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Sanctify Thyself
May 16, 2011 – 5:06 am
Sanctify Thyself

In the 21st century, how does one understand a Talmudic statement praising a man for “restricting his eyes” when he has no choice but “to go to a place where there will be immodest women” (Baba Batra 57b)? (Click here to learn about modest dress in Judaism.) The Talmud isn’t being “sexist” and it isn’t belittling women…it is presenting one path of living a “holy” lifestyle.

Angelic Praises
May 13, 2011 – 12:12 pm
Angelic Praises

During the morning and afternoon prayer services (Shacharit and Mincha), when prayers are recited in the presence of a minyan (quorum of ten), the Amidah (the central standing prayer, also known as Sh’moneh Esrei) is repeated aloud by the prayer leader. The Amidah is also repeated during Musaf, the additional prayer service that is recited on Shabbat and holidays following Shacharit, detailing the additional offerings that were brought in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Thank You Nurses
May 12, 2011 – 7:41 am
Thank You Nurses

Yesterday, May 12, was International Nurses Day, and so, today, Jewish Treats honors a woman who made a tremendous impact on the world of public health.

The guy I’m dating still has a JDate profile. Is that kosher?
May 11, 2011 – 1:52 pm | 6 Comments
The guy I’m dating still has a JDate profile. Is that kosher?

Unless you’ve agreed to have an “open” relationship in which you date other people, then he is cheating on you by going online and flirting with others. What are your boundaries? And once you have decided that, have you communicated them clearly?

Philanthropy from a Catalogue
May 11, 2011 – 3:05 am
Philanthropy from a Catalogue

Much has been made of those successful businessmen who have put their talents to work for philanthropy. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Dell are just a handful of examples of famous and successful people who have worked hard to give their money away.

Of course, corporate philanthropists are not a new phenomenon (e.g. Andrew Carnegie,1835-1919; John D. Rockefeller, 1839-1937; and Cornelius Vander Starr, 1892-1968).

One of the less well-known philanthropists was Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), whose name is not nearly as famous as that of his partner, Richard Sears. But, in 1895, he became a partner in Sears, Roebuck and Co. Sears, as the company was, and is, known, issued its first mail order catalogue in 1893, offering only watches. Within two years of the new partnership, the Sears mail order catalogue offered clothing, agricultural tools, athletic equipment and table furnishings. In 1908, when Richard Sears retired, Rosenwald became president of the company. He retired in 1924, and was named chairman of the board, a position he held until his death in 1932.

Around 1908, Rosenwald was introduced to William H. Baldwin and Booker T. Washington, two prominent proponents of African-American education. In 1912, he began what was to become a lifetime position on the Board of Directors of the Tuskegee Institute, one of the first educational institutions for African Americans. In addition to endowing Tuskegee, Rosenwald built over 5,000 schools, shops and homes (for teachers) specifically for African-Americans throughout the south. These came to be known as Rosenwald Schools.

When Rosenwald passed away, his philanthropic efforts were continued by his daughter Edith Stern, whose Stern Family Fund was a major contributor to civil right efforts.

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month (May) Jewish Treats will be highlighting and celebrating exemplary Jewish Americans and exploring interesting points of Jewish American history.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Strawberry Shortcakes
May 10, 2011 – 2:16 pm
Strawberry Shortcakes

My favorite spring dessert is simple and classic. I do not want any bells and whistles in my old fashioned shortcakes, just butter and juicy berries. This recipe is only really delicious with butter and real whipped cream. It is simply not the same with margarine and non-dairy whipped topping. The best berries deserve the best ingredients and this recipe delivers. Short on time? No problem. Make the shortcakes ahead of time and freeze them. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving.

Jennifer and Jeff
May 10, 2011 – 9:57 am
Jennifer and Jeff

“Within weeks we knew we each had found the right one. In fact, after years of not dating someone for more than two months, I proposed before we’d even been dating for nine months.”

David Ben Gurion, An Introduction
May 10, 2011 – 3:05 am
David Ben Gurion, An Introduction

David Ben-Gurion is best known as the first Prime Minister of Israel. But, his role in the creation of the State was far greater than can be reflected in any single title.

