BAMIDBAR — A mother hovers over her young son climbing on monkey bars. A thirteen year-old girl’s parents won’t let her walk alone to the school bus stop two blocks away. Another parent decides what her children wear to school each day. Parents of course have the job of protecting their kids, but the question is how much should they protect. Should parents always step in when the homework is rough? Should parents call another child’s parent when their son or daughter is having a conflict with that child? Keeping children in a hothouse for all of childhood, not...Read More
KEDOSHIM — It’s easy to look up the street and see that the grass is a little greener at a neighbor’s. Maybe they have a new car or their kids are wearing the newest fashion. You wish you could have those niceties. It’s often much harder to look the other way, down the street or, perhaps, across town, to see how your grass might look greener to so many others. Your car may not be the newest, but it’s a solid, safe car that runs; your kids are comfortable. Though it may be hard to see at times, we...Read More
PASSOVER — Freedom is such an attractive concept to us all. We like the idea of doing what we want, when we want. Often we think that being free of rules, regulations, and requirements are important for us to feel free. Could we be wrong in expecting too much of freedom? What if people did exactly as they pleased, whenever they wanted. Life could get very confusing, complicated, and dangerous. On Passover, we celebrate our freedom from slavery with a Seder. Interestingly the word Seder means order, and our special celebration of freedom starts with 15 steps to follow....Read More
TZAV — Jewish learning is a continuous process of discovering the richness and relevance of our tradition. Many people think learning can stop when school stops. Stopping Jewish studies after 13 is all too common. This week’s Torah portion, Tzav, instructs that a small fire must burn permanently on the Altar represent the desire within each of us to connect to something bigger and higher, just as a fire always reaches upwards. This small flame also reminds each of us that we have a spark to learn and improve within us. It is our responsibility to nurture our spark...Read More
VA-YIKRA — In a world of text messaging and twitter, writing a proper thank-you note has become a lost art. We express our appreciation by quickly texting THNX!!! while out-and-about and multi- tasking on smart phones. In contrast, in order to write a thank-you note you must sit at a desk and have a pen, stationery, and a stamp on hand. You need to write legibly, know your recipi- ent’s street address, and have ample time and quiet to focus on expressing sincere gratitude. Unlike texting, however, sending a thank-you note shows that you are willing to sacrifice precious...Read More
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