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Sitting In The Barber’s Chair

I was sitting in the waiting room of the service department of a car dealership and an “Oldies” station was playing, and I was surprised over how many of the songs were familiar. I couldn’t remember anyone playing these songs in our house, especially when...

The First Step Through The Door

It’s not surprising that the portion immediately following Shema - Hear/Listen, begins, “This shall be the reward when you carefully listen to these ordinances.” I wonder about the Hebrew name of the portion, Eikev. When I see that word, that translates as, “heel,” I immediately...

Mark This Lament by Philologus

Leon de Modena’s Kina Sh’mor, “Mark This Lament,” was written when he was a bar mitzvah boy of 13. (One of the most fascinating characters in Jewish literary and intellectual history, de Modena grew up to be not only an outstanding scholar, poet and all-around...

Please and Thank You-Prayer Tools

Kavanot for Modim and for presenting our requests during prayer: Saying, “please" and "thank you" is not a universal custom -- there are societies such as the Inuit, where it is not the case. In fact, it first took hold in Western society during the commercial...

An Assembly Place In Time

Hayim Greenberg used his 1951 address to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem to publicly challenge the Zionist movement and American Jews to rethink the nature of the relationship between Israel and America. To drive home his point, he deliberately addressed the Congress in Yiddish: "In...