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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Tishrei

B”H Talk about “kitchen debate.” Over the years, I’ve heard women discuss which holiday season is more demanding, the eight days of Pesach in the spring or Tishrei’s month-long “season of rejoicing” in the fall. When I first became observant, I thought it was understood that Pesach loomed larger for Jewish women, with all the unavoidable cleaning and cooking. But I was comforted on those Tishrei mornings when I woke up in a daze (“wait, are we feasting, fasting or cooking...

The Blessing of an Imperfect Childhood

B”H Nibble, nibble like a mouse. Who’s that nibbling at my house? It was a thrill I’ll never forget–my second grade debut as the witch in “Hansel and Gretel.” Apparently, I nailed the part; family lore has it that my teacher prophesied to my mother that I was going to be an actress. Well, not quite. Not professionally, anyway. My mother, of blessed memory, firmly nixed acting as a career option for me–wise on her part, I eventually realized–but the...

Why Our Crazy World is Good for the Jews

B”H As a mother, I learned that just because you don’t get paid doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. It also doesn’t mean you aren’t hugely satisfied by the job and committed to succeeding. Motherhood was good preparation for my current job as a blogger. I write weekly installments about my journey towards Jewish spirituality with one overarching goal: to help bring Moshiach, the Messiah.  And because the Messianic theme runs through much of my writing, it’s piqued enough interest...

The Woman Begging to Be Seen

B”H “The whipped cream will just be a few minutes. Is that okay?” “Sure,” I smiled. Being patient can be challenging for me, but I didn’t mind this time. I was getting the “hot chocolate with whipped cream and a large straw” for the woman sitting outside the restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She’s known as the Dreidel Lady because she asks for tzedaka by the large dreidel outside the Jewish Children’s Museum. She’s also known as a force to...

Holy Nantucket!

B”H Many years ago, I heard a speaker challenge an audience of up and coming Jewish community leaders: If a stranger walked through our homes and there was no conversation, how clearly would that person know we were Jewish?  At the time, I was convinced that “feeling” Jewish was sufficient, but the lecturer was prodding the group to put more skin in the game. It’s a long story how everything changed in our lives over the last thirty years, but...

4 Things My Scale Taught Me about G-d

B”H The other day, when my foot accidentally touched someone’s electronic scale, I recoiled like I’d just stepped on a hot coal. A few zeroes passed over the digital screen. I instantly averted my eyes: Pay no attention to these numbers. Why did I respond like that to such a harmless experience? I know that everything in the physical world has a spiritual corollary and contains a lesson for me in how to serve G-d. The lesson can be big...

Family Politics

B”H It wasn’t as bad as finding out that the Unabomber was in our mishpocha, but some family members were definitely disturbed. The Jewish Journal had disclosed the ancestry of a political wunderkind making news today. And now, everyone who sees this article will know that Stephen Miller, who is said to be the Jewish brains behind Donald Trump’s campaign, is part of the Glosser family from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He’s my husband’s second cousin, once removed. Why am I sharing this information...

Why People Hate G-d

B”H “I know you don’t agree with me but I feel religion is one of the biggest dividers of all mankind.  Isis feels they are acting in the name of G-d, as did the Christian Crusaders.”   Our old friend Bob’s email made me smile. It reminded me of my late father, who insisted that religion was bad for the world because it caused all the wars. I tried for years to convince my father otherwise (unsuccessfully, of course), but now I...

Tuesdays on Murray

BH It’s almost twenty years that I have been going out with Mrs. Miriam Rosenblum “on mivtzoyim.” Tuesday is my day to pick her up, along with her wooden chair, Jewish brochures, and trusty poster board, to take to the streets. Well, not exactly. We have a regular spot on Pittsburgh’s Murray Avenue for mivtzoyim (“campaigns”), the Rebbe’s initiative to encourage Jews and non-Jews to do mitzvos. (Mivtza and mitzvah sound similar, but the first is a campaign, the second is a...

Got Guilt?

BH If you’re looking for the mothership of Jewish guilt, it can be found in our responsibility to rebuild the Third Temple, the Beis Hamikdash. Our Sages say that if we don’t witness its rebuilding, it’s as if we witness its destruction. The details of what happened almost 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, are gruesome and painful. And the tragedy continues, certainly in the sense that the Jewish nation...