During the sixteen years I lived in Florida, I saw 80 year-olds who played tennis weekly, an 85 year-old who actively owned 3 Walgreens, and an 88 year-old who supervised the construction of an 80,000 square foot school building on a daily basis. Due to great strides in medicine, life expectancy has increased to over 80 years old in over a dozen states and is predicted to approach 100 in years to come. However… Read more
What does the recently published groundbreaking survey of the religious beliefs and practices of American Modern Orthodox Community have to say to those of us who teach their children? I believe that there are a number of important lessons for our yeshiva day schools leaders. This article examines the study's findings about adults' general shmirat hamitzvot and their implications for educators.... Read More
For many newspapers the biggest takeaway from the First Survey of the Modern and Centrist Orthodox Community is that 89% of the respondents listed "Cost of Jewish Education" as a serious problem facing our community. Though 70% were very satisfied with the quality of our limudei kodesh, only 61% were satisfied with limudei chol. Argh! Read More
In my high school yearbook’s “Last Will and Testament”, my class bequeathed to me a mechitza for my car. It reflected my classmates’ perception that 1) I was one of the most intensely-observant students in our class, and 2) The close relationships I had with a number of girls in our co-ed school (and perhaps the contradiction between numbers 1 & 2. Read more
Should Orthodox families and yeshiva day schools visit this museum, which opened just before Thanksgiving in Washington DC? It was founded, and to a large extent paid for, by the Evangelical Christian family who are the owners of the 600 store Hobby Lobby chain, who successfully challenged Obamacare’s mandate to pay for morning-after pills in the Supreme Court. Is this museum a subterfuge for Christian indoctrination? I went to find out. Read More
This year’s Noble Prize in Economics was awarded to an American Jew, Richard Thaler, for his work on Behavioral Economics, which has huge implications for retirement savings. His research conclusively shows that people who are otherwise make rational and thoughtful choices, make financial decisions that are patently not in their best interest. Read More
I’ll never forget that phone call.
There was a half an hour between the end of school on Thursdays and mishmar. Though we took dinner orders from the boys from a popular restaurant which delivered, there were always boys who wanted to get from a different restaurant (no matter which restaurant we picked!) They left campus by car and inevitably returned to mishmar late. Read More
I traveled back 200 years in time in thirty minutes two weeks ago.
When I got the call that my father's chassidish friend’s brother died, I quickly drove (on an hour’s notice- in New Square they take kavod hameis very seriously) to New Square for the funeral. Though only thirty minutes from Teaneck, New Square is a parallel universe. Read More
After living out of town for sixteen years, my wife and I moved back to Teaneck. Today’s Teaneck is very different than the one we lived in for 9 years before our years in Boca Raton. When I walked into a restaurant in Teaneck in 1997, I knew nearly all of the people. It’s just not possible today. Is life with twenty shuls, 7 elementary schools, and 6 high schools better? Read More
Lessons from Consecrating a Green Cemetery
By far the most unusual thing I did this summer was consecrate a new, “green” cemetery on a steep, tree-covered hillside a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Most things in the Bay Area are marketed as “green,” “organic” and “vegan.” Though observant Jews utilize biodegradable “green” caskets Read More
Are We Our Teachers' Keeper?
We entered education because we love children. Whether there was a teacher who made a pivotal difference in your life and you want to pay it forward, you love a certain age group, or you found that you have a knack of explaining difficult concepts to others, you didn’t go into education because you want to work with adults. Read More
Creating a Sephardic Friendly School Culture
Gefilte fish, large noses, Seinfeld, kugel, light skin, doctors, lawyers, accountants and last names like Friedman, Goldberg, Katz, Rosenberg and Schwartz. When a Sephardic student sees these American-Jewish stereotypes, he does not see his family, friends or community reflected.