It’s Blintzapalooza!

Today is Blintzapalooza day at Temple Beth Hatfiloh, at once the most counter-intuitive and the most appropriate day for a Jewish congregation.Blintzaplooza was started by TBH members 25 years ago as a means to give back to the community, when it was felt by some that the congregation was not engaged enough outside its walls. …

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What Came First, the Harlem Shake or the Egg?

The Internet meme of the moment (or perhaps already past) is the Harlem Shake, a video meme in which a group of people dance crazily to a song by artist and producer Baauer. It has a bit of a "plot"-the videos open with the beginning clip of music with one person dancing while others around …

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FaceBikkur Holim

As our lives become more and more dominated by social media--Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.--much is being discussed about the role of these media vis-à-vis human relationships. Are we becoming more distant from each other? Do we take more liberties and neglect social mores when we are sitting behind a keyboard or the touch screen of …

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Lincoln, Spielberg, Kushner and Strouse

While much of the post-Oscars buzz is about host Seth MacFarlane and charges of racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism in his shtick—about what is subverting stereotypes and what is upholding them—there was another moment during the awards show that also got me thinking. When Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his monumental portrayal of Abraham …

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Banana Joe, why were you not Banana Joe?

Any doggie (as in "foodie") would know that last week was the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the premier dog show in the country. Hundreds of purebred dogs compete to be named Best in Show, the highest honor for a show dog. This year's winner was an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe. I hadn't heard of …

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Suffering is Precious

When I was preparing for a text study on the closing chapters of 2 Kings, I came across the following midrash (found in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 101a-b): Our masters taught: When R. Eliezer fell sick, four elders--R. Tarfon, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and R. Akiva--came to visit him. R. Akiva spoke up …

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Awake, Calm and Stable

I'm back. Or, at least, getting there. I thank you for your patience, readers of this column, as I took the past month off from writing as part of my unexpected medical leave. As you may have heard, in the beginning of January I came down with bacterial meningitis. So what happened? After a difficult …

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