Always stop to pee – and other lessons from my dad

While I wrote a nice sentimental tribute for my mom for mother's day (here if you missed it) - that just wouldn't be right for my dad, our father-daughter dance was to "Beep-Beep" after all (pictured).  My dad's lessons are very practical, though they still have a Jewish component.Always stop to peeWe took a lot of road trips when  I was a kid, my dad is a big fan of traveling by car and seeing nature pass outside your windows.  This lead us on a lot of back-roads and you never knew when the … [Read more...]

Modest is Hottest?

There is a catch phrase which for awhile I loved, but now sits unwell with me:  "modest is hottest."  Well, if it is hottest, doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of being modest? Doesn't acknowledging it on that level take away some of the inherent subtlety of modesty, in the grand scheme of things?Tzniut, the Hebrew word for modesty tends to be most commonly translated about modesty in reference to clothing.  I think defining it down on this level does an injustice to tzniut and people w … [Read more...]

Different Days, Different Relationships

As you are aware by now, last week we celebrated Shavuot and had a chance to do some great learning.  One of my favorite discussions, and one I thought our readers would appreciate, came from a session early in the night with my Rebbetzin, T.  The class was on Megilat Ruth.T introduced the class by commenting on the juxtaposition of what we read on the different days of Shavuot.  The first day we read about the receiving of the Torah.  It is a big, loud and flashy moment, filled with thunder an … [Read more...]

Why do we learn all night on Shavuot?

There is an ages old tradition of staying up all night to learn Torah and Jewish values the night of Shavuot - the holiday which commemorates the receiving of the Torah.  The most commonly shared reason for doing this is so that we can be up and excited to receive the Torah.  Well, I have to be honest - after staying up all night learning, I am so tired - I don't want to even stay at services long enough to hear the Torah read, let alone to be excited for it.  However, every year I feel the co … [Read more...]

Are Kashrut and Health Mutually Exclusive?

It often seems that to those who keep kosher, healthy eating is left to slide.  Meanwhile, those on the outside, often think that Kashrut (the practice of keeping kosher) is inherently healthy.  So which is right? Can both be accurate?  I like to think so....I have long been interested in the melding of kashrut and healthy eating.  I think that Judaism places such an emphasis on the value of human health, and too often we forget that when it comes to our food.  The laws of kashrut are so spec … [Read more...]

Remembering to not Repeat

I think my seventh grade history teacher must have been Jewish.  On the first day of class, she had written on the chalk-board (large enough to take up most of it) the following:"Those who do not learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it in the future"At the time, it seemed slightly contrite, but over the years I have truly come to appreciate the truth behind this statement.  It is often quoted in many different forms with many different attributions, but the point is always the same. If w … [Read more...]

Mikvah Mania Month

Mikvah* is becoming quite a hot topic lately in the Jewish blogosphere, and I am proud to be a part of that.  The comments to my recent post, spurred other posts, and eventually greater awareness and involvement of the trials women face in observing this great mitzvah. In fact, a prominent Jewish Tweeter commented today that is seemed to be "Mikvah Month" - my response - Great! Its about time!The blog posts, comments, and tweets which have abounded on this topic lately have really shown a l … [Read more...]

Zachor — Remember

Yesterday we commemorated the Shoah, the Holocaust.  We reiterate time and again as we commemorate the Shoah the word Zachor, remember.  What does this really mean?My Rabbi began his sermon before Yikzor (the memorial service) on the 8th day of Pesach (Passover) by speaking about the commandment to remember our slavery and the exodus from Egypt – as if anyone that lived through it could forget.  Maybe that’s the point though, while those who lived through such an intense experience would fore … [Read more...]


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