Volume # 0

Fall 1997(5758)

In this issue
Jewish Living

Tackling a “Shondeh”

It seems to me that at least part of my destiny has been to champion unpopular subjects. A number of years ago, I began to awaken the Jewish community to the fact that “shikker is a goy” is a myth, and that the problems of alcoholism and drug abuse have infiltrated the most respectable families.


A Matter of Trust

 By David J. Schnall, Ph.D Tzedakah, the Jewish approach to charity, compassion and social justice, is a frequent reference in the prayer, sermon and religious discourse that comprise our spiritual heritage.  It is a sacred institution encompassing the most noble of personal impulses:  the altruistic desire to provide help in response to human need.  Executed […]


A Window on the Mind of The Gaon

In the course of the long history of our People, there have been countless intellectual giants who, by virtue of their immense scholarship and saintly conduct, acted as the guardians of our sacred tradition’s vitality and ensured its transmission from generation to generation. Yet, when the mere word “Gaon” (the Genius) is mentioned, it is universally understood to refer to Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna, zt”l.


Seeds of Torah on Stubborn Soil

A century ago nascent Orthodoxy on the American scene was just beginning to raise itself above the level of basic temporal survival. Hundreds of thousands of Eastern European immigrants had already arrived in the “Promised Land.” A few had successfully integrated themselves in their new home and could afford the luxury of concern for the morrow. These heroic individuals had to overcome the basic antipathy to Torah civilization that was inherent in the American dream. Harry Fischel, later to become a prominent philanthropist and lay leader of Orthodoxy, received the following advice upon his 1885 arrival.

Science & Technology

A Place for Every Jew, 7.5 million requests for the Cyber Home of Torah

With the launch of the Cyber Home of Torah one year ago, a new era in Jewish education and communication was born. Using the OU website, Jews the world over can now communicate utilizing the latest in modern technology — e-mail, audio, video, chat and messaging. Jews the world over dialogue daily on issues of importance and news is transmitted instantaneously.


An Attempt to Hasten the Redemption

The nineteenth of Tishrei, the third day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, 5758, will complete the 200th year since the passing of the Gaon, the Chassid*, Rav Eliyahu of Vilna, known by the Hebrew acronym as “the Gra.” The title “The Gaon,” containing the definite article, expresses his unique position among the very greatest individuals who ever arose within the Jewish nation.


The Incomparable Gaon of Vilna

The fourth day of Sukkot of this year will mark the 200th yahrzeit of the Vilna Gaon. Yet despite this long passage of time, his unique contributions to Jewish life and learning still reverberate in our homes, our synagogues and our yeshivot. Noted author, Rabbi Moshe Meiselman illuminates the facets of this monumental legacy.


100 Years of Miracles

This January 25 – February 1, the Orthodox Union will celebrate a century of service and community at a special Centennial Convention in Israel.  Will you be there? Back in 1898, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America was born out of the desperate need for Orthodox Jews to encourage each other and take […]


Simple, But Not Boring, Sukkot Recipes

Chag HaSukkot is unquestionably one of our most enjoyable holidays. Preparation, however, is something else. Grown men and women will instantly lose 400 I.Q. points trying to put slot “A” into tab “B” while building their sukkah.

Rosh Hashanah

Yom Tru’ah: “A Day of Blowing”

At first glance, blowing a shofar does not seem like the most meaningful way to mark what is, perhaps, the most introspective and solemn day of the year. On Rosh Hashanah we recall the creation of the world, and we engage in some heavy-duty soul-searching: we re-evaluate our lives, our priorities, and our place in God’s universe and plan.


What Better Place Than Jerusalem?

Back in 1898, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America was born out of the desperate need for Orthodox Jews to encourage each other and take stock of their unified strength. Cut off from the tight-knit kehillot they had left behind in Europe, Jewish immigrants found themselves floundering alone in a sea of materialism and secularism.

The Arts

Weaving the Threads of Jewish History

A unique and novel insight into Jewish culture has been made available with the recent publication of Jewish Carpets: A History and Guide by Anton Felton. A long-time collector of this unusual form of Judaica, Mr. Felton displays in his book 100 individual carpets dating from the 14th century to the present day, woven in Israel, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria and the Ukraine.


Rashi: Annotated, Translated (and sometimes tangled)

Rashi’s commentary on the Torah is the Mona Lisa of Torah exegesis. Is that an irreverent comparison? I don’t think so. In both, there’s the classic beauty, the artistic genius and, like the lady’s enigmatic smile, Rashi’s enigmatic commentary has mystified and mesmerized generations of Torah scholars.

Science & Technology


Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein “When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”1   The next generation of Torah databases has arrived, and words mean much more than they used to, thanks to hypertext. Hypertext is all about built-in links, or references, to other […]