All posts by rabbijosh

We are a Miracle

I have often told Jewish students that they are miracles.  If your grandparents survived the holocaust, that means your existence here and now is a miracle.  If your parents emigrated from the USSR, then your being here now as a Jew is also a miracle.  I’m an American Jew through and through.  All of my grandparents were born here in America, and so were many of my great grandparents.  Am I still a miracle?  Do I have any miraculous stories to tell?  Do I have any ancestral existential threats that I can claim to my existence?   Continue reading We are a Miracle

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Good Impressions

One of the most beautiful ways I sometimes get to start my day is biking my girls to school.  They go to a wonderful Jewish girls’ school about 2 miles away from our home.  I found that it’s easier (and faster!) to bike there than drive through the traffic.  So I put my two older girls, 5 and 10, into the bike trailer and off we go.  We schmooze and enjoy the cool breeze while I ring my goofy bike bell and cheerfully say hello to everyone we pass on the street.   Continue reading Good Impressions

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Changing Views

Today I received another call from my old girlfriend… Comcast.  I call her my old girlfriend because despite my telling her I was never happy with her, she still calls me every week to claim we have a date (i.e. bill to pay).  I then clarify with her that we’re no longer dating.  We actually never were.  I tried to date her (signed up), then I dropped her when she never showed up for any of our dates (never got any service).  But she’s very persistent (must really like me…).  So, she calls me almost every day to get back together (or in her book, we never broke up).  Continue reading Changing Views

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Love Thy (Evil) Companion: What Torah and modern psychology say about true love

He loves me … he loves me not. She loves me … she loves me not. Ever feel as if relationship stability is actually dependent on the number of leaves picked off a random flower? What does the Torah and modern psychology have to say on the subject? Continue reading Love Thy (Evil) Companion: What Torah and modern psychology say about true love

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The Thanksgiving Day Challenge

thanks2Alongside the annual mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffed turkey, I’d like to spice up the menu with a challenge.  It’s a beautiful concept we have in our country to dedicate a day to giving thanks.  However, that concept is sometimes too ambiguous and vast, so we often miss out on the opportunity.  It’s time we take it to the next level.  Therefore, I challenge you to take the Thanksgiving Day Challenge.  On Thanksgiving day, I challenge you to do 5 out of 10 of these simple quick ways to give thanks.  It could easily take you only a few minutes, and I guarantee you won’t regret it.  Continue reading The Thanksgiving Day Challenge

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ROSH HASHANA – CHIRPINGS OF INSPIRATION

A chalk board with the words problems and solutions

Animal behavioralist M.W. Fox published a fascinating experiment in 1974.  He found that a mother turkey would nurture a weasel, archenemy to the turkey, if it chirped like a baby turkey.  After observing how that it is the chirp of the chicks which triggers maternal instinct in the turkey, they wanted to see how powerful this instinctual response was when implanted within the turkey’s archenemy.  And it succeeded!  A fake weasel was attacked when presented, embraced as part of the flock when it chirped (through a recording inside of it), then attacked again when the chirping stopped.  Gosh.  Those turkeys are so stupid, eh?  Nothing like us people…  right? Continue reading ROSH HASHANA – CHIRPINGS OF INSPIRATION

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Creating Connections

Hands make heart shapeI’ve decided that I’m going to end the singles epidemic of our generation.  Single handedly.  In one fell swoop.  It’s quite simple.  Why don’t we just make an app that everybody single can see each other (because online pictures are a flawless gauge of who’s best suited for you), not have to talk to anyone (because dialogue always gets in the way of true love and connection), and just swipe left or right if you feel this is or isn’t the one (because what more is dating than the equivalent of Pokemon Go with even more realistic online-real life interactions).  What?  They’ve already done that?  Oh, OK.  Well… don’t fear!  I have Plan B to reversing the singles epidemic in one fell swoop.  Speed dating?  Nope.  Bar night?  Nope.  Matchmaking?  Nope.  “Well, what is it?!” you so kindly ask.  It’s a workshop.  A singles workshop.  I call it, “Finding and Keeping the Love You Want” (nothing to do with the book from the ‘80s, but I love the title…)  Gimme 30 seconds to explain.  K?  Continue reading Creating Connections

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Schizophrenic Biking

Biking Pic I love riding my bike!  The breeze is so refreshing.  The physical exertion is exhilarating.  And the experience of accomplishment especially on long distances is gratifying.  I feel like I’m cheating the system.  I’m not supposed to have so much fun transporting myself from place to place!  Then I get my kids on their bikes.  I’ll even put the younger ones in the trailer behind me.  And off we go to the next destination – happily, healthily, and excitedly!  It’s an activity we can always have fun and enjoy together!

I hate riding my bike!  It’s too hot outside.  My muscles are aching.  I’d so much rather drive to wherever I’m going.  It takes so much longer!  I get that same wretched feeling of having to go to the gym to “payoff” the expense I committed to when I bought the membership even though I’m long past my dreams of actually getting fit or caring anymore.  Then my kids want to go biking, and I have to pull the little ones on the trailer…  Ugh!  Now it’s even harder to get to the next location!  Can’t we just drive to wherever we’re going?!  Didn’t Ford’s fantastic creation make the bicycle obsolete?  What are these primitive two-wheeled structures doing here anymore? Continue reading Schizophrenic Biking

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Common Questions About the Jewish Perspective on Marriage

Couple PicIn a world with a divorce rate of close to 50% and so many young Jews seeking a meaningful relationship to build a lifetime Jewish home, let’s delve into the secrets and great wisdom our Jewish heritage brings to this 21st century quandary.  Here are 3 questions commonly asked with an answer rooted in Jewish heritage and wisdom. Continue reading Common Questions About the Jewish Perspective on Marriage

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The Four Answers


Passover Pic2One of the highlights at the Seder is the four questions. The youngest gets up on a chair and proudly declares four simple and insightful questions. Everyone watches proudly as the next generation is inculcated with the fundamental Jewish concept of being inquisitive (and super cute)!   This endearing introduction to the evening instills the essential lesson of life to question, because we know it is only through questioning and receiving insightful answers that true learning and appreciation for our rich heritage is accomplished. However, after the four questions, we are left with a minor quandary—what are the four answers?  
Continue reading The Four Answers

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