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Have You Ever Had a HIIT Spiritual Workout?

In 2010, Ellen Latham co-founded an exercise studio in Ft. Lauderdale called Orangetheory.  What began as one small business in 2010 is now a movement with 1,200 studios in 22 countries, more than 800,000 members and over $1 billion in sales.  I recently came across an article explaining the philosophy and science behind this popularRead More...

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101% Guaranteed To Change Your Life

Who doesn’t want to be happier at work?  New research concludes that greater happiness and satisfaction at work doesn’t come from more vacation days, additional downtime, or even more perks.  This study found that the best way to ensure that you’re happy at your job is to spend more time learning. Among the 2,049 workersRead More...

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What Not to Say When There are No Words

When people in our lives are struggling or suffering, we desperately want to help but often are at a loss for what to say or what to do.  In her deeply insightful book, “Option B,” Sheryl Sandberg describes that people going through a difficult time often find that they are no longer surrounded by people,Read More...

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Be a Thermostat, Not a Thermometer: You Can’t Breathe Free When Stress is Your Master

*This article appeared in Mishpacha Magazine on April 10, 2019 The Jewish People are suffering through the servitude of Egypt. After being oppressed and persecuted for an extended period of time, they finally receive a message of redemption: Moshe relays the promise that Hashem will take them out, rescue them, and take them to the PromisedRead More...

A Message for Pesach

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Anger is Contagious Like the Flu

Flu season is currently making itself known around the community, first among kids and now hitting adults.  But diseases and illnesses are not the only things that are contagious.  Without you even realizing it, how you are feeling today is likely influencing and impacting the feelings of people around you. According to Dr. Nicholas ChristakisRead More...

How Can You Inoculate Yourself and Your Family?

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You Won’t Believe What This Man Did for His Competitor

In January, a fire destroyed the building that housed Yossi Heiman’s Fish Market in Borough Park, Brooklyn, leaving him with no place to operate his business and no ability to draw income. Shea Langsam owns a similar store, Fish to Dish, just a few blocks away.  One would have thought that as sympathetic as heRead More...

Paying More Than Lip-service to Living With Faith

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Thanksgiving & Being a Jew

Was it President Lincoln in 1863, President Washington in 1789, or the Pilgrims themselves in 1622? While historians may debate when the holiday of Thanksgiving was first instituted, the practice of giving thanks began much earlier. We read in last week’s parsha, Vayeitzei, that Leah names her fourth son Yehudah from the root hoda’ah outRead More...

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The Blessing in Being a Blessing

Each year at the Rabbinical Council of America convention, an award is given to a chaplain.  To be honest, it has never been the highlight of the gathering for me.  A few years ago, however, I was grateful to be present when the award was given to Rav Zvi Karpel. When he accepted the award,Read More...

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Do You Know Your Rating? I Was Shocked When I Discovered Mine

I took an Uber a few months ago and noticed something that disturbed me greatly.  It wasn’t anything I found in the car, but rather something I happened to notice on the app.  I was well aware that Uber drivers carry a rating based on the score their passengers give them.  But I never knewRead More...

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“I Need Your Help”: Our Custodian Theo’s Last Request From Me

For more than a decade, Theo Henry was more than simply our custodian at Boca Raton Synagogue. He was truly a part of our family. Literally thousands of minyanim, programs, events, and classes could not have happened without his hard work and dedication.  Theo was a permanent presence in our Shul: setting up, cleaning up,Read More...

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You Don’t Have to be From Hawaii to Live Like You Were Dying

On Saturday morning, residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert on their phones: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.  Seek immediate shelter.  This is not a drill.”  Hawaiians panicked, believing they were the target of a nuclear attack.  Some ran into basements, others under tables; some even climbed down manholes in the street. It tookRead More...

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Don’t Live the Same Year 75 Times and Call it a Life

Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian writer, once said, “Everybody wants to change this world; nobody wants to change themselves.” I disagree. I think we do want to change. We want to become the people we were meant to be, the people we are capable of being. Many of us just don’t know how. Every year,Read More...

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Goodbye to Good Riddance

This time of year, when most people think of Times Square, they picture the tremendous New Year’s Eve party attended by more than a million people filled with banners, streamers and the ball that drops at midnight.  Less well known, and with much poorer attendance, is an event in Times Square that takes place justRead More...

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Shaya’s Story – A Model of Conscientious Inclusiveness

It was the day of Avraham’s funeral and Yaakov was preparing lentil soup for his mourning father Yitzchak.  Esav came in from the field and he was hungry and tired.  We all know the story – Esav sold the birthright for a bowl of soup. Our Rabbis (Bava Basra 16) teach us that on thatRead More...

