As Yaakov makes his way back to the land of Canaan, several events - spanning the full range of emotions - transpire in rapid succession.
Four years ago, when I began writing about the topic of child molestation, our community had not yet been slammed by the high-profile abuse cases that drew the attention of the local and national media.
Imagine a child on a bicycle speeding downhill. The world is whizzing by. The road takes a sudden curve. The wind whips his face and his eyes blur with tears. Suddenly, he spots a ditch up ahead. He tries to brake − but the brakes don't work! As the bike's momentum increases, it is all he can do to keep from flying off. Obstacles in his path cry out for his attention. Everything seems out of control. What chance does he have to avert the tractor-trailer heading right toward him?
Sometimes our sight is blurred by the magnitude of our surroundings. As the old saying goes, "you can't see the forest for the trees." Nevertheless, this is very true. Sometimes we don't see the obvious because of other distractions. In our tefillah, we ask G-d to "enlighten our eyes". We often miss the treasures that Hashem has given us; we take them for granted.
Here's our dilemma: We have three teenage children, two girls and a boy, 14-18 years of age. Every Motzaei Shabbos, we have major negotiating sessions with each of them regarding curfew and the appropriateness of the venues they and their friends are looking to go to.
Anyone who has been a parent for a while understands that children will most likely display imperfect behavior from time to time. But how do you determine if your child has a serious problem with her/his behavior, one that is more than just a passing phase of rebelliousness? And once you've properly assessed the condition, how do you go about treating it so that he/she can become a respectful and productive member of society?
Electrifying, inspirational, and uplifting are some of the words used to describe the unique concert that took place on Sunday evening, October 26, in the Rose Theater of The Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Does the following script resonate with you? Father to mother: "How do you expect him to be frum when you let him to go to the mall? You don't stop him from hanging around with those 'bad' kids." Mother to father: "You're always blaming me! When have you ever learned with him without yelling or putting him down?" "When was the last time you said something positive to him − anything, anything at all?"
Since the news broke more than a week ago about the arrest by the FBI of a frum, heimishe man in my hometown of Monsey for allegedly doing unspeakable things repeatedly to a girl/young woman closely related to him over a period of many years and spanning three countries, people have been asking me the same question again and again - "Could this possibly be true?"
When verbalized in connection with parenting, the idiomatic expression, on the same page, at times, is misunderstood. Some people believe the term implies total agreement where one of the spouses gives up his/her right to disagree on an opinion, decision or direction s/he wishes to follow. In truth, while "agreement" is definitely implied, the undercurrent is one of a supportive nature.
The first column I ever wrote was published in the May 1996 issue of The Jewish Observer. My topic, underachieving children and the increased rate of dropouts of boys and girls from our community, was not discussed in polite company at that time.
One of the positive outcomes of the brouhaha regarding the harassment of Dr. Benzion Twerski - which led to his resignation from Assemblyman Dov Hikind's panel on child abuse - was the realization on the part of many members of our community that they cannot afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.
It is difficult to describe the sickening, gut-wrenching sensation I experience when I get phone calls from parents whose children were sexually abused or from adults who have carried the horrible scars of childhood abuse for decades, often shredding their relationships and ruining their lives.
In last week's column, a parent named Sara asked how she should deal with a book she bought on the planets that contains text describing the world as being 15 billion years old. She questioned if she ought to read it to her children and discuss with them the fact that there are people who believe this - while sharing with them our belief that the Torah teaches us that the world is 5,766 years old.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz: Recently, I bought a book on the planets that begins with a description of a 15 billion-year-old world. Can I read that book to my children and discuss with them the fact that there are people (even smart people) in the world who believe this, yet help them understand our belief that the Torah - which is the emes - teaches us that the world is 5,768 years old? I want my children to know that there are people who incorrectly believe this, and I also would like them to hear this from me - and not from someone who doesn't have proper hashkafos. At the same time, I understand that the theory of evolution is not accepted in the Torah world. I hope I am not putting you in an uncomfortable position with this question. Sara
As Bnei Yisroel passed through the land of Ya'azer and Gilad in the "Ever HaYarden" (land East of the Jordan River) they noticed that the land was very fertile and quite suitable for grazing animals.
Rabbi Horowitz: We are not quite sure how to respond to the request of our 12-year-old son, who is begging us to be "left alone" for the second "trip" (the last four weeks of summer) and not attend a local day camp.
Our Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs face the growing rate of childhood obesity. "Overweight children are more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to grow into obese adults. Obesity can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone and joint problems, asthma, and several types of cancer," says Chaya Stern, RPA and nutritionist.
The sweet and salty salvation of picky eaters across the lunchroom has become public enemy number one to many children. The tub of peanut butter that taught me the meaning of "industrial size," is no longer relevant in many schools.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz: We are all aware of the terrible churban that recently took place in Yerushalayim's Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, where eight precious neshamas were taken from us.