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Lechem Oni

The Torah refers to the matzah as lechem oni (the bread of affliction). The Gemara explains that it is lechem she’onim alav dvarim harbeh, bread over which we say many things. Accordingly, Rabbenu Chananel notes that we recite the hagadah over the matzah. Just as on Shabbat we say kiddush on a cupof wine in […]

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MJL is Hiring!

Calling all smart, talented, writerly, computer-savvy, and unemployed people! MyJewishLearning.com is on the hunt for an Editorial Assistant to join our team. Besides working with an awesome crew (seriously, we’re great, and we’ll get you donuts for your birthday), you’d be working in a lovely, casual Manhattan office and getting hands on with everything that […]

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Backing up Birth Control, and Each Other

In an ironic, but perhaps unplanned turn of events, this year’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action comes the day after the premiere of season 4 of 16 and Pregnant. (And if you think I haven’t been waiting for this television event since the end of last season…you would be wrong.) Like it […]

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Our Lives are on Loan from God

The following story is from a shiur given by Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein. There was once a young lady who was blind and she was looking for a shidduch. As a blind girl, it was very tough for her. Eventually, she was set up with a boy who fell madly in love with her, and he […]

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Is Geraldo Rivera Jewish?

Yes, attorney, journalist, writer, reporter and former talk show host Geraldo Rivera is a Jew. Rivera has worked with distinction for 40 years in TV journalism and entertainment. He has hosted the program Geraldo at Large, and appears on Fox News Channel. Rivera was born July 4, 1943 at Beth Israel Medical Center in New […]

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Simple Origami Jumping Frogs For Passover

Origami frogs, namely simple origami jumping frogs, that you and the kids can make in just a few minutes each, are the perfect craft for the Passover seder. And of course they’d work very nicely with the origami pyramids I posted about last week! Teach the kids how to make them, and then let them […]

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Reclaiming the Ketubah as a Symbol of Equality and Women’s Independence

The evolution of the Ketubah in the Jewish tradition has taken an interesting turn in recent times. Once a vehicle to protect women from financial devastation in the case of divorce or death of a husband, it is now considered for many a traditional prerequisite for marriage as well as an archival work of art, […]

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Orthopraxy is Way Better than Going off the Derech

Too many people rag on Orthopraxy, the situation in which you look and act like a normal orthodox Jew, yet aren’t a believer, but I think it’s a way better option than going off the derech. You see, when you’re orthorpax, you get all the perks of orthodox Judaism without any of the disadvantages of […]

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Ten Tips for Seder Leaders

Passover is coming… Time for some tips for your Seder… Most folks consider preparing and eating the festive meal to be the central focus of their Passover Seder. There’s not much advice that we can offer to help improve upon that. However, we have always had fun conducting the reading of the Haggadah. We learned […]

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Breaking Free from Tradition: New Ideas for Passover Learning

Watch The Prince of Egypt. Throw the toy frogs. Have a chocolate seder. Create artistic interpretations of the Ten Plagues. These are old stand-bys in the Jewish education world that aim to get our students “excited” and “engaged” in the holiday and tradition of Passover. Now, don’t get me wrong, kids and families genuinely enjoy […]

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There Aren’t Enough Frummies in the Bay Area

I miss those families that have erev shabbos kugel, I find this kind of weird because I’ve never really missed frummies before, but I guess human nature is that we miss the things we don’t have. To say that San Francisco is the black hole of Judaism may be a little much, sure there’s rampant […]

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The Making of a Pesach Seder

I don’t think there are many days in the year that can cause greater strife in BT-Familial relations than Pesach. I think the reason for that is twofold. First, Pesach is a holiday that involves a high level of kashrus scrutiny. Second, many non-religious people take Pesach seriously on their level and a BT’s unwillingness […]

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Jewish Action: Is Rabbi Jonathan Gross the Chief Rabbi of Nebraska?

We salute our Teaneck favorite son for achieving recognition as a rabbi in Omaha. A certain young rabbi named Zev Goldstein (our dad) served as a clergyman in that town in the early 1940′s. The Chief Rabbi of Nebraska: Rabbi Jonathan Gross By Bayla Sheva Brenner The richest man in the world lives in Omaha, […]

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Breaking Bad Habits

Sometimes you find yourself dangerously close to a piece of cheesecake. It inches even closer to you, begging to be eaten. “I can’t help myself,” you find yourself saying, as if an extra-terrestrial being has taken hold of you and forced down the cake. This reminds me of a trouble-maker I went to school with […]

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Shabbat Shalom vs. Good Shabbos

I like to consider myself a Jewish profiler. I remember when everyone was going nuts over racial profiling in airports. I used to do a little profiling of my own – on the streets of my Jewish community every Saturday morning. I am sure there was a simpler time in the Orthodox community, a time […]