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How a Shabbos Meal Turned a White Supremacist Against Bigotry and How it Can Turn Your Hate to Love

The United States was hit by two disasters over the past two weeks.  One was natural, and the other was man-made.  One left devastating damage as the result of strong winds and hard rain, while the other left horrific damage resulting from hate and discrimination.  One caused hopelessness, while the other provides great reason toRead More...

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The Gift of Failure

Michael Jordan, a man associated with success in his field as much as anyone alive, famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over in my life. And thatRead More...

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Are You Crazy Busy? Build More Margin into Your Life

In his article “The ‘Busy’ Trap,” Tim Kreide writes: If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously,Read More...

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Live With a Panoramic View of the World and See the Good All Around

        (Adapted from drasha delivered on Parshas Chayei Sarah/Thanksgiving Weekend 2016) Everybody knows that the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday,” but fewer know how it got its name. The earliest use has been traced back to 1951, referencing the practice of workers calling in sick on the day afterRead More...

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The Most Important Trait to be a Good Friend

The wedding was magnificent. A beautiful chuppah took place on the beach as the sun set, and then it was time to go inside for the reception. I looked at my place card and went to my assigned table. When I got there, I was startled to discover that I was seated at a tableRead More...

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The New Isn’t Always Better Than the Old

**The following article appears in The People & the Book column of the Jerusalem Report   Over three decades later, it is still considered one of the biggest marketing blunders of modern times.  In 1985 one of the most recognized businesses on the planet admitted a newly-released product had flopped, and relaunched the product thatRead More...

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What the Olympics Can Teach Us About the Value of Every Millisecond

There are countless lessons to extract from the Olympics beginning in Rio. The tenacity, resolve, grit, discipline, drive, and sense of teamwork of each athlete is simply inspiring and can serve to motivate each one of us to pursue our dreams relentlessly. Olympians serve as models of being extraordinarily focused and determined to realize theRead More...

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Preparing for the Morning after the Election By Watching How We Speak Now

The most remarkable thing about the failed coup in Turkey last week is how utterly unremarkable it actually was. While this particular coup was unsuccessful, since 1960 Turkey has been overthrown four times through takeovers organized and perpetrated by its own military. Much more remarkable than Turkey’s latest coup attempt is that in its 240Read More...

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Muhammad Ali and Donald Trump: Borrowed But Never Owned

Once upon a time, becoming a Bar Mitzvah meant coming of age and bearing greater spiritual responsibility and accountability. For many today, turning thirteen means become a brand with your own logo designed for the occasion and yarmulkas, clothing, and gear bearing your special insignia. Before protesting, please understand: I am not suggesting there isRead More...

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You Have More Time Than You Think – What Do You Want to Do With It?

Recently, my six-year-old daughter was filling out a fun journal she had received as a gift. After answering standard questions like “who is your best friend,” “what is your favorite food,” “what color do you like the most,” etc. she came across the question, “who is your arch nemesis,” a bizarre question for a children’sRead More...

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Thanking Those Who Packed Our Parachutes, The Essence of Dayeinu

It is almost impossible to imagine the Seder night without the singing of dayeinu.  Young children to octogenarians can be found humming the addictive melody to dayeinu.  Interestingly, the Rambam does not have dayeinu in his Hagaddah and even Rav Saadia Gaon whose Hagaddah serves essentially as the basis for ours, only has dayeinu asRead More...

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The Rabbinic Achilles Heel

When Achilles, the Greek mythological figure, was a baby, it was foreseen that he would die young. In an effort to protect him, his mother Thetis took him to the River Styx, which supposedly contained powers of invincibility. She immersed him into the river, but held him by his heel; as a result, the areaRead More...

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Transforming “Jewish Time” into Being Punctual

The Powerball lottery and its record $1.5 billion jackpot has engendered great conversation about what we would do with the money if we won. Indeed, money is a tremendous commodity, a critical resource. And yet, there is an even more precious commodity that we waste all too often. When it comes to money, if weRead More...

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How to Behave When Someone You Know is Struggling

Over the last couple of years, a few YouTube videos were made mocking the sometimes stupid and foolish things that people say when visiting the sick or comforting the mourner. Things like, “I know someone who had the same sickness as you. They suffered terribly and died after a short time. I hope that doesn’tRead More...

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Make Real Resolutions, Not Just Wishes

Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian writer, once said, “Everybody wants to change this world; nobody wants to change themselves.” I disagree. I think we do want to change. We want to become the people we were meant to be, the people we are capable of being. Many of us just don’t know how. Every year,Read More...

