Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
The thrilling, true story of Rachel Blum’s struggle to survive in a world bent on destroying her.
Is it ever okay to lie to your spouse?
What was Captain Sully thinking as he calmly landed that plane on the water,
saving everyone on board?
Akiva Neuman uses the same skills in training to be a rabbi to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Being Jewish means dancing with the conflicting combination of pain and joy.
‘Poisoning’ accusations are a Palestinian tradition.
I wish people would realize my child is mentally ill and is not going to grow out of it.
A powerful video about one 70-year-old woman who has scraped off over 72,000 neo-Nazi symbols throughout Germany.
The film distorts the experiences of people with disabilities and goes against Judaism’s value of human life.
Is there anything wrong with swearing?
Reclaiming the forgotten power of writing a letter.
Harvey S. Hecker Character Development Series: Life's greatest challenge is the battle for self-respect.
A few words of praise go a long way.
Summer vacation can become a cherished time for strengthening our relationships with our children.
Mouthwatering recipes from a brand new cookbook.
Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but if you want to end a relationship it’s a must.
How you can answer that big question for yourself.
How to give off the right signals to your date.
Seven keys to life fulfillment.
The amazing journey of Jim Long, an observant Noachide.
Instiller of faith, enabler of redemption.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
The miracle of survival, faith and the wisdom of a remarkable lady who knows how to live. (Adult discretion advised)
It’s no accident that the deal was finalized only last week.
A Harvard-trained psychiatrist working on a locked ward strives to find the good in his patients.
In the terrible, wonderful paradox of the Jew in exile, we are permanently, gratefully, happy. And temporarily, terribly sad.
Want to shop in the ancient Israeli marketplace but don’t know where to start? Allow me to enlighten you.
Some theme party ideas for adults considering a belated Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
What is the best way to keep your kids busy in the summer?
Despite the distance, it has forged an unbreakable bond for generations.
Discover the most important intellectual development in human history.
Why did God wait 49 days before giving the Torah?
August 7, 2011 2:04 AM
Do You Need to Conform to a Community mindset?
I live where I live because I can afford it. The town doesn't influence how I think or what I do. It never did. - - - - - -
I have a few sets of friends who I see socially for different reasons. Old childhood friends I am totally comfortable with, we don't think alike about marriage, divorce, politics, religion, and yet are somehow closer than my relatives. I have some single 'going out for fun' friends who are fun to be with but my life isn't like theirs so we see each other on occassion and we have good carefree times. My cultural friends and I go places and experience new things and they challenge me. Work friends are only those I see while working.- - - - - - - - - -
The world isn't one like-thinking community. Don't we all need to know more about the way others live and interact and how others feel and love and think? - - - - - - - -
I have neighbors that I live among. Many of us don't agree about politics, religion, landscaping, car choices, clothing options, but we live together side by side. I can't imagine life another way.
My Jewish friend taught me that when asked about business, that I shouldn't say I was doing well. I should answer that business is so, so. That was important stuff he taught me about humility. He infuenced me to be better. I miss him..
August 5, 2011 2:49 AM
Transcript for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Part 2 of 2
(continued from part one)
When you choose your community, you choose your social pressure. There’s going to be certain things in every community that’s – whatever, little schtick, that you don’t really relate to. There are certain things that we’re gonna do just to get along, just for shalom, just for peace. Know you’re doing it for that reason. Know that this is what I’m doing just to get along with people; it’s just not worth standing up for.
There are gonna be certain things that are worth standing up for. There’s mistakes, and things that are hurting people, you’re gonna take a stand.
You have your good social pressure, you have the things you’re going to go along with just for peace, and there are certain things you’re going to take a stand for. Choose wisely, and choose the community that has the social pressure that you want to strive for and that you need.
August 5, 2011 2:48 AM
Transcript for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Part 1 of 2
Because access for the deaf is important.
Somebody was talking to me the other day, and they were saying there was so much social pressure community and it was really negative. They were really ready to move out. So I told her that every community has certain social pressure, and when you move into a community you choose your social pressure. But there’s good social pressure and not so good social pressure.
