Imagining a different, less-observant life confirms that I’ve made the right choices for myself
Entering a weightlifting contest challenged everything I was raised to value
Memory, continuity, and a grandfather’s curious New York Times ritual
My father used to bristle at a family legend about putting one’s life in God’s hands. Now he has come around—and so have I.
It was a moral imperative, but it also fueled a different urgency among Jews
One grandfather gave lavish Hanukkah gifts, the other single dollar bills. The reasons stretch back to the Old Country.
When I found pornography in my Talmudic mentor’s desk, I felt betrayed. What did it say about him—or about all of us?
Annual retreat draws a diverse group with a love for the Jewish language
The holiday gives us permission to mourn for many things, personal and communal, that we avoid discussing the rest of the year
On Shavuot, as Jews commemorate our marriage to God at Sinai, I look back on the commitment I made as a young man
I pray with angry, damaged, and difficult men. I stay because they’re like my brothers. And because sometimes they change.
The grueling physical challenge was everything my DNA says I should avoid
We tend to overlook the gentiles who keep synagogues running. As we begin the Torah anew, let’s acknowledge our debt to them.
When I was young, my father cared for me. Now he’s old and needs my help, but can I really provide it?
Rabbis have long tried to persuade us of the benefits of parting with some of our money. Are we listening?
Mourning for my mother saw me through anger, doubt, and numbness—and brought me closer to her
By giving a stranger a proper funeral, my community did a mitzvah. What if he wasn’t actually Jewish?
Playing the game with men in the afternoon of life, trying to keep it from turning into evening
I idolized my dad and resented him. As I’ve untangled our relationship, I adopted his passion: Talmud study
They’re frustrating, and sometimes broken, but the men in my shul make services divine
I grew up in a world of observance, separate from secular America, but soon realized that the borders are more porous than they seem
When a mother succumbs to cancer in old age, and a father faces his own mortality, a son is reminded of the blessings of a good shiva
The needy come to a New Jersey synagogue to claim their due, and the donations that result seem to flow both ways
A shopping trip to Borough Park on Dec. 25 reveals a lesson about pious passivity and dignity—and the value of human relations