Gratitude

He sat in his prison cell sulking. I'll call him Steven. Time was playing tricks on him. It seemed like only yesterday, but at the same time like a lifetime ago, that he was married to a wonderful woman and had children who were the joy of his life. He had a high-powered job on Wall Street and luxuries that the average person couldn't imagine.

A Chance Minyan At The Cemetery

This is a story about my father-in-law. On the 12th of Tevet, the yahrzeit of his father, Yaakov Eliezer ben Yosef Dov, took place. Rav Yaakov passed away 44 years ago. That night, my wife hosted a yahrzeit seudah (meal) in our home. My father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Lazarus, told stories about his father, accompanied by divrei Torah.

The Upsherin

Have you ever been to an upsherin, a hair-cutting ceremony? I had never been to one until I was invited by my gentleman friend, Sy, to attend one in honor of his great-grandson, Gabriel, given by his grandparents, Steve and Robin Kerzer. Even Sy, an Orthodox Jew, had not heard of it. Both of us knew it was the custom not to cut a boy’s hair until he was three years old, but we had no idea what was involved.

Purity

What is purity? Too much of what purports to be good is watered down by the "not so good." There seems to be a lurking selfishness behind many sin-cere gestures - a "what's in it for me?" approach. With cynicism the order of the day, anyone who tries to rise above the rat race is often condemned as hypocritical or phony. In such a world, the concepts of purity of character and purity of purpose seem to be simply theoretical.

The Shtender And The Wine Glezel

My home is furnished simply. One notes the customary family photos and bric-a-brac that makes a house a home, but certain items are my priceless treasures.

May His Name Be Called in Israel…

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

Hashem Has Wondrous Ways Of Helping Us

The time came for the case to be called up and there was Mr. Cohen, facing the judge alone (of course, he knew that he wasn't alone, but his lawyer wasn't there.)

Flying High

We all said our goodbyes and exchanged lots of hugs and best wishes before heading to bed the night before her flight, just in case we would not wake up in time to see her off. Better too many hugs than too few…

The Silver Chalice

I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.

A V’nahafoch Hu Pesach

Did I mention that my daughter-in-law has seemingly unlimited excess energy, and is one of the best cooks and bakers I know?

On Target

There was one man in a wheelchair, and some of the assembled were uneasy about leaving him behind. If they would begin pushing the chair, they would surely not make it to shelter quickly enough.

A Good Deed That Traveled 45 Years

One day, I was in the basement of a building and I had just finished collecting the change there and was about to leave when I saw money on the ground. I picked it up and it was two one-hundred-dollar bills in a rubber band. I wanted to find its owner and return it but I knew that would take time.

A Family Built On Ideals

Miriam married at 31, and she and Shlomo had seven kids, including a set of twins. But Miriam wanted more children – not hers, other people’s. She wanted a house full of unwanted children.

Twenty Dollars – And Help From Above

I returned to work after the pre-summer Memorial Day weekend and found on my desk a brochure sent from the American Friends of Kupat Ha’ir. It described a tragedy that had recently taken place in Eretz Yisrael. A tzedakah campaign had been created after the father of 13 children was suddenly killed in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and the 13 children – including a six-day-old baby.

Helping Hand

Tefillah is a powerful tool. When we see Hashem's hand at work, we are overwhelmed. One of my neighbors recently experienced Hashem's answer to her tefillah firsthand. She had brought her car in for repairs to the local auto shop. Rather than wait for it to be repaired, she decided to walk a mile to the nearest pizza shop for lunch. As she walked down a busy street, she passed a shopping center. Suddenly, she literally didn't know what hit her.

Do You Know Anyone Called Zvi?

They realized he must have got on a bus, but they had no idea which bus. They had no way of knowing whether it had been a bus to Ramot where we live.

A Pesach Postscript

Rafael looked up at the heavens and asked, “What am I doing here? Why do I deserve this? I am not even being helpful. I want to be able to have a Seder.”

Challenges

I found myself struggling to understand the rapid fire Hebrew spoken all around me but I forced myself to speak the little Hebrew I knew and slowly I became proficient.

Lost And Found

My son lost his backpack when traveling back to his base. He had put it in the hold of the bus in which he was traveling. He would need to replace his wallet, tefillin, clothes, books, phone charger and all of his documentation. Of course the tefillin was the most important item of all. It was a bar mitzvah gift from his grandparents and specially written for him, and we all know how expensive tefillin are. But obviously the sentimental value was irreplaceable.

The Prayer That Was A Gift

I had no need for my prayer book because, amazingly, my sincere heartfelt prayer came out spontaneously and instantly; I did not have to even think about what to say.

German Bullies, A Milk Bucket, And Divine Providence

Judaism holds that nothing happens by chance, that everything is orchestrated by Hashem. And so it was long ago on a Sunday morning, about a month after Pesach when my father ran an errand for his parents.

‘I Inspire Myself’

We first met Shlomie (name and some details have been changed) over 20 years ago. He davens in our shul, and he and my husband share a love of photography. Over time, we got to know each other well.

What The Bookseller Taught Me

She called the woman over and asked her to wait. Mrs. H. went into a room and returned with a large bag, which she handed to the customer, telling her that she had already paid for it.

Is It Still Okay If Your Father Cries?

The phone rang. It was a call I'd been dreading. "Well, are you going to pick it up?" asked my wife after the third ring. Bobbie, my dad's wife, was calling as we had agreed she would in the event of a life-threatening emergency. My father was dying of stage-four colon cancer. "Well, are you going to pick it up?" asked my wife after the third ring. Bobbie, my dad's wife, was calling as we had agreed she would in the event of a life-threatening emergency. My father was dying of stage-four colon cancer.

The Dreaded Doorbell

Truth be told, Hadassah dreaded answering the doorbell. She knew that it was probably a charity collector, and her financial situation was precarious. She had just received a letter from Countrywide Mortgage. If the mortgage on her home in Morristown were not paid by August 12, the house would be placed in foreclosure.

Our Symphony

“Don’t say a word,” Mrs. P warned us with a wag of her finger. “Let the kallah think for herself.”

When The Time Was Right

When Jewish genealogical records became available online, his wife found the gravestones of his paternal great-grandfather and of the great-grandfather’s brother. Both tombstones clearly said “ha-Levi” on them!

A Get-Well Present From The One Above

During the past year I especially enjoyed looking at a website of a hotel in Monticello. Living near the beauty and calm of the water really appealed to me.

The ‘Stolen’ Lulav

Shlomo rushed off to pay the seller and return home happily with his prize...only to find that the stall was empty. Obviously the lulav seller had packed up and gone home as yom tov was fast approaching.

Love The Stranger

A pale young man shuffled into the small Jerusalem yeshiva during kriyat haTorah one Shabbat morning.

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