The Herculean Dr. Yaakov Elman – Parshat Naso 2019

It’s a rare occasion that you meet someone with so much integrity, so much intellectual curiosity and openness, so much love for the Torah and the Jewish People. It is even rarer that you have a chance to not only study from such a person but build a personal relationship with them. During the 2014-2015 academic year, … Continue reading The Herculean Dr. Yaakov Elman – Parshat Naso 2019

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Is Shavuot a Foodie Holiday? – Shavuot 2019

The extent to which eating food, and a lot of it, has become part and parcel of the שבועות experience is well-known. Here at Kadimah, the Torah was accompanied by lots of pizza for dinner and then bagels as an early morning snack at about 2am. There was so much food that I still felt stuffed by … Continue reading Is Shavuot a Foodie Holiday? – Shavuot 2019

The United Tribes of Israel – Parshat Bamidbar 2019

It was 1984 and President Ronald Reagan was again being nominated as the Republican candidate for president at the GOP convention in Dallas, Texas. Outside the convention, there were a variety of left-wing protests against the US government and its policies, including by a youth communist group creatively named the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade. As part of … Continue reading The United Tribes of Israel – Parshat Bamidbar 2019

Why Shemittah Matters – Parshat Bechukotai 2019

Over the last few days, my high school alma mater in New York undertook a fundraising campaign to expand its campus. When I graduated from high school way back when, there were still closer to 250 students matriculated at the school and the school was already at full capacity. There are now more than 360 students and … Continue reading Why Shemittah Matters – Parshat Bechukotai 2019

Sticks and Stones Can Hurt Less – Parshat Behar 2019

Experiences of pain can imprint themselves in our memories sometimes more powerfully than even our most enjoyable moments. I’ve broken each of my arms at different points of my childhood; my right arm at age 8 while playing soccer and my left at age 14 while roller-blading on ערב שבועות. My mother definitely enjoyed taking me … Continue reading Sticks and Stones Can Hurt Less – Parshat Behar 2019

Is Israel Our Indigenous Homeland? – Parshat Kedoshim 2019

Rudolf Kittel was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though he harbored virulent anti-Semitic views, he published one of the most important works of Torah ever printed: Biblia Hebraica. Biblia Hebraica was the first critical edition of תנ״ך, printed in Hebrew, originally based on a מקראות גדולות (the Bomberg … Continue reading Is Israel Our Indigenous Homeland? – Parshat Kedoshim 2019

Safety and Vulnerability in G-d’s House – Parshat Acharei Mot 2019

I wasn't going to speak this week. This week is supposed to be about celebrating Israel, about learning תורת ארץ ישראל, learning תורה from an Israeli scholar-in-residence, about anticipating the anniversary of our nation’s return to its roots. And it still is; but it has been tempered, hushed, reduced somewhat by last week's events. I felt the … Continue reading Safety and Vulnerability in G-d’s House – Parshat Acharei Mot 2019