Across North America, most parents are either frantically preparing for, or have just settled into, the new school year. Returning with the yellow buses and the pile of books is the perennial debate about homework: too much or too little? Does it serve no real purpose, or is it an important review tool? etc.
“Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.” -David Ben-Gurion
Community day schools have played a vital role in maintaining Jewish life in America, particularly in communities outside of the major Jewish population areas. The graduate of such schools owe a debt of gratitude to the memory of Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz (1888 – 1948).
No other beginning is quite as profound as the one we face annually at Rosh Hashana. On the Jewish New Year, God gives all people the chance to face His judgment and wipe their slate clean.
According to the wisdom of the sages, there is no way to “over-spend” on Shabbat. As it is said, “One who lends to Shabbat, Shabbat repays him!”(Shabbat 119a). “Lending to Shabbat” does not mean going into debt to purchase fancy foods or decor, but rather that one should borrow from his/her weekday budget in order to make Shabbat more beautiful.
At most yeshivot, the primary focus of study is on the Oral Law (as compiled in the Talmud and later legal compendiums), leaving the study of the written Tanach (the five books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings) as secondary. Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin (known as the Netziv), who headed the Volozhin Yeshiva from 1854 until its closure in 1892, gave a daily lecture on Tanach after morning prayers.
The Malabar Jews of Cochin*, India, claim to have existed as a community since the times of King Solomon’s trade missions for ivory and silver. It is most likely, however, that their ancient community “only” dates back to the destruction of the Second Temple. The most important artifact recording the Jewish presence in the area is the “Sâsanam,” a set of copper plates on which it is recorded that Joseph Rabban was granted a small principality.
When it comes to categories of foods, there are few types of food with as many variations as cheese. Like all dairy products, only cheese that has been made with the milk of a kosher animal can be kosher. (For those celebrating August’s National Goat Cheese Month, that’s good news, since goats are kosher animals.)
Deuteronomy (13:2-6) warns the Jewish people that anyone claiming to be a prophet who performs signs and wonders (“miracles” or seeing the future), but tries to entice others to worship false gods, then that person is a false prophet. No matter how convincing that so-called prophet’s magic may seem.
The Book of Haggai is the first of the Twelve Prophets written after the exiled Jews returned to the Land of Israel and were governed by Zerubbabel. The High Priest of the era was Joshua ben Jehozadak.