Author: Avi Shafran

History’s First Complaint

“It was all her fault,” the first man, referring to the first woman, told their Creator, establishing the principle of cherchez la femme in the very first week of history. In a more precise...

If you’re insomniac, you can visit rabbiavishafran.com and click on “Yom Kippur” or “Sukkos” at the right of the homepage (under “categories”) and read various thoughts I’ve committed to writing over the years about...

Who By Tongue

I had always thought that I knew the story of Rabbi Amnon of Mainz (or Mayence), whose poignant prayer-poem “U’nsaneh Tokef” is solemnly recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Several years ago, though,...

Compartment Syndrome

It’s easy for many of us Orthodox Jews to look down our noses on our fellow members of the tribe who express their Jewishness only on the “High Holidays” and yahrtzeits, to consider them...

Just a short note to let readers know that I have posted several “oldie but goodie” (at least I hope they’re worthy) essays about Rosh Hashana on my website. If you want to peruse...

Al Jazeera and the Jews

Even as Al Jazeera America – the new offshoot of the Qatar-based news organization – was making its broadcast debut recently on cable carriers in the United States, its parent organization back on the...

Waters of Unlife

A lengthy piece at the online magazine Tablet describes “new Jewish rituals” that “offer comfort to women who have had abortions.” It begins with the story of a woman who, as a young graduate...

Motivators

The recent “news” story about a bar mitzvah boy in Dallas who celebrated the milestone of obligation to observe the Torah’s laws by entertaining family and guests by dancing on a stage with a...

Black Peril, White Knights

A lengthy piece in the New Republic asserts – or, more accurately, hopes – that “an unlikely alliance between Orthodox and progressive women will save Israel from fundamentalism.” The latter word, of course, is...

Little Is Much

I must confess that I’m a hardened skeptic when it comes to most “inspirational” stories. Unless something has been attested to by unimpeachable witnesses or otherwise documented (and that doesn’t mean it appeared in...

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