Friday, December 09, 2022

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

A New Yeshiva High School in Bergen County? A Modest Proposal

Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Gershon Distenfeld and for the past several years I have been heavily involved in efforts to make yeshiva education better and more affordable. I have previously served on the executive board of the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey and am currently the chairman of the board of Yeshivat He’Atid.

Jeff Kiderman is the


Legacy Schools Matter, too

So let me get this straight- the current schools are bad and expensive. Kids don’t feel engaged- they told you so. And they don’t like tests. You are going to build a new school. What will it stand for?

Learning- The kids will learn what they want. Will there be a curriculum? Will there be any expectations, in terms of skills, on your graduates? How will


Modern Orthodoxy’s Welcome Alternative

In the last number of years there has been great media and literary attention paid to the phenomenon of members of the Haredi community who choose to leave their lifestyle and neighborhoods – in some painful instances even becoming estranged from their families, as they move into mainstream secular society.

Books, investigative essays, interviews and websites


“Words, Mere Words”

I have kept my time-worn copy of Roget’s Thesaurusin my personal library since I was in the seventh grade. It was given to me by my teacher, a Mr. Zeller, who introduced me to the beauty of language and who first stimulated my fascination with words. He taught me to use this thesaurus in order to use language effectively and with precision.



Kinot: The Language of Loss

For twenty years I have led presentations on Kinot every Tisha B’Av morning. It therefore felt most appropriate for me to respond affirmatively to the invitation of my dear friend Rabbi Menachem Genack, who, in his capacity as general editor, OU Press, asked me to author a new translation of kinot. This new translation, copublished by OU Press and Koren Publishers


Raising Leaders, Instilling Leadership

For all of its length, Parashat Pinchas contains only three stories, and a wistful sadness underlies all three of them.  The parsha opens with the second half of the story of Pinchas, as he is now rewarded for his courageous actions in the face of a mass communal sin.  After a census of the nation, the five daughters of Tzelofchad come forward, demanding that their


Zealotry and Tolerance

Jewish people teach Jewish values to their children, and to all who wish to be informed about their faith. If one is asked,“Should I or should I not?” we generally respond with clear and certain advice: “Yes, you should,” if the value is a positive one, or “No, you should not,” when the value in question demands inaction.



Tisha B’Av and the First World War

According to tradition, Messiah is born on Tisha B’Av. It also stands to reason that the redemption of the Jews can only follow their exile. On Tisha B’Av, the First and Second Jerusalem Temples were destroyed and Judean independence was lost to the Romans following the fall of the city of the city of Beitar, the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba revolt. As a


From the Pages of Tradition (1992): R. David Friedman of Karlin: The Ban on Secular Study in Jerusalem


Because of the controversy regarding Hareidim and their role in Israeli society, there are members of the rabbanut in Israel and America who have banned secular studies for talmidim and Hasidim. This article by Rabbi Dr. S.Z. Leiman, Dean of Bernard Revel Graduate School and former Chairman of the Judaic Studies Department at Brooklyn College, was


The App That is Your Worst Nightmare - SimSimi

Isaac Asimov was right. The dangers of artificial intelligence that he foreshadowed in his collection of short stories, I, Robot,are coming true today, most likely in the halls of your kids’ school.

You may have heard of the app that’s causing me to lose sleep: SimSimi (pronounced Shim Shimmy). The developer in Korea, who actually designed the


Making the Grade

As I finish up the last of my report cards, I can’t help but thinking about the value of grades. Do the letters on the spreadsheet really tell the story? How can one or two characters explain growth, struggle, apathy, or determination? The classic grading system seems to assume that the answer to this question in the affirmative. We give numbers for test


A Unique Shelter Offers Salvation to Religious Women

Jerusalem—It has been eight years since “Sarah” has been able to sleep soundly. Since she was married at the age of 20, she had moved eight times, had five children and endured nonstop emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband.”I was barely living. There was no life for me. I was trapped in the small bubble that my husband had created and it was

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