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Almost Consul to Jerusalem
Almost Consul to Jerusalem

Can you name the first man appointed U.S. Consul to Jerusalem? In 1844, Warder Cresson was appointed, but never served, as the appointment was revoked while he was en route. Cresson’s journey to the Holy Land would have a profound effect on this earnest, truth-searching man.

The Foods of Tu B’Shevat
The Foods of Tu B’Shevat

This Shabbat, Jews around the world celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the new year of the trees. Tu B’Shevat is often celebrated with the 7 species for which the Torah praises the land of Israel: “A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey (from dates)” (Deuteronomy 8:8).

Tu B’Shevat is Coming
Tu B’Shevat is Coming

While it has been a difficult winter for many of us, it may be time to look beyond the turbulent weather and see that spring is just around the corner. You might wonder how one can possibly think of spring at the present time, but, according to Jewish …

Seek Out The Positive
Seek Out The Positive

An ethical dilemma: A close friend confides in you that he/she recently purchased an expensive, one-of-a-kind, nonreturnable item. When he/she shows it to you, you are immediately aware that the item is not at all unique,  your cousin has purchased the exact same item. Your friend and your cousin will probably never meet, so your friend will probably never know that he/she overpaid for something that was not really one-of-a-kind. Should you inform your friend?

Miracle of the Sea
Miracle of the Sea

The splitting of the sea is one of the most dramatic and well-known scenes in the Torah. It is the final, grand event of the exodus from Egypt, after which the Children of Israel were finally free to go and serve God.

He Marched With King
He Marched With King

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was a twentieth century Jewish theologian whose intense commitment to social action brought him to the heart of the Civil Rights movement.

“Shabbos Goy”
“Shabbos Goy”

While there are some mitzvot that are obligatory on all people (e.g. the seven laws of Noach), the observance of Shabbat is not one of them. It therefore seems entirely natural that if one needs a forbidden creative labor done on Shabbat, one could simply call on a non-Jew to do it for them.

Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg
Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg

In the age of “Reality Television,” it is easy to forget how magical the very early television programs were. Many of these series had originally been successful radio programs and therefore brought pre-existing audiences with them when they transferred media. One of the most successful of the early sitcoms was The Goldbergs, which aired its first television episode on January 17,* 1949.

The Flag of Israel
The Flag of Israel

The Israeli flag was specifically designed with stripes to recall the image of a tallit - the Jewish prayer shawl. Its top and bottom blue stripes are reminiscent of the sky and the sea. While some tallits (tallitot) have blue stripes, others have black or white or a veritable rainbow of colors. We need to ask: Why the stripes, and is there any significance to the colors?

Spiced Honey Locust, Anyone?
Spiced Honey Locust, Anyone?

Jewish law prohibits the consumption of insects, referring to them as sheratzim, that which swarm. One might think that this dietary restriction is easy, as most people do not generally have a desire to eat ants or spiders or flies. In fact, traditional Jews are extremely careful to avoid consuming insects and make certain to wash and check their produce to remove small bugs that may feed upon it.

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