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On Being Jewish

On Being Jewish

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A Jewish-Dutch Tapestry
“My name is Baroness Alice van Slingelandt, and I originate from Vienna," began the elderly vicar.
How I Discovered I Was Jewish
Finding My Jewish Roots in China
All of a sudden I had discovered that I was a Jew, and I had no idea what that actually meant. I did know, however, that it was a big deal. And I knew I was now part of a very clannish, cohesive group with an intense shared history of genocide, persecution, controversy, and a disproportionately prominent role in the course of world history.
Like One Person
How can a 5,000-year-old heritage still leave one man feeling so distant, so estranged?
I Need a Rabbi?
Imagine my surprise, one sunny summer afternoon, to see two Hassidic young men come into our little place of business. My wife and I had been in Montana for only a few short months. How did they find us? And, more importantly, why did they make the three-hour round trip to visit us?
G-d on the Corner of 96th and Amsterdam
The street corner was busy. Too busy. There was certainly no place for G‑d in this scene.
The Power of Kiddush
There was, though, one mitzvah that my grandpa cherished and upheld as far back as I can remember, and up until he became unable to stand: kiddush...
A Sukkot of Lovingkindness
I settled my mother in at the center, and returned to my hosts’ home in time for the holiday. As I blessed the candles, a wave of gratitude enveloped me...
Sustaining the Joy of Sukkot in Our Relationships
After the luster of the new relationship wears away, and couples seek to improve their marriage, much of the focus shifts to what is wrong and what needs to change. While it is important to directly address the rough spots in a relationship, and this is usually what motivates couples to seek counseling, there are ways to effect change by bypassing the negative in favor of the positive . . .
The Art of Forgiveness
One does not decide what happens to him; one decides what he wants to do with what happens to him...
A Rosh Hashanah Lesson from the NFL
Another season in the National Football League is now underway, but it almost never happened. For months, players were locked out of their jobs, as owners and players failed to reach an agreement. This happened to me as a player, but even worse...
Time Multiplied
My point is not to regret the necessities of life, nor to cheat us of the relaxing moments that energize us and give us a little respite so we can go back to whatever we are doing, refreshed or relieved or both. It is that the next time we are faced with the opportunity to do something good for somebody else, or for ourselves, let’s think twice about saying or thinking that “I just don’t have enough time.”
Eternal Love: Understanding Tisha B’Av
On this miserable morning, I stand before G‑d hungry and unwashed, undignified and unadorned, overwhelmed with the memory of countless holocausts unique to the people of His covenant . . .
Schneerson, Guests have Come to Visit Us!
The entire notion of this wedding was surreal – actually, unthinkable. Over 2,000 people from around the world had flown into Moscow to celebrate a Jewish wedding, aided by the Russian authorities.
Morning Devotions
This is quality time spent honing my emotions, refocusing my mind, reinvigorating my trust, and readjusting the compass of my life. By the time I’m through, I can feel spirituality pulsating throughout my being...
Passing the Buck
The Meaning of Shaliach Mitzvah
I stood outside staring at the dollar bill. I wondered why he wanted me to take his money. He could make a donation himself, right?
A New Definition of Fun
My connection to Shavuot
When my two young sons grew older and less dependent on me, I realized that between work and managing a home, there was a part of me that craved something additional. Something I knew I possessed but felt was not being cultivated sufficiently . . .
What Moses Told the Jewish Woman
As a Jewish son, husband and father, I stand in awe and appreciation of the role the Jewish woman plays in the continuity and story of our people. It was her faith which got us out of Egypt, it was her faith that gave us Purim, it was her faith that gave us the strength of the Jewish family, and it is her that in whose merit we will all dance into the Messianic era...
Building Success by Dreaming
Optimism is contagious. We achieve the most when we pass on the tools of success to others. We must lead by example . . .
The Orchestra
The power of community
Each sound another timbre, another color, another world. But somehow, they are all one. The players and the instruments, the instruments and the orchestra, the orchestra and the conductor, the conductor and the music, the music and the energy pulsating through the room. How can so many different instruments produce such a seamlessly unified sound?
Hold On to Your Roots
A Child’s Upsherin
When I got my haircut, it was an experience. But for Jacob, it was an event. I had a professional cut my hair. He had his family and friends contribute . . .
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