Saturday, May 30, 2020


Rabbis Begin Cautious Return to Shuls

The same rabbinic group that closed Bergen County’s in-person shul services and minyanim on March 11—the first in the country to do so, followed by virtually all others worldwide—has begun taking measured steps toward reopening. Following the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America’s release of guidance and


Jewish Community Urged to Be Counted in 2020 Census

The push is on to have every American fill out the 2020 census—even if they have to do it in Hebrew or Yiddish.

To remove obstacles preventing anyone residing in the United States from not being counted, the Census Bureau provides forms in many dozens of languages on its website. A Hebrew language


Fresh and New


Shavuot, the anniversary of Hashem’s revelation to Bnei Yisrael at Har Sinai, is never identified as such in the Torah. Rather, its significance is always defined in agricultural terms. It is called “Chag HaBikkurim,” the Festival of the First Fruits, it is called “Chag HaKatzir,” the


Friday Morning the Rabbi’s Daughter Ate the Eruv Tavshilin

Disaster Strikes

What a disaster! Many years ago, on an early Friday morning of Shavuot, one of my three daughters mistakenly ate the eruv tavshilin. The Mishna (Beitzah 2:1) teaches that if someone eats the eruv tavshilin we may longer cook on Friday Yom Tov for Shabbat.


A Shavuot-at-Home Survival Guide

Shavuot is a study in contrasts. We celebrate the eternal love that each generation has for the Torah, starting with “na’aseh v’nishma.” At the same time, the acceptance of the Torah seems coerced, as the Talmud (Shabbat 88a) famously teaches that Hashem held the mountain over the Jews’ head, and gave them an ultimatum: “If you


Arami Oved Avi: The Interpretation Hidden in the Mishna

Shavuot was the time that a portion of the first fruits were brought to the Temple for the priests, and Deut. 26:5-9 describes the prayer that was recited. As children, we grow up thinking that the phrase “arami oved avi” there is a reference to Lavan seeking to destroy Jacob. After all, this is what we are taught in the Haggadah,


Appreciating the ‘Bitter’ Along With the ‘Sweet’

Part III: 

On the Pandemic Of ‘Loneliness’

In the post-Pesach article we considered the drastic transformations in our lives that resulted from the onslaught of COVID-19. Due to the variable manifestations of this virus and the wide spectrum of its


Burying a Parent During the Pandemic

No shiva. No funeral. Devoid of Jewish ritual, no real closure.

On a rainy and unseasonably cold April 26, we buried my 92-year-old father, Milton, a victim of the COVID-19 plague that ravaged his memory care facility.

Deprived of Jewish ritual to signify the finality


Joyful Moments During COVID Craziness

When I tell people I work in a nursing home, their initial reaction is usually to take a step or two away from me, farther than the six-foot distance we are already standing apart. I assure that this is not necessary since at the Jewish Home @ Rockleigh where I work as a dietitian I get a mini physical each morning when I


Jewish Law and Social Distancing

Since the advent of coronavirus social distancing, there have been many disturbing reports of Orthodox groups engaging in ritual activity resulting in violations of social distancing (funerals, minyanim, yeshiva learning, etc.).

This occasional violation of social distancing garnered widespread attention


Reflections on the Reopening of Shuls

The rabbis of our shuls, schools and communities have been thrust into an unprecedented role of leading and guiding us through these difficult times, and setting communal standards and policies in a unified manner that we have not seen in a long time. Recently, documents from the OU and the Agudah have been circulating on how to reopen our


Joseph Abboud Delivers Meals to Healthcare Workers

(Courtesy of Joseph Abboud) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHP Global, owner of the American menswear brand Joseph Abboud, organized a donation of 2,000 meals to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick, one of the hardest hit areas in the state of New Jersey. Working with subscription meal-kit