Rabbi's Blog

Jewish Mother's Medical School

Long, long ago, before the internet was even dreamed of, when a cloud was simply a floating mass of water vapor, there was still an invisible institution of higher learning that reached to the ends of the earth—the Jewish Mother’s Medical School. Many, if not all, Jewish mothers were acquainted with vast tracts of medical knowledge, often more than doctors who had been to conventional...
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Wearing Tzitzis

Many years ago, as a graduate student at Northwestern University, I was called by a secretary. A visiting orthodox Jewish Professor from Israel (who has since won a Nobel Prize in economics) wanted to know the address of a kosher restaurant in Chicago and as the resident traditional Jew in the department I was the one to ask. He insisted on meeting me in person, and when we met, he kept...
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Tallis and T'fillin

When I was very little, I used to see my father davening at home on weekdays. He got up early so that by the time I arrived he was already standing there wearing his Tallis and T’fillin. Now he would wear his Tallis over his head, so the straps of the Tefillin on his head were not visible. All I could see was the Tallis draped over his head, and a large box sitting on the front of his head....
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Beyond the Noise

Shortly after I arrived in Cambridge, my parents visited. Upon entering my room, my mother immediately inspected my limited crockery supply and started moving things about at breakneck speed. “Why is this in front? You’ll never use this. And this should be here, and that there,”  “And you have no coffee or tea. What if you have a visitor? You have nothing to offer them. Nothing. You...
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A Rabbi's Job

A congregant will say to me: “Rabbi, I’d like to tell you something, but you must promise not to tell anyone. Please promise.” My reply: “Of course what you say will go no further. Many people tell me things and rely on my discretion. It is part of my job description to tell no one, but absolutely no one, what is told to me in confidence. A Rabbi has two jobs: to speak, and not...
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