Monday, April 19, 2021


A Clear Guide to Israel’s Messy Coalitions

 Editors note: At press time, after being tapped by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to be the first to attempt to form a new government following the country’s fourth election in two years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly scheduled a meeting with Yamina chair Naftali Bennet for Thursday, April 8. This


Reticence vs. Impetuosity

Rabbi Sacks, zt’’l, had prepared a full year of Covenant & Conversation for 5781, based on his book ‘Lessons in Leadership.’

It should have been a day of joy. The Israelites had completed the Mishkan, the Sanctuary. For seven days Moses had made preparations for its


Reciting a Bracha On the COVID Vaccine

Three Opinions From Ashkenazic Authorities

Many are asking if we should recite a bracha upon receiving the Corona vaccine. Not surprisingly, a difference of opinion has emerged. Rav Hershel Schachter and Rav Mordechai Willig recited the bracha of HaTov V’HaMetiv. One says HaTov V’HaMetiv upon


Rejoice While Trembling: ‘Gilu B’rada’

Parshat Shmini

Like the episode found in our parsha, our haftarah relates the story of a very special day, a day of celebration for Israel, when a place of worship to Hashem is being prepared. The parsha speaks of the day when the Mishkan was dedicated, while the haftarah relates the story of the


Staying Silent

In Parshat Shemini we encounter the mysterious death of Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu. The Torah text is vague in describing the episode, and numerous explanations are given as to why they were killed. Equally astonishing, however, is Aharon’s reaction to the event. Faced with such a dramatic tragedy, the Torah tells us “וידם


The Recital of Kedusha in Uva L’Tzion

On a regular weekday we recite the Kedusha prayer three times: once before the morning Shema, once in the repetition of the Amidah, and once in Uva L’Tzion. The last recital differs from the first two in that in the last we recite each verse followed by a translation in Aramaic.

(When I refer to the


Yom HaShoah and Education

This year on Parshat Zachor I had the privilege of watching one of my rebbeim being called up to the Torah for the special maftir of Zachor. Therein the Torah exhorts us to never forget how Amalek mistreated us, attacking our most vulnerable in the desert. As my rebbe started to recite the bracha on the Torah he began crying and struggled


Hakarat Hatov: The Art and Practice of ‘Recognizing the Good’

The identity of the Jewish people is intrinsically linked to the experience and expression of gratitude. Even our name—Yehudim—has at its core the Hebrew root that means “to praise” and “to thank.” And yet, as with a complex work of art that takes a trained eye to see and appreciate fully, perceiving and demonstrating hakarat


Teaching and Learning: The Classroom Experience

The Jewish people are consistently notable not only for their ability to endure difficulties and withstand trauma, but for their capacity to thrive and flourish even during disruption, insecurity and tremendous challenges. The current pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives as students, teachers and parents. It has


What I’ve Learned Teaching Jewish Texts in the UAE

In 2011, on one of my first trips to the United Arab Emirates, I sat in on a class taught by then-New York University president John Sexton on law and religion at NYU Abu Dhabi. It was a thrill to watch this legendary law professor take 20 Emirati students through a Talmudic reading of the Establishment Clause. But little


A Strategic Reset for Day School Finances

The following essay is based on a forthcoming paper of the same title in “The Azrieli Papers: Post COVID Chinuch Vol. 2.”

In the spring of 2020, school administrators and boards were bracing for a repeat of 2008.

Already reeling from the sudden shift of education and school operation from a physical space to a virtual space, many of us


Aliyah During a Pandemic

When we married 16 years ago, we were on the “five year aliyah plan.” My wife, Rebecca, would get her doctorate in psychology, and I would finish law school and start a career as a corporate lawyer—because it was realistic for a American to practice corporate law in Israel. We had our plan!

But as