Passover 101

Those who are not Jewish might have some difficulty trying to understand what Passover is. It seemed like a good idea to put together a quick “Passover 101” that people can easily share with confused (but well meaning) friends and neighbors. Instead of explaining it over and over again, you can simply send them the link to this simplified description. Passover is an eight-day festival that is celebrated in early spring. It begins on the 15th and ends on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. The coinciding secular dates will not be the same every year. There … Continue reading

Rabbi Donates a Kidney and Saves the Entire World

The Talmud says that to save one life is to save the entire world. The act involved in preserving life can be great or small, but the ultimate dedication is the giving one one’s self, even flesh and blood to aid another. It requires tremendous courage and sacrifice to undergo surgery to donate a kidney for a person one has never met, and yet Rabbi Mendy Mathless, Chabad shliach in Albany, New York, donated a kidney to an Israeli man, Yisrael Konstantini, even though neither had met. Yisroel Konstantini of Netanya had been battling severe kidney problems for years, but … Continue reading

Laizer Galperin: Courage, Heartache and Hope

The Jewish world watched and waited as Laizer Galperin (Chaim Eliezer Lipman Ben Devorah Leah), a child who had endured a horrible disaster yet was miraculously still alive, was taken from his home in Kiryat Malachi to Cincinnati Ohio to undergo intensive treatment. The hospital staff in Israel admitted that they had never seen a child with such deep burns over 80% of his body conscious and breathing, and yet they were saddened by the knowledge that Laizer would have to endure a year of intensive care overseas, in indescribable pain. The then five year old Laizer barely escaped the … Continue reading

The Best of Both Culinary World: Asian Kosher

Keeping kosher doesn’t mean giving up favorite dishes, but innovating and transforming international recipes into exotic kosher creations. Shifra Devorah Witt and Zipporah Malka Heller, a mother-daughter cooking and writing team, put this principle into practice when they wrote The Complete Asian Kosher Cookbook. This compact, elegant volume is a well-need improvement on the traditional bulky Asian cookbooks busy with detailed instructions and light on readily available ingredients or helpful photographs. The Kosher Asian Cookbook cuts through the verbiage and contains easy, clear instructions on how to prepare popular dishes from China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Southeast Asia and India. … Continue reading

Roving Rabbis: Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon!

While there is a large Jewish population of Miami, far-flung areas of Florida like Green Cove might more readily stock bacon than gefilte fish on store shelves; when people there use the term “Bible Belt,” they aren’t talking about the Tanach. “One thing Jews outside of Jacksonville have in common,” write Zalman Levin and Shmery Labkowski in their Roving Rabbis blog, “is that they are sure they are the only Jews around.” Roving Rabbis is a collection of blogs from 250 Chabad rabbinical students around the world who spend their summer vacation locating Jews in outlying areas from Ireland to … Continue reading

What Lies Between Devastation and Repair?

We just finished the hard part of the year. I think the summer’s heat is an expression of human events, past and present, that happened this season. Summer feels like a period of extremes, fires are brighter and hotter, negative events seem more random and cruel, and memories are somehow keener, sharper. Spring is preparation, Autumn is winding down, winter is a time of reflection and resolution, and summer just “is.” It is no wonder that criminologists have found violent crime rates rise in the summer. That has certainly been true of the crimes committed against Our People through the … Continue reading

Learn Hebrew in 20 Hours- Too Good to Be True?

Learn to read Hebrew in 20 hours or less. Does that sound too good to be true? Not for students at Chabad of Los Angeles’ Jewish Learning Academy which introduces the love of the Hebrew alphabet to Jews of all ages and backgrounds. The CAP IT program (which stands for Concept and Personality Integration) was developed by Rabbi Eyal and Tzippy Rav-Noy and incorporates the mind, heart and instinct in the process of learning the Hebrew alphabet. However, the students aren’t necessarily aware of the mystical underpinnings of the pedagogical method as they excitedly reach for toys demonstrating the sound … Continue reading

My View on Helen Thomas, Israel and the Terror Flotilla

So much has been happening in the news lately concerning Israel, and my apologies for only catching up now. Perhaps it is better to write one post to cover several issues that have sprouted up about the the flotilla incident, the dismissal of Helen Thomas and the whirl of news surrounding the Holy Land lately. So let’s start with the most recent issue and work backwards. Since I’m not able to view certain video clips outside of the U.S,. I have to rely on articles, rather than the original clip, from The View a few days ago. Apparently, the women … Continue reading

Shavuos Rains of Revelation

There was gentle cool rain last night in Jerusalem. That’s unusual, because the rainy season stops in the spring, and there usually isn’t a drop the entire summer. The dry season can be hard to bear, but I’ve noticed how this year we are being gradually eased and coaxed from the winter to the summer, with a refreshing rain on Passover morning, another spritz on the middle of the season and an unexpected spray last night that seemed to bring a bit of steam up and it dropped down. If my kids had been outside, they would have been excited; … Continue reading

Swimming in a Waterless Ocean

The world looks pretty crazy from any vantage point. With riots in Greece,a nearly 1,000 drop in the Dow yesterday (it rose a bit toward the end of the day), a terror scare in Times Square, every day seems unrecognizable from the day before. And yet, we are finding more efficient ways of connecting and our lives, at least in a physical sense are made easier with every new development in technology. Concerning technology, it really is the best and the worst. While it can dramatically make our lives easier it can royally mess things up. The drop in the … Continue reading