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A Himmel Geshrai

“A himmel geshrai” is a Yiddish phrase that, loosely translated, means “a tragedy of such catastrophic proportions that the heavens themselves cry out.” Sadly, every one of the letters on family breakdowns I’ve featured these past several weeks can be summed up as “a himmel geshrai.”

From Aliyah to Turkey to Israel and Iran

Yishai and Baruch Widen discuss the beginning of the school year in Israel along with the relationship between Israel and Turkey.

Ki Tetzei: The Rebellious Son

The Talmud asserts that the rebellious son of the verse below never existed and never will. Nonetheless, the Torah relates this law to advise parents in the most difficult of issues – raising children. To Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, the law and its lessons help reveal Israel's greatness.

A Lost License

I felt ill at ease in a strange way when our daughter drove off in our old Dodge Caravan to pick up my son from yeshiva. She was new at the wheel, and there was plenty of traffic to maneuver around in Lakewood on Friday afternoons. An innocent, precious neshamah in my eyes who didn’t belong on the busy roads, she wanted to help out. So when I was called later to the scene of the accident, the One Above seemed to confirm that my assessment had been totally accurate.

A Letter to the Corries: Your Daughter was Exploited, Don’t Blame Israel

You have chosen to honor your daughter's memory by taking her side. That's understandable, but it doesn’t validate the ideology that got her killed in order to further its goals of still more death and destruction.

Palm Beach Fl. JCC Squashes Videotaping of Presidential Debate

Round two in a no-holds barred debate on whether Jews should vote for Obama or Romney for US president took place Wednesday night at the Palm Beach South Jewish Community Center in Boynton Beach, Florida. The joint was jumping: hundreds of people were turned away for lack of space, audience members were shouting, speakers were heckled and interrupted and ugliness prevailed. But unless you were able to squeeze into the room, you'll have to take the word of those who were there. Why and when were cameras barred from the room? According to the panelists, the JCC management knew there were going to be cameras.

Gas Mask Distribution

Can you understand the concept that a young mother was happy that her son now had a gas mask? When you can, you'll understand what it is to be Israeli - at least in part.

JDL Vice Chairman Ari Ephraim Rubin, 30, Suicide

Ari Ephraim Rubin, vice chairman of the Jewish Defense League died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 20. At 30, Ari Rubin had been...

Look Out

I just finished trying on all my pre-nine day clothes. You know the drill: Wash your clothing but leave enough time to parade around in what will be worn for the next nine days. This way, it will not be freshly laundered. What amazes me is that each year I am sure it will be a very easy activity, since I have nothing to wear! Yet, somehow I find it very time-consuming.

Blaming Wrong

Last night, an Israeli bus was pelted by stones thrown by Arabs as Jews traveled to the Western Wall. No, the Temple Mount itself is not enough for the Arabs and so they attack Jews who are even close by.

Another Family Torn Asunder

My previous two columns focused on the fragmentation that has affected one frum family. Many readers may consider the story described to be a rare occurrence. I wish this would be the case. To be sure, each family crisis is its own unique tragedy, but the common thread of hatred is always there.

US Jewish Youths Choosing Elite IDF Units over Elite Colleges

More Jewish parents no longer ask their children only to which Ivy League schools will they apply, but in which elite IDF units they want to serve.

Cleveland Just Missed Its Chance to Own 3 Major League Jews

Had the (Jewish) heavens gone a little bit differently, Cleveland could become the first American city with three Jewish major leaguers playing at the same time.

A Family Torn Asunder

Last week I shared a tragic letter of family disintegration. What could have been a most beautiful mishpachah was torn asunder by one son and his wife who decided to sever all relationships with their siblings. Despite all the efforts on the part of the parents and the siblings, this son and his spouse remained refused to be reconciled. When simchas came – births, bar mitzvahs, weddings – the parents were invited but never the siblings. To add insult to injury the parents were treated disrespectfully on all of these occasions.

A Parent’s Anguish

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, This is the most painful letter I’ve ever written. I’ve been through many horrific experiences. My parents were survivors of the Holocaust; they were shattered people. I know you will understand this since you too are a Holocaust survivor.

Eytan Kobre’s Anti-Religious Rant

If the draft is going to be equally applied, religious sensitivities must be guaranteed to all. This means that the infrastructure must be created and enforced so that Charedim will be able to practice Judaism as they best understand it. The bottom line for me is that no Charedi mother should ever be faced by a Chiloni or Religious Zionist mother asking the question, “Why did my son have to die in battle while your son was safe in a Yeshiva?”

Florida State House Candidate Apologizes to the ADL

A son of Holocaust survivors, who is running for reelection in the Florida statehouse, has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League after labeling the group...

Turkey’s Intelligence…Oops…

My oldest son, Elie, spent today in the Reserves and will be in for a few weeks later this summer. It is what happens when they finish their service in the standing army – a yearly commitment to stay ready; to be prepared.

Foster Son of Jewish Mom Leads Italy to Final

Mario Balotelli, who scored two amazing goals against Germany June 28, to take Italy into the Euro 12 soccer championship final against Spain on Sunday (which they lost 4-0, and were totally outclassed by the world champion) – grew up as the foster son of a Jewish mother. Balotelli talked about his adoptive Jewish mother when the Italian national squad visited Auschwitz ahead of the start of the games.

Improving A Child’s Derech Eretz

Dear Dr. Yael: I have five children, and am struggling with my oldest son. He can be so good at times, but then he will...

West Coast Happenings

Summer Kollels: The Seattle Kollel offers a men’s evening SEED program from July 2-August 14. On those same dates, there will be a morning...

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