Steve Herzig

A Jew, or Not a Jew?

A rabbi tells a story of his days in rabbinical school. As part of his curriculum, the professor asked his students to list the names of the ten greatest Jews of the 20th century.

The Question of Time

It is often joked about among Jewish people that whenever the time is set for an appointment or a date, the time specified will not be the actual time to begin.

Tzedaka: It Is More Blessed to Give

A story is told of the rabbi of Nemirov. His followers, all Hasidim, stated emphatically that every night their rabbi went up to heaven. Another Jewish group, Mitnaggedim (opponents), ridiculed the Hasidim about this belief.

Israel’s New Reality

This statement, made by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez, may have paved the way for his failure in May to be officially elected to that position.

The Dynamic Of Jewish Prayer

Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lᴏʀᴅ.

Siddur: The Book Of Prayer

Like so many other Jewish adults, I well remember the long and arduous process of learning the liturgy of Hebrew prayers involved in worship. It started with the simple rote learning of the Hebrew alphabet.

Prayer: The Service Of The Heart

Prayer is not unique to Judaism, yet Jewish prayer is unique. In synagogues around the world, congregants meet together to worship. But Jewish prayer is not confined to a synagogue.

Because It’s A Mitzvah

When people visit Mea Shearim, one of the most Orthodox communities in all of Israel, or observe the crowds gathered at the Western Wall of Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, questions often arise…

Kabbalah: Making a Mystery of God’s Word

An expert is defined as a person who displays a special knowledge derived from training or experience. Over two decades ago, as a junior in college, I was boarding with several other students—all Gentiles.

Rambam and Rashi: Bringing the Bottom Line

Separated by time (about 100 years) and distance (several hundred miles), two men provided the means for the Jewish people to study both the Talmud and the Bible. These “helps” are still used today…

The State of the State

The subject of politics can be volatile and is often avoided in polite conversation. Still, jokes about politicians, parties, and their performance permeate our society. Who among us is not interested in the various national…

Hillel: The Kind Pharisee

Jewish tradition states that the oral law was transmitted from Moses to Joshua, from Joshua to the elders, from the elders to the prophets, and from the prophets to the men of the great assembly.

The Talmud

“No! No! No!” the grandmother screamed as the six-year-old boy placed the clean spoon into the drawer of clean utensils. “That spoon goes with the milchig [dairy].” The youngster should have known;

Are There Horns Under That Hat?

Several years ago there was a TV series called Little House on the Prairie. One of the show’s characters, a youngster named Albert, became friendly with an elderly Jewish man.

Tenach, Torah, & Targum

The Torah is the foundation stone for the Jewish people. Inspired by God and written by Moses, it has been central to Jewish life since its inception.

Food For Thought

Food, with its various tastes, smells, textures, and visual appeal, is a powerful trigger in the process of remembering. Whether it is in the preparation, serving, or eating, certain foods seem to prompt many people…

Fussy Fressers

Food is an integral part of Jewish life. One man explained it this way: “For our people, food is more than a necessity of life; it is an emotional experience.”

A Special Diet

Food, glorious food! We need it to survive. We eat it to celebrate almost any occasion. We offer it in hospitality or comfort. Socially, food somehow helps to build bridges for easier and better communication…

Dressed for Worship Part Two

As Tevya, the milkman in Sholem Aleichem’s story Fiddler on the Roof, considered various practices unique to his Judaism, he turned to the audience and asked, “Why do we do the things we do?”…

Dressed for Worship Part One: The Tallit

Who hasn’t had it happen—a missed appointment, that lack of association between a name and a face, the forgotten anniversary or birthday? Forgetfulness is a plague that knows no prejudice.

Death and Mourning

Chai is the Hebrew word for life. Jewish people frequently wear gold charms depicting this Hebrew character on chains around their necks, emphasizing the fact that life is Judaism’s most precious and cherished commodity.


Holidays are commemorative days used by most people to participate in recreational activities, to travel, or just to relax. Conversely, holy days are special days set aside for worship.

A Little Sanctuary Ezekiel 11:16

As a youngster growing up, I can remember two synagogues in our neighborhood. Sitting high on a hill was an imposing, three-story brick building with beautiful white stone pillars in the front.

Beware of a False Alarm

Suddenly the alarm sounded! Judging from the teachers’ faces, this was no drill. All of the students filed out quickly and quietly, looking around for signs of trouble.

The Jewish Wedding

Marriage is regarded as one of the most important and significant decisions in the lives of Jewish people. The Torah (the five books of Moses) clearly states that God made “an help fit” for Adam…

Bar Mitzvah

On Saturday morning, June 11, 1966, I walked from the stage of the synagogue to the platform (bema) where the Torah lay open. Following in the tradition of my father and grandfather…

Brit Milah

The birth of a boy into a Jewish family is cause for great joy and celebration (simcha). On the eighth day after his birth, a ceremony takes place that unites him with all other Jewish…


Praised be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Thy commandments, and enjoined upon us the mitzvah of kindling the Festival lights …

Different Jews

These headlines pose quite a contrast. It is important to note that these two groups are the extremes statistically. Only a small percentage of Jews hold either view.* But they do reflect just how difficult…

The Shema: How Much of Me Does God Own?

Hear, O Israel: The Lᴏʀᴅ our God is one Lᴏʀᴅ: And thou shalt love the Lᴏʀᴅ thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.