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Simchas Go High Tech, From the Comfort of a Smartphone

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Was it only a decade ago that “high tech wedding” referred to scanning items to add to a registry? Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of programs and apps, both free and fee-based, to help couples plan their big day.

Do these services really help? Or do they just add another level of confusion to...

‘Perpetuating the Light’: A Tribute to Professor Yaffa Eliach, a”h, on Her Shloshim

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Since the opening of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in 1993, over 40 million visitors have walked through its portals and viewed the “Tower of Life.” A haunting, three-story canyon of 1500 photographs, the “Tower” sums up the greatest lifetime achievement of Professor Yaffa Eliach: that of commemorating the Holocaust through the “celebration of life.” Professor Eliach passed away in New York City on November 8, 2016 at the age of 79. In contrast to the Holocaust scholars who preceded her, who were concerned with recording the efficiency of the Nazi death machine and the torment and annihilation of the victims, Eliach was intent on giving the victims...

YU’s GPATS Provides High-Level Judaic Learning Opportunities for Girls

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New York—A new initiative from Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) will provide new opportunities for local high school girls to engage in high-level Judaic studies with the support and mentorship of GPATS students and faculty.

Called Sunday Night Learning: Empowered by GPATS (SNL), the program will feature a series of events that are open to female students at any high school. Each event will begin with a dinner and chavruta (partnered) learning with current students in GPATS, a program designed to provide young women with opportunities to immerse themselves in post-graduate study of Judaic topics. The learning will be followed by advanced...

Skeletons in the Closet

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One morning last week, my wife and I woke up to find that our closet bar had collapsed. Frankly, I’m surprised it held on as long as it did.

Not too long, though. Yes, our house was built in 1937, but until we moved in, the bedroom had no closet. Because why on earth would a master bedroom need a closet? So we’d hired a contractor whose main strategy for saving money was to do everything wrong.

This closet has two bars. I take the left side and my wife takes the right. That way, we can each open the sliding door and see all our options. But not at the same time. Especially since the door he installed is bigger than half the closet.

But one of the first things that I learned...

Was the Forbidden Fruit in Gan Eden an Apple?

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The forbidden fruit in Gan Eden is typically depicted as an apple in modern Western art and in millions of cartoons. But where does this belief come from? Exactly what was eaten is not mentioned in the story, other than that it was a pri from an etz.

Before I get to the origin of the apple idea, I will mention the various opinions in the Talmud (at Brachot 40a and Sanhedrin 70a-b). One view is gefen (grapes) (even though grapes grow on vines, not trees). Another view is te’enah (figs). Another (very surprising) view is chitah (wheat). The first is based on the idea that grapes/wine often lead to trouble, and the story of Noach is cited as an example. The second is based on the idea...

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