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Bidding on The World to Come on eBay

Those who read Milton Steinberg’s masterpiece novel “As a Driven Leaf” will remember that eternal life is a reward given for the fulfillment of two mitzvot (commandments), namely the honoring of one’s parents and the shooing of the mother bird from the nest before taking her eggs. However, yesterday those who wanted to taste eternal […]

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10 Step Guide to Becoming a Baal Teshuva

The flaming BT is one of the most interesting and talked about phenomena in the kiruv world. I’m certian that there are whole seminars devoted to the subject of people becoming too frum, too fast, and within the frum world these are known as Flamers. Donning a black hat and woolen talis kattan before one […]

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Soncino English Talmud Sanhedrin with Important Content

Talmudic Books has published Soncino Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin - the classic English edition of this important tractate. My son Yitz reminded me that my father, Rabbi Dr. Zev Zahavy, who passed away on May 1, 2012, used to say that Sanhedrin was his favorite Talmud tractate. Here is the book description, adapted from the Introduction: […]

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Ketchup Yenta

Oy, dahlinks, I am so farmisht. I’ve  been so super busy over at the day job that it may seem like I’m neglecting my dear mishpoche over here. But I promise I’ve been fighting for the forces of good and tikkun olam  best I can, farblongent schmo that I am. Let us “ketchup,” organically, of […]

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Opening the Doors of Jewish Education

I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “Opening the Doors” and Jewish education lately. For the past several years I’ve been a committee member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s “Opening the Doors Program” which advocates for students with diverse learning or behavioral challenges so they are able to participate in a quality […]

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Pearl Lang

I was fortunate to see Pearl Lang dance in her signature piece, “Shirah” (or “Song”), in the late 1960s at Hunter College, which was known then as the place to go for modern dance performances. A famous dance series, “Angry Artists Against Viet Nam,” presented at Hunter in ’67, included Twyla Tharp, Eleo Pomare and […]

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Tznius is a Beautiful Mitzvah

Tznius is truly a beautiful mitzvah, it’s one in which many women who aren’t even frum yet can shine in. It puts the bas yisroel on display for all to see how much yiras shamayim she has and it’s becoming increasing harder to do so. At every moment in our lives there is pritzus waiting […]

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Why Are We Always Focusing on Someones Negative Traits?

In honor of positive blogging week I’ve decided to write about being dan lehav z’chus, giving someone favorable judgement. Too many times do we jump to conclusions based on “news” stories, blogger fabricated lies, and a general willingness to jump on the bandwagon of negativity when someone us accused of something. I myself am guilty […]

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Meet “Bulletproof Stockings” and “Yiddish Princess”

Today we feature female American Jewish musicians who aren’t softly crooning classic Hebrew folk songs, traditional prayers, or even hava nagila. They are not belting out Broadway tunes or love songs à la Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler. These women are rocking out to their own beat. First up is a chassidic alt-rock girl band. […]

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Michelle Bachmann Warns us that Minneapolis - St. Paul are the New Sodom - Gomorrah

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann threatened to leave Minnesota today if the state goes ahead with its plans to legalize gay marriage. In an interview with a local television station, the conservative firebrand said she believes God will destroy Minneapolis once the legislation is enacted, and wants to be far away when the reckoning happens. “The Bible […]

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Top Ten Reasons We Eat Dairy on Shavuot

After immersing myself and my family in milk, cheese, eggs and noodles for the past two days, the question remained, why? Why do we eat dairy on Shavuot? Here are the top ten reasons that I came up with. My first thought was to look for some Biblical or Talmudic reason and for that, I […]

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An Un-Love Song

An Un-Love Song is written as a psalm to Shavuot, which is associated with one of the most beautiful, celebratory poems in history, the Song of Songs. However, it’s written in the style of a Lamentation, as a response to heartbreaking acts of aggression towards women and children in the misappropriated name of religion. The […]

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Dear Heshy: Hating on BT’s Will not Solve any Problems

Dear Heshy, I follow you on facebook fairly regularly and noticed your post on what you hate about baalei teshuva. Now before all of your fans jump me for being offended by something you wrote, I read your site and facebook page regularly and find most of what you say to be true and funny, […]

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Mae Rockland Tupa: Artist and Author

She was born Mae Cecilia Shafter on December 18, 1937 in Bronx, NY. Raised as a “pink diaper baby” and speaking only Yiddish until age five, Mae graduated from Music & Art High School, a public alternative high school that eventually merged into the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing […]

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Frum Propaganda

Frum. It’s a word we all use, but what does it mean? Well, literally, it means “devout” or “pious” – from the German word “fromm”. But more important than what it means literally, what does it mean to us and, moreover, how important is it to us to be truly “frum“? Let’s start with the […]

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Happy Mother’s Day to All Y’all

A blessed day to all who know the joy of watching tiny wrinkled people grow up before your eyes as well the enormous fun of following those people around cleaning up their messes and reminding them to mind their manners. I’m reposting my favorite poem, my “Mother” work, if you will. When I wrote it, […]

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Estelle Getty: Golden Girl

Do I admire her because she’s been described as “… evasive about her height, acknowledging only that she was under 5 feet and under 100 pounds?” Well, all the more points to Estelle Getty for being an itsy-bitsy powerhouse, but mostly I admire her for being a genuinely funny, talented woman, who never gave up […]

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JStandard: Do Angels Speak Aramaic?

