Category: General

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Harassment, Hijabs and Hoaxes

Widespread reports over the weeks since Election Day of harassment and hateful graffiti aimed at minorities reminded me of something the legendary Agudath Israel of America leader Rabbi Moshe Sherer, z”l, taught me, the...

President-elect Donald Trump stands with Betsy DeVos after a meeting at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster Township, N.J., on Saturday.

School Choice: Response to a Forward Editor

An article of mine responding to Forward contributing editor Jay Michaelson’s lament over the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the nation’s next Secretary of Education appears in that paper, accessible here.

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Ripe Citrons and Ruby Slippers

On the first day of Sukkos, after tens of thousands of Jews had paid princely sums for flawless specimens of a particular citrus fruit, payments were made by others, too, for a very different...

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Ivanka Trump Got Me Thinking about Shabbat

Several statements by Ivanka Trump stimulated me to rethink my own Shabbat observance. The 35-year-old daughter of US president elect Donald Trump converted to Judaism seven years ago. She said that she and her...

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Vote-Buying, 2016

For all but the most starry-eyed devotees, or family members, of an aspirant to public service, voting essentially boils down to deciding which evil is lesser. Well, that’s a bit harsh. What I mean...

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Greetings!

“How do you say ‘the horse died’ in Yiddish?” asked the African-American panhandler to whom I had given a quarter when he accosted me in lower Manhattan. It was many years ago, shortly after...

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Commanded

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, a number of media, including the Wall St. Journal and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, found a good “Jewish” story in the popularity and abundance of dogs in Tel...

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Shock Treatment

It’s a truth not universally acknowledged that good can come from bad. As Iyov said, “Who can bring purity from impurity, not the One?” (14:4; see Targum Yonasan). An untruth almost universally asserted is...

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The Power of a Place

Somewhere on earth there may be a more fractious, violent, convulsed and combative place than the Iraqi city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. But it’s not likely. Currently, Fallujah is in the news because...

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Letter in the New York Times

The Opinion Pages | LETTER Single-Sex Swimming Pool JUNE 6, 2016 To the Editor: Re “Everybody Into the Pool” (editorial, June 1): Far from being “unmoored” from the Constitution, offering sex-segregated hours at public...

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Ferry Tale

Sitting among other commuters in the cavernous terminal, waiting for the next ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan, I sensed some commotion in my periphery. Looking up from my reading, I saw a 40-ish...

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And the Winner Is…

“Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser,” the famous, and famously blunt, General George S. Patton declared in a 1944 speech. “When you were kids,” he explained, “you all admired the...

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From the Mouths of Mexicans

I’ll call him Pedro; maybe it’s even his name. He seems to be a custodian of some sort for a shul – though I have no idea where it might be. He wears a...

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Happy Meals, Jewish Style

There’s something – and something Jewish, as it happens – to be said for willfully denying ourselves foods, at least at times. An article I wrote for the excellent site simpletoremember.com, about eating Jewishly,...

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What We Build and What We Are

As the 93rd takes place, the 78th comes to mind. Agudath Israel of America’s national conventions, that is. The 93rd gathering is featuring a constellation of topics and speakers, include the presence of Gedolim,...

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Buried Treasure in Tokyo

At a news conference last week, Satoshi Omura, a Japanese researcher and one of three scientists who had just won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, made a comment that was not only...

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Govrov Selichos, 1939

This time of year in 1939, in a Polish town called Ruzhan, a 14-year-old boy had his plans rudely interrupted. The boy, who, fifteen years later, would become my father, had made preparations to...