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Leaving The December Dilemma Behind

26 Kislev 5772 – December 21, 2011
No matter our stage in life, one is seldom comfortable feeling left out. Unfortunately, many American Jews experience exactly that feeling each year as Christmas approaches. The term “December Dilemma” is used to describe the tension many Jews feel sitting on the sidelines, unable to fully enjoy or participate in the distinctly Christian themes and activities occurring all around.

A Prayer

18 Tishri 5772 – October 16, 2011
During Yom Tov, the great majority of Jews are surrounded by family, friends and neighbors. Whether in shul or at the table, we share the holiness and festivities that define our holidays with the ones we love and are connected to. The hours fly as we daven, and later feast on a succulent variety of fish and meat dishes, kugels, salads and desserts. The day is full of warmth, color and noise as adult banter mingles with children's chatter.

It’s Not About Freedom Of Torah Thought

18 Tammuz 5771 – July 20, 2011
When the recent spontaneous protests against the arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef gave way to official spin, the provocative initiators from the Attorney General's office likely breathed a sigh of relief. Once again, the "enemy" had painted himself into a patently irrelevant corner, and the partisan justice system - growing public disgust with it notwithstanding - remained the only show in town.

A ‘New Year’ Resolution

20 Tishri 5771 – September 28, 2010
The week-long holiday period that includes Sukkot, Chol Hamoed, Shmini Atzeret andSimchat Torah is almost over, as are all the attendant festivities, celebrations, family gatherings and trips, and of course, all that over-eating and indulging in food and drink. Most of us will happily (or maybe not so happily) go back to being absorbed by our day-to-day routines; for the great majority, life will return to "normal."

The Case Of The Charleston Synagogue Organ

18 Tammuz 5770 – June 30, 2010
In 1749 the Jews of Charleston, South Carolina established their first synagogue, Kahal Kodesh Beis Elokim (KKBE). Last month we examined the events that led some members of KKBE to establish The Reformed Society of Israelites.

Daniel In The Lions’ Den

28 Sivan 5770 – June 9, 2010
During the 2006 war in Lebanon, I attended a rally in New York. We were standing in front of the embassy of a particular Middle Eastern nation, peacefully assembled, listening to speakers address the issue of the day. A few people had Israeli flags, maybe a homemade sign here or there. We were passionate about Israel, but we certainly did not constitute what one would call a rowdy crowd.

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."

‘Crisis’ In Orthodoxy?

22 Av 5769 – August 12, 2009
The recent arrests of several New Jersey rabbis, coming on the heels of a variety of other scandals in Jewish life that also resulted in prominent arrests, have led many to conclude that Orthodoxy is in crisis and its entire worldview under siege and perhaps unsustainable.

Crunchy Good News From Israel

9 Tammuz 5769 – July 1, 2009
Based on the headlines in the daily papers and the sometimes truly disturbing images broadcast from Israel, one might get the impression that the average Israeli must endure a gut-wrenching daily balagan (controlled chaos). However, Kassam missile strikes and suicide attacks have never stopped the average Israeli from working or living life to the fullest.

Only Thirty -Three Political Parties

17 Shevat 5769 – February 11, 2009
In America elections usually involve two major parties and two or three minor parties.

Daughters And Daughters-in-Law Also Need Help – The Readers Respond (Continued)

28 Heshvan 5769 – November 26, 2008
I realize that many people attribute this type of negative, obstreperous behavior to the tenor of our times. We are living in Ikvesa d'Moshicha, a period, our sages tell us, in which chutzpah will abound - the young will rise against their elders, and children will relate to their parents and in-laws with insolence. But to me, that is not quite acceptable. I do not consider that to be a legitimate excuse.

Happy New Year? How Do You Know?

25 Tevet 5768 – January 3, 2008
Just days ago, millions of people all over the world welcomed in the secular new year of 2008.

The Inquisition In Mexico

13 Tevet 5767 – January 3, 2007
For centuries Mexico was inhabited by a number of different Indian races.

The Sanhedrin Reestablished (Part III)

11 Sivan 5766 – June 7, 2006
The new Sanhedrin first met in Tiberius because it was foretold that it would be renewed there and would be relocated to Jerusalem.

Letters To The Editor

21 Nisan 5766 – April 19, 2006
Applauds EditorialI heartily applaud your April 7 editorial - "Warm and Fuzzy 'Halacha'" - that called attention to the growing phenomenon of Jews, including...

The Old Shtetl Zakroczym

14 Nisan 5766 – April 12, 2006
Jews had always been permitted to settle in Zakroczym without restriction.

Rebecca (Machado) Phillips: Colonial Jewish Matriarch

8 Nisan 5766 – April 5, 2006
Little has been written about the lives of Jewish women during colonial times. In general, historians have focused on the lives of men who were noteworthy during that era, primarily because more information is available about men who were publicly active than women who, more often than not, devoted the majority of their efforts to the home scene.

King Sweeney And The Peace Process

17 Av 5763 – August 15, 2003
One of the unchallenged axioms of American civic
religion is that each and every group of people on earth must
consist of an "overwhelmingly vast majority of decent
hard-working honest people who want peace and are tolerant
and freedom-loving and anti-violence."

Q & A: Gerut During Sefira (Conclusion)

6 Sivan 5763 – June 6, 2003
QUESTION: I have received the good news that I am going to be accepted as a full-fledged member of the Jewish people. The Beit Din informed me that the gerutwill become effective a short while before Rosh Chodesh Iyar (late May), during Sefirat HaOmer. Do I continue to count Sefira after my gerut as I have been doing before it? I was told that a similar topic was previously discussed in this column. Perhaps you can helpme with my specific situation. Avraham b. Avraham (via e-mail)

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