Year: 2019

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On April 29, 1986, a catastrophic fire erupted in the main downtown Los Angeles Public Library. By the time the fire was under control, tens of  thousands of books had been destroyed, including irreplaceable historical documents. Many firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, and it remains the worst library fire in United States history. Last...

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Why Do I Write Thought Tools?

No country has been more hospitable to its Jewish population than the United States of America.  It is hard to think of another nation in which a Jewish community has enjoyed a longer period of tranquillity and affluence.  For two thousand years, in different countries, at different times, the wandering Jew found a resting place...

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I want to support everyone’s rights – should I support BDS?

Dear Rabbi and Susan, I’m not sure if you’ve heard what’s going on in Ireland, and I’m trying to figure it out. [In Ireland and in many other places, attempts are made—often under the banner of the Palestinian led BDS  (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement to isolate Israel, especially when it comes to products made in...

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My Children, My Brothers?

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter The Torah stresses respect from children for parents, so a verse in Genesis should raise eyebrows. Let’s take a look at Jacob’s relationship with his sons after they have left Haran and are on their way back to the Land of  Israel. (Genesis 31) Rachel and Leah’s...

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Gifts Galore

A lot of presents will be given over the next month, many of them to children. While some of the presents will come from aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends, parents will also spend a great deal of time and money choosing just the right items for their children. After all that work, they might...

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Deadly Doctors and Murderous Aunts

One time, two of our young daughters went to some friends’ home for a sleepover. For some inexplicable reason, these girls’ usually responsible parents decided that watching the 1944 black and white movie, Arsenic and Old Lace, was a suitable evening activity. Twenty years later, that supposed comedy, with its murderous elderly aunts, still gives...

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When is the time to stop grieving?

Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin, My church has been under grief for over a year, due to a lady in the church losing her baby girl just before she was born.The woman had to give birth to the baby even though the baby was going to be dead on arrival due to a blood...

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River Revival

Hannah is a full-time mom working strenuously, with her husband’s partnership, to raise five delightful (but rambunctious) children.  Sometimes, the daily pressures threaten to overwhelm her, and she finds herself snapping shrewishly at her family. Jake recently launched his own small business. He is hoping soon to marry his girlfriend, whose family is equally enthusiastic...

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The Lads Grew: a Problem in the Making

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter Let’s look at a parenting lesson from Yitzchak (Isaac) and Rivka (Rebecca) through the eyes of Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch, a leading transmitter of ancient Jewish wisdom in the 1800s.  Genesis 25:27  tells us, “And the lads grew up and Esau was a man who understood hunting,...

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