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Our Shmitah Year

27 Sivan 5770 – June 9, 2010
Originally published June 13, 1980

Our Shmitah Year

Originally published June 13, 1980

The Reform Movement Comes To Charleston

Last month we traced the establishment and development of the Jewish Community in Charleston, South Carolina, and its first synagogue, Kahal Kodesh (Holy Congregation) Beth Elokim (KKBE). From its inception in 1749 the synagogue was Orthodox and followed the Sephardic ritual. (This was the case with all of the synagogues founded during colonial times.)

You Know Your Date’s A Mentsch If…

13 Sivan 5770 – May 26, 2010
While some people have the extreme mazel of knowing within an hour of their date that the person sitting across from them is the "right one," the vast majority of those on shidduch (blind) dates aren't so lucky. I would guess most first dates are parve - with the consensus being, "I had a nice time, but not amazing."

‘Will Ema Come Home?’

28 Iyyar 5770 – May 12, 2010
Dear Readers, As a change of pace, I wrote a short story with the hope that it might provide some insight as to how young children can assess ordinary situations in a way that may be surprising to grownups.

Are You ‘Linked In?’

Have you ever Googled your own name? That may not be a question you hear often, but when you take the time to do so, you may be surprised by what you find. Believe it or not, most employers Google the names of perspective employment candidates to see what they can find, and you do not want them to find your Purim pictures on Facebook.

The Early Jewish Community Of Charleston

The English first settled at Albemarle Point in what is now South Carolina in 1670. In 1680 this settlement was moved to a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, and became Charles Town (named in honor King Charles II). The new location was more healthful than the original settlement, and, since it was behind the islands of a land-locked harbor, provided safety from attack. The name was changed to Charleston at the end of the War of Independence.

‘Oh Baby’

14 Iyyar 5770 – April 28, 2010
I was eating in a restaurant recently, enjoying both the food (post-Pesach) and the company, when a few minutes into the meal the sound of a baby shrieking shattered the subdued ambiance. I looked around and saw a young mother and father sitting at a table, a baby carriage nearby. To my annoyance, they continued just sitting there, despite the fact that their child's cries had become more strident and ear shattering. They seemed oblivious to the noise, and were not in any hurry to do something about it. It was only after they noticed that people at other tables were eyeing them with mild (to extreme) disgust that the mother stirred herself to get up, pick up the infant - who looked to be about one month old - and try to calm him down.

When The Absence Of Pain Is Pleasure

30 Nisan 5770 – April 14, 2010
There is an old joke that describes a passerby who sees a man repeatedly hitting his head against a wall. Each time his head hits the wall, the man yelps in pain. Concerned, the first man runs up to him and asks why he keeps banging his head when it obviously hurts when he does so. The man answers, "Because it feels so good when I stop."

Because You Never Know

Ever since ISROYAL started the VIP service for travel to Israel, I have signed on for every flight. Every time I land in Israel, someone is waiting for me as I disembark from the plane, to take my bag and whisk me away to passport control and collect my suitcases. And then off to Jerusalem I go. If my suitcases are not held up by the baggage handlers, the whole process from start to finish is less than 30 minutes. The VIP service really makes one feel like royalty.

The Evil ‘Fourth Son’

14 Nisan 5770 – March 29, 2010
The Haggadah brings to our attention the "Four Sons," each of whom has a distinct nature that essentially represents the main types of Jews who cross our path. The one we most admire is the "wise" son. He is the kind of young man every parent, prospective in-law and teacher dreams of having come into their life. He is intelligent, sincere and inquisitive and has a thirst for knowledge. He knows where he comes from and embraces his Yiddishkeit.

Colonial Jewish Businesswomen

There is a stereotype that many may have regarding women of the past - namely, that their place was in the home. But this was not necessarily the case for Jewish women during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Indeed, there were some women during this period who were engaged in a variety of commercial endeavors. Things did begin to change at about the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the attitude that a woman's place is in the home became prevalent.

Why Winter Weather Is Good For You

17 Adar 5770 – March 3, 2010
Many of us in North America, even in areas that are usually relatively toasty during the winter months - like Maryland and Washington, DC - are impatiently counting the days until spring and the promise of warmth and sunny days. Even rain is looking good these days.

Building And Dedication Of The Newport Touro Synagogue

The January installment of Glimpses Into American Jewish History discussed the early Jewish settlement of Newport, Rhode Island.Even as the Newport Jewish community developed, its numbers were always small, especially compared to Jewish communities today. Indeed, despite growth during the middle part of the 18th century, there were probably never more than 100 Jews residing in Newport.

The ‘Older and Improved’ Me

3 Adar 5770 – February 17, 2010
If you look at an ad or a commercial, more often than not the hype will be about the "new and improved" version of a product. The emphasis is on the fact that it's "newer" and thus better than the "earlier" version.

A Prayer For Relief

19 Shevat 5770 – February 3, 2010
Several weeks ago, there was a flurry of articles in various newspapers about the possible release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit via a prisoner exchange. Some seemed quite optimistic that his tragic situation would finally be resolved. Sadly, to date, nothing has changed and he remains a prisoner, concealed and cut off from those who cherish him. In addition, the frum world has been rocked by several scandals involving pillars of the community whose moral integrity and Yiddishkeit seemingly have been overwhelmed and enslaved by the yetzer harah. Below is a petition to our Heavenly Father for rescue from the evil - both external and internal - that threatens our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Ezra Stiles And The Jews Of Newport

The Rev. Ezra Stiles was born on November 29, 1727 in Connecticut and graduated from Yale University in 1746. He then studied theology at Yale and was ordained in 1749. After working as a tutor at Yale for a year, he began some mission work among the Indians. In 1752 he was forced to give this up due to ill health. He turned to the study of law and in 1753 took the attorney's oath. He practiced law in New Haven until 1755, whereupon he returned to the ministry, accepting the position of pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island, serving there from 1755 until 1777.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (That is, if you’re a tree!)

12 Shevat 5770 – January 27, 2010
Every year, on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, we celebrate a strange holiday - Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of the Trees. The name is a short form of 15th Shevat - tet = 9 and vav = 6. This year, Tu b'Shevat falls on 3rd February, one month before Purim. It also has other names - Chag Hailanot - the Festival of the Trees; and Chag Haperot - the Festival of the Fruit.

FDR Defenders Top List Of Absurd Holocaust Statements

This is one "top ten" list no author wants to find himself on.

Indifference: The New Work Ethic

5 Shevat 5770 – January 20, 2010
Consumers beware: Shopping, gift-giving, vacationing, even making money may be hazardous to your health. Indulging in what should be routine activities can - due to a seeming epidemic of "who cares?" - induce extreme frustration, stress and anxiety, causing your blood pressure readings to be more like those of a thermometer just pulled out of a feverish child. Way too high.

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