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Finish What You Start

The Torah tells us that there was a special person who uprooted his family, took his wife, took Lot, and left his homeland, his familial territory, his place of residence – Ur Kasdim – and began a journey to the land of Canaan, known today as Eretz Yisroel. This special man’s name – Terach. Yes,Read More...

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Make Resolutions, Not Wishes

(Adapted from a drasha delivered at Boca Raton Synagogue on Rosh Hashana 5776/2015) It was an ordinary day in Judge Mindy Glazer’s Miami-Dade courtroom when forty-nine-year-old Arthur Booth appeared before her for his bond hearing. He had been arrested the previous day for breaking into a home, stealing a car, and running from police. HeRead More...

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Torn on the Apology – Is Everything Forgivable?

“No matter how many times I attempt to apologize, it will never be enough. There are simply no words available to sufficiently assuage the hurt that I caused among conversion candidates, congregants, students, family, friends, and rabbinic and academic colleagues. I am sorry, beyond measure, for my heinous behavior and perverse mindset that provoked myRead More...

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Learning to Love Even Those We Dislike

Rosh Hashana is approaching in a few days and I am truly frightened. My fear stems not just from God’s impending annual judgment, but from the current status of our people and how we will appear before Him. Next week we will gather in synagogues around the world and beseech the Almighty – “v’yeiasu kulamRead More...

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Extraordinary People Posing as Ordinary, All Around Us

A few years ago, I was leaving Shul after davening Shacharis one morning when an older gentleman in our community stopped me and asked if I had a minute to talk. The truth was, I was running late and barely had time to say hello let alone entertain an entire conversation.  But, he seemed soRead More...

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Start a Gratitude Journal Today

Years ago, someone gave me a Tony Robbins CD to listen to. I was excited to hear what one of the most inspirational people of modern times would have to say and how it could change my life for the better. He started his talk by saying that he has the secret to both happinessRead More...

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The Art of Saying Hello

A couple of weeks ago, the 20th of Adar, marked the twentieth yahrzeit of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l. In a tribute written shortly after his passing, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, who shared a very close relationship with Rav Shlomo Zalman, described him as a “Gentle giant.” He wrote: Reb Shlomo Zalman was endowed, as aRead More...

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Confronting Mortality

It is remarkable how precious and cherished personal items can become “stuff” for someone else to get rid of literally overnight. After a BRS member recently passed away, I was visiting with a member of her family in her home when he shared that he had set aside items that are meaningful to him andRead More...

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Pesach Sheni – Give God, Others and Yourself a Second Chance

The prisoners of Buchenwald never dreamt they would be given a second chance. They didn’t know if they would survive that day let alone what life they would ultimately lead. Of course when imprisoned they could not observe any Jewish holidays including Pesach. They couldn’t partake of the matzah, marror, seder or hagadah and neverRead More...

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Don’t Just Pursue Happiness, Experience It

When the Founding Fathers included the pursuit of happiness as an American right and entitlement, it is almost as if they conceded that happiness can be pursued, but it is unlikely to ever be attained.  If you look around, you can’t help but notice that for many, the pursuit has grown tiring and indeed, manyRead More...

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Not All Dreams Are Created Equal

On August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., whose contributions and influence we will mark this coming Monday, delivered what ultimately became his signature speech.   Many identify that address, delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters that had gathered for the March on Washington, as theRead More...

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Practicing Savlanut Makes for Perfect Patience

Given the frigid weather and snowfall elsewhere in the country, it is hard to complain in December about life in South Florida.  And yet, if there is a complaint it is this: with the influx of snowbirds who come south for the winter, it becomes exceedingly difficult to find parking or get a decent reservationRead More...

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Celebrity or Somebody? Be a Person Who Matters

I was sitting at the gate recently, waiting to board a plane, when a man walked right past me.  Something about his look and walk made him seem like he was a “somebody.”  I didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later when I noticed that people were beginning to approach him forRead More...

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Are You Essential or Non-Essential?

The dictionary definition of “non-essential” is “not completely necessary.” Synonyms include “dispensable, gratuitous, inessential, needless, and unnecessary.” So imagine the impact on your self-esteem and self-worth when your employer tells you that you should stay home from work without pay for the foreseeable future because you are considered to be “non-essential.” That is exactly whatRead More...

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The Addict in All of Us

This past week, someone with whom I am close celebrated a major milestone event in his life and invited me to attend. Like you, I have been to countless birthday parties, anniversary parties, weddings, and graduations, but this was a meeting unlike anything I had ever previously seen. My friend is an alcoholic and aRead More...

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What Does God Want From You?

Most people think of themselves as “good” people. In fact, I have often heard from those that are less than scrupulous or meticulous with halacha (Jewish law), “I am not be so careful about observing Shabbos and I may eat dairy out, but to me Judaism is about being a good person and that isRead More...