Born in 1886, in Plonsk, Poland, David Gruen (Green)’s father was a dedicated Zionist who founded the Hebrew school that his son attended. In his late teens, as an activist member of Poalei Zion, a Socialist-Zionist group, David Green found himself frequently at odds with the Polish authorities, and in 1906, at the age of 20, he moved to Palestine. He immediately turned his dreams into action and labored with his fellow Zionists on an agricultural settlement. During this time period, he also helped to found the Jewish self-defense organization, Hashomer.

After six years in Palestine, David now called Ben-Gurion (a Hebrew name meaning lion cub) traveled to Salonika and Istanbul to study Turkish and Ottoman law. In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, he was deported by the Ottoman authorities. He spent three years in the United States, where he met and married Paula Monbesz. Ben-Gurion subsequently returned to Palestine as a member of the Jewish Legion, a unit of the British Army established by Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

During the British Mandate years, Ben-Gurion helped found the Histadrut, the National Federation of Jewish Laborers, and served as its Secretary General from 1921-1935. In 1935, Ben-Gurion was named Chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, a position he held until the founding of the State.

This list of Ben-Gurion’s activities before May 1948 is staggering, even more so when it is noted that this is hardly a complete list. What becomes clear upon reading about this first part of Ben-Gurion’s life (he died in 1973) is his genuine passion for the Land of Israel and his uncommon talent for leadership.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

The Battle of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai
May 9, 2011 – 3:05 am
The Battle of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai

At the time of the Declaration of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948), Kibbutz Yad Mordechai was a five year old settlement, ten kilometers south of Ashkelon, just north of the Gaza border. Its 250 or so members, most originally from Poland, had been part of an earlier settlement that had been relocated to a larger parcel of land. They named their new kibbutz after Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

On May 16th, an Egyptian force of over 1,000 troops, armed with artillery, tanks and aircraft, approached from the south. The only resistence point between the Egyptians and the city of Tel Aviv was Yad Mordechai.

The Haganah, the pre-State defense force, was aware of Yad Mordechai’s strategic importance. In the months before independence, the kibbutz was armed and prepared for defense (communication trenches, fortified firing posts, etc.). However, the kibbutz defenders were vastly outnumbered.

The attack began at dawn of May 19th, the morning after the children and most women were secretly evacuated. The first battle lasted through the next day. Overnight, however, a platoon of reinforcements snuck into Yad Mordechai.

May 21st and 22nd were not days of battle. The Egyptians continued to shell the kibbutz, flattening its buildings, but outright warfare was at a standstill. The battle, however, resumed on the 23rd. With many injured and many dead, the kibbutzniks could not hold out any longer. That night, in secret, they withdrew. On the 24th, the Egyptians resumed shelling Yad Mordechai, and only realized several hours later that the kibbutz was empty.

The five days that the heroes of Yad Mordechai held off the Egyptians was long enough for the newly created IDF to complete the plans for the defense of Tel Aviv.

Today, May 9, 2011, is Yom Ha’Zikaron, Israel Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Thank You, Mom
May 8, 2011 – 3:05 am
Thank You, Mom

In honor of all our favorite Jewish Mothers, we’ve decided to re-Treat this special Mother’s Day edition of Jewish Treats!

Don’t forget to call your mother today, or send her flowers or a card. For those very, very out of the loop, Today is Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a day set aside to show the moms in our lives how much we appreciate them. It’s a sweet and wonderful idea…but according to the Torah, every day is Mother’s Day.

The very first commandment that God gave to Adam was to “be fruitful and multiply.” Traditionally, this mitzvah is only considered obligatory upon men, not women.

This seems strange. After all, women are the ones who carry the children in the womb, nourish the infants from their breasts, and, traditionally, take the brunt of the child-rearing responsibility. If anything, “peru oo’revu,” be fruitful and multiply, should be a woman’s mitzvah!

According to the sages, however, the mitzvah of “peru oo’revu” is not obligatory on a woman because of the inherent dangers in childbirth. It has only been in the last 100 years or so that the number of fatalities during birth has become minimal, and Torah law does not command people to put themselves in life-threatening situations.

Perhaps, however, the danger inherent in motherhood is not just physical. Motherhood changes a person, restricts her and demands that she sacrifice many of the things she most values in life (sleep, independence, etc.). At the same time, through motherhood, a woman has the chance to not only experience the immense power of creation, but also to emulate God’s endless ability to give.

Motherhood, therefore, is both a choice and an opportunity. And it is because of this choice, and the sacrifices inherent therein, that one must give his/her mother honor, respect and even gratitude, not just on Mother’s Day, but everyday.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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