Articles From September 2017

Living Life to the End, Part 2


In our first article about the end of life, we discussed the common halachic and practical issues that arise at the end of life and the best ways to address them. This second article concerns one the most effective ways to make sure that our wishes are followed in the way we would like: the halachic medical directive.

A halachic medical directive is a legal document that contains an official record of a person’s health care wishes. Typically, a health care directive has two main components. First, it appoints an agent who will speak on your behalf if you are no

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Ask the Shadchan


To the Shadchan:

I have been inquiring about a young man who was redt to my daughter. I happened to meet a friend of mine who is a teacher and taught him in 10th grade. This boy seems to have been a troublemaker at that age. My friend could not say anything nice about him. She told me he was chutzpadik and gave her a hard time.This young man is 23 now. He is a professional, who is working after learning in yeshiva for a few years. More recent references have only good things to say about him. It seems he is a hard worker with good middos. He comes from a good family, and everything checks out okay.

My question is how much credence should I give to the teacher’s words. Maybe the attributes that made him behave badly when he was 15 are deeply ingrained character defects that are still relevant. Or maybe he is now using his chutzpa, etc. for good things. How can I find out which scenario is the correct one? Or should I chalk it all up to being a teenager?

If you think that information from the past is relevant, what would be the cut-off age, before which we should not take information seriously? Obviously, no one would pay attention to the way a person behaved when he was in kindergarten. Or would they? I would appreciate your advice and opinion.

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My Journey to Bat Ayin


What do you get when you mix together chasidut, a desire to work the holy soil of Eretz Yisrael, ahavas Yisrael, and creativity? The answer is Bat Ayin! A friend of mine, who often goes to this small hilltop yishuv in Gush Etzion for Shabbos, had been inviting me to join her for a while. I had many reasons for turning her down time after time. But when I heard that Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin was looking for a madricha for their summer program, I figured it didn’t hurt to apply and check it out – and now that I’m there, the joke is on me!

As I alighted from the bus at the traffic circle on Bat Ayin’s main road and made my way down the hill, a beautiful mountain panorama lay before me, and I felt the clear air entering my lungs. I noticed the variety of homes as I walked. Many families live in caravans (trailers) while others occupy houses of all sizes and types. There are small matchbox-style homes that the owners built themselves and others that are large and multi-level. Some houses are faced with beautiful stone, while others are built from colorfully-painted cement or wood, log-cabin style. Each home is surrounded with a bit of land, and many have well-kept gardens. Each home is unique, attesting to the individuality of the people residing inside.

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Apples and Honey (and More!) for Rosh Hashana


May you and your families have a good and sweet new year! 

With the approach of Rosh Hashana, fall is upon us, and the time for warm and cozy dishes has arrived. On my current “health kick,” I have been trying to make better choices – isn’t that what Rosh Hashana is all about? – which, in terms of eating, means limiting high fat foods and sugar. Argh. As my sister would say, “better choices” is really code for not binging on Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Seriously, Rosh Hashana is the perfect time to take stock of your life and make small but meaningful resolutions. Some of mine are to eat more healthfully and to spend quality time with my family. Somehow, it all ends up (as do most things in my life) in fun and delicious recipes. Cooking not only results in great food to be enjoyed and shared but also enhances family togetherness, especially if you can get the little ones on your team. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a big proponent of kids in the kitchen. A bunch of studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that, when children participate in making the meal, they are much more likely to eat it.

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Coming Soon to a Shul Near You: KLEE Shabbat


When is a dish is not a dish?

When it is a KLEE, of course!

A KLEE can be anything you have handy – a bowl, tray, platter, or, yes, a dish. (It is the Hebrew word for container, after all.) Or you and your children can make one out of clay or cardboard, even Clicks or Legos. Whatever form your KLEE takes, the point is to keep it on display in your home and fill and refill it with the products of Eretz Yisrael.  

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Faces of Frumkeit


From the Yated to the Mishpacha, our magazines have presented the Jewish world with a definition of what it means to be a modest woman: She’s not in print. Even if she follows halacha perfectly, she is still not modest enough to be featured in the pages of our publications. This policy requires that even pictures of our great rebbetzins and leaders, past and present, cannot accompany the articles written about them. Rather, pictures of their husbands, their residences, and their speaking venues take the place of the special faces and spiritual beauty of our righteous women. This policy requires that historical photographs capturing unforgettable events in Jewish history cannot be included in our magazines if a woman is in the shot. This policy requires that non-Jewish female political leaders can never be featured. And this policy requires that girls above a certain age cannot be seen, giving the message, especially to young girls, that it is not tznius (modest).

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