Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Divrei Torah

Noach: Brick

Bereishit 11: 1-9

Jack and Celia had wanted to renovate their house on Magnolia Lane for years, but they kept putting it off. First they had to pay off their student loans. Then yeshiva tuition and summer camp for the kids put a dent in their savings. Then college came along. But now the kids were out of the house, and Jack had made a killing selling his


Don’t Just Dot Your ‘I’s: Also Cross Your ‘T’!

A few weeks ago, parents helped their children with “Move-In Day” at colleges throughout the country. Many of these institutions of higher learning are among the most prestigious private and public universities in the country. A good number of them have earned their reputations as having exceptional Liberal Arts curricula. Factoring in costs for tuition, room and


Kol Hadassa: Helping Girls Find their Inner Voices

On the surface, Rebecca Aminoff had a stable and untroubled adolescence. But despite the great parents, good schools and academic success that she was blessed with, Rebecca was inwardly miserable. “If I had everything going for me but found it hard to navigate the teenage years, how hard must it be for girls grappling with real issues?” wondered Aminoff. This


An Analysis of Two Essential Sukkah Stories

The message of a Mishnah that relates a story is often more powerful and memorable than a Mishnah that teaches only pure halakha. The Mishnah’s story is even more powerful when the characters are great sages whose words we regularly study and now have the opportunity to learn from their actions in addition to their words. In this essay we shall analyze two stories


Exploring the Meaning of Naanuim

Naanuim—waving the four species on Sukkot—are an essential, if somewhat mysterious, part of the holiday. While the Torah commands “taking” the species—technically, merely lifting them fulfills the mitzvah—early rabbinic sources require waving. But what is the meaning of naanuim and how is it related to the overall experience of


My New Reality Show

I’ve got an idea for a new reality show. I call it Three-Day Yontiff.

Three families, living under one roof, compete over preparations for a three-day yontiff, let’s say, Sukkot. One bathtub, one shower, for 12 to 20 people. Each family is given a different budget. Within that budget, they must decorate a standard 10” x 12” canvas


Sukkot Vacation?

I was known as a “good girl.” My seat was always right in front of the teacher and my hand always shot up enthusiastically in answer to her questions. My neatly written assignments were handed in right on time. So I was caught totally unprepared that morning, so many years ago, to hear my sixth grade teacher Miss Lewin’s public admonishment.



Sukkot Site-Hopping In Israel

Jerusalem—Three times in a year shall all of the [Jewish] people appear before G-d in the place that God will choose (Jerusalem)” (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Since biblical times, hundreds of thousands of Jews made their way to the holy city three times a year, with festivities and activities taking place during the seven days of Pesach and Sukkot, and


Sukkot: Decorating Outside the Box

Sukkot is a perfect time to embrace the concept of an outdoor room. Autumn, in this area, is beautiful and provides the optimal backdrop for the sights and sounds of family gathered around a table in a well decorated sukkah. While thinking about decorating your sukkah, try to fully seize upon the idea of sukkah as dining


Motherhood in the “Lean In” Era

(This article appeared in Lilith magazine––independent, Jewish & frankly feminist––summer 2013. Visit www. Lilith. org for more information and to subscribe. Reprinted with permission. )

Part I of this article appeared in the last issue of JLBC. It discusses the need for new, affordable early-childhood education models for the Jewish


Is Your Child Eligible For Extended Time and School Accommodations?

Over the summer, I received a number of calls requesting an educational and/or ADHD evaluation. These requests came from frustrated college students and parents who felt that they or their children would perform better academically if they were granted school accommodations, such as extended time.

An accommodation is by definition something that not every


Bullying and the “Hidden Disabilties”

Yosef, a quirky and socially awkward young boy enters the restroom at school. A group of boys who are a little older follow. The older boys are laughing and joking around. Yosef goes to the sink to wash his hands and the older boys speak to him. Yosef sees that they are laughing and thinks to himself they must be having fun. He thinks that they are inviting him to join