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What’s Your Ranking?

A few weeks ago, the Jerusalem Post published its list of the “World’s 50 Most Influential Jews.” This list comes on the heels of the Forward’s list of the top 50 American Jews. Newsweek puts out an annual ranking of the top 50 Rabbis in America. The Forward, too, publishes a list of America’s mostRead More...

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Giving Comfort: The Ring Theory

Over the last couple of years, a few YouTube videos were made mocking the sometimes stupid and foolish things that people say when visiting the sick or comforting the mourner. Things like, “I know someone who had the same sickness as you. They suffered terribly and died after a short time. I hope that doesn’tRead More...

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Don’t Wait Until it Is Too Late

There are few things more challenging and uncomfortable than sitting at the bedside of a dying person and attempting to offer some sense of comfort and calm. What do you say to someone who is about to leave this world? How do you reassure him about where he is going or try to convince herRead More...

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A Family Reunion

Walking through the Old City on Thursday, my ten-year-old daughter turned to me and said, “Abba, do you know what the coolest part of being in Israel is?  Everyone you walk past is Jewish and you are comfortable being around them as if they are part of your family.”  I am so happy that atRead More...

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Vacationing on Steroids

As it turns out, Lance Armstrong’s true story is not one of courage, tenacity and heroism, but of lies, cheating, and cowardice instead.  This week, Armstrong confessed to using illegal substances in an effort to gain a competitive advantage.  He has already been stripped of his titles and his endorsements, and now he has lostRead More...

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Bringing Back an Increasingly Lost Art

I am at a terrible disadvantage in writing this column. Whatever I say will be dismissed outright by many for being self-serving. I ask you to hear me out anyway, because what I want to say is not about me at all, but is about you, it’s about all of us and it is aboutRead More...

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When You Can’t Find the Right Words

We all struggle to find the appropriate thing to say. Whether its bedside of a terminally ill person, seeing a friend whom you just discovered is getting divorced, comforting a mourner, or trying to show support to someone after a miscarriage or stillbirth, it is nearly impossible in some situations to find the right words.Read More...

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Many Ordinary People Have Led Extraordinary Lives

I was leaving Shul after davening Shacharis one recent morning when an older gentleman in our community stopped me and asked if I had a minute to talk. The truth was, I barely had time to say hello let alone entertain an entire conversation.  I had intentionally “snuck” out of Shul so I could rushRead More...

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The Value of Every Millisecond

There are countless lessons to extract from the Olympics currently taking place in London, England. The tenacity, resolve, grit, discipline, drive, and sense of teamwork of each athlete, is simply inspiring and can serve to motivate each one of us to pursue our dreams relentlessly. Olympians serve as models of being extraordinarily focused and determinedRead More...

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How to Get the Most out of Vacation

Last Shabbos, I began my sermon by quoting noted Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen’s 18-40-60 rule. He says when you are 18, you worry about what everyone is thinking about you.  When you are 40, you could care less what everyone thinks about you.  And then you turn 60 and you realize that all along, nobodyRead More...

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Attitude of Gratitude

A number of years ago, someone, who I guess felt I could use some motivation, gave me a CD of Tony Robbins to listen to.  I was excited to hear what one of the most inspirational people of modern times would have to say and how it could change my life for the better.    HeRead More...

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A Dollar and a Dream

I have a confession to make – I bought a lottery ticket for the New York Mega Millions. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it and Friday night, winning it means winning more than half a billion dollars. True, the lump sum payout after taxes comes to only $257,000,000 but IRead More...

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Chessed Is Almost By Definition Inconvenient

I was reminded this week of one of the many lessons I learned from my father as a child that has stuck with me throughout my life. When mincha ended on yom tov afternoon at Shul and a short Dvar Torah would fill the time until we could daven ma’ariv, invariably the same thing wouldRead More...

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Can You Be Proud of Your Google Profile?

Wine is not only good for the heart, but drinking it very well may reveal what is in your heart that you didn’t intend on sharing with others. Our Rabbis understood that nichnas yayin, yatzah sod, when wine enters, secrets come out. A little l’chaim can remove inhibitions, dispel shyness, and generally cloud judgment. OnRead More...

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What Do You Do?

A few summers ago, I had the pleasure of attending a wedding in which the only people I knew were the family of the bride.  At the meal, I found myself sitting at a table of people I had never met.  In an attempt to be friendly to the man seated next to me, IRead More...

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Tolerance is a double-edged sword

Tolerance is a double edged sword. On the one hand, the Torah encourages us not to judge people, not to be critical of them and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are to be welcoming, warm and accept people for who they are without being dismissive. While these attitudes are certainly virtuousRead More...