Life can be tough. Sometimes we can connect our problems to things we put in place. Sometimes hard times appear to fall inexplicably from the sky. Human nature shapes the desire to have power over our destinies. We want to feel we can avert tragedy by taking yearly medical screenings or crossing at the corner or investing wisely. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.
All across South Florida, the Jewish community is in festive Chanukah mode. There are parties and events scheduled throughout the entire eight days. There are gala concerts, menorah lightings and Chanukah programs and fairs. There are dreidels to spin and latkes to eat and presents to wrap.
America will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25. Tremendous effort has always been focused on portraying this time in a lovely, romanticized light in which pilgrims and Native Americans worked together in harmony. The reality, however, is quite grim.
The 31st Annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival is getting bigger and better. Over 10,000 people have participated each year since the event was moved to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach in 2007. The upcoming festival planned for Wednesday, December 8, has a star-studded program that will likely see the largest attendance ever.
Zenon Fernandez recently went to trial in Miami. A jury found him guilty of manslaughter with a deadly weapon. Fernandez had been shooting off a round of bullets to celebrate the New Year. His revelry was short-lived.
The rabbi of Hollywood, Florida's original Reform temple, along with a high school teacher and a group of students, recently visited Chabad of South Broward. They were intrigued and inspired by their hour-long visit.
The alarm of a South Beach bank recently went off in the early morning hours. Police arriving at the scene were greeted by an unusual sight. The alleged lookout man was in the parking lot of the bank building. He had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car.
One of my dearest friends recently flew to New York to be with her ailing father who had suffered a severe heart attack. Sadly, he did not survive.
A minister in Gainesville, Florida, recently caused a major uproar with his plan to burn a Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Reverend Terry Jones' idea was met with wide-reaching condemnation.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, can be a time of optimism. The observances of the holiday are actually quite therapeutic. Engaging in prayer, charity and repentance clears one's head, and sets us in a position to anticipate a clean slate. We hope for Hashem's blessings for a good year.
As the month of Elul approaches, Jews all over the world anticipate the New Year. Rosh Hashanah is an intriguing time. The notion of teshuvah (repentance) is pivotal to the holiday.
A boat was intercepted in the Florida Straits on July 13. A surveillance plane spotted the vessel and directed the U.S. Coast Guard to intervene. The boat held a passenger who had fled the island of Cuba.He was parched and exhaustedand was said to have been adrift for weeks. Rescuers were shocked to see that the seven-foot craft was made of Styrofoam.
I have written on this topic for several years. Regrettably, the problem is still here and the message worth repeating.
Judaism encourages the concept of gratitude. A Jew is directed to thank G-d for all. There is a blessing to be said upon hearing good news and a blessing to be said when the news is bad. There is a blessing upon seeing exceptional beauty and a blessing to be said when viewing a disaster. There are blessings for weddings and blessings for funerals.
Hollywood Central Elementary is one of the many Florida schools that has had to cut programs and "extras" because of budgetary concerns. The arts department was one of the first programs to be discontinued. Unfortunately, this type of situation is much too typical in these times. Today's economy is responsible for reductions in many schools and institutions.
Reading through one of our local Jewish newspapers, I was delighted to see a full-page advertisement publicizing a celebration for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. The 62nd anniversary of the resurgence of the Jewish State is certainly worthy of a party. In fact, after 2,000 years of bloodstained exile, it is an incredible, modern-day wonder.
A dreadful event occurred last month at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Animal trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by an errant whale that pushed her off a platform and dragged her under the water.
The Second Annual Fashion Show and Sale - run by the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School (WYHS), a religious Zionist high school in Boca Raton, Florida - was a grand success. Organized by seniors, Alix Greenberger and Elizabeth Markovitch, the event was run to demonstrate that being fashionable and modest is possible.
everal weeks ago an 18-foot chunk from the wing of a cargo plane broke off and fell out of the clear blue sky. The plane had been flying overhead en route to the nearby Miami International Airport. The debris crashed in a mall parking lot. Miraculously, there were no casualties.
The Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Rishon L'Tzion,Rabbi Shlomo Amar, visited the Chaya Aydel Seminary in Hallandale Beach, on Thursday, January 21. Rabbi Amar spoke about the seminary year and blessed the students and teachers.