Friday, December 03, 2021


When Books Become Vegetables

With lofty ambition and high-minded intentions, I erect small libraries of books upon my night table, eagerly anticipating the vacation I’ve planned for months. Finally, finally! There will be time to work through the collection of edifying, “nutritious” books that I’ve assembled over the course of the year based on glowing book


Rabbi Elie Mischel – A Vision for the Future

Livingston–Rabbi Elie Mischel has warmth, an engaging smile, and an inviting manner. He is young, energetic, and welcoming and, right off the bat, it’s easy to see how he captured the hearts, minds, and neshamas of the congregation of the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center.

Rabbi Mischel, and his


Snow Job

Esther positively adored snow days. Whenever bad weather was predicted, she’d sleep fitfully, stumbling every few minutes to her daughter’s bedroom window that faced the street lamp outside. There she would check the progress of the storm all through the night. Her husband, Len, disturbed by her meandering would shush her,


Are you a ‘Feelings Family’?

So is your family a “Feelings Family”? In order to understand this term, let’s consider the following example:

Mrs. Jones: Sam, how was your day today?

Sam: It was good, but I have a ton of homework. I am also really having a hard time managing all of this work.


Why You Should Choose Your Airline Seat Carefully

In his 62 years Jack had traveled rather widely: sight-seeing trips to Europe, adventurous treks through the Yukon, the Alps, and the Rhone Valley, family expeditions across the US Continental Divide and sunny drives down the Pacific Coast Highway. He’d seen strange places and even stranger people in his time. But nothing really


A Chandelier to Think About

During an intermission of services, our rabbi told a story of a little boy talking to an angel, who complained that in our days God doesn’t make miracles like He did in biblical days–the parting of the Red Sea and so forth. The angel brought the boy back in time to the Exodus from Egypt, to the middle of the parted Red Sea when


“Why” Is a Crooked Letter

If your childhood was anything like mine you had a natural curiosity to understand why things happen. Before Wikipedia, we went to grown-ups for answers and received a variety of perplexing responses. The three responses I remember most were: “because Y is a crooked letter,” “because I said so,” and “because life is not


When Rescue is Not Collaboration

On Saturday night, Dec.6, Gaylen Ross presented her movie to more than 100 people at Rinat Yisrael. Reszo Kasztner, who historians say rescued more Jews than anyone, has been a controversial figure, wrongly accused of collaborating with the Nazis–and who was shot in front of his home as a result of these false accusations.


Birthday Party

The first birthday party I can remember is when I turned 5 years old. My mother hired Raggedy Ann to come to my party ($25, at the time, a real expense) and I was so frightened by this real-life doll that I spent the entire party crying, sitting next to my grandmother on the piano bench. I seem to recall my sister, six years my


Fighting for the Jewish Soul of the IDF

Teaneck-Col. Geva Rapp (res), serving in the first Lebanon war as a young officer, experienced a frightening episode of friendly fire. The plane was Israeli and he was on the ground; he couldn’t fire back or instruct his soldiers to do anything except to try to protect themselves. He thought it might be a good time to pray, but


Rabbi’s Musings and Amusings

A number of years ago before we moved into our current home, we were looking at homes that were for sale. Hanging in the bedroom of one the homes was a poem entitled “Tell Her So.” It read:

Amid the cares of married life,

In spite of toil and business


Yitzhak: My Grandfather, a Hero

My grandfather Yitzhak, my mother’s father, saved our entire family during the First World War as German and Russian artillery shells flew over the shtetl of Rubashov in Poland.

The expression on my mother’s face said it all as she described it to me, saying, “It was like the sound of

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