Rabbi Shmuel Tal Maintains Cultish Hold on Yad Binyamin

Rabbi Shmuel Tal Rabbi Shmuel Tal, whose yeshiva was originally located in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, attempted to form a "pure" community in the new Israeli town of Yad Binyamin. But then Rabbi Tal tried to convince at least one married woman to leave her husband, claiming that she and Tal … [Read more...]

Event in Israel on the Jews of Ozarow, and Ben Zion Wacholder

I have written here about doctoral student Lukasz Rzepka's research on the Jewish community of Ozarow, where both he and my father, Ben Zion Wacholder, were born. My father's memories of the liquidation of Ozarow are recorded on the website maintained by my niece Shifra Goldenberg. Thanks to Lukasz, … [Read more...]

Recalling My Father and the Jewish Past in Ozarow, Poland

Lukasz holding "Memories" next to a picture of my father Ben Zion Wacholder z"l Several months ago, I wrote about Lukasz Rzepka, the graduate student who, like with my father Ben Zion Wacholder z"l, was born in Ozarow, Poland. After months of preparation, Lukasz has published the first volume … [Read more...]

Choices in Religious High Schools for Girls in Israel

Four years ago, when my younger daughter was in 6th grade, I looked for an alternative to the standard ulpana (high school for girls in the national religious sector). After enrolling her in a new program in Tel Aviv, I became interested in innovations in other schools. This ultimately led an … [Read more...]

Everything Is Okay, Except when It Isn’t: A Fresh Approach to Jewish Education

Review: Not at Risk by Menachem Gottesman Ph.D. with Leah Leslie Gottesman, M.A. I cried while reading Not at Risk: Education as a Work of Heart, the story of the alternative Jerusalem high school Meled. Meled, which stands for Merkaz Lemida Dati (center for religious learning) was founded by the … [Read more...]

A Surprising and Touching Inquiry into My Father’s Polish Past

As long-time readers know, my father Ben Zion Wacholder was born in Ozarow, Poland and survived the Holocaust, living in Germany with false papers hiding his Jewish identity. A few months ago, we received an email from a man named Lukasz Rzepka, who wrote: I'm a doctoral student of theology at The … [Read more...]

Judge Threatens Jail over Beit Shemesh Modesty Signs

Update December 4, 2017 from the Chochmat Nashim Facebook page:  Supreme Court Judge Hanan Meltzer said, "There is no such thing in the State of Israel as a road that is closed to women, nor will there be. As far as we are concerned, there should be a police presence day and night and any woman … [Read more...]

Rosh Hashanah Survival Guide–Updated for 2017/5778

I first wrote the checklist below ten years ago. I'm republishing it as a new post, for the third time. I've also set up a page with the best posts about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Some of the tips below only apply when Rosh Hashanah is on Shabbat or leads into Shabbat. Don't hesitate to … [Read more...]

Illegal Adoption Ring of Israeli Babies Exposed

Here is my loose translation of Part II of Ariela Sternbach and Yehuda Shochat's reporting in Ynet on a widespread adoption ring, in which American haredi askanim prey on young Israeli women and girls with unwanted pregnancies. 9 years ago, Tal Terezi's daughter was kidnapped and … [Read more...]

Most Popular Israeli Girls’ Names 2014

The Israeli Central Bureau for Statistics announced the ten most popular names for 2014. It usually takes them a whole year to analyze them.  Biblical and animal names dominate the list, along with two-syllable names. Here's the rundown: Noa. This biblical name has been the number one girl's … [Read more...]