Rabbi Michael Green's Blog

UPDATE: Rabbi Lau & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Story

A little over a month ago I wrote about a news report here in Israel that detailed the history and upcoming meeting of Chief Rabbi Lau and Lakers legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Recently, that post of mine has seemingly become viral and has brought thousands of new visitors to this site. And so, I’d like to thank a reader of mine, Eric, for directing me to this article on ESPN.com.

Henry Abbott of ESPN.com linked to the story reported on my blog and asked Kareem, “I have heard this amazing tale about your dad and a boy he helped liberate from a concentration camp at the end of World War II. Would you mind recounting briefly the story of Rabbi Lau and your dad?”

June 30, 2011 - Read More (12 Comments) »

A Simple Solution to Solving Shabbos Texting!

Earlier today, Rabbi Steven Weil, the Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union noted that, “Everyone’s tweeting about it.”

You may ask, “what is the proverbial it?”

In this case, Rabbi Weil is referring to the The Jewish Week article that highlights the increasing phenomenon of Orthodox teens texting on Shabbos! Indeed, there are already several terms coined for this behavior such as: Half-Shabbos or Shabbos Texting.

Before we even discuss this topic, I want to ask the following question: should this topic be discussed in the open?

June 23, 2011 - Read More (12 Comments) »

VIDEO: Shyne Gives Shuir!

For months now, young and old residents of Jerusalem have been intrigued by the comeback rapper Shyne (a.k.a Moshe Levy). After years of incarceration for a New York City club shooting, he has been studying here with the likes of Jeff Siedel and Belz Chassidim.  In addition to his Torah learning, he is still working on his rap career. Sharon Udasin wrote an article this week that covered both the opening of Israel’s first solar field by Arava Power Company and Shyne unveiling his newest song, “Solar Energy.”

However, what isn’t written about, and by extension, what people don’t know is that he is full of inspirational words of Chizuk. Below is the full video of his shuir that took place at Yeshivat Ohr David. He incorporated his story with relevant nuggets of Torah that he was currently learning. He told the boys that in prison he used his time to get close to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. “For eight years straight,” revealed Shyne, “I davened Shacharis at sunrise!” He said that he knew that if he started his day with Tefillah and Tefillin, it will protect him from danger that surrounds him.

June 6, 2011 - Read More (0 Comments) »

Torah Thoughts on Privacy & Technology Stalking!

In today’s day and age it seems like people use a screen to not simply get their work done. Rather, we use smartphones or computer monitors to “zone out” or “chill.” Doing so is certainly important—but it should be done in moderation. Unfortunately, we all know people who are consumed with updating their Facebook status or playing Angry Birds to the extent that they don’t learn or consume their time with all the wonderful things that life offers us. Indeed, if one took a moment to contemplate the greater things in life, a person may  realize that from the advanced technological world in which we live in, we can further see the wondrousness of Hashem.

Recently, the media (see here) has been up in arms about the fact that Apple and Google are intensifying privacy concerns by tracking where and when people use their mobile phones. However, while this concern is real and genuine

April 28, 2011 - Read More (1 Comment) »

Chief Rabbi Lau & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Meet!

Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is a tall man who brightens any room with his Torah depth and stature. He is viewed as a someone who has achieved wondrous feats! From surviving the Holocaust and continuing on the Rabbinic dynasty that he hails from, to serving as the Chief Rabbi of Israel and now Tel Aviv—he remains a legendary figure to all of Jewry. On the complete opposite spectrum stands the legendary Lakers Center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., he had a prolific college and NBA career becoming one of the best basketball players of all time. In 1971 Lew Alcindor converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. To the naked eye it would seem that the only thing he shares in common with Rabbi Lau is that they are both luminous figures.

April 27, 2011 - Read More (19 Comments) »

New Review: Sefiros iPhone App

Throughout the world, young and old alike enjoy the festive bonfires of Lag B’Omer and the delicious cheesecake of Shavuot. That said, we need to perform the act of Sefiras HaOmer, counting the Omer (all the way from the holiday of Passover to Shavuot), to reach these dates. And yet, understanding the mechanics and spiritual significance of this 49 day period is an ominous task.

Enter the new iPhone App called Sefiros!

This App is based on the bestselling book Sefiros, from the acclaimed author and community leader Rabbi Yaacov Haber. As an aside, I was privileged to briefly meet Rabbi Haber in person at last year’s Kishor Social Media Conference where we both lectured. From his remarks it was clear to all, that he is both a revered scholar—as well as someone who is keenly aware of and in use of the technological tools that we are afforded in 2011.  Hence, it is only fitting that he created an App that does more than simply helps one count the Omer. In fact, Sefiros seems to continue where the book left of in that it provides daily Kabbalistic insights as well as alerts that allow the user to discover and implement the unique spirituality found in each day of the Omer!

April 26, 2011 - Read More (18 Comments) »

Thoughts on the 7th & Final Day of Pesach

The Midrash (Mechilta, Beshalach 4) relates that the sea did not simply split in one place for the Jewish people as they exited Egypt. Rather, there were twelve tunnels and each shevet, tribe, went through their own tunnel. This is perplexing given that the Torah tells us that the Jews left Egypt as one nation. In fact, we are praised for arriving at Mount Sinai as a unified nation! The answer that has always settled best with me is that each tribe entered and left Egypt as both individuals with their own personalities and yet unified brothers as well. In contemporary times, our nation at large struggles to find our Jewish identity. Indeed, aside for who is a Kohen or who is a Levi, a large portion of Jews do not know their individual tribal identity. And so, when we call out to Hashem and pray we daven in the Nusach we have received, and hope that this is sufficient.

April 24, 2011 - Read More (0 Comments) »

Modern Technology in Meah Shearim!

The word technology is not often found in the same sentence as Meah Shearim. In fact, this famous Jerusalem neighborhood and its environs, are commonly painted as abhoring anything to do with computer systems, the internet, or any other vestige of technology that you or I may take as a given! That said, I recently needed a place to daven Mincha and chanced upon the legendary Zichron Yehudah Shtiebel. This Shtiebel is located in a neighborhood that was originally referred to as Meah Shearim HaChadash, but is commonly known today as Beis Yisrael. For more on this area and its expansion I encourage you to read this post by Varda Littman here.

April 22, 2011 - Read More (25 Comments) »

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