3/26/17

Awesome: I published three paperback books in March on Amazon!

Awesome: I published three paperback books in March on Amazon!

      

My first unboxing video:



My first Talmudic Advice podcast:



My Haggadah Unboxing Video:





3/23/17

Ten Tips for a Better Seder - with Trump Tips Added




It's a great performance. A dramatic Off-Broadway revue.

I have always had fun directing the reading of the Haggadah at the Seder. I learned this dramatic art as a child by watching my father (Rabbi Zev Zahavy) masterfully conduct the performance of the communal synagogue Seders as the rabbi of the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan. He did it right and authentic and dramatic.

So in the spirit of the season of rebirth and freedom, let me offer you ten tips for your seder extravaganza - this year we must add Trump Tips.

3/22/17

"Das Reine Denken Und Die Seinskonstituierung Bei Hermann Cohen" - Rav Soloveitchik's Dissertation at the University of Berlin 1930

In honor of the upcoming yahrzeit of the Rav's passing (on Hol HaMoed Pesach, the 18th of Nisan, in 1993) and of the anniversary of his recent birthday (Feb. 27, 1903) we offer to our readers a link to a scan of my teacher Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's doctoral dissertation in the field of philosophy written at the University of Berlin, 1930.

The thesis is in German and the scan is a PDF file: "Das Reine Denken Und Die Seinskonstituierung Bei Hermann Cohen" by Josef Solowiejczyk. ("Pure Thought as the Constitution of Being in Hermann Cohen's Philosophy")

Manfred Lehmann wrote briefly about this dissertation and the Rav's biography:
...It is reported that the Rav would have liked to write his dissertation on Maimonides and Plato, but since no experts in these subjects were available in Berlin, he chose a field of pure philosophy, tempered with mathematics.

Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Lichtenstein, Prof. Weidhorn, Prof. Flatto, Prof. Levy: My Five Greatest Teachers at Yeshiva University

I realized over the years since I graduated from Yeshiva College that so many of my teachers there imprinted upon me indelible lessons for life and learning. I have chosen here to recall five special teachers. I apologize to the many other wonderful teachers that I have omitted. I especially beg the forgiveness of those that I have chosen to so briefly and inadequately remember. Nothing that I say can do them justice.
[Periodic re-post -- to celebrate these great teachers.]

3/10/17

RCBC Designates Next Saturday "Shabbat Shmoozer" in Teaneck

The RCBC (Rabbinical Council of Befuddled Clergy) has declared next Saturday to be "Shabbat Shmoozer" in all Teaneck synagogues.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Rabbi S. A. Rudemanski explained that scholars had pointed out a mistake the rabbis previously made in reading of halakhic texts governing synagogue conduct.

Rudemanski said the rabbis had thought that "talking in synagogue" was the cause of everything from natural disasters and political crises to scraped knees and stubbed toes.

3/4/17

Jews in Book Reviews - NY Times Book Review - 2 major reviews of books about Jews

Front page of the book review David Grossman's newest book - and inside the BR, Professor Ellen Umansky's new novel.

Is This Mic On?: A Stand-Up Comedian Wrestles With His Country and ...

https://www.nytimes.com/.../books/review/horse-walks-into-a-bar-david-grossman-.html
David Grossman's novel “A Horse Walks Into a Bar,” about a ... A version of this reviewappears in print on March 5, 2017, on Page BR1 

A Painting Stolen First by the Nazis, Then by Persons Unknown - The ...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/books/review/fortunate-ones-ellen-umansky.html
1 day ago - In Ellen Umansky's “The Fortunate Ones,” a painting that went missing in Nazi-occupied Vienna connects the lives of two women

3/2/17

My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Zahavy Advice Column for March 2017: Dizzy Bat Mitzvah Girl and Bewildered Burial Seeker

My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Zahavy Advice Column for March 2017: 
Dizzy about her Bat Mitzvah and Bewildered about her Burial

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I’m getting a little dizzy trying to figure out when to schedule my bat mitzvah. My synagogue recommends that both boys and girls celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs at age 13. I’d like to celebrate it when I am 12. I am ready for it. My parents support me. What should I do?

Coming of Age in Clifton

Dear Coming of Age,

It’s probable from what you say that the tasks of preparing for the chanting of the Torah and haftarah in the synagogue likely are not what is making you dizzy. Planning and deciding on all the related logistics for your bat mitzvah day are challenges to young and old alike. You appear to be involved in the ordeals of scheduling and negotiations, perhaps with your parents, siblings, and friends, and with the calendars of your synagogue and the demands of caterers, DJs, and wardrobe, just to list the most obvious factors that come into play in approaching a bat mitzvah.