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Stories of Growth

The String That Ties Us Together
My summer yeshivah experience as a 39-year-old dad
All my life, I was made to feel different, and if I didn’t play by the rules then I wasn’t a “good,” serious Jew. Is that how I want my son and daughter to feel? Do I have what it takes to connect?
Surviving the Fall
When a man finds himself visited by the same recurring dream, his normal schedule begins to fall apart. Robbed of sleep, with his life taken over by the dream, he embarks on a quest of self-discovery to find out why the dream matters so much to him.
Yanir's Search for Meaning in All the Wrong Places
An epic musical, mystical search that spanned India, China, Argentina, and Israel
Before I Said
Have you ever strolled on a college campus on a Saturday at eight in the morning? No one is around, no one is up. But I was—because I wasn’t going to get trapped into joining the minyan.
Why I Seek Outside Validation
The Inner World of an Adult Orphan
My father could not give me that basic confirmation that I am, that I matter. He passed away before he had enough time to do that for me. So I look for compensation.
How a Chanukah Menorah Changed My Life
One man’s search for his buried treasure.
A Continuous Journey
Following high school graduation, I set off for Israel, Birkenstocks and Bob Marley t-shirt in tow. I found an apartment in the center of Jerusalem, and waited for something to happen.
Moses Lives On
Moses and Jean Valjean: the connection
Turning My Life Around
I found myself questioning the one thing I had always depended on—my Jewish faith...
Karl Goodman
An “ish tov”—good man
My father gave me a huge hug and kiss like only he could, and then we walked out to the parking lot. As he began driving, my father told me how proud he was of me for playing so well. What he said next taught me a life lesson that I have never forgotten . . .
A Peace of (My) Mind
“So, what then? We should sit back, do nothing . . . and watch him slowly kill himself?” “No. I’m just saying maybe there’s a better way to reach him . . .”
Chucking Expectations
What did that mean, “discarding expectations”? Every situation results in some sort of outcome; positive or negative, we have to expect that something is going to happen. Besides, I was always taught that expectations can play a key role in life—expect good things, and they’ll happen for you; expect bad things, and they’ll definitely happen to you. How does someone approach life with no expectations at all?
The Rest Will Come Later
My grandfather kissed my cheeks and said, "Morty, every morning when you wake up, I want you to look at the mirror and strike your heart three times. While you are striking your heart, recite, 'I was born a Jew; I was raised a Jew; and I will die a Jew.'"
Journeying From the Forest of Despair
Despite his age (late adolescence being a time of presumed invincibility) and his size (he was a big guy), my brother began to become fearful. Dusk was rapidly approaching...
Life's Little Reversals
It’s clear that this is the swearing-in ceremony concluding basic training for these boys. I was across the ocean when my own son received his beret and Bible; I can’t bring myself to leave now.
Other Side of the Tapestry
Our lives are like the reverse side of a great tapestry. From the back, it all looks random and chaotic: all we can see are the knots, the imperfections, some bumps, smears of color...
Mikvah Time
The year is the same, the days are the same, but the months are different. It is a time quite individual—created by G‑d especially for me . . .
Free Trial Period
It was the commercial that first attracted me. Then there were the bonus gifts, and by the time my free-trial period was up I'd forgotten that my credit card was being billed monthly...
Who Are You?
In prison, you lose your identity. You can't be a thief when you aren't stealing; you can't be a drug dealer when you aren't dealing. You have no status in the underworld and no status in the real world