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A Pathway To Teshuvah

27 Elul 5772 – September 13, 2012
Yom Hadin is almost here and this time of year brings with it a range of emotions. Some people are excited - a new year, the start of school, new clothing. For others, Rosh Hashanah instills fear - the need to correct wrongdoings, to beg for forgiveness and make promises to be better. For still others, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed - either by the awe of the Yom Hadin or perhaps the reality of so many days of Shabbos, Yom Tov, Shabbos (that's a lot of cooking and baking). We are often so busy taking care of all the “things" that need to be done, that we don’t have enough time for spiritual and emotional preparation. It feels like most years I come to Selichos feeling as if I haven't done enough to prepare.

‘To Be A Bee Or Not To Be, A Bee’

An elderly carpenter was eagerly preparing for retirement. When he informed his employer/contractor of his plans, the employer asked him if he could do him a personal favor and build one more house before he left. After so many years of working together the carpenter felt he could not refuse, and so he begrudgingly agreed. It quickly became apparent that the carpenter’s heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and he used inferior quality materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

What Are We Fasting For?

10 Av 5772 – July 29, 2012
A few years ago, I happened to be in Los Angeles for the fast of Tisha B'Av. Towards the end of the fast, between afternoon and evening prayers, the rabbi of the shul asked if I could say a few words to the congregation to explain the significance of the holy day and the fast.

Them and Us

19 Tammuz 5772 – July 8, 2012
"Monopoly was created for a summer Shabbat and Fast Days…"! So I heard, time and again, in my early years. Years later, I know rather too well that while "Monopoly" has a place in the Jewish home, I am not sure about it's appropriateness to either Shabbat or a Fast-Day.

Original Jewish Press Video: Beauty and Joy of Israel’s Heart – Jerusalem

9 Sivan 5772 – May 30, 2012
The streets of Jerusalem on the special day commemorating the city's reunification. A celebration of youthful energy, enthusiasm, and love of the Jewish homeland....

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

4 Sivan 5772 – May 24, 2012
There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible - how could such destruction happen so quickly?

Yoram Ettinger: Shavuot Guide for the Perplexed

Shavuot is the holiday of the Torah, which impacted the US Constitution in particular and the state of Western morality, liberty, and democracy in general. Shavuot is celebrated by decorating homes and houses of worship with Land of Israel-related fruit, vegetables, herb and flowers, demonstrating the indigenous connection between the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Land of Israel.

Artifact Found in Time for Shavuot Proves Bethlehem Existed During First Temple

2 Sivan 5772 – May 23, 2012
Israel Antiquities Authority and the Ir David Foundation announced that a clay seal was discovered bearing the name of the city of Bethlehem, evidence that the city existed during the period of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The find coincides with the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, during which time Jews from around the world focus on the story of the biblical figure Ruth, set in the city of Bethlehem.

Candy Bouquet

27 Iyyar 5772 – May 18, 2012
Looking for a bouquet of flowers that will satisfy everyone’s taste – have we got a sweet idea for you! This beautiful “arrangement” (as easy as an Alef Bais Vase” can be simply assembled and is sure to be the most popular bunch of flowers. All it takes is a trip to the candy store, and let your creativity blossom, as you fill the skewers with candy. As an added bonus these flowers are sure to stay looking fresh throughout Yom Tov…unless they’re not eaten first.

Rejoicing Proud Jews: Reflections on Lag B’Omer

18 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012
The victory of the Jewish idea is celebrated on Lag B'Omer. It fits neatly between Israeli Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim. These three days are all driven by the same spirit: the liberation of Jewish peoplehood, the return to the land, and the reemergence of authentic Jewish culture.

Jewish Press Radio: Journey Into Passover

20 Nisan 5772 – April 12, 2012
Special Pesach edition kicks off with Yishai and Malkah sharing the story of their own inspiring journey into Pesach 5772. Then Yishai is joined by Shmuel Sackett, the International Director of Manhigut Yehudit, who tells the moving story of his personal discussions with Jonathan Pollard during visits to see him in prison. The third segment of this week’s show features the true meaning of Pesach, presented by David Sacks, a television writer and producer for The Simpsons, 3rd Rock From the Sun, and more. Finally, Yehuda HaKohen talks about how love breeds courage and destroys fear, and gives an example with a masterful presentation of the history of the Lehi movement.

Video: Under the Prayer Shawl – Secrets of the Priestly Blessing

18 Nisan 5772 – April 10, 2012
"Under the Prayer Shawl - Secrets of the Priestly Blessing", was shot on location at the 2011 annual massive blessing by the Jewish Priests...

The Battle for Eretz Yisrael, Then and Now

14 Nisan 5772 – April 6, 2012
At this time of the year, "Jewish eyes are smiling" as we look back to our Egyptian experience of 3300 years ago and the great salvation that HaShem had brought forth for us. But on this 10th of Nisan, corresponding to the general calendar of April 2, the eyes of all enlightened nations are on Egypt, but for different reasons. The Moslem Brotherhood political party in Egypt, that now controls the two houses of the Egyptian Parliament, is going to have their man as the next president of that country. This group is among the most radical Islamists in the world, and they have an unabashed, open, straightforward Islamic agenda. Not only will they turn Egyptian society back 300 years, their end game is to uproot the Jewish State.

Pesach Video: Baking Passover Matzah in Israel’s Heartland

13 Nisan 5772 – April 4, 2012
Yishai Fleisher takes us to Beit El in Israel’s heartland, the location of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) ladder, to bake matzot (unleavened bread) the old fashioned...

Five Terms Of Endearment – So Why Only Four Cups Of Wine?

The number four seems to play a major role in the Pesach Seder. We have four questions, four sons, four terms of endearment and, of course, one of the major features we soon will be enjoying – the drinking of four cups of wine.

The Audacity of Redemption

10 Nisan 5772 – April 2, 2012
It has been said ‘It is easier to take the Jew out of the Exile, than to take the Exile out of the Jew’. While in Egypt, the Jewish people could not even hear Hashem’s promise of Redemption because of their “shortness of spirit.” Their bondage wasn’t merely a physical bondage, but a mental one. And so, while still in Egypt, Hashem began the process of taking the Jew out of the psychology of Exile, ridding him of his slave mentality.

A Child-Centric Seder

7 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
Dear Gary, As Pesach approaches, I get worried because I want to have a great Yom Tov, and yet, every year, the seder ends in some sort of fighting and arguing. My husband wants the seder to be all about divrei Torah and so do I, but between the younger children (who we want to be awake for the whole seder) and guests, we somehow end up in stern looks and squabbles. I'm happy we have guests or else we'd probably start yelling at each other and even Eliyahu Hanavi would bail. I know everyone jokes about how tough Pesach is, but I can't see the humor anymore – and neither can my children. What can we do to manage a calm (I don't even wish for happy) seder? A Sad Mom

The No-Potato Passover: A Journey of Food, Travel & Color

Most of the No-Potato Passover recipes are as casual as the title’s spelling: some include only six ingredients and limited prep time - half to one full hour. They’re good for heart health and waistlines, too.

The Art of Ignoring – So Safe, So Repulsive, So Dangerous

5 Nisan 5772 – March 28, 2012
As one that has trained and followed rabbis throughout their careers, I can generally say that rabbis gain detractors not so much because of their sermons, vision, lectures or the like, but rather when they fail to return phone calls, when they avoid bikur cholim, and when they fail to respond to emails. One can deal with refusal, disagreements, debates and the answer 'no', but how should one deal with being totally and utterly ignored?!

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