In a word, powerful

runyan_josh_ot

As anyone who has ever lost a loved one can attest, dealing with the void created with the departure of a parent, grandparent or, God forbid, a child is never easy. The journey itself has ups and downs, moments of intense pain peppered with fond recollections of a shared smile, an inside joke or a… Read More

Turning Tradition Upside Down

runyan_josh_ot

It takes a special someone to challenge the status quo, to fight against accepted norms and to succeed in the process. Perhaps that’s why there’s so few really great politicians, the committed public servants whose contributions to society are justly rewarded at the ballot box. Maybe that’s why we honor the Bill Gateses and Steve… Read More

Innovation Gives Us the Edge

runyan_josh_ot

The people at the BASF Corporation — “We don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better” — were really on to something when they came up with their tagline. In two sentences, not only did they sum up their business, but they tapped into… Read More

Now is the time for empowerment

runyan_josh_ot

Passover in a new home and a new city had gone smoothly enough, the joy of celebrating freedom alongside thousands of fellow Jews in such a densely populated space drowning out all of the last-minute stresses that had led into the holiday. By the end of the eight-day festival, the picture outside was one of… Read More

Peace in Our Time

runyan_josh_ot

The year 1939 saw an upheaval the likes of which the modern world has rarely experienced. German troops marched into Poland that September, ushering in a world war that would ultimately change the maps of Europe and the Middle East, lay waste to vast swaths of land spanning three continents and wipe out millions of… Read More

Kansas Gunman Unfortunately Nothing New

runyan_josh_ot

Any doubts as to the danger of anti-Semitism in the United States were unfortunately put to rest this week when a gunman’s bullets — smack dab in the middle of middle America — claimed the lives of three people at Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kan. We now know that the 73-year-old man from Aurora,… Read More

Giving Our Children a Chance

runyan_josh_ot

Every now and then, events and timing conspire to offer opportunities for reflection. Looking back at what transpired on the world stage the past week and a half, it’s hard not to wonder: How, when, why did things get so bad? The collapse of the so-called “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinians was… Read More

Giving Thanks for the Memories

runyan_josh_ot

Memory is a particularly powerful faculty. It helps us learn, it can provide a guide by which to judge future actions and, along with emotions, serves as the foundation upon which human experience is built. Memory is frequently passive, but in a Jewish context it is seen more in terms of a positive act. That’s… Read More

The Stories That Connect Us

runyan_josh_ot

At a time in life when others get lost in music or drugs or the high school social scene, one particular headstrong 16-year-old decides that his teenage rebellion requires wearing a yarmulke. He knows little about kashrut, even less about Jewish history and practice, but he knows that he’s Jewish. And so he makes a… Read More

Embracing the Purim Spirit

runyan_josh_ot

You certainly don’t need to be reminded, but there’s nothing like spending Purim in Baltimore. As if last week’s pre-holiday carnivals weren’t enough, entire streets became parking lots on Sunday, bumper-to-bumper traffic competing with costumed revelers in the race to deliver precious shlach manot to neighbors and friends. The scene was one of tremendous unity,… Read More