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28 Kislev 5778 -
? Saturday, December 16, 2017


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Being Gay and Orthodox Gets Really Complicated

Our recent discussions in the Jewish media of gay marriages and the conflict between being a faithful Jew and being gay reminded me of...

Boundless Miracles Available For The Taking

Dear Dr. Respler: The holidays are a great time to learn about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly – and then try to make lemonade from the lemons, turn the positive into building blocks, and generally create good things from the lessons learned. The Yamim Tovim are saturated with kedushah, leading to beautifully crafted creations from what one learned and experienced during these holy, spiritual days.

Was There A Coincidence In The Air?

My daughter, son-in-law and three children had reason to move to Buffalo, NY from Brooklyn this past summer. As we watched our grandchildren’s cute little faces peeled and waving through the back window, we knew we were in for a huge adjustment. We knew we would obviously miss them but we also were aware that we gave our children wings to do as they saw necessary (and they saw it necessary to drive seven hours away to their new home).

Acting Respectfully Always Pays Off

Dear Dr. Yael: Although I agree with your advice to A Passive Reader (Showing Respect Gets Results, 4-20) about how to deal with difficult people, I emphatically disagree with your decision to take the blame for the impatient frum guy who was honking his horn. If you saw him run someone over with his car, would you take the blame for that too? If you had gotten a ticket, would you have paid it? If the officer had arrested you, would you have gone to jail? I am not a rabbi, but I would be surprised if not informing means taking the blame as well.

Extreme Makeover: Orthodox Edition 2012

By now everyone has heard of Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. The book received much more attention than it should have.

Showing Respect Gets Results

Dear Dr. Respler: At the recent wedding of my best friend’s son, I arrived for the chuppah early so as to secure a seat close to the front and by the aisle. I didn’t want to miss anything.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Reflection, Rebuke and Reverberations…An open letter to Deborah Feldman

Coming To Shul To Think

Question: If a person has a number of personal concerns that need to be thought out and analyzed, can he go to shul to do this?

Kerovim Or Rechokim: Where Should Our Kiruv Priorities Lie?

As rav of the Brooklyn Jewish Experience, a local kiruv organization devoted to reaching out to Brooklyn’s almost 70 percent non-observant Jewish population, I also teach and counsel young adults (18-33 years old) from the frum community. These students are often indistinguishable from their frum peers. Outwardly they may appear frum, but inwardly they’re disenchanted, jaded, and alienated. Their exterior appearance is largely a façade and their feeling of disenfranchisement from frumkeit is frighteningly real. There are others that are part of our program who, tragically, already took the next step and are no longer observant.

Twisted Values and the Tyranny of Short-sightedness: A Plea to Love Our Daughters as...

Yes, beauty plays a role in courtship. But when we allow it to rule, then we – not beauty – become our daughters’ tyrants. We are fearful our daughters will remain single for too long, and so we grasp at straws – thin, brittle, unstable straws. But “extreme makeovers” and intensifying their already ample body-image anxieties are not the answer.

Tzadik Plastic Surgeon to Shadchanim: Free Nose Job for Your Clients Who Need But...

Board-certified Miami plastic surgeon and Nose Job Specialist Michael Salzhauer surprised me. He forced me—an instinctive objector to vain mutilation for the sake of some notion of exterior beauty—to reconsider my views on this issue. And he's not cynical, that was another huge surprise. I walked away convinced he means every word he says.

Purim And The Tyranny Of Beauty: A Plea to Mothers of Girls in Shidduchim

I know I’m going to be crucified, but if the appeal I make below helps even one girl in shidduchim, then it will be worth all the fury and outrage that shall inevitably descend upon my soon-to-be beleaguered head.

To A Lonely Wife: Give It A Rest!

Dear Dr. Yael: I read the March 2 letter from A Lonely Wife who feels unappreciated and neglected as she seeks more attention from her...

A Prayer From The Heart

Jonathan, who once wondered how he would ever get his son close to Hashem, now knows he wasn’t the only one who wanted it. Hashem had an interest in it as well, and made it all come together.

Bully To You, Haman

Purim is just a few days away, and Jews young and old are gearing up to celebrate this most festive of holidays, during which all will eat, drink and nosh merrily and in great relief over our come-up-from-behind triumph against a vicious Jew hater whose goal was to annihilate the Jewish people, but who instead had the tables turned against him in a dramatic and unforeseen manner. Sadly, bullying is alive and well in the 21st century afflicting all societies and the individuals that comprise them. For those who think that our heimishe communities have been spared the scourge of bullying - it's time to get their head out of the cholent.

Frum Fairytales: The Alternative To ‘Princess And The Pea’

There once was a man named Shloime, and he was a Jewish Prince. Or so his mother thought of him, and not many others did, though he was a nice guy and all...

Why I Dread Purim

There certainly are many reasons to look forward to Purim. It is a time of feasting, joy, and merriment. We celebrate an important victory over our enemies, which was a precedent for many other such victories over the course of our history. We read one of the most moving stories in our entire tradition, and we have good fun while we’re doing it.

Leah Ashkenazy: Jewish Artist

We live in a wonderful time for Jewish art. The orthodoxy of 20th century High Modernism has given way to a chaotic but liberated postmodernism willing to try anything, even serious “ethnic” art.

A Shampoo Gemach

I thank Hashem that my daughters play “shampoo gemach", and I take pride in our community, which stresses gemachs and acts of gemilas chesed. Families try to find ways to help others, and people go out of their way to search for opportunities to practice kindness.

Is It The Frum Woman’s Fault?

Dear Dr. Respler: I disagree with the January 27 letter writer, Desperate Single Woman, who wrote that the frum, older singles scene is easier on the men. Well, I am a man who desperately wants to get married and start a family.

‘All Your Deeds Are Written In A Book’

Recently, I discovered a frum website, www.jewish-e-books.com, that allows one to download hundreds of Jewish books – both in English and Hebrew. Having written a sefer myself, I was able to get it put on their website.

The Jewish Press Won’t Be Silenced

A significant number of suicide attempts are committed by boys from not just religious but rabbinic homes -- because they thought they were homosexual and had no place in the Orthodox world they grew up in, even if they had never acted on those impulses.

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