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An American Poet
An American Poet

As a young man, the poet Carl Shapiro (born 1913, Baltimore – died 2000, New York City) contemplated changing his name to Karl Camden.

Who Was Rabbi Akiva?
Who Was Rabbi Akiva?

Akiva ben Yosef was once an ignorant and illiterate shepherd. So poor and downtrodden a figure was Akiva that his extremely wealthy father-in-law disinherited Akiva’s wife, Rachel, for marrying him.

Bows and Arrows
Bows and Arrows

Lag Ba’omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. Its observance commemorates the end of a tragic plague that took the lives of nearly all of Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students.

Rabbi Shimon’s Favorite Tree
Rabbi Shimon’s Favorite Tree

On Lag Ba’omer, Jews around the world honor the memory of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a student of Rabbi Akiva who delved into the esoteric meaning of the Torah.

Lag Ba’omer
Lag Ba’omer

The period of mourning* (for the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died of plague) associated with Sefirat Ha’omer is not observed on the 33rd day of the Omer, a day known as Lag Ba’omer. In Hebrew, every letter has a numerical value.

Which Tree Was It?
Which Tree Was It?

Why is the Adam’s Apple called the “Adam’s Apple”?

The Second Passover
The Second Passover

On the first anniversary of the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel prepared to celebrate their first Passover as free people. God decreed that they should eat matzah and maror (bitter herbs) in commemoration of the great event, and, most importa…

Alas Poor Yorick
Alas Poor Yorick

William Shakespeare used the imagery of the skull of Yorick as a means for Prince Hamlet to wax poetic about the futility of life. While Yorick’s may be the most famous skull in literature, his was not the first skull to inspire philosophical musings…

Conservationist First
Conservationist First

In the early 1900s, those who are now called “environmentalists,” would have been known as “conservationists.”

Precious Creation
Precious Creation

While there are many appropriate themes with which the Torah could have begun (Abraham, Mt. Sinai, etc.), it begins instead with a day-by-day description of the creation of the world, commencing with the creation of heaven and earth on Day One and conc…

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