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The Cat Lady’s Message

22 Av 5772 – August 9, 2012
I was going crazy. I couldn’t stand it another minute. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had been blessed, b’li ayin hara, with children very close in age. Surely having one child after the other was a blessing to be grateful for. I knew there were many people who would give a million dollars to have such a “problem.” But still, it was very stressful. But that wasn’t the hardest part, and it wasn’t the main reason for my feelings of despair.

Iconic Sinners

20 Av 5772 – August 8, 2012
How does one reconcile greatness with evil? Is it possible that one can be a great contributor to society and have a dark side? And how are we to look at such a person? Does abusing someone sexually - even only one or two times to one person - negate all the good he has done?

Women Celebrate Completing Daf Yomi Cycle, Asking ‘Why Not?’

18 Av 5772 – August 5, 2012
On August 1, the biggest Jewish American event ever took place – the completion of the daily learning of the entire Gemara, which happens once every 7 and a half years, known as Siyum HaShas – filling of 90,000 seats at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. However, a significantly smaller, but just as intriguing group celebrated the event in skirts, scarves and a spirit of sisterhood in Jerusalem.

The Nestling

16 Av 5772 – August 3, 2012
Dear Readers: The following short story is fictional. However, many of you will surely nod your heads in agreement as you recognize people you know - perhaps yourself - in the characters I have described. I hope in future articles, to touch on what I believe are the various psychological factors that contribute to the shidduch crisis.

Woman Says Tzedaka Dollar Saved her Life in Bus Crash

Eliana Siegal says she believes she survived unharmed a bus crash yesterday, Thursday, on Interstate 55, because her father gave her a dollar to give to charity, a Jewish tradition that she said helped protect her en route. The 64-passenger bus she was sitting in blew a tire and skidded until it smashed into a concrete pillar of an overpass, resulting in many injuries and one death.

Death Brings Life

6 Av 5772 – July 25, 2012
Yishai and Malkah give a touching memorial for a friend and talk about the difference between religious and secular Jews in the IDF.

PC Just Went a Notch Crazier over Circumcision Petition

27 Tammuz 5772 – July 17, 2012
How our chief editor, who normally wouldn't hurt a fly, managed to offend a lady from Toronto by merely citing a Mishna…

Interacting With Coworkers

23 Tammuz 5772 – July 12, 2012
Dear Dr. Yael: I am very happy and successful in my line of work. However, I am having trouble with a coworker and hope you can help me. A few months ago, a new woman began working at my office. We share a workspace and often have to work together on projects. This woman seemed nice, but there have been several awkward situations between us that are really bothering me.

Stolen Waters are Sweet

Bright young minds will have questions. The most logical place to see answers is from your parents or teachers. But when questions are explicitly or implicitly forbidden, these very same young people will seek answers elsewhere. The easiest place to find them is the internet. Ban, no matter how strong they are, no matter how enforced they are will not prevent a young person from somehow finding access. And that’s when the slippery slope begins.

Unanswered Prayers

19 Tammuz 5772 – July 9, 2012
We Jews say that all prayers are answered - every single one. Just sometimes, the answer is "no."

Itshak Holtz Drawings

17 Tammuz 5772 – July 6, 2012
Examining a choice selection of drawings done by Itshak Holtz over 30 years ago is a rare pleasure that allows for the appreciation of his unique sensitivity and insights. I was afforded that pleasure at the inaugural exhibition of the Betzalel Gallery in Crown Heights this past May. Although this modest selection of 25 drawings and watercolors of this paradigmatic frum artist ranges from 1963 to 1999, the majority of the works is from the 1970s and reveals a special aspect of his inner artistic soul. The selection of images could easily narrate the fabric of ordinary Jewish life.

The Torah Source For Covering One’s Hair

9 Tammuz 5772 – June 28, 2012
We recently layned Parshas Naso which contains the Biblical source for the obligation of a married woman to cover her hair. An eesha sotah is a woman whose husband suspects her of having acted immorally. The Torah commands the Kohein to take various steps to demonstrate that the sotah has deviated from the modest and loyal path of most married Jewish women (Rashi 5:15-27). Among the procedures, the pasuk clearly states: “ufora es rosh haisha…” and he shall uncover the hair of the head of the woman (5:18).

So Different Yet Similar

7 Tammuz 5772 – June 27, 2012
Music played loudly while the men danced. On the women’s side of the mechitzah, we tried to speak over the sounds. I leaned over the table to hear what my co-worker’s wife was saying.

Grace and Respect

5 Tammuz 5772 – June 25, 2012
There is, in Israel, a built-in respect for the elderly. But Anthony Cordesman, who gave Professor Yehezkel Dror a prolonged scolding for interrupting him, is apparently unfamiliar with Israeli society. Yes, interrupting someone is bad manners, even rude - and while it isn't loved in Israel, it's just something that happens and we take it in stride. You cut back in, you talk, you communicate. What you never do is embarrass the other person, especially if he's older than you.

The Arab Spring vs. Women’s Rights

1 Tammuz 5772 – June 21, 2012
Resistance to the establishment of women's rights may be blamed on self-appointed male caretakers of Muslim tradition, who feel threatened by the appearance of a significant number of women in a public space, considered reserved for men only, and who say they see emancipated Muslim women as negative exemplars of Westernization.

Neighborly Chesed: Above And Beyond

1 Tammuz 5772 – June 20, 2012
My husband and I are living in our house for over 30 years. We have wonderful neighbors on both sides. The one on the right, a non-frum Jewish couple, lived in their house longer than we’ve resided in ours. We always got along very well with them, as they are unusually kind, friendly and helpful people.

The Wounded Sparrow’s Message

29 Sivan 5772 – June 18, 2012
My friend’s mother died the other day. I went to the funeral, cried with the mourners, walked the traditional four cubits following the coffin to escort the dead to their resting place, as is customary at Jewish funerals, and then went over to my friend to offer my condolences. And then it was over. The guests went home, the family went to bury their loved one, and I went back to my life.

Zohara

25 Sivan 5772 – June 14, 2012
Zohara was born in Morocco. With her husband, she raised a large family. A busy woman, she always seemed to find time to help others in need. Her daughter, Aliza, told me of the many sleepless nights her mother spent nursing babies. That is not unusual in itself, were it not for the fact that many of the babies she nursed were not her own.

Lakewood Girls School under Attack for Controversial Letter on Modesty

The Lakewood, NJ, Bnos Yaakov elementary school is not happy over the fact that an internal letter to its students has been published online. It contains a story with a disturbing notion of purgatory for girls who don't obey the laws of tzniyut (modesty).

Our Jewish DNA

24 Sivan 5772 – June 13, 2012
I’d like to share with you a story I believe is a wonderful gift we can present to Hashem now that the painful summer months of Tammuz and Av – months that saw the destruction of our holy Temple – are nearly upon us.

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