Monday, March 30, 2015

A brief look at the history of Passover

Looking for a quick video to explain the history of the holiday?  Check out History of Passover from the History Channel.

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For other great holiday tips, check out Jvillage Network's Passover Holiday Kit

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why I’m Done Throwing My Son Birthday Parties

Avital Norman Nathman for Kveller

My son turned 8 this past January. But this year, unlike the seven that came before, we didn’t have a party.

No worry about finding an indoor place that could hold enough kids–and their energy–in the midst of a harsh New England winter. No worrying about whether or not the party would even happen on account of a snowstorm. No juggling five or six different food allergies for fear of leaving any kid out. No buying a bunch of junk that most likely breaks or gets tossed out soon after for goody bags. No drooling over Pinterest, only to lament over a complete lack of any creative capability.

None of that. Because we didn’t have a party.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Next Mark Zuckerberg? Meet the Kid Crowdfunding His Way to Summer Camp

When he learned his entrepreneurship camp was a bit too pricey, one resourceful 11-year-old turned to crowdfunding.

Rabbi Jason Miller for

It’s a known fact that many Jewish kids head out to overnight camp each summer. In fact, Jeremy J. Fingerman, the CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, believes that in any one summer, as many as 11% of the approximately 700,000 Jewish kids ages 7-17 in North America are enrolled in a Jewish camp. These are no longer simply the traditional overnight summer camps of previous generations in which campers and counselors swim, sail, and sing Jewish songs by the campfire while roasting s’mores.

Today’s listing of Jewish summer camps includes dozens of “specialty camps” that focus on specific interest groups like science and technology, the culinary arts, health and wellness, and sports. These camps, which run anywhere from one to eight-week sessions, require a significant financial investment from parents who want their children to enjoy meaningful experiences over the summer vacation. Financial scholarships and significant subsidy programs like the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s BunkConnect help defray a portion of the tuition costs, but money is still an impediment for many families.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

DWS “Gaffe” Illustrates Everything That’s Wrong About Post-Pew American Jewry

Jonathan S. Tobin for Commentary Magazine

If American Jews want to know what the party that most of them are loyal to wants them to think, they turn to Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for advice. But in a moment of unexpected and refreshing candor, Wasserman Shultz also gave her co-religionists some truth about the future of the Jewish community when she noted during a speech given to a South Florida Jewish Federation event that assimilation and intermarriages were both a “problem.” That this is self-evident is more than obvious given the data produced by the Pew Center’s historic survey of American Jewry that showed that assimilation and intermarriage have reached levels that call into question the future of non-Orthodox Jewry in this country. But the fact that Wasserman Schultz felt she had to almost immediately walk back her remarks with liberal Jews showering her with the opprobrium they usually reserve for Republicans tells us exactly why these problems are so intractable.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Purim and Serendipity

How to find God.

by Rabbi Benjamin Blech for

It’s a question I’ve often been asked. Many times people turn to me as a Rabbi and in all sincerity ask “How can I find God?”

I tell them it really isn’t all that difficult. All they have to do is turn serendipity into Purim and they’ll realize the answer.

Permit me to explain.

Serendipity is a fascinating word that a British lexicon company recently voted one of the 10 hardest words in English to translate. Dictionaries define it as “a fortuitous happenstance” or “a pleasant surprise.” Wikipedia tells us “The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation such as Alexander Fleming's accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928, and the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer in 1945, to name but a few.”

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For more information, recipes and great ideas for Purim, check out Jvillage's Purim Holiday Kit

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