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Tisha B’Av, Ride, and Mayer

Over the weekend, I was at a Modern Orthodox temple honoring Tisha B’Av, the 9th day in the month of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish year. I was dressed modestly, wearing a skirt to my ankles, my arms covered to my wrists, and like Jewish mourners throughout the world and throughout time, I […]

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The Tznius Crisis

I would like to personally thank you for bringing the issue of tznius to the public. Since I read your letter, it has opened my eyes to a problem that is surely bigger and more severe than anything else facing our community. I myself have grown up very naive about tznius. It wasn’t discussed much […]

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Filters and Upgrades

Rabbi Moshe Weinbeger, of Congregation AishKodesh in Woodmere, NY recently gave shiur on an essay of Rav Kook’s titled “Al pnimiushaTorah” and spent a few minutes discussing the issue of the internet and filters. One of the many things that Rav Weinberger mentioned which I found to be meaningful was that while filters are extremely […]

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Boy With Stutter Raps Adon Olam

I was looking forward to meeting many of the inspirational educators and thought leaders at the #140edu conference in New York City this week, but the one speaker I was really excited to meet was Lil Jaxe. A few months ago, I watched a video of this 13-year-old boy at a previous #140conf and was […]

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Container Gardening: Verbena Love

I’m in love with Verbena, and this year I’ve finally had a small success with a few little seedlings by virtue of the fact that I planted them in a big empty patch of dirt at the base of my lemon tree! Flowers that consist of clusters of tiny blooms always seem to be amongst […]

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Grappling All the Way to the Olympics

For the first time in world history, this year every country competing in the Olympics has a female athlete on its team. This historic moment was made possible when Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Qatar permitted women to be included in their delegations. Although the Saudi clergy believes that exercising is contrary to a woman’s natural […]

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Romney in Jerusalem: Culture and Providence Led to Israel’s Economic Success (Not Socialism)

In a speech in Jerusalem to rich donors, Mitt Romney disrespected the Palestinians and distorted the history of the State of Israel, according to our reading of a report from the AP. He insinuates that Israeli culture is superior to Palestinian culture, and that God loves Israel more than the Palestinians. And he altogether forgets […]

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Enjoy some Vlog Noshing from JWA’s Institute for Educators

As JWA’s Institute for Educators comes to a close, we wanted to share a few moments … and messages. Here’s Debra Schultz, author of Going South: Jewish Women and the Civil Rights Movement, in a spontaneous, hallway moment following her presentation. “Being Jewish demands that we do what’s right and work on behalf of the most disenfranchised […]

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Mittness Protection Program Dropped in Jerusalem

WSJ reports that some reporters will be allowed at the Romney Jerusalem fundraiser. WSJ also reminds us that, “President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign was quick to note that Mr. Obama did not hold fundraisers on his visit to Israel as a candidate in 2008.” Original post: CNN Politics Political Ticker reports that Romney will bar reporters […]

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Personal and Communal Mourning

Personal and Communal Mourning

The Gemara at the end of Taanit cites a famous braita which says that all the mitzvot that are relevant to a mourner are relevant to Tisha B’av. The Rishonim point out this is not always absolute. The Gemara discusses an custom of aveilut (mourning) which used to be practiced by a mourner. This practice […]

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First is the…Worst?

Sally Ride died on Tuesday at the age of 61. First American woman to go into outer space. The first. The very first. American. Woman. Astronaut. What does it mean to be the first? What is our Western love affair with the number one? How does the idea of being “the first” bolster or undermine feminism? I […]

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T-Shirt of the Week: Cluck you, Chick-Fil-A

Look, Chick-fil-A’s feelings about gayfolk have never been a secret. The corporation has been giving gobs of money to anti-LGBT groups for years, and has been accused of asking nosy questions in their hiring practices. But Chick-Fil-A’s PR department blew up last week after CEO Dan Cathy gave his little “guilty as charged” shuck-and-jive when […]

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New Free Kinnos Kinnot Lamentations Elucidations for Tisha B’Av

Reuven Brauner wrote to us from Raanana, Israel about his new publication on the lamentations (Hebrew: kinnot or kinnos) for Tisha B’Av, “Key Notes for Kinnos.” The work is available in PDF format for free downloading at http://www.halakhah.com/: The Tisha B’Av poems of lament, the Kinnos, like all our Piyyutim and Selichos, were written in a […]

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Tisha B’Av – Short Idea with A Big Impact

In Eicha, Tisha B’av is referred to as a moed (festival). How can we call the saddest day in the Jewish calendar a holiday? Aleh Shur notes that there are some moadim that are called festivals of closeness such as the shalosh regalim. There are other moadim that are called moed shel richuk, festivals of […]

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London Olympics, Munich 11 and Tisha B’Av

This Saturday night begins the sundown to sundown Tisha B’Av fast. It is a longstanding tradition marked by a day of communal mourning and reflection. I wasn’t around 2,000 years ago when my people’s Temple was destroyed and thousands perished. But, I am around today and that is why I will take the time to […]

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Birthday Cake Decor In Minutes: Birds and Mushrooms!

