Thursday, July 02, 2020


Spotlight Israel: Dani Hagler

This month’s Spotlight Israel interviewee is Dani Hagler. Dani is studying at Lev Hatorah. He initially grew up on the Lower East side, though moved to Teaneck at the age of four, and attended RYNJ and TABC. He davens at Congregation Beth Aaron, and his family is very involved there.

His next


Vayishlach: Born to Run

Once, in the town of East Brunswick, a rabbi had a vision. He was sitting in his little shtiebel on Shabbat afternoon, learning Parshat Vayishlach and noshing on some egg kichel, when an image kept appearing in his mind. In his vision, he saw himself running through Brooklyn and Queens in athletic shoes, surrounded by a mass of other


The Mesadrei Gittin Conference—Improving Halachic Standards and Personal Sensitivity

Most of the active mesadrei gittin (get administrators) in the United States gathered in Manhattan last week for a day-long conference. It was a fantastic event. We had the privilege and opportunity to hear from leading halachic authorities such as Rav Nota Greenblatt, Rav Hershel Schachter, Rav Mordechai Willig


Encouraging Conversion Candidates

There is a well-known Talmudic directive to attempt to dissuade a prospective convert through informing him or her of the vast obligations and responsibilities of a Jew (see Yevamot 47) and ascertaining his or her sincerity. A message derived from this week’s Torah portion (Vayishlach) provides an important complementary perspective. The


Parshat Vayishlach: Insights Into the Hebrew Language

At the beginning of this week’s parshah, the word malachim is used. The singular is malach (mem, lamed, aleph, caf). But how precisely should we translate this word? Anyone with a basic knowledge of Hebrew can intuit that the root of this noun is lamed, aleph, caf. (The initial mem is what turns the verb into a noun.) But what does the


Suggestions For a Revised Yeshiva Curriculum

There is an ongoing raging debate whether our contemporary educational system is adequately preparing our children for life. Many of the skills necessary for success in school are simply not so important in life, and vice versa. The question thus becomes how we can best utilize our children’s formative years to give them practical tools


Shu”t SMS—Cellular Responsa From Rav Aviner and Rav Eliyahu

Rav Shlomo Chaim Aviner is the French-born head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, son of the famed Rishon Lezion (Israeli Sefardi chief rabbi) Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, is the chief Sefardi rabbi of Tzefat. Together they answer about 400 questions every day about


A Terrible Week in Review

“...The evil man shall not be unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall escape.” —Mishlei (Proverbs) 11:21 (translation from Mechon-Mamre)

As I write this, I’m thinking back to this past week. It was probably one of the tougher weeks I’ve had in a long time. And


Don’t Be Scared

What are you most afraid of? Some people are afraid of spiders; some people are afraid of the dark. When I was little, my brother and I would run upstairs from the basement for fear that someone was chasing us. No one was ever chasing us, but we were convinced someone was down there with us. When sons #1 and 2 would want to torture son #3,


Iced Coffee

If you’re like me, you’ve been feeling very tired lately, and you don’t know why that is.

Sure, you can guess. You’ve been busy. So much so that if you ever make a mistake, and it’s before noon, you can just tell the other person, “I haven’t woken up yet.”


Giving Thanks Through Tears

As we are drawn into the excitement of Thanksgiving, we remind ourselves that this same holiday is celebrated in Montreal on a Monday in October. Frequently it would coincide with either Sukkot or Simchat Torah and if not, other than giving people a free day, few would celebrate it.

This year,


Blended Learning: A Solution to the Day School Tuition Crisis?

There has been much discussion lately about blended learning and its potential promise for day schools. Chana German, who directs the Lookstein Center’s Virtual Jewish Academy and Russel Neiss, director of educational technology at G-dcast, a website that disseminates educational Torah materials, are at the forefront of