The Case Of The Stolen Bicycle

I loved my brand new 10-speed bike, a shiny black Diamondback. I would ride around after school and visit my friends. When school started, a new kid, Adam, would come over and ask me all kinds of questions about it. “Where did you get it?” he would ask. “Where can I get one?” Sometimes his… Read More

What Is A Miracle?

Today is Chanukah. The holiday we know today first took place around 200 B.C.E. in Judea or what is known today as Israel. Antiochus III, Greek king of Syria, took over Judea and was fair to the Jews, allowing them to follow their traditions and their beliefs. But when his son, Antiochus IV, took over,… Read More

Learning From Dreams

The name of this week’s Torah portion is Vayeshev, which is in the Book of Genesis. It is a continuation of the story of Joseph. In Vayeshev, Joseph is now in Egypt. Sadly, at this point in the story, Joseph is in prison, where he encounters two new prisoners. One is Pharaoh’s cup bearer and… Read More

Taking Responsibility

2013-axler-craig

The iconic comic strip “Family Circus” has told the story of the Keane family (two exasperated parents with four exasperating children) for the last 53 years. My favorite character has always been the invisible, gremlin-like character named “Not Me.” Whenever anything is broken or messy, the child confronted with the question,”Who did this?” is likely… Read More

Human Value

It’s human nature to value everything. Being limited by space and time means that we have options, and inevitably we choose that which we value the most. Sometimes it truly is more valuable, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking it is more valuable. Having come to America in my 30s allowed… Read More

Rebecca’s Greatness

This week’s parsha, toldot, focuses on the continuance of the Abrahamic line through the birth of Jacob and Esau. After a long period of childlessness, Isaac and Rebecca entreat God, and He grants Rebecca the capability to conceive. Rebecca endures a difficult pregnancy as, according to God, “Two nations are in [her] womb.” While Jacob… Read More

The Coat And A Grudge

I have always considered myself to be good at sharing, the kind of kid who lets you play with my rainbow loom if you ask. So when Sarah asked to borrow my light blue leather jacket, my favorite one with the fur lining, the jacket that I had received as a birthday gift from my… Read More

Look Inside

This week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah (the Life of Sarah), includes the following topics: Sarah dies at the age of 120, and Abraham buys a cave that will be the burial spot for them and their descendants. After Sarah’s death, Abraham decides it is time to find the right wife for Isaac. It is an… Read More

Rushing To Help: Abraham’s Model

This week we read parshat Vayera. The parsha opens with three guests visiting Abraham in his tent. Abraham greets the guests and feeds them, also giving them milk to drink. Abraham didn’t know that the guests were angels sent to tell Abraham that Sarah would have a baby. One thing that I found interesting was… Read More

The Journey That Matters

Lech Lecha is a Torah portion of journeys, of beginnings. It is a portion dedicated to setting the course of history. Avram is commanded to go forth from his ancestral home. Together with Sarai and Lot, he travels as far as the land of Canaan and receives God’s blessing that the land will belong to… Read More