Renting Cars: What You Need to Know


Travel ain’t what it used to be. In the “olden days,” people traveled by train and arrived at magnificent train stations – just look at the architecture of Baltimore’s Penn station (built in 1911, around the time the Model-T came out). From the train you took a taxicab (horse drawn, perhaps) to your downtown hotel, and everything you needed was close by. Nowadays we arrive at airports far from the city center, and we have to be able to get around to tour, shop, or attend to business: hence, the marvel of the rent-a-car business. You can land at any city in the U.S. and within an hour drive out with a shiny new car. Wow!

But wait – it is not so simple; nothing good ever is. Navigating our complicated and constantly changing world of personal economics and shopping requires a lot of know-how. This is especially true in car rentals, where no two customers pay the same price, and where rental companies try, and often succeed, in selling you unneeded extras that can be called rip offs.

Read More:Renting Cars: What You Need to Know

Life’s Most Important Skill


We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We take our seat at an important dinner and realize we know absolutely no one at the table. It feels awkward, intimidating, downright uncomfortable – what do we do or say now? If we have life’s basic people skills, we’ll be fine. The awkwardness will pass in seconds, we’ll assess the situation, tell ourselves it’s an opportunity to meet new people, and begin the introductions. Within seconds, our social skills will kick in and we can even have a good time.


Read More:Life’s Most Important Skill

Learning from our Past, Building our Future: How Jewish History Teaches Us to Create a Positive Community for Tomorrow


There is a story told about a Bais Yaakov girl in Poland in the 1930s. She met a local man in the community who criticized her for being Torah observant. You’re so old-fashioned, he said, you must be the only girl in the 20th century who is still so meticulous about religious observance. The Bais Yaakov student answered back to him, I may be the only one in the 20th century, but I won’t be the only one in the 21st century.


Read More:Learning from our Past, Building our Future: How Jewish History Teaches Us to Create a Positive Community for Tomorrow

Snow Small Thing

snow in jerusalem

My father likes to say that snow is a major generational divide. Does the fluffy falling stuff ignite in you a desire to run out and play in the cold, or do you give a little shiver and hug yourself tight? If you’re among the former, then you’re probably under 20. If you are among the latter, well, there is a reason why Florida is filled with “snowbirds”!


Read More:Snow Small Thing

The Breadwinner


I am sitting in the airport on a desperately awkward date. The guy – we’ll call him Moishy – nearly jumps out of his hard, plastic seat and peppers me with question after ridiculous question. I, on the other hand, slink lower and lower as heads begin to turn in our direction. I can think of nothing I want more than to go home and take some Tylenol.

But Moishy is relentless. He shoots out his next question: “My wife is gonna have to bake challa. Uh…do you bake challa?”

Now here is a question I can answer confidently. “No!” I state emphatically and maybe a bit too happily. (Is this my lucky ticket out of here?)

Moishy is thrown off, but only for a moment. “Uh…do you plan on baking challa when you get married?”

Read More:The Breadwinner

Liberté, Egalité, Émigré?


With a Jewish population of about 500,000, France is home to the third-largest Jewish community in the world. In comparison, it is estimated that there are between six to seven million Muslims, in a total population of over 66 million. The recent terror attacks in France have been among the most horrific in decades, although anti-Semitic incidents have been occurring for years already. In response, aliya figures for French Jews have been increasing at a phenomenal rate. But, while every French Jew is concerned about the terror level, opinions differ on the future of the Jews of France and whether they should be seeking a new life elsewhere. Let’s meet some of these Jews, who describe the Paris attacks and give us a glimpse of life in France.

Read More:Liberté, Egalité, Émigré?

Musing about Names


A story is told about a father who wanted to name his son Pinchas. Both his father and his wife’s father were named Pinchas. His father was a bank robber and his wife’s was a horse thief. The couple went to the Rav and asked, “Since both of our fathers have the same name, how will we know whom he is named after?” The Rav, said, “Don’t worry, when you see how he turns out, then you will know!”


Read More:Musing about Names

Labels, Literally


I’ve noticed an interesting phenomena in recent years: Everything you purchase seems to come with instructions. Twenty years ago, you expected instructions to come with your appliances and other complicated items. I guess people were smarter back then. Nowadays, they need to put labels, warnings, and instructions on even the simplest of products. It almost seems like a gratuitous insult to our intelligence. Take a look around your house and you’ll see what I mean. 

Look at a jug of bleach, for example. What’s plastered on the side of the bottle? “Not edible.” Gee, thanks for pointing that out. You see, I ate one of my kid’s Berry Tie-Dye fruit-by-the-foots, and my insides were feeling kinda stained. I thought some bleach might do the trick. No, seriously. The only one in my house who may actually consider drinking the bleach is my nine-month-old, who crawls around looking for things to put in her mouth. So, thank you very much Mr. Bleach Bottle Producer. I appreciate that you wrote on the bottle “not edible.” Unfortunately, my nine-month-old doesn’t even know how to read. But at least I now know not to drink bleach to counteract the fruit-by-the-foot.

Read More:Labels, Literally

Shalom Bayis

cell phone

Dear Dr. Weisbord,

I always thought that when the children got married and left home, my husband and I would have more time together. Well, that is our situation now, but we are both still very busy – with work, grandchildren, and life in general – so we decided we would go out together once a month, just the two of us.

On our first date night, we went to a quiet restaurant. Everything was going well, and then I noticed that my husband was checking his phone. I was shocked. I didn’t react the first time, but when it happened again, I said, “Is the phone more interesting than I am?” He explained that no, of course I am more interesting than the people who are emailing him, but he feels that if someone is trying to reach him, he has to be there for them.

Read More:Shalom Bayis

Lessons in Life


Shomrei Emunah has a library of Holocaust books, donated by a Holocaust survivor, and from time to time I read one. Alone in the Forest, by Mala Kacenberg, is part of a series put out by CIS Publishers during the 1990s called “The Holocaust Diaries.” Before I tell you a little of this riveting story, I want to dispel the fallacy that if you’ve read one Holocaust book you know the whole story. This is totally wrong, as each autobiography of someone who went through the trauma of World War II and came out alive is unique. This is true because, first of all, each person survived by a different set of miracles. Second, the lessons they learned and passed on to us are unique to their experiences and to their personalities. You can read such a book as an adventure story, with escape from near death on every page, or you can look deeper and take lessons for your own life.

Read More:Lessons in Life