Author: Bayla Sheva Brenner

In The Limelight

Despite the expectations, visibility and sacrifice, these children of rabbis or high-profile rebbetzins saw close-up what it means to take a community under one’s wing, and to dedicate one’s life to uplifting others.

Navigating Life Transitions

Walking through the unknown without a compass is bewildering, and at times, devastating. Yet there are those who have managed to rise above their ordeals.

A Stinging Silence: Living with Family Estrangement

It’s been two years since Shani has had any contact with her younger sister. She noticed the distancing shortly after her mother passed away. First the unanswered phone calls. Then the two-word text responses and the bare bones, business tone e-mails. Then, nothing.

The Consummate American Gadol

Like any boy raised on Brooklyn Dodgers turf, he loved to play ball and ping-pong and roller skate. But that didn’t stop him from becoming a diehard Yankee fan. Or an American gadol.​

The Bienenfeld Family, New York

I’m named after Jacob, my grandfather, who was named after Yaakov Bienenfeld, the patriarch of this family and my great-great-grandfather who came to the US in the 1840s. When he first came to New York, he settled in Harlem, where a Jewish community existed at the time. Many of...

Scheinerman Family, Washington, DC; New York

When my parents, Peretz and Annie Scheinerman, lived in Washington, DC , you could just walk onto the White House grounds. There were these beautiful green rolling hills where my brothers and their friends used to play ball.

The Siegel Family, Baltimore, Maryland

My wife’s paternal grandparents, Chaim and Sora Feiga Siegel, moved to Baltimore in 1900. The couple named their second American-born son after Chaim’s father, Yechezkel. But the midwife refused to put Yechezkel on his birth certificate. She said she would not burden an American boy with such a foreign...

Coming Out of Denial: Drug Addiction in the Orthodox Community

“We live in a society that is awash in drug use. Drugs are everywhere—even in Torah institutions . . . . Children from the finest families may use drugs,” Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, noted psychiatrist and specialist in addictions, wrote in these pages back in 2008.