Author: Yaakov D. Homnick

1994—Kiruv: Of Patting (and Breaking) Backs

An anecdote resonates in my mind: Raphael Waldman, who had been a journalist at the Baltimore Sun before accepting Torah observance, described an early experience as a guest at an Orthodox home. He had been asked by his hosts, in the breathless and conspiratorial tones reserved for such forays, to describe the existential conditions of life outside the Pale. “I gave them what they wanted,” he concluded. “I told them that there was nothing out there!”

Elul: A Time of Love

A sort of culture has emerged, predominant at least in the yeshivah world, which defines the month of Elul as a time for cultivating trepidation. With the Days of Awe looming, our earnest bachur (young man) is enjoined to begin quaking in his boots for a full month before Rosh Hashanah. He must be careful […]

A Chanukah Meditation: Money To Burn

This article originally appeared in the Winter 1996 issue of Jewish Action There is a price tag affixed to the Jewish legal principle of mitzvah enhancement. This principle, known in Talmudic expression as hiddur mitzvah, obligates the dedicated Jew to spend more money than minimally necessary, to buy a better matzah, a nicer tallit, a […]

Heimish in the White House

Leaders on the Hill Part II of our series on a new crop of young American Orthodox political leaders—all under forty-five—who are working to improve American life and society. At a rabbinical convention in 2003, the star speaker was Tevi Troy. He was addressing the conference to describe his experience as an Orthodox Jew working […]

Is There a Rabbi in the House?

“This is a story about kiddush Hashem, not about any individual,” says the rabbi who stood at the center of one of the more fascinating episodes in recent history. The rabbi is Tzvi Teitelbaum, founder of MesorahDC, an outreach organization serving the Georgetown University campus and the greater Washington area. The story began a few […]

Elul: A Time of Love

I have persistently promoted a grand heresy . . . that Elul is primarily a time of love.