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February 11 marked 25 years since Natan Sharansky crossed the Glienicke Bridge from East to West Germany and became a free man. Countless stories have been told about Sharansky's defiance of the Soviets and his courageous actions during his more than nine years of imprisonment.
The High Holy Days are over. It was an awesome spiritual time - when we probed or souls, asked profound questions and tried to determine what our lives are all about. We made resolutions - each in our own personal way - committed to being better Jews. We promised to become better ambassadors of Hashem, more meticulous with mitzvot, more devoted and zealous in doing acts of loving kindness, and in general, become more dedicated to our Torah and all that that implies. And now comes the big question: Are we still determined to make that change?
God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Sarah's only child. Our forefather gets up early and obeys, not telling Sarah, his wife of 47 years. According to Rashi (Genesis 23:2) when she finds out that Abraham had taken Isaac as a sacrifice and then had not killed him, the shock is too much for her and she dies. This has always disturbed me. Upon reflection other things about their relationship seemed problematic.
The soft, laughter-inflected voice of psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff narrates her autobiography. It keeps readers glued to the pages describing Orloff's formerly tumultuous life as an adolescent intuitive - a correct observer of human emotions - then catches up with her highly respected present.
There is so much tragedy, so much sham in the world, that people no longer know how to make a distinction between emes - truth, and blatant falsehood - and we Jews suffer from this plague more than others. Israel is constantly under attack, constantly demonized by a world that has become increasingly anti-Semitic, by a world that would secretly be happy to G-d forbid, see yet another Holocaust unfold.
I am interrupting the sequence of my articles regarding questions posed by widows and widowers. B'Ezrat Hashem, I will continue that discussion in future columns. But for now, I feel compelled to address the tragic events that have once again unfolded in Eretz Yisrael. I would also like to remind our readers to daven and say Tehillim for the valorous wounded Israeli soldiers who were so savagely attacked. I make a special point of this because shockingly, I have discovered how few of us stop to consider the pain of our brethren.
Beloved nutritional counselor a.k.a. naturopath Shoshanna Harrari lives in Israel and hops around the globe helping clients to live healthier lives. With an impressive record for reversing disease, the author is an in-demand speaker and consultant. Her recipe book is a tool for resting her voice and a great addition to many kitchens. Photos by Shoshanna's husband Micah Harrari show the bounty of blessings upon our plates, if only we'll put them there.
A few years ago I wrote in this column that at the bris of my oldest son - held in a shul whose members were for the most part elderly - a wizened old man approached me, peered into my face and muttered in a raspy voice with a Yiddish accent, "May your children sit shiva for you." I was too stunned to say anything to him and just shook my head as he walked away. I thought, "nebach, he must be demented."
In the past, when I would interview members of well-spouse support groups the topic of suicide was one that was never discussed. However, I always felt it was in the air, just hovering above the group and something very often hinted at in our discussions. Talk of self-neglect, of deliberately doing things detrimental to one's health and avoiding things that were healthy, would come up repeatedly.
Over the years, I have been to many, many theatrical productions, most in Toronto, some in Israel and of course, in New York - on Broadway, off-Broadway, and even off-off Broadway. At times I have been entertained, amused, moved, and educated by what I have seen ( and on the negative side, sometimes bored or disgusted or angered) but I don't think that I have ever been imbued with a much needed sense of hope.
Aside from a poster depicting the 40th anniversary of El Al that greets visitors immediately, and a couple of El Al coasters on the coffee table, there is not much in the living room of the Upper West Side home of Marvin Goldman to suggest that he is an avid collector of El Al material and paraphernalia.
The entire downtown business district would pour into the streets around 5:30 p.m., clogging the already congested traffic lanes of Chicago's bustling Loop. Blaring horns of Checker taxicabs and city buses made it hard to hear one's own voice, but I always heard my father's voice...
When one decides to have children, one has to decide: how one intends to bring them up, what values one will imbue in them and how one will stress their importance. Whatever they may be, when one instills the right values in a child, one later receives the dividends of one's efforts. This was proved so true this past Yom Kippur for Rebbetzin Judith Friedlander.