In the Lunchroom at a Jewish Camp and Day School

August 11, 2017 – Volume 5, Issue 40 –19th of Av 5777
Parshas Ekev

What’s the one thing you can’t stand as a parent? For me, I really don’t appreciate, if my kids don’t appreciate. Meaning, if someone does a favor for my child, I want my child to recognize that something good was done for them. Perhaps a neighbor dropped off something tasty for my kids before Shabbat, or maybe Bubby and Zaidy sent money for a birthday. As difficult as it might be to pick up the phone or send a “thank you” card, we try hard (not always successfully, mind you) to remind our children did you call Bubby and Zaidy to thank them?

Read More»

The Hardest Mitzvah Of All

August 4, 2017 – Volume 5, Issue 39 –12th of Av 5777
Parshas Va’eschanan

Judaism has 613 commandments and innumerable rabbinical injunctions and laws “on the books,” what’s the most difficult one for you? Perhaps you struggle with belief in an Almighty Creator and sustainer of the universe. Maybe for you the concept of setting aside one whole day a week to celebrate and honor the creation itself is way too daunting. Maybe you have some very challenging people in your life that cause you a tremendous amount of tension and anger and you’re battling with “not taking revenge.” Every one of us struggles with some mitzvot and have an easier time with others. I’d like to focus on one particular mitzvah that many find “the hardest of all.”

Read More»

A Place Where Jewish Law Does Not Apply

July 28, 2017 – Volume 5, Issue 38 –5th of Av 5777
Parshas Devarim – Tisha B’Av Edition

Around the world Jews are in mourning. We are in the last few days of the period known as the “3 weeks.” The three weeks which culminate in the saddest day of the year: Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av.) Tisha B’Av was the day where both of our Temples were destroyed and, historically, has been a day wrought with pain, hardship and suffering for the Jewish nation. On it, year after year after year, we fast for twenty five hours (no drinking either), sit on a low stool or on the floor for most of the day and incorporate other restrictions to make sure the mood of the day remains somber.

There is, as I understand it, one place on earth that actually does not traditionally commemorate this period in the way that the rest of the Jewish nation has for thousands of years. Their lack of honoring these days has nothing to do with Jewish apathy or callous indifference to the laws that we are required to keep. But, strikingly, for just the opposite reason…

Read More»

When the Status Quo Shatters

July 21, 2017 – Volume 5, Issue 37 –27th of Tamuz 5777
Parshas Mattos-Massei

The good ole US of A has so many wonderful components. Freedom, liberty and the ability for one to practice religion are certainly way up on the list. But there is another, perhaps less appreciated, aspect of the United States that we may take for granted and that is….Costco. Yep Costco….allow me to explain the significance and how deeply connected it is to our weekly Torah portion with a story…

A few months ago my wife noticed something bizarre in the washroom. No, it was not a plumbing issue nor an aesthetic upgrade to the sink. It was…Dial soap. Dial!? My wife asked incredulously.

Read More»

A Four Year Old in a Checkout Line

July 14, 2017 – Volume 5, Issue 36 –20th of Tamuz 5777
Parshas Pinchas

Among the great feats of human history, along with Roger Bannister’s breaking the four minute mile in 1954, and though less known, Dean Karnazes running 50 different marathons in 50 US states in 50 consecutive days(!!!), is when a naturally anxious child, remains calm. Those of you with kids know that when a child locks in on something with the crosshairs of their adolescent vision, there’s literally no telling how far they will go to get what they want.

Read More»