Labor celebrations have taken place throughout North America since the 1880s, and Labor Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1894. As students of history are well aware, in the decades surrounding the start of the 20th century the working class that emerged from the Industrial Revolution fought to be treated fairly.
What are you doing this weekend? Actually, most people take their weekends for granted and forget that the five day work week was a victory won by the labor movement of the early twentieth century, with rabbinical organizations as their partners.
Until 100 or so years ago, marriage was, on the whole, a practical arrangement that provided stability for property and protection for women. Marriage in the modern world is defined as a union between two people who wish to commit themselves to each other and to create their own unique family unit. This relatively new, romantic definition of marriage makes the Torah laws of yibbum, the so-called “levirate marriage,” challenging to understand.
The competitive spirit of this year’s Summer Games in London did not end with the Closing Ceremony. From August 29 – September 9, 2012, thousands of athletes with physical disabilities will take over London’s Olympic Park for the 2012 Paralympics. These amazing athletes can credit this grand event, and indeed an entirely new philosophy in dealing with physical disabilities (particularly spinal injuries), to a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany.
Psalm 27 is read twice daily from the beginning of the month of Elul through the holiday of Sukkot in order to help each Jew develop a beautiful relationship with the Divine.
Astronomy plays an important role in Jewish life because it is the means by which we calculate the months and, therefore, the holidays-based on the cycles of the moon.
Nothing is more enjoyable on a Shabbat afternoon than a leisurely stroll with friends and family. Certainly those who are Shomer Shabbat (Sabbath observant) and attend synagogue spend a great deal of time walking – so how does general Shabbat observance incorporate what is written in Exodus 16:28-30: “And God said to Moses: … He [God] gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30)?
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).