Click here!
The Blog

Driverless Cars and a Workerless World

August 30, 2016 11:30 AM

Dear Friend,

It’s official. There are driverless taxis on the streets. It may be six months or six years, but they’ll soon be everywhere, and they will likely change the way we approach car ownership (who needs it?), commutes (ditto) and shopping (assuming the drones don’t corner that market first).

It sounds like a page from a sci-fi script, but this is real life, and we are in it.

If artificial intelligence continues to grow exponentially—and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that it will—then many of us will find ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. How the market will reform to accommodate so many consuming humans in a world where production requires so few humans is anyone’s guess. Yes, it’s scary. No, there is little most of us can do about it.

Best-case scenario: There will be lots of goodness to go around, and everyone will have what he or she needs in abundance. To quote the words of Maimonides: “In that era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor strife, because good will emanate in abundance and all delightful things will be accessible as dust. The one preoccupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d.”

May it indeed be so. Amen!

Menachem Posner
on behalf of the Editorial Team

PS: How do you feel about driverless cars? Would you be comfortable in one? Do you think they are a step in the right direction? Please share a comment and let us know.

History in the Making

August 22, 2016 3:37 PM

Dear Friend,

This week marks 72 years since the passing of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. A mystic, scholar, and chief rabbi of Dnipropetrovsk, he died in Kazakhstan, where he had been exiled by the Soviets as punishment for his fearless efforts on behalf of Jewish people and their right to serve G‑d.

Russia is currently hosting a massive gathering of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries from all over Europe.

The conference is more than just a celebration of the present with an eye toward the future. It is a direct tribute to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, a prominent leader of the thousands of Chassidim who laid their lives on the line to preserve the flame of Judaism that Stalin and his minions tried to snuff out.

Throngs of Jewish leaders are proudly walking down the very same corridors of power where their predecessors walked shackled and silenced. A country where Judaism had been suppressed is now supporting a Jewish revival that extends far beyond its borders.

The blood, sweat and tears of the previous generations were not in vain. The long-reaching effects of the efforts of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and his brave comrades are still being felt today.

The Team

What the Maidens of Jerusalem Teach Us

August 17, 2016 11:59 AM

Dear Friend,

What makes a good spouse?

We are fast approaching 15 Av, once one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar. The Talmud tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride.

“Raise your eyes and choose!” they would call out as they danced. “Don’t fix your eyes on beauty. Set your eyes on upbringing. ‘Charm is a lie, and beauty is vain; but a woman who has reverence for the L‑rd, she’ll be praised.’ (Proverbs 31:30)

These young ladies knew the secret to lasting love. Looks, money, glitz, glamor are all secondary. The main thing is what’s going on inside. A G‑d-fearing, kind, giving, reliable, and intelligent spouse is a partner with whom to build a home and grow old.

Let those of us who are married look inward and find these qualities within ourselves and our spouses. And let us bless those of us looking for a spouse that they find one with the values of the maidens of Jerusalem.

The Team

Jews and Unmet Expectations

August 9, 2016 3:36 PM

Dear Friend,

This past Shabbat in Jerusalem, less than a mile from the site of the Holy Temple, a guest at our table reminded me that “expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Indeed, predetermining the future is often the surest route to disappointment. Yet Maimonides’s thirteen principles of the Jewish faith includes, “I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach, and although he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait every day for him to come.”

Day after day, year after year, we have waited, for thousands of years, expectantly but without resentment. How is that possible? There are many ways to approach this question, and much to learn on about the many deep meanings of Tisha B’Av, exile and redemption.

But one concept is central: Like parents who believe in their children no matter what, G‑d believes in us. And we believe in Him. We are believers, children of believers, certain of G‑d’s goodness, no matter how hidden that goodness may be. Our faith transcends resentment and unmet expectations.

Whether this Tisha B’Av will be a day of fasting or feasting, we believe with a perfect faith that we are closer to the final redemption than ever before, and we will continue to joyously await its imminent arrival.

Yaakov Ort
on behalf of the Editorial Team

A Sneak Peek at the Lineup

August 9, 2016 3:07 PM

The sun is bright, the leaves are green, the pavement is radiating heat, and the New York summer feels like it is here to stay. But the film crew at has been up and down the Eastern seaboard, shooting for what promises to be a blockbuster fall season with four separate courses (of four classes each) on a variety of Jewish topics.

“When the vacationing is over and the hectic High Holiday season has passed, people will be ready to settle down and learn,” explains Yaakov Kaplan, who produced the courses together with Zalman Refson. “We listened very carefully to the requests of our audience and found just the right teachers to present an array of topics, clearly and engagingly.”

The first (and perhaps most famous) story of the Bible is of that of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit and their subsequent banishment from Eden. Have you ever wondered what that strange tale really means and what relevance it has to daily life today? The team has already filmed a series of classes on that very topic by Rabbi Menachem Feldman, director of adult education at Chabad Lubavitch of Greenwich in Connecticut, who unravels the layers of significance that surround this tale of sin and sorrow.

Speaking of sorrow, it almost seems as if struggle, sadness and judgement are built into the human condition. So what are we to do with it? To address this aspect of our lives, the team tapped Rochel Holtzkenner, co-director of Chabad of Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to lead a deeply personal exploration of these pressing issues.

Perhaps there is no theological issue as compelling as that of free will. Are we masters of our own destinies? Where does G‑d fit into the picture? A course on this (and more) has been formulated by Rabbi Mendy Herson, director of Chabad of Greater Somerset County in Basking Ridge, N.J.

And last, but not least, comes a thorough course on the Jewish vision for the “End of Times,” the era of Moshiach. Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, director of adult education and outreach at Chabad of Plantation, Fla., has crafted a concise overview of what the texts tell us and what it all means.

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite, just sit tight. Soon enough, you’ll receive an email about how to register for these thought-provoking courses.

The Lousiest Holiday on the Calendar

August 1, 2016 9:42 AM

Dear Friend,

I don’t like the Three Weeks. I don’t like the Nine Days, which start this Friday. And most of all, I don’t like Tisha B’Av. It’s the lousiest holiday on the Jewish calendar.

Tisha B’Av is a fast day. It commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem and our entry into exile. Exile of the body, exile of the soul. Mainly of the soul.

At first, I found Tisha B’Av an enchanting, living theater of the absurd. People sitting on overturned chairs. The curtain removed from the ark. Lights half off, half on. Everything deliberately put out of order, just to remember that this is not how things are supposed to be.

But by now I’ve had enough. I don’t need a day designed to make me depressed. I don’t need a day to remind me that things are not the way they are supposed to be. I need a day in which to make things the way they should be. A day not for mourning, but for fixing. A day to take this day away.

Well, maybe that’s what Tisha B’Av is meant to be. It’s meant to motivate us to fix up the situation and get out of this rut. After all, we were the ones who made the mess; we should be able to get out of it.

All the same, I’ve had enough fasting and mourning, exile and darkness. I’ve had enough of a world that is not the way it is supposed to be.

I don’t like Tisha B’Av. Dear G‑d, this year, please take it away.

Tzvi Freeman,
on behalf of the Editorial Team

The latest news from
Recent Posts
Blog Archive
Related Topics