Friday, June 09, 2023


Fluency and Mastery: Beginning With Foundations

The raison d’etre of Jewish day schools is to provide a quality education in the areas of Torah and wisdom studies. This, rightfully, generates ambitious expectations on the part of the parents, students, teachers and broader community as to what knowledge and skills we should expect our students to master. An oft-cited example


An Open Heart

In August 2001 my sister and I spent several weekends cleaning out our mother’s apartment after she died unexpectedly. That experience was firsthand training for me that I share in all my presentations: 1) you never know what tomorrow will bring, and 2) every day is a gift.

My sister Suzanne


My Stories

Part 30 (written 2004)

(Continued from previous week)

To test the waters, I accepted a position as an extern in the professional department of the New Jersey attorney general’s office in Newark. Not only did the position not pay anything, but I


Some Kind of Mouse

My son Daniel came home with a gerbil the other day. These kids pick up the weirdest things in school.

Yes, his morah sent it home. It turns out that if you’re in second grade, sometimes the teacher keeps a pet of some sort in the classroom to teach the kids about life. And also death. Mostly


Good Greetings

Goodwill, good-looking, goodness, scattergood and goodbye. The word “good” is all around us but among Jews the word “good” is most famously half of the weekly “Good Shabbos” greeting and salutation. You do not have to be a good egg to say “Good Shabbos” or a good sport to respond in kind. Anyone can say “Good


Don’t Judge a Person by His Tattoo

We all do it. None of us wants to be judgmental, but at times we are. Recently, upon visiting a family member in the hospital, we noticed another patient whose arms were resplendent with tattoos. It was difficult to see his skin. Upon mentioning to the person we visited that his “roommate” had artfully


Halacha and Mussar for Every Jew

Roshei Yeshiva highlight importance of Dirshu Kitzur Shulchan Aruch program at asifa at home of Sanzer Rebbe, shlita.

Two pivotal meetings to highlight Dirshu’s new Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and mussar program were recently held: one at the home of HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch,


Zevachim 45

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h.

This week we learned Zevachim 45. These are some highlights.

Zevachim 45: He found out that the grandfather of his girlfriend was a Nazi; must he break the shidduch?


Sephardic Social Justice: Emulating Boaz

A Sephardic Jew who receives an aliyah to the Torah first recites “Hashem Imachem” (“May God be with you”). The congregation then responds, “Yevarechecha Hashem” (“May Hashem bless you”), at which point the one receiving the aliyah proceeds to recite the bracha over the Torah reading.


The Distinction Between Neviim and Ketuvim and Insights Into the Canon

It is time to address some Nach and canon-related issues. The Talmud (Baba Batra 14b) lists 19 Nach books: eight in the Neviim and 11 in the Ketuvim. (Once the Chumash is added, that gives a total of 24 books.) You will notice that the book of Ezra is listed on this list, but the book of Nechemiah is not. This is because these two


Kol Sasson at Amuka

(Courtesy of Kollel Chatzos) Sometimes, the most painful sound is silence.

When the phones have stopped ringing because shadchanim have stopped calling.

When the house remains quiet, as the adult children tiptoe about because there are no grandchildren to


On Experiencing Hashem in Our Lives: Hashem Hugged Me Today

Years ago, after successfully traversing one of the challenges Hashem sent my way, I recognized that in my avodat Hashem I leaned heavily on the side of Torah study. Yet, knowing that our interpersonal relationships are at least as significant as those between man and God, I committed to work on this spiritual growth challenge.

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