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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 4, 2008 / 1 Sivan 5768

A different sort of ‘religious broadcaster’

By Jonathan Rosenblum

An observant Jew's actions are constantly scrutinized. It's an immense responsibility that pays an equally high reward


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When a radio transmitter transmits sound waves, there is no way of knowing who will receive the signals. To pick up the radio signals, the recipient must have a radio and the radio must be tuned to a particular frequency.

We are all in the same situation as that radio transmitter. We are constantly sending messages — some verbal and some through our behavior. With respect to the messages conveyed by our behavior, we often have no idea as to who will pick up the messages. That depends on who is watching, and more importantly who has an eye to see.

Of those messages that we are transmitting perhaps the most important are those that convey what it means to be a Jew whose life is shaped by Torah. Every moment, we have the potential to make a Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify G-d — or the opposite. Heightening the awareness that we are always broadcasting deepens everything we do as a Jew.

A grade school teacher once asked a class of eight-year-olds what is a tzaddik, a truly righteous person. One answered that a tzaddik is someone who fasts every Monday and Thursday; another that a tzaddik is someone who immerses himself in religious studies through the night. Finally, one little girl piped up and said, "My tatte [father] says a tzaddik is someone who does what is right."

That last definition encompasses a great deal of wisdom. For one thing, it implies that every moment there is always a right and wrong thing to do. Each moment presents us with an opportunity to go up or go down on the spiritual ladder. But there is no standing still — ever. If we start to view life in this fashion, we become reflective human beings, and not just creatures of habit.

In a similar fashion, an awareness of the potential ramifications of everything we do makes us more alive, thinking beings. For that reason, I make something of a hobby of collecting stories that demonstrate the immense impact of seemingly innocuous actions.


Recently, I received a sermon-ette from Rabbi Yitzchok Eisenman of Passaic, New Jersey. His subject that particular morning was a woman whom he had accompanied on her journey from Leilani, a young woman from the Philippines, to Leah. That journey began with a chance encounter as she left the public library one day, just as three yeshiva [rabbinical] students were walking by the library.

The behavior of one of the budding scholars so piqued her curiosity that she was filled with the desire to understand why he had acted as he did. On the spot, she turned around and went back into the library to learn something about Judaism.

What had the yeshiva bochur done that made such an impression on Leilani? Did he greet her pleasantly? No, he ignored her, or, to be more precise, he quickly averted his eyes and turned the other direction as they passed one another. By the standards of the world, there was nothing out of the ordinary about Leilani's dress. But by the Torah's standards of tznius, modesty, her attire fell short. And that is what caused the rabbi-to-be to turn to the side.

His gesture did not pass unnoticed, precisely because it was so far from anything Leilani had ever experienced. As an attractive young woman, she had never before had someone make a deliberate effort to avoid looking at her.

That particular rabbinical student will have no idea, until he reaches the Next World of the spiritual tumult he set off with that one gesture. He will go through life never imagining that he, like the patriarch Abraham played a major role in bringing a neshoma under the wings of the Shechinah.


No less important to remember, of course, is that the potential for doing good is inevitably linked with a corresponding potential for the opposite. Recently, I was speaking on this topic in the Bais Yaakov high school of Los Angeles. I told a story of how the lives of three brothers and two friends — today all respected Torah scholars — took a totally unexpected turn as a consequence of the impression made on one of them by a family coming out of the Los Angeles Kollel after Sabbath morning prayers.

I pointed out that had the religious father been giving his young son a slap at the exact moment he passed in front of a local bistro instead of holding his hand and smiling, five Jews and all the subsequent generations that will come out of them would likely have been lost. When I had finished, I repaired to the office of the principal Rabbi Yoel Bursztyn, who shared with me a story from his days as a post-graduate rabbinical student, which emphasized the point I had made.

He told me about a neighbor of his from those days — an elderly, non-religious Jew. On one occasion, Rabbi Burzstyn's neighbor agreed to help make up a minyan, religious quorum, in a shiva house. Afterwards, he told him the following story about his youth.

He had been born in Europe, and his mother passed away when he and his sister were very young. Eventually, the family immigrated to Philadelphia. They were extremely poor, so poor that the brother and sister had to walk miles each way to school because they did not have the nickel fare for the trolley.

One day, the young boy went to synagogue to recite the Kaddish mourning prayer on the anniversary of his mother's death, yahrtzeit. After services, an elderly man came over to him, and asked him whether he had yahrtzeit. The boy nodded. "So where's the herring and schnaps?" the old man asked, questioning why he hadn't fulfilled the local custom of providing food in the departed soul's merit and memory. Having assured himself that no food would be forthcoming, the old man told him, "This you call a yahrtzeit? Pheh."

The boy was too humiliated to say anything, He rushed home and threw himself on his bed sobbing. His father passed by his son's room, and saw how distraught he was. When the boy related what had happened, he added a vow, "Father, I swear to you, I will never set foot in a synagogue again." And he never did.

Can any of us begin to fathom the joy of discovering for the first time in Heaven that we provided the impetus for one journey to Truth? Or, for that matter, the shame of learning that because of an unthinking, offhand remark of ours a Jew never again set foot in synagogue? .

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Rosenblum lives in Jerusalem with his wife and eight children.






© 2008, Jonathan Rosenblum