‘Us’ and ‘Them’

At a preschool Hanukkah celebration—held in a nice liberal church—an atheistic Jew wonders where he fits in, and what to tell his daughter

A Rabbi’s Christmas

A shopping trip to Borough Park on Dec. 25 reveals a lesson about pious passivity and dignity—and the value of human relations

In the Rough

An illustrator gets affianced and her thoughts zoom from wanting an engagement ring to worrying it symbolizes that she’ll be her man’s property

Hypnotizing Norman

Outside my cloistered yeshiva, I found a new social order and a friend who, unlike me, was trusting enough to submit to someone else’s authority

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, but in Israel cancer patients have appropriated the tradition to celebrate beating the disease

Home for the Holiday

Thanksgiving means family reunions—for some people. For others, it offers an opportunity to stay home and be grateful for having cut those ties.

Fugitive Prayer

First I learned that a wanted criminal from New York had fled to my Canadian shul; then I remembered that, as cantor, he’d begged God to forgive me

Halfsies

Growing up with divorced parents—one Jewish, one not—seemed to offer an abundance of holiday riches. Instead, it caused grade-school trouble.

Flesh and Blood

Max Brooks shares his father Mel’s sense of humor. But when it comes to thinking about zombie outbreaks and how to prevent them, he is dead serious.

Magical Thinking

For a boy with little exposure to religion, the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons led to a spiritual awakening—that the supernatural may not be the same as the divine

Take It Back

A late-night mistake, a ruptured college friendship, and a Yom Kippur apology. Atonement can make things better, if not quite fix them.

Misjudged

Sixty years ago, I committed a small act of injustice against someone whose name I never knew. This Yom Kippur, I can finally set the record straight.

Summer Heat

The protests in Israel these last two months were nothing short of a revolution. But can the political hope continue through the fall chill?

After Shock

PTSD expert Yuval Neria talks about cutting-edge and time-worn approaches to healing in the aftermath of trauma

Sad Sack

I’ve always had a frosty relationship with my testicles. Last month I turned 41, and now I’m convinced that they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

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