This past Lag B'Omer, I received a precious gift. It is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The people who gave me the gift were unaware of their action, but I will be forever grateful to them.
Three years ago, I fell down a flight of stairs while holding my 16-month-old granddaughter. While she, Baruch Hashem, did not have a scratch, I unfortunately became totally paralyzed. After three weeks of physical therapy in the hospital and six months of outpatient therapy, I was able to recover about 75 percent of my mobility. I had some residual damage, but I learned to live a normal life - driving, working and doing whatever was necessary. I never complained because I was thankful that Hashem had saved my granddaughter and me.
Friday was a hectic day. The night before, I had been rushed to the emergency room after feeling unwell. I was released early in the morning, and was given a copy of my EKG. I brought the EKG results to my cardiologist first thing in the morning.
I had no way of seeing it coming - a "quick" traffic light and I was caught in the middle of a sea of cars. The second I started to run I was horrified to see the car closest to me race in my direction. I felt doomed. The few seconds it took me to run past the car were filled with the terrible thought, "This is it. That car is going to hit me."
The tickets were purchased and the car service was confirmed for the following morning. Our valises were packed and stood sentry at the front door. We tried to catch a few hours of sleep before our early morning departure.
Tzippy wandered around the Jerusalem mall, where she had planned to meet her daughter. She was not really in the mood for this excursion, but her daughter had insisted on it.
Twice a year my apparel company has an exhibition at The Sands Expo Convention Center, drawing buyers from around the world. During the week of the exhibit, we daven at the Venetian Hotel every morning at 6:30.
He sat in his prison cell sulking. I'll call him Steven. Time was playing tricks on him. It seemed like only yesterday, but at the same time like a lifetime ago, that he was married to a wonderful woman and had children who were the joy of his life. He had a high-powered job on Wall Street and luxuries that the average person couldn't imagine.
Around a year ago my wife and I were having a Shabbos meal at the home of our friends, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gershon and Chana Rachel Schusterman of Los Angeles. The rebbetzin was telling us about how our Jewish names are Divinely inspired.
I have always felt that Hashem's Will was my will. I always accepted everything, telling myself that everything was for the best. I trusted that it was Hashem's Will. It was and still is. I always accepted everything, telling myself that everything was for the best. I trusted that it was Hashem's Will.
The time was 6:03 a.m., and I was already late for shul. My father had passed away in October of 2008, and I was saying Kaddish for him. Morning prayers began at 6 o'clock. I had to be there within four minutes or miss the rabbinic Kaddish. To worsen matters, I hadn't taken my 3 a.m. Parkinson's medications on time, and I had begun to feel a rise in what I call my "trembling index."
My daughter met Rutie on her first day of studies at Hebrew University. The classroom was full, mostly with female students, many of them religious. As the weeks went by, Shani got to know some of Rutie's personal history. Her mother was European- born, from an Orthodox Jewish family. Her father was born in Israel, and had a secular upbringing. Rutie's family did not lead a religious life, but there were elements of her mother's past in some of the things they did. Rutie and her mother lit candles every erev Shabbat and chag, and kept a kosher home.
Our oldest daughter recently came to visit us from Eretz Yisrael. We wanted to be sure to give our children a good time together in order to properly mark the special occasion. We decided that it would be fun to take everyone roller-skating after Shabbat at a rink not far from our house. Little did we know that the evening would mark the start of a dramatic change our family life.
Avigail took the plunge into marriage, and we are so proud of her! My walk down the aisle with Avigail by my side was a visceral reminder of the days when she was by my side in another place and another time. Let me share the story with you.
I have written in the past about my visits to the Israeli Misrad Harishui (Israel's DMV) in the 1970's and 1980's. At that time, I served as a Senior Administrative Law Judge in the American DMV Traffic Courts, Vice-Chair of DMV's Appeals Boards, and Director of DMV Downstate Field Operations.
Imagine if Borough Park, Brooklyn, really had a big park in it, with hiking paths and a lake. But it doesn't have such a park, and there's a couple from France that is better off, very much better off, the way it is.
She was the first-born and by all accounts, quite brilliant. In the early 1900's, her father, Choni (Papa) had preceded his family to the shores of America to find a better life for the family he left behind in Europe. As with so many of his landsmen, he planned to send for his family when he found a livelihood and a decent place to live. Yet his wife, Ita, (Mama) had other ideas.
I love to sing, but venues for frum women who sing are few and far between. I have to settle for kvelling when I listen to the men in my family lead the prayers in shul.
My phone rang one morning last week. It was the wife of a friend whose weekly shiur I attend. "Could you spare some time to help a patient in the hospital to put on tefillin?" she asked. "The person who usually does it can't make it today."
It was December of 1980. I was walking towards the Kotel, Judaism's holiest site. I recalled that a Torah friend of mine had explained before I left New York