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Jerusalem, Israel
29 Kislev 5778 -
? Saturday, December 16, 2017


A Week Early: What A Difference

As is my custom, I attempt to spend my father’s yahrzeit every year in Israel. This gives me the opportunity to visit this spiritual, holy land, and first and foremost give my father the kavod he deserves. I appreciate the zechus to daven at my father’s kever.

Leadership In Time Of Crisis

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

Picture Perfect

The answers, though, were out there, waiting patiently and shimmering in the distance until the One with all the answers decided to enlighten us.

Justice And Compassion

Shakespeare is expressing the medieval stereotype of Christian mercy (Portia) as against Jewish justice (Shylock).

Fear Or Distress?

Jacob and Esau are about to meet again after a separation of 22 years. It is a fraught encounter. Once, Esau had sworn to kill Jacob as revenge for what he saw as the theft of his blessing. Will he do so now, or has time healed the wound? Jacob sends messengers to let his brother know he is coming. They return, saying that Esau is coming to meet Jacob with a force of 400 men. We then read: “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:8).

The Blessing

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

The Universality Of Sukkot

Sukkot's the only festival sharing the pilgrimage cycle & part of Tishrei sequence-hence, double JOY

Shabbos In The Shtetl

In preparation for Shabbos, Salik Orenstein's (our protagonist, and through his eyes and his memoir are we viewing the shtetl) mother baked challos.

The Sin Offering

Why should unintentional sins require atonement at all? What guilt is involved? Had the offender known he would not have done what he did. Why then does he have to undergo a process of atonement?

A Long Night’s Journey

There were two pokerfaced police officers standing at our door.

Thoughts to Ponder: The Kotel – Have We Gone Mad?

The Wall is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us; where we can smile at each other even when we vehemently disagree.

Kiddush Hashem Aboard El Al

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B'emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

The Test And The Reward

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

Practice Drill

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

No Debts, Just His Good Name

This was just one of the odd things I heard, there were more when we visited the family sitting shiva.

Candle Quest

Our first Shabbos leichter was an inexpensive brass model we bought from the Queens Judaica store managed by our beloved uncle, z”l. It served us faithfully until we made aliyah a year later. Then we traveled to Bnei Brak and purchased a stunning pair of silver candlesticks, in a simple yet elegant Yemenite design.

The Need For The Beginning

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

Shabbat: A Time for Menuchah V’simcha

Shabbat is a time of menuchah, of rest. It is also a time of simcha, of happiness. We are often too busy during the week to stop and think about how we can do something simple to bring simcha into someone else’s life. When we can combine the menuchah of Shabbat together with its inherent simcha, we can bring ohr laYehudim, light to all of us.

Jewish Practice In The U.S. Military (V)

Goldman's fight against the entire military establishment was stressful yet, oddly, exhilarating. He felt the Almighty was tapping him on the shoulder, whispering, “I want you to pull this off for Me”

Israel’s Four Elements: Four Holy Cities: Living In The Heart Of The World

While studying the anatomy of the heart in Machon Biotechnology in Israel, I had some thoughts: The four holiest cities in Israel - Jerusalem (fire/aish),Tzfat (wind/ruach), Chevron (earth/adamah), and Tverya (water/mayim) - seem to correspond to the four chambers of the heart.

The Lost Siddur

When my very busy friend and former neighbor called to say, “I have a story to tell you,” I knew it had to be a good one. I wasn’t disappointed.

In The Grace And Beauty Of The Matriarchs

When I was considering making aliyah, I was aware of how challenging the move might be, especially since much of my family stayed behind in the U.S. But the deep longing to be in Israel was too strong. It was like a giant magnet pulling on my soul, until I finally let go and came home.

The Universality Of Wisdom

By wisdom, we come to understand G-d via creation; By Torah we understand G-d through His revelation

Do The Right Thing

In 2001, the year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, my husband and I were both in mourning for close relatives. As a woman, I did not have the responsibility of attending a minyan to recite Kaddish. So I never realized how complicated it could get.

The Right Place at the Right Time

It can be very challenging to be arranging a flight to Israel while dealing with the needs of a large family, managing a high-pressured job, and satisfying the needs of parents who are eagerly awaiting your visit.

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