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Passover 5772 Taste Test: Gluten-Free Matzah

Passover starts in less than three weeks. This likely has many of you in the throes of gastric distress, not just for the epic cleaning to be done but for the anticipation of eight straight days of eating matzah. It’s not called the “the bread of affliction” for nothing, people. I cannot, and will not, […]

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Jerusalem Fake Yeshiva Kollel Busted

Some would say there are redundancies in this headline: “Jerusalem police arrest four ultra-Orthodox men in fake kollel scam”. Fake and scam in the same title seems over the top and repetitive to us. To others, the term ”kollel” refers to a scam by definition, since it is where some men are paid to sit and […]

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Warren Buffet Invests in Chametz

Usually when Warren Buffet makes a deal it is the big news of the day on CNBC and in the Wall Street Journal. But the Oracle of Omaha’s recent deal probably won’t get much attention and it certainly won’t have to be reported to the Security and Exchange Committee. The Omaha World-Herald reported today that Rabbi […]

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How To Remove Old Wine Stains

I just had to share this with you my friends, this story of a little Purim miracle that occurred in my home the night before Purim, and that may very well be of great use to you after the Passover seder! It goes like this: my husband has a traditional Moroccan robe that he bought […]

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Shabbat: A Cure for Busyness

As I write this, I am simultaneously: 1. Compulsively checking my email, Twitter, and Facebook. 2. Waiting for an “important” text message to determine my weekend plans 3. IMing with several co-workers 4. Flipping through Internet radio to find the perfect balance of “listenable, without requiring too much thought” music I have, it seems, a […]

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“Sipping from the Nile”: A Memoir of the Exodus of Cairo’s Jewish Daughters

I was raised in a beautiful mansion on the banks of the Nile, in a multicultural multilingual Sephardic Italian Jewish family in Egypt: a Middle Eastern family, where men rose to prominence by their acts in a larger world, while women ran households, managed a large staff, volunteered their services to Jewish charities, and gained […]

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Dvar Torah Vayikra: The Fundamental Rift

There often lies within each parsha the potential for a disagreement between the Akivan and Ishmaelian perspectives, and although it may appear as a tangled mess of discrete points of dissension, in truth, there is a virtual fault line the separates the Akivan/Ishmalian divide into neatly defined positions that essentially constitute competing worldviews.Much of the […]

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Erica Brown’s Encomium of the Virtues of the Talmud

From Erica Brown, published at the Algemeiner, nice words about the Talmud while reflecting on the demise of the Britannica: …And the pause that I took to contemplate this new era also made me marvel all the more at our Jewish equivalent of the encyclopedia: the Talmud. Produced over several countries and four centuries, the […]

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Include women’s voices with JWA’s Passover Haggadah

Last week Kathleen Peratis shared her disappointment with the widely acclaimed The New American Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander: I loved it at first touch. Then I read the first line: “You are blessed, Lord God-of-Us, King of the Cosmos, who has set us apart with his mitzvot, and instituted us to […]

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Find Me a Shidduch: Into BDSM and Math

I know a lot of you may not want to admit this, but frum people may actually have sexual preferences. It also appears that sexual preferences are quite important, but there’s no way that this sort of thing could make it into the shidduch resume template for some time – because frum Jews are typically […]

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StarTribune.com: Are Liberal Arts Colleges Kosher?

Liberal arts colleges are kosher although they are having a tough time proving it, reports the StarTribune. “In tough times, liberal arts colleges defend their value,” recounts the efforts at St. Olaf’s in Northfield MN: …St. Olaf has transformed its career center, called the Center for Experiential Learning. “I don’t know why that name was […]

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Jewish Summer Camp and Helicopter Parents

When she took the stage recently before an audience of 400 Jewish camping enthusiasts, Lenore Skenazy wasted no time in addressing why she is known as “America’s Worst Mom.” The author of a 2008 column in The New York Times describing how she let her 9-year-old son ride the subway home alone just to see […]

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Overweight Shidduch Dating Site: Why Not?

Before you crucify me, I’m actually being serious here. I saw someone on facebook had shared overweightdate.com and wondered when such a site would be created for frum people. It seems like all the dating sites geared towards the Orthodox Jewish singles community are devoted to the entire community, rather than one segment. When I […]

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United in Tefillah

These are trying times, to be sure. Without trying very hard, the Orthodox world finds itself united in the way it deals with its heavy hearts and foreboding thoughts. People are all doing the same thing – only differently. What we are all doing is employing the Kol Yaakov. To be sure, we are doing […]

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May God Comfort All Who Mourn

Still reeling from yesterday’s shocking attack on a young rabbi and his two sons in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Reports say that the gunman shot into the cluster of children and adults in front of Ozer Hatorah school from a motorbike and may have been wearing a video camera around his […]

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