Understanding Conversion

With all of the talk about the technicalities of conversion and the alleged abuse of the system, the core of what conversion is and why the process seems so convoluted has been lost. For any intelligent discussion to take place, it is essential that this be clarified. What is conversion? On the one hand, the… Read More

Parenting in the iPhone Age

Parenting has never been for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous mental and physical energy, and there are few, if any, breaks. It seems that in recent times, however, the ante has been upped. With the ever-expanding reach of the Internet, the kinds of trouble our kids can get into has mushroomed as we… Read More

The Value of Community

Without any plans to become a leader in Howard County’s Jewish community — but after 8 years of living in this vibrant community — I have become president of the prominent Jewish preschool Bet Yeladim, involved in the county’s Jewish federation and a member of the youth committee in the county’s Conservative synagogue Beth Shalom…. Read More

How to Expand Shrinking Jewish Middle

Newly emerging evidence from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of American Jewry points to enormous challenges facing federations, Jewish philanthropy and organized Jewish life, more generally. Virtually every Jewish institution is contending with a sharply diminishing base of people who give, join or even care. Though the Orthodox are expanding numerically, the number of… Read More

Learning to Lead

Little did I know that in Mukwonago, Wisc., 739 miles away from my home, I would learn valuable life lessons and make some of the best friends I have today. This past summer, I was able to attend a Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC), which is one of the many summer programs that BBYO offers…. Read More

Collaboration at Its Best

Reinvent. Rethink. Rebrand. Innovate. They’re all buzzwords we hear today — whether talking about education, health care, product marketing or Jewish communal work. We’re living in a time in which endless access to information and 24-hour communication is challenging us to question just about everything. As a result, we have seen new models of business,… Read More

Willful Blindness to Academic Anti-Semitism

As yet more evidence that academics are regularly able to engage in what George Orwell sardonically referred to as “doublethink,” this month, 40 professors of Jewish studies published a denunciation of a study that named professors who have been identified as expressing “anti-Israel bias, or possibly even anti-Semitic rhetoric.” While the 40 academics claim they,… Read More

Give Me a Sign

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Why are signs so important? Meta-phorical or physical, signs bring an abstract thought into concrete reality. A sign can be a benchmark of accomplishments and a metric for possibilities. We like signs because we like to show dedication to hard work and perseverance with something more eternal than ourselves.  We want to show that we… Read More

Is Pope Francis a Model for Our Rabbis?

The shift in tone that Pope Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church has serious repercussions for people who follow that religion — and those of other faith systems. As the most prominent religious figure in today’s world, the actions, ideas  and approach of the pontiff deserve attention, including among Jews. That’s no criticism of… Read More

What Really Matters

As a nursing home rabbi/chaplain for more than 20 years, I sometimes am asked by a Jewish resident or family member:  What type of rabbi are you?”  My humorous response to the question is, “A Jewish Rabbi!” When a person is confronted with serious illness, especially for the first time, he or she may feel… Read More