Saturday, June 03, 2023


Purim Paks Continues to Help Jews Across the World Enjoy Purim Together

(Courtesy of Purim Paks) With Purim approaching, those of us with friends and family living in Israel appreciate the modern communications that let us celebrate “together.” But just a few decades ago, Purim was a lonely experience for Americans living in Israel, until a new business got off the ground in 1985.

In a third floor walk-up in Jerusalem,


Keeping the Melting Pot Spicy

President Trump once used the murder of Kathryn Steinle, who authorities say was killed by an illegal immigrant with a criminal past, to argue for a ban on Muslims entering the country. Now, after an attack that killed eight in Lower Manhattan on Halloween day, the President is arguing that the U.S. immigration policy, specifically


Inspired by Renewal, Teaneck’s Avi Shafar Donates a Kidney

Last week, Avi Shafar, a 40-year-old man from Teaneck, New Jersey, went to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx and donated his kidney to someone he had never met. Immediately after transplantation, within seconds, the kidney was functioning, just as it should, for Ariane Mann, a 42-year-old woman from Los


NJ Yeshiva Executive Directors Meet at Florida Conference


Do Towns Have the Right to Decide Who Drives on Their Streets?

Suburbia begins at the foot of the Palisades upon the exit of the George Washington Bridge. The first span of the bridge was completed in 1931. At the time at 4,760 feet across, it was the longest span in the world, nearly double the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and the Canadian border town of Windsor, Ontario. When the George


NJ NCSY Chesed Mission Program Receives Major Gift for Teen Chesed Missions

Teaneck—The New Jersey division of the Orthodox Union’s flagship NCSY program has received a donation for its renowned social justice leadership training


Avoda Zara 21

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 Avoda Zara 21. These are some highlights.

Avoda Zara 21: Ha’arama: Is it permissible to try to avoid mitzvah obligations?

Our Gemara seems to teach that we may not perform ha’arama—deliberately make


Mishpatim: The Sweet Tooth

Shemot: 21:26-27

“I probably shouldn’t be talking to you without my lawyer present.”

“Manny, we go back a long way. I think we can discuss this like adults without having to lawyer up.”

“Fine, but I don’t


The Rabbi of a Sephardic Congregation Should Wear Rabbeinu Tam’s Tefillin

Part I

What a beautiful gift! We at Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck, were privileged to receive a gift of both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam’s tefillin by Dr. Shlomo Amar. The dilemma I faced was whether I should don this pair of Rabbeinu Tam’s


The Origin of the Word ‘Sheol’ (Netherworld)

There is never an appropriate time to discuss this word. But at least Adar has not yet started, so I will squeeze this discussion in now.

“Sheol” appears over 60 times in Tanach. On the simplest level, it is a large place, located deep underground, where the bodies and spirits of dead people dwell. (But sometimes “sheol” refers only to an


One Half Makes Us Whole

Parshat Mishpatim

Shabbat Shekalim

The special haftarah ordained by Chazal to be read on Shabbat Shekalim, the Shabbat of, or before, Rosh Chodesh Adar, is a selection taken from Sefer Melachim II in which we read of the fundraising campaign


Mishpatim: ‘I Know I Can’

Timeless life lessons can come from surprising sources, even children’s books. My grandmother really enjoyed reading to me “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s a classic published in 1930, describing a large train carrying toys, games, delicious food and medicine to children on the other side of a tall mountain. Alas, the

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