The shul was packed for Yizkor service. For Mr. Reuven Black this year was particularly poignant; it marked the tenth Yahrzeit of his father, who had passed away shortly after Pesach. He had decided to do something special in memory of his father.
As the freight train rumbles down the tracks running along East Cary Street in the historic Shockoe Bottom district of Richmond, Virginia, it passes by a former tobacco warehouse. Parked conspicuously in front of the massive building stands a train car that once carried a different kind of freight. Step inside and you discover you're in a cattle car used to transport Jews to the death camps that sprang up like poisonous mushrooms, throughout the European landscape. This is your entrée to the Virginia Holocaust Museum.
There is hardly a Jewish child who has not been taught the story in the Talmud (Kiddushin 31a) of Doma Ben Nesina. He was the son of a jeweler who refused to wake up his sleeping father when representatives of the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple) came knocking on his door, wishing to buy certain precious stones for the Kohen Hagadol's breastplate (urim v'tumim).
Three-and-a-half years ago, the Israeli government expelled 8,800 Israeli residents from Gush Katif and destroyed their homes. Despite the residents' sadness and anger, they thought the worst was behind them; that they would have a chance, should they desire it, to start anew in communities and homes the government promised to provide them.
Have you ever wondered what a real korban Pesach looked like, or what the original appearance was of the kosher and non-kosher animals mentioned in Parshas Shemini? One need not travel far from home to get a glimpse of Torah wildlife. Preserved animals provided by renowned taxidermists are now on display at the Torah Zoo, an adjunct branch of The Living Torah Museum located at 1601 41st Street in Boro Park, in Brooklyn, New York.
"My mother always made the Jewish holidays lots of fun when we were growing up, so is it any wonder I started my own Judaica business?"
The term caravan often evokes images of weary travelers on camelback, nomads crossing through endless desert with no particular aim, and drifters and loners with regard for no one but themselves and the open road.
I was driving home from New York with my family at the end of our vacation when my cell phone rang. Since we were in Tennessee and I wasn't sure if it was legal to talk on the phone, my wife picked it up and said, "Hello."
Through rain, sleet, and snow . well maybe just snow, Jews from all over made it their business to attend this past Sunday night's Big Event at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden. Lipa Schmeltzer, along with other great Jewish entertainers, performed to an energized crowd of men, women, and children.
Twenty-four hours of tragedy turned to joy. A true v'nahapoch hu story for the month of Adar.
When a person goes through hard times words of encouragement can be a big lift. However, these well-intended words can backfire if they are seen as too unrealistic by the recipient and do not connect to what the person is going through.
A TIME is widely recognized and venerated as the nation's leading organization to offer support, advocacy, education, guidance and referrals to Jewish couples struggling with infertility. In order to accurately portray all that A TIME accomplishes on any given 24-hour period, I decided to spend a day with them and take note of the goings on. As an inconspicuous observer, I watched in awe and amazement as this group of special individuals took on all the daunting aspects associated with infertility.
In many ways, the Israel Defense Forces has always been an army for all Jews. But in the war against Hamas that just ceased, American Jews were particularly engaged and aware of the soldiers' plight.
When soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces went into combat against Hamas in Gaza, they were armed with the highest level of military equipment Israel could provide them. Some of the soldiers were also armed with "spiritual ammunition" provided to them earlier this week by the Orthodox Union (OU), which delivered 102 packages consisting of tefillin, tzitzit and a siddur with Tehillim prepared especially for soldiers on the battlefield. The materials were brought to Gaza by Rabbi Avi Berman, director of OU Israel, and represent the first disbursement of the special fund created by the OU to provide the items to soldiers who wanted to add a spiritual component to their armament. Funding for these packages was provided by Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills, CA. In the next few weeks, hundreds more of these packages will be provided by the congregation to soldiers returning from Gaza. "The IDF arms the soldiers with their military weaponry; the OU's mission is to arm them with spiritual ammunition as they put their lives at risk," said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. The fund-raising campaign is taking place in OU synagogues across North America. The tefillin delivered to the 102 soldiers on Sunday cost $33,000. Another 70 soldiers are on the waiting list to receive their packages. "Commanders who have been with the IDF for a long time were telling me that they didn't remember such a spiritual high in the army since the day after the Six-Day War," Rabbi Berman told The Jewish Press. "These tefillin represent Jews in America whose heart is with the soldiers who are risking their lives in Gaza. The soldiers are putting the tefillin on at a critical time in their lives, and the people who contributed are hoping that they will continue to do so forever and ever."
Last year on the seventh morning of Chanukah our phone stopped working. It wasn't completely dead; it was still receiving calls and placing outgoing ones. But there was a funny kind of static on the line.
Like many, yeshivas and shuls have taken a financial hit during this recession. A good way for them to make extra money would be by thinking like entrepreneurs.
As readers of this column know, our aliyah experience has been studded with many "firsts." Baruch Hashem, as of a few weeks ago, I can proudly add a new one to the list: my first Sabra.
A few months ago, Channel 8 (Israel's equivalent of PBS) broadcast a fascinating "reality" program on the life and times of a young Lubavitcher couple that went on shlichut to Vietnam in order to open a Chabad branch in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
The city of Jerusalem recently was the recipient of a magnanimous donation of 50,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands as representatives of the Dutch chapter of Christians For Israel made their presentation at the Hineni Center in Zion Square.
In an effort to stave off financial disaster, an elite group of economically- challenged American Jewish businessmen, investment firms and private individuals have put some of their most prized art collectibles up for sale via Israel's Matsart auction house.