My Dear Rabbi column (May 3) sparked an urgent letter to the editor at the Jewish Standard. I answered it. The Dear Rabbi Column, “ …based on timeless Talmudic wisdom” (May 3), writes the following about the Kaddish: “Yet this prayer is especially apropos for a mourner because we believe that it is the Aramaic […]

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What’s in a Name?

My daughter is four months old and she already had two names. Last week she received a third. When we discovered that we would be having a child on the first day of Pesach last year, we were both so flabbergasted. Although having a child was approximately our plan, getting pregnant as soon as I […]

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Is Blackballing Tim Tebow from the NFL Kosher?

Yes, we think that blackballing Tim Tebow from the NFL is kosher and proper. Michael Silver, writing on Yahoo Sports, understands why this is happening but is not sure that it is kosher (“Tim Tebow blackballed by NFL teams because of cult-like following, media frenzy”). We think that Tebow violates two major league sports conventions. […]

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The Power to Name Myself

I have been aware of the power of names and naming since childhood. My mother always struggled with her name. As a researcher and writer, she published under her professional name; as a feminist, it was important to her to maintain her own identity, apart from her husband’s; as a mother and wife, she felt […]

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Halachic Questions: Is Hot Boxing Considered Yichud?

As marijuana becomes more acceptable in the frum community (I knew we’d catch up someday) I have begun writing “must be 420 friendly” on my shidduch resumes and online dating accounts. I find that most shadchanim have no idea what it is, which is good, because most of the time the only folks who know […]

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10 Things that Don’t Lead to Mixed Dancing

People like to claim that anything that isn’t super frum leads to mixed dancing, but I fervently disagree with this projection. Yes, having a low mechitza at a shul with a woman rabbi doing a Carlebach shabbos while high on some good herb may lead to people mixed dancing if they cannot be kovesh their […]

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Announcing a New Edition of Shoroshim by Reuven Brauner

BIGGEST HEBREW VERB BOOK Shoroshim by Reuven Brauner may be the most comprehensive list of Hebrew Verb roots ever published with close to 3300 entries. The verb roots are presented with definitions, synonyms and derivative meanings in thesaurus form, laid out in a clear, delightful and aesthetic manner. SMART More than a conventional dictionary or […]

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Off The Derech Shayala: I’m Scared to Make a Kiddush Hashem

Since you had yourself thrown out of the group (the Off The Derech group), here’s a shaylah for the OTD dayan. Advice needed. I sometimes ride the subway, and when an older person comes into my subway car, I want to give up my seat if there aren’t any available, the problem is that I […]

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The Jewish Fetish For Jewish Baseball Players

About a month ago, just before Opening Day of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, I received an email from a newspaper reporter who asked if I had time available to discuss Jewish baseball players. I had recently read a fascinating review of John Rosengren’s new Hank Greenberg book in the Wall Street Journal and […]

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The Nut List

Anyone who believes less than me is a heathen.  Anyone who believes more than me is a nut. I’m a patchwork Jew.  I’m a collection of memes and tropes and minhagim.  I’ve clearly gotten more religious over time and have taken on things I never would have thought – tearing toilet paper before Shabbos?  But […]

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Moments in History: Jewish Entertainers in Film

One of my favorite jobs here at the Jewish Women’s Archive is putting together our This Week In History email. I get a (admittedly nerdy) thrill at seeing what happened at other points in history. I like the idea of imagining myself on May 2nd 100 years ago—or 50 years ago—or 25 years ago, and […]

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Is the Author and Spiritual Seeker Paulo Coelho Jewish?

No Paulo Coelho is not a Jew. He was brought up Catholic and attended a Jesuit school in Brazil. Coelho is not a big fan of any organized religion. He speaks with lyrical disdain and disparagement in his books about the wisdom and ritual of religions. His current publication, Manuscript Found in Accra, is set […]

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Is it Kosher? Uh, it’s Not Recommended

I found myself faced with an incredible challenge yesterday, it was a lull at work and the chef offered to pay for starbucks if I’d drive. I wish she would have said “lets get something at starbucks” and not offered to pay, because starbucks is gross. However, in order to stay true to my cheap, […]

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