Tag Archive: Adar

Venafochu: Lessons We Can Learn from Japan!

I’ve watched and marveled at the human spirit that has been exhibited in the aftermath of the horrendous natural disasters that hit Japan a week ago to this day. I can not even fathom what it means to live through a 9.0 Earthquake…let alone to experience what seemingly feels like a million aftershocks! And then…as a cherry on top, there was a Tsunami that swept away villages, cities, and even an airport!

Moreover, the world is waiting with baited breath hoping that radiation will not hurt or kill many more people. This was a natural disaster. One in which, as Rav Brazil alluded here that we must learn from. We simply can’t ignore this incident! Frankly, all the technology we have in this advanced world could not have prevented these tragic set of events.

In one week I have seen that humanity has been using the old conventional means as well as the new methods that we have via technology for GOOD and not for EVIL.

Below, in the first clip you will see how people used the good old fashioned human chain to preserve the life of the elderly as well as young children.

In the second clip you will view how people found their lost sibling through a Twitter stream!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

We need to learn from this episode. We need to  learn from how people are collaborating. We need to remember  how valuable our world and our lives our. After all, in one second EVERYTHING can be venafochu!

JemSem.org Features Rabbi Green’s Article!

Please note: I dedicate this article, Practice Makes Perfect, to my Grandmother of blessed memory: Sylvia (Sima Simcha) Kohn. I believe it is fitting that her Yarhzheit is in the month of Adar, a month in which we are instructed to increase and exude joy. She was a woman who was known by friends and family to truly live each day to its fullest extent. In both name and spirit she personified Simchas HaChaim! Savta, you continue to inspire me! May your memory be forever blessed!

Back in my days of study at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, I would spend some of my free time (a.k.a. Bein HaSedarim) exercising or reading. One of the most revealing books that I read during this time was: Jerusalem Jems: Jerusalem’s Top Educator’s Talk About Issues that Concern You Most. This easy to read work, was compiled by Rabbi Menachem Nissel (author of Women and Tefillah: Perspectives, Laws, and Customs
and Rabbinic Resource for NCSY) from the various articles that appeared for several years on JemSem.org. What I enjoyed then and now about Jerusalem Jems, to the extent that I even highlighted certain pages, was the frankness of the Question and Answer chapter as well as the fact that it was not written from one perspective! Rather, the reader can read the thoughts of anyone ranging from Rabbi Noach Orlowek to Mrs. Chana Silver and yet walk away with clear answers and Hashkafos to contemporary issues—regardless of if you were a Seminary Girl or a Yeshiva Bochur!

Today, I am happy to call many of the writers in this book—colleagues of mine!

What’s more, I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to be a part of JemSem.org for the month of Adar 1 2011, and write the lead column called: “Chizuk from Yerushalayim!”

If you’ve never checked out JemSem.org I encourage you to visit this site. The JemSem.org website is massive. Whether one opts to agree or disagree with the articles that appear on the site, you could spend hours, perhaps days, discovering more and more about Judaism. On a monthly basis, the site features a “Chizuk from Yerushalayim” column, as well as the popular “Dear Chana” section which offers advice on Shidduchim to other matters that are relevant to young Jewish women. Plus, the “Ask a Shayla!” and the “I Didn’t Know That!” sections always seem to address timely issues and provide a wealth of information.

While I wish that JemSem.org would have included all of the footnotes to the original article that I wrote, I understand their editorial decision to remove them.

I encourage you to click on over to the site here and enjoy the article I wrote, entitled: Practice Makes Perfect!

Jewish Comics and Cartoons Part II

In continuation of this post, it has just come to my attention thanks to the Lookstein Institute’s Bookjed Email the release of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, by Arie Kaplan with a Foreword by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman.

Below is an excerpt of the description the email provided:

Since their creation in the 1930′s, comic books have become a part of our nation’s vocabulary, forever changing the way Americans think about stories, pictures, and what makes a hero. Jews have been at the
forefront of this medium from the beginning: they created the first comic book, the first graphic novel, the first comic book convention, the first comic book specialty store, and they helped create the underground comics (or “Comix”) movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD Magazine, were Jewish.

In From Krakow to Krypton industry insider Arie Kaplan uncovers the Jewish subtexts of these popular stories and showcases the unique contributions Jews have made to this American art form. From Krakow to
Krypton features original interviews with legendary figures such as Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Al Jaffee, Neil Gaiman, Jerry Robinson, and Art Spiegelman, giving fans an inside look at the story behind their favorite stories.

The Ramat Eshkol Song!

As many of my faithful readers know, we live in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol. Indeed, while we have not lived in this area for several decades like some of the original Anglo-Saxon Olim who established the Beit Yaakov Synagogue founded by the late Rabbi Dolgin, we still have seen it change, and drastically at that.

Case in point:

  • I remember when there weren’t any Sukkah Porches on the buildings.
  • I remember when the only Mehadrin restaurant on Paran was Nina’s.
  • I remember when there weren’t yeshivas and minyanim on Ramat HaGolan!

Anyways, the list can continue, but on to the song below which is a funny spoof on how Ramat Eshkol is nowadays…

And so, out of all the months to share some humor, there isn’t a better one then the month of Adar!

The Holy Niggun of “Lead Belly”

Some children grow up memorizing tunes from Barney, SpongeBob, and so on and so forth. Others memorize the tunes of Professor Green and The Simcha Machine (a personal favorite because we share last names!) and The Amazing Torah Bike (which frankly I still think brings to life the story of the Exodus).

That said, in my formative years, I never heard of the great Blues musician (and oft-pardoned convict) Huddie Ledbetter, popularly known as  Lead Belly,” nor did I think I knew any of his tunes.

I was wrong.

Ever since I can remember, my favorite holiday growing up was Purim. The festive atmosphere, the exchange of treats and gifts, topped off by the final mitzvah of the day, the Purim Seudah, is what makes this a day that every child continues to mark off on his or her mental calendar and looks forward to each year.

While I have spent Purim in many locations throughout the world, and while the people and the atmosphere may differ from year to year, the songs never seem to change. To that end, year after year I must sing countless times the catchy tune of: M’She, M’She M’Shenechnas Adar, Marbim, Marbim, Marbim B’Simchah. That said, only several years ago was it brought to my attention that the person who brought this niggun down to us was not The Amshinover or another such Chassidic Master?

Who was the bal m’nagen, the composer of this song, that is sang in all the yeshivas, from Merkaz HaRav to The Mirrer…?

The answer may surprise you!

It is none other then a musician known to the world as, “Lead Belly.” Enjoy watching him in action below!


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