Need a super quick birthday cake theme? I sure did last week when my daughter’s tenth birthday party coincided with a very busy week. And after spending hours folding beautiful paper cranes, they were really the life of the party anyway, so the cake just needed to be cute enough and look festive. Plus I […]

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Bread & Roses, Raisins & Almonds, Labor & Sustenance

This week teachers from around the nation are participating in JWA’S Institute for Educators. The focus is our new Living the Legacy curriculum, which uses primary sources to explore the roles of American Jews in the Civil Rights and Labor Movements. The 24 lessons that comprise LTL include art projects, text studies, and role-playing, all designed […]

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Technology vs. Shabbat: Can We Accommodate Our Electronics Dependency On the Day of Rest?

E-books became the dominant format for adult fiction in 2011 surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks according to the BookStats annual survey. We are increasingly choosing to read our novels, magazine, newspapers and even children’s books on e-readers and tablets. But is it permissible to do this on the one day of the week that Judaism […]

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She’s Got A Ticket To Ride

Are women in Chassidic communities nothing more than oppressed victims? Is the Haredi threat to civil liberties in Israel, which is represented by segregated busses, real? I am going to Israel, at the very least, to find out about the second question. As a rabidly liberal Jewess (I am president of the unaffiliated Congregation Etz […]

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Matisyahu Gets Heter to Eat on Yom Kippur for Parnassah Purposes

It seems that Matisyahu is trying to stick it to the frum world by going off the derech in a very public manner. First he chopped off his beard, which is almost as bad as coming to shul in those skinny jeans of his, then he cut off his peyos in a marijuana induced stupor, […]

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Feeling the Churban

The Gemara writes that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed on the ninth of Av towards night. This would seem to imply that the halachic strictures of mourning would increase as the day wanes. But the opposite is true. From noon and onwards our mourning begins to lessen in intensity. Why is this so? Until the […]

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Origami Cranes…Perfect For Birthday Parties or Your Succah?

I’m in love with origami cranes made from brightly colored origami paper. And I can still say that after having folded about forty of them for my daughter’s birthday party last week! I used my origami cranes to create an origami crane mobile of sorts, which I hope to photograph soon,  and share with you. […]

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Facebook is Boring When You’re Not Trying to Get Some

Now that I’m not trying to score with the ladies, Facebook has gotten kind of boring. I used to be clever in my status updates and pretty much use Facebook as a tool to get girls. I’m sure that most people aren’t as shallow as me, but besides for bragging about my awesome life, marketing […]

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Is Tisha B’Av Relevant?

Is Tisha B’Av relevant? No we do not think that the fast of Tisha B’Av is relevant anymore. We need a holiday from Tisha B’Av. That day was for a long time a commemoration through fasting and prayer over the destroyed city of Jerusalem and the Temple. We’ve last visited Jerusalem in May of 2011 […]

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On The Front Line

Like mosquitoes dive-bombing a rock, a swarm of writers are waging a spirited, ineffectual, attack on human free will. One observer of the spate of recent books arguing that people are biological automatons, James Atlas, calls the genre a mirror image of the so-called “self-help” literature. These new offerings, he drolly notes, are “Can’t-Help-Yourself books.” […]

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Algorithms to the Rescue

How often do you find yourself in the situation where you are on a flight across timezones and you just don’t know exactly when to daven. Sure you could fudge it by calculating the approximate time, but what if you miss the zman by 30 seconds? The consequences are significant actually. God could miss your […]

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The Feminist Papers-LEAKED!

“The Feminist Papers,” a highly classified document that up until now has only been rumored to exist, was (accidentally?) leaked last night at 11:15pm. In a turn of events that will seriously weaken, if not entirely destroy the feminist movement, The Papers, particularly the Feminist Manifesto (FM), has already sent shock waves through feminist communities, […]

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What’s an Overweight Shidduch Seeker to Do?

I’m not exactly sure if there’s a shidduch crisis anymore, maybe they figured it out after all. However, someone recently asked me why there were no shidduch groups or singles events for frum folks struggling with their weight, obesity does exist in the frum community and that was a fairly interesting question. Considering the fact […]

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Jewish Summer Camp and Customer Service

This Shabbat we read the double Torah portion Mattot-Masei. Last year, I wrote a d’var Torah for this Shabbat extolling the virtues of Jewish summer camp. This year, Jewish summer camp is on my mind again. On Wednesday night, Rabbi David Krishef, a Conservative rabbi in Grand Rapids, Michigan, did what any father would do. […]

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Women as Wave, Women as Particle: The Gender-Racial Politics of the Male-Female Gaze

Who are you? I mean really . . . Who are you . . . when you are alone and no one is watching? What is your wave state? Indulge me a moment to (humbly) tip my hat in the direction of quantum mechanics. (It’s amazing how a blog post increases its intellectual points when […]

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