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On Being Jewish

The Living Jew of Warsaw
His dark eyes, narrowed in concentration, gave him the air of someone far older than his almost thirty years
When I was 18, I spent a year in the Old City of Jerusalem. I had just broken up with a girlfriend and graduated from a public school in Pittsburgh.
‘You’ll Love Us—We’re So Disorganized!’
“Why be Jewish, or any label for that matter?” I declared to the rabbi. “All the problems in the world, well, most of them anyhow, can be traced to some sort of organized religion.
He stared at me in surprise. He looked at my beard, black hat and chassidic garb, and I realized that he hadn’t recognized me from a distance—it was just now dawning on him that a chassidic rabbi had held his hand.
The Unexpected Shabbat Guest from the Gown Boutique
The saleswoman halted and looked at us, somewhat startled. "What did you say?" she questioned me as she turned to Sharone; the cross around her neck swung back and forth on its thin gold chain.
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...