Colors: Blue Color

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.

Religious and independent day schools in New York City will receive an additional $37.7 million in government funding for the upcoming school year as a result of a year-long effort spearheaded by The Jewish Education Project and a coalition of interfaith organizations. The recouped funding for Title I programs will help teachers and students at religious and independent schools in New York City access new educational resources and promote more opportunities for professional learning.

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.