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2 Kislev 5778 -
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Sarah Silverman Took Us Down

Apparently nothing is more important in the world than Sarah Silverman and her uterus. As the entire world, and her father, have decided to...

Shimon HaTzadik…Simon the Just

What sets us apart from most people can be summed up so easily. Did you know that Sunday was the anniversary of the death of Shimon HaTzadik? He died about 2,300 years ago, give or take, and we know who he was, who his father was, what he did in his life, and where he is buried. And yesterday hundreds of Israelis likely visited his grave.

Q & A: A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part I)

Question: I am a single mother of young children. Their father has shirked all his responsibilities to them. I do my best for my children, but it isn’t easy. Isn’t their father in serious violation of the Torah by neglecting his children and not making any effort to provide them an education? No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

Medicinal Cannabis and Dr. Johnny

“Your father is finished, we’ve done all that we can,” they would say, adding, “Johnny. Talk to Johnny.”

Davening with Baby

Some 21 years ago I had the honor of being the stay-at-home father, while Nancy was the one with the grownup job that required...

The Way We Were

I though I might take a break from my regular fare here and talk a bit about my illustrious family. Many people know my New York cousins. Not so many know me. At least not outside my blog.

Torah Lengthens Life

Chazal tell us that Torah is our life and the length of our days. Here is a story that proves this statement quite literally. In Yerushalayim there lived a family in which all the children passed away at an early age. Everything possible was done to protect the children from illness and the slightest danger, however, it was to no avail. Not one child lived past the age of 18.

Do It Yourself Sukkah Shelf

Way back then, when we put up our Sukkah for the first time, my father-in-law added a shelf along one of the walls. Right away I was struck by how simple and practical this idea was. Years later, people are still commenting about it. So here are the details for the many who have a wood panel Sukkahs. With simple supplies, and minimal “handy man skills” your candlesticks, seforim, bentchers, flowers, etc can “hang around” the entire Yom Tov, and not be moved and removed countless times from being in the way.

Stressing The Positives

Dear Dr. Yael: My husband and I are, Baruch Hashem, happily married for five years. But there is a stumbling block constantly facing us.

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 14: The Dybbuk

Strangely, the person who seemed most affected by Tzeitl's death was Goliath. Upon hearing the news, he surrounded himself with an impenetrable wall. He...

Opening Hearts And Winning Over A New Generation: A Profile Of Chazzan Netanel Hershtik

Netanel Hershtik wears many hats but perhaps the one he is best known for is a soft, puffy headpiece known as a mitre, traditionally worn by chazzanim.

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter 13: Tzeitl’s Last Wish

"What are we going to eat?" Shmuelik asked Tevye as they changed into their Sabbath clothing. Tevye did not understand the question. "What do you...

What No Parent Wants to Watch

I clicked on the link and came to a YouTube video called "Dignified Transfer." I watched every second of it. Tears began to fall just as the plane came into view the first time.

The Perfect Formula

Over the past several weeks I have featured tragic stories of family disintegration. Some of you might protest that “tragic” is a rather extreme word and that “sad” or “painful” would be more appropriate, but once again I emphasize tragic.

2016: Effective, Well Done, a Caveat or Two

Dinesh D’Souza’s film, 2016: Obama’s America, is very good at putting the viewer in the milieu of Jakarta or Nairobi, which continue to feel “different” enough to engage the American viewer’s sense of distance and wonder. Conveying the difference of Barack Obama’s childhood and his idea of cultural roots – the difference from American life – is the movie’s most effective accomplishment.

What Can Prevent Marriage

Dear Dr. Respler: I notice a certain unfortunate trend. People who lose a parent at a young age often stay single for a long time – or, unfortunately, do not marry at all. This was first pointed out to me at a sheva berachos in the fall of 2011. My internal thought was that the person who lost his father when he (the son) was just 28 – which, in my opinion, is an age when one should be able to function on one’s own – was simply looking for an excuse to rationalize why he had not yet gotten married.

Eidim Zomimim: Conspiring Witnesses

In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses the halachos of eidim zomimim. The Gemara in Makkos 2a explains that eidim zomimim is when one set of two or more witnesses testifies against someone, and another set of witnesses testifies that the first set of witnesses was with them and therefore could not have known their testimony. The Torah says that the later set of witnesses is believed and the testimony of the first set of witnesses is disqualified.

Torah Scrolls Returned to Polish Village

Two Torah scrolls, one complete and one incomplete, were found in Poland's Sokolow Podlaski district. The Torah scrolls found Aug. 20 are believed to have...

More On Family Breakdowns

For the past several weeks this column has featured letters from parents who have experienced rejection and hatred from their children – as well as my suggestions on how to cope with such situations. This week I would like to share a letter that adds another dimension to the breakdown of so many families in our community. In this instance it’s not the children who have rejected the parents but a parent who has rejected her child.

FF Syndrome: Frequent = Forgotten

I'd like to submit that anything Frequent in our life tends be Forgotten! Something we see every day does not rank high on our list of concerns, and therefore, we just naturally forget about it.

Whose SImcha Is It Really?

The focus of a wedding and its source of simcha changes as one ages.

Title: Explaining Life: The Wisdom of Modern Jewish Poetry, 1960-2010

The poems in this collection, Explaining Life: The Wisdom of Modern Jewish Poetry, 1960-2010 – some written originally in Yiddish and Hebrew – do “pierce the heart,” and educate it as well. These are poems about major issues in daily life – love, loss, alienation, family relationships, the after-effects of war, death and renewal – which help us reflect on how we are living and suggest possible ways to cope with and to improve our lives.

The Blessing

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

Family Breakdown (Part Two)

The response to my columns regarding family breakdowns has been explosive.

Help Save the World!

About a month ago, I received an email from a 16 year-old girl from Europe, saying that she was on the way to the airport to fly to Israel. She said that her mother read my blogs at The Jewish Press and hoped that maybe I could help her, not knowing where else to turn. She wants to finish high school in Israel, make aliyah, and go into the army. Her present high school is all gentile and Moslem and very anti-Semitic. Could I help her, she asked?

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