What is good social pressure? We chose a community where the social pressure is to get married, to work at your marriage, and to stay married. There’s also a social pressure to be a good person: to be kind, to be giving, to be helpful.
There’s a social pressure not to gossip. In my community, if I were to say, “oh, I’ve got some great gossip for you,” I would be a social pariah. It would be like I lit a cigarette in a closed elevator. People would go home and tell their spouses, “our children can’t marry her children.” That’s good social pressure. Why? ‘Cause it helps me to be a better person.
All boats rise. When you’re in a situation, when you’re in a community you’re around people who are really kind, giving, good, honest people, you rise up to that level.
And the opposite: there are some communities where there’s a social pressure to gossip – that if you don’t gossip, you’re the social pariah! Who does she think she is, if you say, you know what we shouldn’t be talking about this? And in certain communities, there’s a social pressure not to stay married, and not to even marry, and not to stay faithful.
August 4, 2011 2:57 PM
But how do you know when you haven't yet lived there?
My husband and I are starting to look toward the day when our children have left the nest -- and we are very concerned about where to go. We are presently in a great community, but anytime one moves to a place one doesn't know, one is taking a chance on what kind of environment it will be. I'm not talking about moving to a place with no Jewish life -- I'm talking about not knowing how one will be received in a new Jewish community. And some social pressure is also about things like the car one drives, the clothes and jewelry one wears, which charities one supports (and how openly), etc.
August 3, 2011 7:56 PM
A little moderation is a good thing.
I completely agree that all communities exert social pressure, whether or not it is obvious or whether or not it is perceived by all members in that community. And just as you say there is good and bad social pressure, there are also good and bad ways to manifest that pressure. In the example you gave of gossiping, wouldn't a more constructive form of social pressure be for the other person to say 'hey, don't gossip, you know that is against our values", rather than to run home and say "guess what I heard, so and so wanted to gossip...her children can't marry ours..."? (The irony is intended). Yes, we can all improve our communities by applying positive pressure; and we can do so effectively by applying the pressure in a timely and proportionate way.
August 2, 2011 2:29 PM
Lori, you are right on just about everything you said here...
However, my only concern is your statement that the people in your community would tell their kids not to marry yours if they heard you gossiping. I do understand that there can be justified concern that children will pick up various negative qualities of their parents - this IS a valid concern and should be judged on a case by case basis. But for a whole community to blacklist someone's kids because of a bad character trait of a parent (perhaps maybe it was just a one time slip up) is pretty radical. Were you exaggerating a little here just to make a point?
August 3, 2011 5:36 PM
Black Listing Children may be Judging Unfavorably
I am also disturbed by Lori's concern.
It seems unjust to blacklist someone else's kids due to hearing "gossip."
First, we need to judge the parent favorably and second, a person who "blacklists a parent's children" may be gossiping themselves!
August 4, 2011 8:17 PM
Ha! She just emulating a 'politically correct' sarcasm that is common in some places. I tend to try and stay away from these self rightous indiviuals, Chronic gossiping is not great to be around though
July 31, 2011 1:08 PM
Altruism vs. individuality
Thanks again for the insight on the community and peers we choose to be with. I'm reminded that when we make a choice, we make the consequences...Some people would wonder whether it is really necessary to marry and have children when it may not be so necessary for survival or within one's budget...Some people choose not to drink beer, wine, etc. given the intoxication, yet, there's often peer pressure for one to drink and if he/she doesn't have a drink in hand, they may be asked "where's your drink?" I choose to be sober and avoid alcohol since it really has no health benefits and impairs one's ability to drive - not to mention the likely hangover the following morning. Frankly, I'm not so fond of Judaism placing emphasis on drinking wine, getting married, and populating the world. However, Judaism is a major part of my life, and I wouldn't choose any other religious/cultural lifestyle, given that I was born Jewish, and I won't ever give up the faith. After all, Judaism is one of the few religions that doesn't place emphasis on all-or-nothing.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.