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Biographies

THE VANISHING AMERICAN TRADITIONAL JEW 10/30/2017 12:00 PM

The Jewish community in the United States has changed dramatically over the last sixty years. A trip down nostalgia lane will reveal that the backbone of the Jewish community in the United States then was the traditional Jew. That Jew did not attend synagogue services often but was somehow vaguely familiar with the prayer service itself. He or she was not strictly observant of the laws of...

RABBI MEIR ZLOTOWITZ zt”l 7/2/2017 11:43 AM

I am saddened beyond words by the passing of my beloved friend of many decades, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. He was a person of great and many talents: a Torah scholar, a creative entrepreneur, a gifted graphic artist, a superlative fundraiser and above all a man of great vision and daring enterprise. ArtScroll and the Mesorah Heritage Foundation were his gifts to the Jewish people and to his...

RABBI BINYAMIN KAMENETZKY, Z’TL 5/8/2017 09:50 AM

Rabbi Binyamin Kamenetzky passed away last week. He was the eldest son of the great Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky and was a distant relative of our family in previous generations. Presently, a niece of mine is married to one of his sons. But this familial relationship was not the basis of my connection with him and my admiration of his great accomplishments of a long lifetime. He was a member of a...

RABBI CHAIM ZELIG FASMAN 6/19/2016 11:31 AM

My beloved friend and study partner from my yeshiva days in Chicago, Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman, passed away recently. I was really brought up very short and greatly distressed at learning of his passing. Even though seventy years and the space of great continents separated us, one never forgets or is really distant from one’s learning partner – we studied together on a daily basis for nine...

JUSTICE SCALIA 2/21/2016 11:49 AM

Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last week. He served as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court for the past thirty years. He was a brilliant jurist, an acerbic wit, a kind gentleman and a devout Roman Catholic. He was a strict constructionist of the American constitution, often stating that the simple language of the constitution should not be reinterpreted and twisted in...

BERNIE 2/15/2016 10:49 AM

I rarely if ever write about politicians. Politics always dominates the news because it is at one and the same time very personal and nevertheless very consequential nationally and internationally. But it is a pretty vicious sport, so my pacifist nature overrules my otherwise inquisitive nature. But there is a phenomenon in the American political scene that I feel is worthy of my commenting on...

LEADERSHIP 1/4/2016 10:25 AM

The fact that the current Torah readings concentrate on the life and career of Moshe as being the all-time supreme leader of the Jewish people, and through them of civilization generally, caused me to give some thought to the trait of leadership. We always think of leadership as a positive trait. Yet, some of the most charismatic and successful leaders of nations and empires have been very bad...

KLINGHOFFER 10/27/2014 09:59 AM

An elderly, crippled, wheel chair bound Jew by the name of Klinghoffer was thrown overboard from a cruise ship by Arab terrorists about a decade ago. Klinghoffer’s only crime was that he was Jewish. These facts are uncontested and well-documented. Nevertheless, in the name of artistic freedom, a play was written that justified the murderous deed and intimated that Klinghoffer’s murder was...

RABBI ISAAC HALEVI HERZOG 1/13/2014 07:51 AM

At the end of last month I attended an all day conference here in Jerusalem commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Rabbi Isaac Herzog’s seminal Ph.D. thesis that he submitted to the University of London. The thesis was a scientific, historical and halachic review of the source of the ancient dye used to produce techelet colored wool for the priestly garments and for the tzitzit/fringes...

RABBI OVADYAH YOSEF 10/29/2013 10:26 AM

I was not in Israel when Rav Ovadyah Yosef passed on to his eternal reward. However, even in Brazil where I was at the time it was front-page news and pictures of the enormous funeral procession accompanied the obituary article. Rarely has one person had such an imposing effect upon the lives of millions of others as did Rav Yosef. His greatness in Torah knowledge was unquestioned, even by...