Friday, June 09, 2023


Ashley Blaker’s ‘Strictly Unorthodox’ Hits Home Off Broadway

Ashley Blaker balances many worlds with great aplomb. Professionally, he is an award-winning comedy writer and producer for BBC by day and a highly successful British stand-up comedian by night. At home, he is a member of a close-knit Orthodox Jewish community outside of London and father of six, including two children with autism and an adopted child with Down


Zevachim 35

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 35. These are some highlights.

Zevachim 35: If he borrowed a Torah book to learn from it and returned it with


Demystifying the Early Acceptance of Yom Tov Sheini at Shaarei Orah

For years, we at Shaarei Orah have been praying Arvit early at the end of the first day of Yom Tov leading into the evening of Yom Tov Sheini. While this is clearly not the typical practice at Ashkenazic congregations (see Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim 668:6 and Yom Tov Sheni Kehilchato p. 37, which rule that one may bring in Yom


A Story of Lost Opportunity

Parshat Naso

Our haftarah this week relates the story of the predicted (and eventually actualized) birth of Shimshon HaGibor who, his parents are told, would begin the process of weakening the Philistine hold upon the nation. Our rabbis chose this story of the only nazir we find in Tanach,


Naso: Promoting Unity Nearby

Two years ago, on this week of Parshas Naso, a Jewish man, Gary Turkel, a”h, went paddle boarding at Atlantic Beach. When he didn’t return in the evening, authorities began a massive search. Jews from all over came to search for him and daven for his safety. There were helicopters, planes, drones, jet-skis and ATVs looking for


Chumrot and Life in Israel

Parshat Naso showcases the phenomenon of a nazir as the symbol of “chumra” or halachic stringency. By abstaining from drinking wine and from overindulgence in personal etiquette he guards himself against the perils of vanity and the dangers of intoxication. Though halacha doesn’t demand these measures, it recognizes the value


Stam Torah

On Thursday nights the Staums have “Shaarei Torah carpool.” Our son Shalom is in ninth grade in Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, and we have the pickup following Maariv at 8:45 p.m. Since the yeshiva davens Maariv just prior to dismissal, I often daven with them. When I arrive, I often hear the last few minutes of the pre-Maariv mussar


The Mission Matters

“Yes, let’s change our plan so that the wire is now connected from this point,” I hear one sixth grader explain to another, as I observe them with their circuit boards, creating an original game.

“Animals/Pawing, Dripping, Stepping…” I listen to second grade voices reading aloud


What Does a Teacher Make?

Once upon a time, teachers were revered and highly honored. The Talmud is replete with examples of how one is to honor a teacher. In the Middles Ages, Jewish communities awarded certain monopolies to teachers so that they could devote more time to teaching. Today, however, we live in a cultural milieu in which


JDate Expands Language Offerings

(Courtesy of JDate) Jdate, the premier Jewish dating platform, expands global language offerings on the mobile app and website with the addition of Spanish, German, Russian and Polish.

In response to user demand and as part of a broader global initiative, the languages are being rolled out throughout the


CEO/Founder of Mani-Care Keynotes at Ma’ayanot’s First Annual Leadership Banquet

Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School held its first annual leadership banquet honoring student leaders on May 17. Students were treated to a delicious dinner and special awards, but the most memorable moment of the evening was the message from keynote speaker Kate Arian.

Arian is the young and chic


Seat Politics

Frequent readers of my column will know that I don’t really follow politics. And the same goes for shul politics. But just this week, I happened to accidentally get caught up in a discussion between three or four gabbaim as to how to maximize the seating space of our shul.

It’s not one of

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