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Modeh Ani, Thanks Upon Awakening

Thank you living and eternal King for returning my soul to me with mercy. Great is your faithfulness. This is my loose translation of the ‘Modeh Ani’ prayer, which is the first words uttered by an observant Jew upon becoming … Read More

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a picture of the 'joseph' stained glass window at hadassah hospital in jerusalem

Joseph’s Technicolor Life of Personal Growth: Torah Portion Vayeshev

How Joseph turned his youthful challenges into mature success, with dreams, pain, growth and God’s help. … Read More

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Crossing the Jordan

Here, in this nondescript bend in a small river, deep in the wilderness of the desert an hour drive from Jerusalem on modern highways, is the point of transition from wandering to homecoming, from paganism to monotheism, from personal striving to striving for (and with) God. … Read More

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Is it Safe to Travel to Israel?

The short answer is yes. Traveling to Israel is safe. The slightly less comforting answer is that it is as safe as anywhere in the world today. … Read More

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Red Winter Flowers in Israel

Winter Is Coming – Visit Israel!

Trudging through slush on your way to the subway or the el-train, bundling up before heading out, and piling layer upon layer on the kids before having to take them all off again for the first one that needs to … Read More

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Chayei Sarah and the ‘Stabbing Intifada’

And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your will that I bury my dead from before me, listen to me and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar. That he may give me the Machpelah Cave, which … Read More

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richard lakin teaching as an act of love

Teaching As An Act of Love

Parenting is the natural outgrowth of a parent’s love. In the same manner, teaching children in the more formal school setting is also based upon love. –Richard Lakin, “Teaching As an Act of Love”   Richard Lakin was a former … Read More

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Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah: Wellspring of Salvation

“And you shall draw water with joy from the wellspring of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3) Tonight is the beginning of Shemini Atzeret, also known as Simchat Torah. It’s the end of the period of holidays that started with Rosh Hashannah 3 … Read More

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Judean Lowlands (Shefela) Day Tour

Beauty, History, Nature and Fun Halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the Judean lowlands, or foothills (Shefela in Hebrew) are a treasure trove of beautiful rolling hills, punctuated with trails, historical sites and tons of fun activities. Here is where … Read More

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Dead Sea, Massada, Ein Gedi Day Tour

The Dead Sea Valley The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth at over 1,200 feet (400m) below sea level. The water is so salty that nothing bigger than an algae can live in it. Yet a short walk … Read More

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If I Forget You Jerusalem

The psalmist writes, If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not hold Jerusalem above my highest joy. (Ps. 137:5-6) The Jewish … Read More

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Eastern Gush Etzion Day Tour: Tekoa, Herodion, Haritoun

THE ‘OTHER’ GUSH ETZION Many Israelis and visitors are familiar with Gush Etzion. It’s close to Jerusalem, beautiful, full of Biblical history as well as fun and exciting activities. And all of that is also true of Eastern Gush Etzion, … Read More

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Lag B’Omer: Bonfire of the Heart

A VERY CONFUSING DAY We have conflicting traditions about what we’re celebrating, who the hero is, and how to celebrate. We end a period of mourning that falls in what is ‘supposed’ to be the ‘time of our joy.’ Lag … Read More

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Spring, Wild Barley and Counting the Omer in Israel

Every year between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot religious Jews do a strange ritual of counting every night. The ‘counting of the Omer’ starts the night after Passover and ends the night before Shavuot. But what is an ‘Omer’ … Read More

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The 5 Love Languages of God

(Picture by Louise Docker, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons) This post originally appeared on the Times of Israel. What is a ‘Love Language?’ In his book, “The Five Love Languages,” Gary Chapman describes a common problem couples have in expressing … Read More

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No Excuses

On Struggling with Exercise and with Prayer Exercise and Not Making Excuses I recently started an exercise program, thanks to the great, 100% free (no BS) site www.neilarey.com which made it ridiculously easy to get started. I’ve struggled for years … Read More

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The Better to Bury You, My Dear: The Story of Herodion

What’s in a Name? Whether you call it “Herodion” in Hebrew or “Herodium,” using the Latin version of the site’s name, this is the place Herod chose to call after himself, as a final resting place and monument to his … Read More

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Conceptual Car Design

Torah and Design (not that kind)

(Pic: Coceptual Car Design, Vincshekhan, Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA 4.0) Start with a Good Podcast One of my favorite podcasts is called 99% Invisible. It’s about design, and no, not the fundamentalist Bible thumping kind of ‘design,’ but the design of objects … Read More

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Bar Mitzvah Bat Mitzvah Israel

Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah Tours

A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a time of connection, meaning and celebration. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a time when a young person takes his or her first steps on the path of adulthood, a time for developing a sense of … Read More

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Jerusalem Old City Day Tour

Navel of the World In Jewish tradition the Old City of Jerusalem is the center of the universe, the ‘navel of the world’ where God touched creation and everything began. So much attention, faith, hope and intensity focuses on this … Read More

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