Making Demands

Here’s a repost of an item I just wrote for OneShul: There are 4 mitzvot associated with Purim: Hearing the Megillah Eating a festive meal Sharing food with friends (Mishloach manot) Giving tzedakah With regard to tzedakah, it is the ONE time of year when, if someone comes to your door asking for tzedakah, you MAY NOT ask them for their reference (in many communities you usually ask to see their... read more


I arrived at the kollel, the house of study (literally – this was a house that had been emptied of everything, including interior walls, and re-purposed as a space for married men to come and study Talmud, Torah and other texts throughout the day) at 7:45pm, the usual time. I found one of the few English-Hebrew siddurs and opened it to the section for afternoon prayers and waited expectantly for the... read more

Scenes from Yom Kippur: Sudden Decompression

In a traditional Yom Kippur service, there are a few basic sections: Shakarit, or the morning service, which runs non-stop from around 8:30am until around 2:00pm (or longer. I heard about services that went until 3:30). Mincha, or the afternoon service, which starts at about 4:30pm or 5:00 and goes until 6:30-ish. Neilah, literally “closing the gate”, or the official end of Yom Kippur, which... read more

Wait! Come Back!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how – if you are going to only going to attend shul infrequently – Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are possibly the two worst choices for your visits (Twice a Year). This morning, the day after what is arguably the longest and hardest day of the year to be Jewish, I realized that the Rabbis of old weren’t dumb. They saw that after the prayer marathon that... read more

Perfect, Good, and Getting Better

I recently posted about my frustrations┬áregarding my Hebrew reading skills, how my shortcomings were thrown into sharp relief because of the group of guys I pray with, and how it frustrated me even as I realized I am improving. In the spirit of this month of forgiveness, I decided that today, I’m going to forgive myself and give myself the room to grow. I recently read a quote by someone (I... read more

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