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Those Who Make a Way for Others

By Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky

This week’s Torah reading, Tzav, offers a deluge of detail about the priests, their investiture into God’s priesthood and their offerings on behalf of the people of Israel. The portion ends with the reminder of the faithfulness of God’s chosen leadership, “And Aaron and his sons did all the things that God had commanded by the handRead More


Day School Nabs Potty Prize For Beautiful Bathroom

By Gil Kaufman

The Yavneh Day School in Cincinnati likes to brag about its state-of-the-art facilities, its strong mix of secular and Jewish education and its excellence at preparing students for high school.Which is all very impressive, but tell me, how are the bathrooms?As of last week, like its students, Yavneh’s restrooms were award winning. At least theRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 21, 2003

Jewish literature had, in the days of massive Jewish immigration into the United States, many poems and songs about Christopher Columbus. The sentiments generally expressed fell into one of two categories. One ended with a “klog oyf Kolumbusn.” Others rang out with a “Lebn zol Kolombus.” It all depended on how one faredRead More


On Purim, Dress Up, Drink Up and Be Merry

Jews are not big drinkers. Maybe it’s because kishke and cocktails don’t mix. Maybe it’s because we’re too neurotic to kick back with a six-pack. Or maybe it’s because we know our mothers would kill us if we made a drunken spectacle of ourselves. Whatever the reason, many Jews will choose milk over a martini every time. But on Purim thatRead More


Ups and Downs of the Holiday of Lots

Over the years, Purim has had its ups and downs. Sometimes marked with exuberance and at other times barely noted, its lot in America has not been a happy one. In New York of the 1860s, for instance, fancy dress balls and masques were all the rage. “Astonishing the lovers of fun and good society,” as one eyewitness put it, these eventsRead More


An Opportunity To Look Again at Interfaith Relationships

By Sarah Flicker

I grew up as the model “good Jewish girl.” I attended day school. At college, I taught part time at a Hebrew school and was vice president of my university’s Hillel chapter. I even worked for the Jewish community after graduation. Yet when I started dating a Buddhist, I suddenly felt that the community that raised me did not have space forRead More


A Summons With the Character of a Call

By David Curzon

This week’s portion, Vayikra, opens with a phrase translated as “And the Lord called to Moses.” The call to a prophet such as Moses summons him to a task, a vocation, a calling, that is not freely chosen, a task that the true prophet shrinks from because he feels, and is, inadequate to it. The task takes over the lifeRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 14, 2003

The word “hamantashen,” which makes its distinguished appearance at Purim time, cannot be translated into English. The word refers to Haman, the evil pre-Hitler Hitler who wished to wipe out the Jews of ancient Persia. The word “tashn” means pockets. The combined word refers to a delicacy served at Purim in which dough is shaped as aRead More


Shmoozing the Dharma, Davening on the Sly

By Moshe Waldoks

While fierce February winds howled outside as another week of winter’s deep freeze began, inside a meditation hall in Barre, Mass., 100 people sat silently, many wrapped in blankets. Some cross-legged and others in chairs were part of a weeklong silent metta retreat hosted by the Insight Meditation Society, based inRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 7, 2003

Mark Warshawsky (1840-1907) was a versatile poet whose songs voiced both hope and despair, depending on the situation he was describing. In his poem-song “Dem Milner’s Trern” (“The Miller’s Tears”), he sounds a note of melancholy. It is a dark dirge about the Jews who are being driven from their shtetl in czarist Russia. To the miller,Read More





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  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
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  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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