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Cool or Shul

I was in 10th or 11th grade at the Yeshivah, Rabbi David Eliach, the austere principal who was then about mid-way through his 43-year tenure, called a few of us from the religious honors class into his office. (The grade was segregated along the lines of religious/non-religious, Syrian-Sephardic/Ashkenazic, and honors/non-honors—aka “stupid.”) Rabbi Eliach told us that the high hopes he ... Read More »

Aruhat Tsaharayim

Tel Aviv, Israel- September 18, 2013: Vendors and buyers at the Sukkot Market in Rabin Square, looking at Etrog and Lulav (the for species) and decorations for the Jewish Festival of Sukkot.

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a cultural phenomenon simply by referring to its name. The noontime meal in Israel is called “aruhat tsaharayim”; in America, it’s called “lunch.” Officially, the definition of aruhat tsaharayim is a hot meat meal. It used to be a lot easier to fulfill this cultural obligation in Israel: the school day ended by ... Read More »

Dancing and Praying

I had always wanted to do Israeli folk dancing. I connected it in my mind with the Zionist experience and I wanted to be a part of it. Then I saw my chance: “Learn Israeli folk dancing from the very first step with Kobi Michaeli” said a flyer in my mailbox. If I ever was going to learn, now was ... Read More »

Chanukah’s Hidden Light

As I sometimes do for a holiday message, I turn here to the words (freely translated) of my friend and teacher Rabbi Lior Engelman for this year’s Chanukah column. The 36 candles that are lit during the course of Chanukah are said to represent the 36 hours that the “hidden light” shone during the six days of creation. According to ... Read More »

Hitchcock in Jerusalem

Sport and religion in America go together as naturally as motherhood and apple pie. Schools such as Notre Dame and Brigham Young, with large populations of religious students, field excellent teams in a variety of sports. When we learn that a certain outstanding athlete is also a religious person, our reaction is usually: of course, yes, that makes a lot ... Read More »

Forever Young Assisted Living

I HAVE REACHED a point in my life as an immigrant where if I want to see my parents, I need to go to them. Due to health issues, my parents, may they live and be well, are not flying to Israel any time in the foreseeable future. My parents live at Gurwin Jewish Assisted Living in Commack, Long Island. ... Read More »

Shavuot by Tnuva

AS ONE MIGHT expect of the Jewish state, the holy days of the Jewish religion are national holidays. A good example of this is the holiday of Shavuot (Pentecost) which begins this year on Saturday night, May 19. While it is possible to go about one’s business in the diaspora without even realizing that Shavuot has come and gone, this ... Read More »

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