Dear Ariana, It was a steep, downhill walk from our bunkhouse to the marquee where we would be lighting Shabbos candles. A weak sun sank lower into the mountains, the sky behind it a hazy yellow with streaks of pink weaving their way through purple accents.
“I think I’m going to stay alone for Yom Tov,” I said, shivering with the frightening finality of the words. The rav sprung into action. He pulled open the fridge and pulled out a small tin of sliced gefilte fish. He pulled open the freezer and pulled out a pan of roasted chicken.
A week- seven days. That’s how long I spent in the dustbin of Jewish History that is Poland. I went there to learn about, and to see first hand, the country that housed the absolute horrors of the Holocaust, but I also went to see the places that had once housed such rich Jewish life. As such the trip focused, in my opinion, on three aspects of Jewish life in Poland: pre-war, the Holocaust years and then post-war.
This is not my story at all. But when I heard it from Avigayil Madmoni, formerly Gin Lin Lug, a Chinese convert, I gained a new view of what Torah means to me. I know for sure, as anyone who has ever met this very charming, sincere, lovable young woman will agree with me, that Avigayil is my sister like any other Jew and that she surely stood at Har Sinai -- together with my ancestors and the souls of their descendants, namely me and all the Jews alive today, and who have ever lived, since the giving of the Torah.
Whenever I got praised for an achievement, I feel like I should say that half the praise goes to my parents. Although they can get on my nerves, I am really blessed with a mother and father who have molded and shaped me (by any means necessary) to become a successful human being.
From the gmail statuses and e-mail forwards I get, it seems like everyone has some idea of what true friendship is all about.
Everyone, at least one time in his or her life, gets knocked down, and most of us have trouble getting back up. Let’s face it – we all get depressed at times. Sometimes we get stuck in a funk and we don’t know how to get out of it, especially if we’re constantly being knocked down. Eventually, we don’t even want to get up anymore. Why should we get back up, just to get knocked down again?
God is always there, waiting for you to stretch out your little pinky so that He can tug on it and engulf you in a never-ending warm hug.
“May I please have the water?” my older sister asked from across the table. I passed the heavy container of Poland Spring water across the table to her.
Growing up, I remember my father’s Rosh Hashana ritual. He read the story of Rabi Amnon of Mainz, who had his tongue, hands and legs cut off for refusing to convert to Christianity – for choosing to remain a Jews. I would run away from the table sobbing in terror. Even at the tender age of six, I knew that being Jewish made oneself a member of an endangered species.
I love Pesach. Really, I do. Even with the stress and preparation associated with March Madness (I still have no idea why my father thinks it has anything to do with basketball), I enjoy it. Maybe it's because of my mother's spinach kugel, or the way I still love actively searching for the afikoman.
When is a concert not just a concert? When it’s a Mishkon concert, of course! Unlike any regular concert, when a band comes to Mishkon the campers are the stars. At a regular concert, everyone sits in the dark on cushioned seats. Not in Mishkon!
Four stories, four sets of relationships, four life lessons. In one short week from January 15-22, 2012, my world was altered forever by the stories, relationships and life lessons experienced on the Center for Jewish Future mission to help build an irrigating tilapia farm for the small Mexican village of Muchucuxcah.
I love coffee, but I cannot drink it. This has been the case since my doctor issued the verdict last month - no coffee and no milk. I was quite disappointed to hear that as I love coffee, but I was determined to follow expert medical advice. That conviction, however, did not last more than one week into a new semester with a full course load.
The sudden jerk of the train woke Rena up with a start. She blinked a couple of times realizing she was still on the subway. Her head was pounding from the roar of the tracks. She adjusted her headphones letting the music echo heavily in her ears. Rena closed her eyes again trying to ignore the headache which just wouldn’t go away.
Are you totally bored of today’s uniform dress – that of a shell and pencil skirt? These wardrobe staples have carried you through the past few years’ whether the style was short, low-cut, sleeveless and/or sparkly.
Turbulence. There is Turbulence Up here. In the air.
Daven brachos. I hardly knew where the thought came from. I was lying in bed, so weak I could not move, too tired to contemplate getting up. But it's better to say brachos lying down then not to say them at all.
Beads of sweat were forming on my hand as I held the warm phone and listened to the rings one by one. RING… I tried staying calm as I waiting for the answer. RING… I looked down at the phone. My finger makes its way to the red button on the right. Should I just press end? RING…
College should be a place of learning, a place for a free exchange of ideas, a time to explore new perspectives.
Watching people a few hundred feet up in the air, walking or bicycling on a string has always astonished me. Regardless of the science behind it (using a long pole as a means of forcing one's center of gravity onto the string) does nothing to subtract from the magnificence of the act.
A dream, A shining ball of brilliance Held lovingly in my palm Its sparkle shone with The edges of my tears.
Branches, in many ways, are like people. A tree has one trunk, and extending out from it are many branches, which are all beautiful in their own unique way.
Our people’s history is not a kind one. I remember reading about the 1648-49 Chmielnicki massacres of the Jewish communities of Poland (Gezerot tach v’tat) and weeping, asking myself why we were chosen if it meant suffering so?
When I first decided to become an English major, I didn't really anticipate any problems that would involve my Judaism. This is not a common choice for Orthodox college women, but I chose a different path because I knew what I loved and I was confident that I could land some sort of job with an English degree.