In this season, when we gather around the Seder table to celebrate the birth of our nation, it behooves us to take a few moments to consider what we have learned - what we are taking with us to guide us throughout the year. Among the many priorities we should consider, surely shalom and achdus - unity - must be in the forefront. Sadly, today these pillars of our faith are missing from our families, from our communities and from the world at large. While we may not be able to influence the world, our communities or even our families, we can and must impact upon ourselves - we must emerge from this Pesach - different.
Once again, I am on a plane. I am returning to New York after a long, two- week journey. It has been a grueling, but exhilarating tour. Each day, I addressed the Jewish community of another European country. The first stop was Paris. I was forewarned that in Europe if you draw an audience of 100-200 people, you could regard yourself successful, so my expectations were not very high. But when I arrived at the huge synagogue it was crowded wall-to-wall. There wasn't a seat to be had, and people were still coming, not only residents of Paris, but from as far away as Strasbourg.
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.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I can't begin to tell you how important your column has been in this most trying period. To one extent or another, everyone has been tested by the financial meltdown.... some of us more than others, and I'm afraid that my family falls into that category. Allow me to give you some background:
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
In last week's column, I published a letter from a woman who successfully overcame enormous challenges in her life through the power of faith. At the same time, I invited our readers to share with us their own personal difficulties so that others might benefit and be strengthened.
In my last column I published a letter from a woman whose husband, like many others, was experiencing financial reversals. While in the past they had been prosperous, overnight everything changed. She was concerned for her husband's health since he has a history of high blood pressure and heart problems. He had become tense, irritable and depressed. She conceded that she herself was in the same emotional state - and her mood was impacting on her children.
At the age of 32, he discovered he was Jewish. Michael was born to a gentile, Greek father and a Belgian mother, whom he assumed was gentile as well. When Michael married his Catholic girlfriend, Susan, his mother still did not divulge her background.
The entire downtown business district would pour into the streets around 5:30 p.m., clogging the already congested traffic lanes of Chicago's bustling Loop. Blaring horns of Checker taxicabs and city buses made it hard to hear one's own voice, but I always heard my father's voice...
Though the prices of airline tickets to Israel had soared with the increase in the cost of fuel this summer, my son Moshe was determined to visit his ailing grandfather in Jerusalem.
Special Note: The letter written by the woman experiencing a financial crisis has evoked a strong response. Many people identify with her plight and still others have come forth to share their own experiences in confronting painful challenges. I am pleased to publish one of these letters.
Last Shabbos morning, I reached for my siddur and started to daven. When I opened up the first page and saw the Ma Tovu prayer, I unexpectedly started crying.
I attend a Tanya shiur (lesson) every Sunday evening at the Chabad House of Queens. At 9:30 p.m., we daven Maariv.
Everyone is concerned about the economy. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, and to one extent or another, we are all impacted. This concern is not imaginary.
This past summer highlighted to me how "charity, prayer, and repentance help to annul the evil decree." I try to visit my grandparents' graves in Israel every summer. They are the parents of my late beloved father, Rabbi Dr. Joseph I. Singer. When my father wasn't able to go to Israel due to illness, I would go to pray at his parents' graves and pay for the upkeep.
QUESTION: I have been told that one is not to pray in any other language than Hebrew. In many synagogues that I have visited I saw ArtScroll prayer books in use with English side by side with the Hebrew. May we pray using the English translation? I would greatly appreciate your answer. A Newly-Observant Reader(Via E-Mail)
I was planning to write this column on Gemilas Chassadim several weeks ago, but events unfolded that, with the passage of time, would have lost their immediacy, so this article was put on hold. But I guess it's no coincidence that I am writing this column in the wake of Parshas Vaera and the yahrzeit of my beloved husband, HaRav Meshulem Halevi Jungreis, zt"l, for both the parshah and the exemplary life of my husband, provide us with insights on gemilas chassadim.
Yosef * had a dream. He wanted to open a yeshiva for young men like him, men who had returned to their roots and wanted to expand their learning in a relaxed, pastoral atmosphere.
You never know what event will spark a person's desire to return to Judaism. Art Sherman was an assimilated Jew married to a Polish Catholic woman. He owned a non-kosher Italian "hero sandwich shop" and an unbelievable comment, one day by his Rastafarian employee, sent him on a life-changing journey.
For once, it seemed, we were all prepared. I had announced several times that we were catching the 12:15 bus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pidyon HaBen (Redemption of the Firstborn ceremony) of our new grandson.
Last week I began to outline the three-fold formula that our sages advise will protect us from the painful birth pangs of the pre-Messianic era. Now with Hashem's help, I will continue, for this is a subject of great urgency. But to those who have sent e-mails and letters regarding personal problems, let me assure you that I will respond to all your correspondence personally.
In previous columns I indicated that Hashem, in His infinite mercy, endowed us with a three-fold formula through which we can protect ourselves in this most trying period of Chevlei Moshiach. As promised I will now outline what exactly that formula entails.