Festivals Devorah Levine Katz of and I spoke about practical tips on how to capture the spirituality of these days while juggling work, menus, davening, family and guests. The overarching theme of the class was this: “The little things are infinitely the

Why Can’t We Argue Civilly?

September 8, 2015, by

Orthodox Judaism emphasizes Talmud study. Some people love the analysis and debate format of the Talmud but other people prefer studying the final decisions of the Talmud. They don’t enjoy the argument and discussion in the Talmud, and they most certainly do not love the layer upon layer of subsequent debate about the arguments in

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