Living Through Terror

Lessons from The Leftovers: finding meaning in an ISIS-filled world

January 1, 2016

Two weeks ago, the HBO TV series The Leftovers completed its stunning second season. With its incessantly bleak tone, and ratings that were not much better, critics and fans called it “the best show on television you’re probably not watching.” But you ought to. Go out and binge watch all 20 episodes right now. Because […]

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A terrible confession

December 7, 2015

I have a terrible confession to make. I’m ashamed to even let the words pass my lips, but I suspect I’m not alone. Each time there’s a terror attack overseas, that is to say, one outside of Israel, I feel a tiny twinge of hope. Then I am instantly overcome with guilt and I berate […]

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Climate change, Hitler and the Syrian civil war: how bleak is our future?

November 17, 2015

As the civil war in Syria shows no sign of slowing down, prompting millions of refugees to flee from that war-torn shell of a country towards an overwhelmed Europe, a study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year added an entirely new perspective to my understanding of the causes […]

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Pepper spray and the loss of innocence

November 1, 2015

“At the beginning of the day, we had four full boxes with 50 in each,” Yaakov says, gesturing to the one remaining carton and the hastily hand-scrawled sign above the window reading “pepper spray” at the Talpiot Jerusalem branch of the popular trekker supply store La’metayel. “And now look,” he says, “there are just 8 […]

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Hitchhiking now and then

August 20, 2015

Exactly 30 years ago today, I was in a car with a group of German strangers on my way to a standing room only soccer match just outside what was then West Berlin. As part of a two-month trek across Europe, I was feeling young and adventurous when I decided to try hitchhiking. Getting to […]

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Fire from Below

August 23, 2014

With our nerves already on edge from the air raid sirens and the heartbreaking mounting death toll as Operation Protective Edge raged on last month, the thick black smoke billowing out of our parking garage did not bode well. I was about to jump in the shower when my son burst in and told me […]

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A Prayer Skeptic Confronts Facebook

July 11, 2014

A rabbi friend of mine had major surgery last month. Thankfully, he made it through OK and has now begun a long recovery process. Before, during and after the surgery, my Facebook Wall was flooded with posts asking me to pray for my friend. Impromptu minyans were formed online as well as at his congregation […]

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Working through War

November 20, 2012

Are we at war? Because, if so, then I have a valid excuse to miss my deadlines. If not, if this is still an “operation,” then I’m just a procrastinator with a short attention span. Such are the realities of being a news junky, a passionate defender of Israel, a father of two children in […]

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Escape from Novogrodek

September 7, 2012

Jack Kagan has one of the most breathtaking – and little known – stories of heroism and escape during the Holocaust. Kagan was one of 250 Jews forced into a “work camp” near Novogrodek, Belasrus. I say “work” camp because it was clear that their fate would ultimately be the same as the 15,000 Jews […]

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An Encounter in Beit Jalla

November 30, 2011

The last time I even thought about Beit Jalla, it was when rockets were being fired from that Palestinian village towards the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Israeli helicopter gunships would regularly fly over our home on their way to fire at terrorist targets. I would wake up at night afraid – that is if […]

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