A Better World

In his whirlwind tour of three American cities last week before departing for Rome, Pope Francis inspired crowds totaling close to a million people at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, prodded politicians in Washington to reach out to the less fortunate, especially immigrants, and exhorted world leaders gathered at the United Nations to… Read More

Our Soundtracks

National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” featured a fascinating segment two weeks ago on the research of acoustic biologists who are mapping out the sounds of entire ecosystems. It featured an interview with neuroscientist Seth Horowitz, who is particularly interested in the impact of sound on the evolution of the human brain. “The brain is really… Read More

Finding the Joy

Walking into a photo shoot is certainly an overwhelming experience — all the more so when you’re coming home to a house full of eight children! A little background: I had just returned home last Friday and was in the process of hugging my kids when I simultaneously greeted a photographer from The Baltimore Sun… Read More

Adapt and Move On

Pay as you go. Do it yourself. Steady as she goes. Take a look around and you’ll likely see a challenging world out there for your neighborhood synagogues, and the above options are only some of the new models “old” institutions are trying in order to keep up with the times. Even in the Orthodox… Read More

New Year, New Leaf

If my email inboxes — which aggregate messages not only dealing with the community here in Baltimore, but in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (all markets served by JT publisher Mid-Atlantic Media) as well — are any indication of reality, the only thing people seem to be talking about these days is the Iran deal…. Read More

Neighborhood Fear

Fear of the unknown, writes H.P. Lovecraft, is “the oldest and strongest kind of fear.” Unfortunately, I learned that lesson well last month as my family and I found ourselves at the mercy of a burglar who for whatever reason chose not to come upstairs. The reason I am sharing this story now, coinciding with… Read More

A Shining Exemplar

There’s no question that Israel faces an uphill battle getting steeper with time in the court of public opinion. Whether from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, entrenched institutional and societal anti-Semitism in Europe or an American predisposition to back the perceived underdog in any conflict, the Jewish state largely faces a deck stacked… Read More

As Jews, We Are One Family

The last — and only — time I was in Curacao, the tiny Dutch Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela, it was as part of a press junket to explore the country’s long Jewish history. (It has the oldest Jewish community in the Americas, and Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, built in 1732, is the… Read More

Judaism Renewed

To this day, most American Jews’ ideas of Jewish life in the “Old Country” of pre-World War II Eastern Europe center around an idyllic kind of shtetl living a la “Fiddler on the Roof” or of the kind of urban, irreligious intellectual elite that called Berlin home. Neither is inherently wrong, but neither is correct…. Read More

On Iran, a Spit Decision

I began this week with a curious phrase I never thought I’d be forced to use as a parent, much less as an adult. And yet, there I was, calmly consoling and disciplining my screaming 7-year-old with this logical gem: “If you don’t want anyone to spit in your cereal, don’t spit in theirs.” At… Read More