Were you to play a game of word association, Pesach would immediately be connected with "cleaning "and "company" (and possibly, potatoes.) Pesach is the one holiday that magnet-like, pulls families together.
Although most of us are now focused on Pesach and rolling up our sleeves - both physically and mentally - we need to keep close to our hearts a wrenching message that was brought to the fore this particular Purim. For me and many other Jews, Purim was not "business as usual" in terms of having great fun, merrymaking and partying. Our joy was deeply tempered by the haunting images of the murdered Fogel family - a young mother, father, and three of their six children, including a three-month old infant girl - who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they slept, by Palestinian descendants of Amalek.
Originally published in The Jewish Press, January 29, 1960
During the latter part of 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, many European Jews viewed America as a treife medina (a non-kosher land) from the perspective of traditional Jewish religious observance. It was felt that it was virtually impossible to remain observant in America, and many Jews proved this was indeed the case, as they or their children abandoned much of their religious practices once they arrived in this country.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and possible 2012 presidential candidate, visited Israel earlier this week.
"Another day another dinar," sighed Esther as she prepared her daily infusion of Turkish coffee before leaving for her job as an assistant editor at her Uncle Mordy's business, Megillah Publishing. As usual, she turned to the classified/singles section of her favorite newspaper, The Persian Press, the largest independent Anglo-Persian weekly in the world - distributed in all 127 provinces. "Sounds interesting," she thought to herself as she glanced at an ad announcing a singles shabbaton taking place in the much buzzed about B'nai Benyamin shul that recently opened (at the cost of a million dinar) in the suburban sand dunes outside of the city. There would be tent hospitality for the guests since there was no hotel in the vicinity.
Sixty-five years is a long time. Indeed, it was not until about 1947 that a person born in that year could expect to live to at least age 65. So when one encounters a couple who have been married for sixty-five years, it is certainly worth noting.
The ghastly discovery of her brutally murdered family will haunt 12-year-old Tamar Fogel for the rest of her life. Returning to her home in the Shomron settlement of Itamar from a friend's house late Friday night, Tamar found her parents and three of her siblings lying dead in pools of blood.
In 1629 George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, applied to King Charles I for a charter to found what was to become the Province of Maryland. Tobacco had proven to be a profitable enterprise in Virginia, and Calvert was hopeful the same would prove true in this new venture. In addition, Calvert, a Catholic, hoped to found a religious haven for his co-religionists who were often persecuted in predominantly Protestant England.
Before leaving on my yearly trip to Israel, I heard the news of the passing of Irene Klass, a"h. Irene Klass was a pillar of strength in emunah, bitachon, and love of mitzvos and the Creator.
A letter to the Chronicles in Crisis column in the Magazine section of The Jewish Press a few weeks back (12-24-2010) greatly disturbed me. The writer expressed her opinion that many "older" female singles were not doing what was necessary to maximize their looks. She writes, as an example, that she was at a lecture given by a visiting rebbetzin from Eretz Yisrael and a quick glance at her fellow attendees affirmed her observation that many were "plain Janes" who were not trying to look more attractive - and hence be more marriageable.
The following article, published March 11, 1960, is the first column Dr. Mandel wrote for the newspaper.
In my previous three columns (1-7, 1-21 & 2-04-2011) I wrote about my experience with thyroid cancer - a disease that I actually had twice, almost nine years apart. I was very lucky that this is a very curable carcinoma, and even more fortunate that I never felt any real discomfort or pain from the two surgeries and radioactive iodine treatments I underwent. Even when I was very hypothyroid - a prerequisite for the radioactive iodine to have the maximum affect on any cancer cells that were not removed by the surgery - I still felt fine.
Back in the fall of 2002, nine years after my initial diagnosis of thyroid cancer - and hearing for four years that I was cured - my doctor found, to his great surprise a lump in the area where my thyroid used to be. The pathology report indicated that I had recurrent metastatic thyroid cancer.
The first ordained rabbi to settle in America, Abraham Rice did not arrive here until 1840. Before then, few men with anything more than a rudimentary Torah knowledge resided in America. One exception was Mordecai Moses Mordecai.
Veteran pro-Israel activist Herbert Zweibon, founder and chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, passed away in New York on Jan. 20 at age 84.
It’s true. My Zionism was made in China. I grew up in New Jersey in a town that was nearly one third Jewish. Everyone on my street was Jewish. Half my soccer team was Jewish. In Synagogue, my Cantor infused every message with Zionism, as did his wife and children. To my parents this was pure mishugas.
Back in the fall of 2002, nine years after my initial diagnosis of thyroid cancer - the last four of those being told that I was cured - my doctors discovered a tumor in the area where my thyroid used to be. (My malignant thyroid been removed via surgery.)
The story of Hebrew culture in Massachusetts begins with the very foundation of the Plymouth colony, for the first Hebraists to settle in New England came over in the Mayflower. Governor Bradford, one of the Mayflower Pilgrims, was a man whose ability, character, and comparative culture raised him above his fellow settlers. His knowledge of languages is praised by Cotton Mather in the Magnalia:" he was conversant with Dutch, French, Latin, and Greek, but the Hebrew [tongue] he most of all studied, because he said he would see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in their native beauty."
In my last column I pointed out certain things people should - or should not do - to keep themselves and/or their loved ones off the Tehillim list. Of course, despite one's best efforts, whatever Hashem has decreed will take place; yet, we are admonished to do our outmost to "watch over our soul."To that end, we need to take precautions, educate ourselves and be proactive in taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, putting up beeping motion sensors near swimming pools, learning how to swim - were some of the things to put on one's immediate "to do list."
Over the past years, like most people in our global community, I have received emails, phone calls and other notifications with requests to say tehillim for various individuals who sadly have life-threatening issues. Some are battling serious illnesses; others have been in car crashes and other mishaps; while some have almost drowned or been hurt in fires. The latest one is for someone I know who is now tragically in a hospital burn unit.
"What's new?" It was a casual question, posed to me by Irene Klass when we met at a Jewish women's lecture during the fall of 1994.
During my 25 years as an editor at The Jewish Press, I accumulated many fond memories of Irene Klass, a"h.
Approximately 15 years ago Ken Wiesen, the man responsible for resurrecting Turkish Taffy, was reminiscing with a friend about their childhood favorites and he was confident that while Bonomo's signature product could not be found in the New York area, it had to be available somewhere. Wiesen headed for an Internet caf? and was shocked to discover that the candy was still the subject of Internet chatter - from people who were lamenting its loss, to others who were looking to locate the sugary treasure, plus people who were drawing up petitions to bring back Turkish Taffy.
The Gemara in Brachos says that one is not allowed to add his own praises of Hashem while davening. The Gemara explains that by doing so it could seem that what one added was the only praise missing, and that there are no more praises of Hashem. Similarly, Bubby, for one to try to mention all of your praises would be impossible. With that said I would like to mention a few points, without implying that this is all there is to be said.