Colors: Blue Color

Put 18 pulpit rabbis in one room for a week and what do you get?

While this sounds like a good opening line for a drashah (and you’re probably already inserting your favorite rabbi joke here), the 18 rabbanim who gathered last week for PUAH’s advanced seminar on Taharas HaMishpachah and Infertility came away with their own answer: an intensive education in a highly relevant and specialized area of halachah, and a priceless new network of rabbinic colleagues to collaborate with.

There are a total of 36 psalms that are introduced with the word Mizmor.  The simple meaning of the word “mizmor” is “musical accompaniment,” but the root word zameir also means “pruning,” as in “tizmor karm’cha–prune your vineyard” (Sefer VaYikra, Parshas B’Har).  A tree cannot flourish if its vitality is sapped by damaged bark and diseased branches.  Cutting away the undesirable portions assures the continued growth of a thriving tree.  Without regular pruning, a tree will fail to produce fruit.  The same concept of pruning a plant to increase growth also applies to spiritual development.  Proper pruning involves identifying and ridding ourselves of undesirable traits and modes of action that sap our energy.  Such inner work is difficult, but its rewards are unequaled.  

The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, with a membership of over 950 Orthodox Rabbis across the United States – calls for immediate and urgent law enforcement action against the alarmingly growing trend of anti-Semitic assaults in New York City. On Monday morning, six elderly Jewish men on their way to synagogue in Williamsburg were viciously attacked. Other sections of Brooklyn have also seen an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks, including Crown Heights. New York must guarantee the safety of its residents and cannot allow this trend to grow into an epidemic causing Jews to fear walking the streets of the city.

Shai and Maayan Ben-Eli traveled the farthest - 5,863 miles from Yerushalayim - to attend the STAR-K Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar, held in the agency’s Baltimore offices, August 5-7. The Ben-Elis are being groomed not only as STAR-K mashgichim for their upcoming move to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, but as the agency’s emissaries to the once-thriving Jewish community.

Summer vacation took on a higher meaning, when a group of young women from Emet’s Fellowship and Step It Up programs were inspired to expand on their Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael. After an intense semester at college, the students chose to explore their heritage and devote more time to Torah study. Ms. Shira Fendel, Emet’s Women’s Director, traveled to Israel to guide and unite the Emet students, some of whom were learning at Neve in Jerusalem and others who were there on vacation. She spent over a week creating memorable programming to make their experience as impactful as possible.