How to Reach Your Weight-Loss Goals


It’s well known that a commitment to regular exercise is the most important thing you can do to assure successful long-term health and weight loss. Countless studies have shown that dietary changes without exercise rarely lead to sustained weight loss. The problem is that the definition of exercise is not clear. You may think doing housework is exercise, while someone else would consider that normal activity.

If you think you’re exercising but you’re really not, you’ll be disappointed when you don’t lose weight. In order to successfully lose weight, working out just for the benefit of heart health is simply not good enough. We need exercise to shed some serious pounds. For this reason, I’ll give you the definition of exercise that I believe is most effective for long-term weight control.

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Why Create a Why?

lets talk

After several failed attempts, you finally pick up the phone, call that recommended therapist, and schedule a session. No turning back now. As the day approaches, you wonder what it’s going to be like. The day finally arrives, you enter the office, shake his hand with sweaty palms, and sink into the couch. After exchanging pleasantries, the question is posed: “So what are you hoping to get out of therapy?”

Invariably, that question triggers a look of puzzlement. “Hmmm… Good question… I guess to stop drinking, fighting, worrying, missing school, crying, cutting [fill in the blank]?” Or perhaps a panicked reaction: “I have no idea! How am I supposed to know? Aren’t you supposed to tell me? Stop pressuring me!”

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From Haifa to Reykjavik


In the nearly 20 years since our aliyah, I have traveled to the US many times – generally combining business and pleasure by attending family simchas and fundraising in the same week. Since I now have two married children in the States, these visits have become more frequent, but they are also for the most part uneventful.

That word cannot be used to describe my most recent trip to the East Coast, scheduled for two weeks after Sukkos. The “fun” began on erev Sukkos, when my son forwarded me a news item that, due to runway repair construction at Ben Gurion Airport, all flights for 16 days in November would be flying over the Holon cemetery and thereby pose a problem for kohanim.

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In the Land of “The Sound of Music”


It was June of 2015. Jerusalem was hot and grimy. It was starting to feel like clammy Baltimore, and I was getting cabin fever. One Shabbos, someone who was hosting me for a meal told me that he had vacationed in the Austrian Alps one summer at a kosher hotel there. “The mountains weren’t as high as in Switzerland, but you get the feel of Switzerland – and it’s cheaper,” he said. The name of the hotel, with its predominantly chasidishe clientele, was Alpen-Karawanserai, about an hour-and-a-half by car from Salzburg.

I was a bit wary of patronizing Austria. Yes, I enjoyed the movie classic “The Sound of Music,” which was about a singing Austrian family that defied the Nazis and featured breathtaking scenes of the Austrian Alps. But I have other scenes of Austria in my head: pictures of Austrians wildly cheering Hitler after the Anschlus (German annexation of Austria) and the famous picture of the Hitler Youth forcing middle-aged Jews to scrub the streets of Vienna on their hands and knees. Austria was home to the concentration camp Mauthausen, and the Austrians are unrepentant of their past to this day. (“What? Pay the Jews reparations?”)

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Connected Yet Distracted

cell phone

When Mashiach arrives, the entire world will know it instantly! I heard this opinion many years ago, and it was hard to imagine, then, how this could happen. Today, the scenario is quite understandable. A few “shares” on Facebook reposted thousands of times, a few tweets forwarded, not to mention live breaking news, and you’re there.

But aside from its future role in heralding the arrival of Mashiach, the modern cell phone is truly a wonder right now. It has the ability to connect us with virtually anyone, anywhere, any time – and to access a seemingly endless amount of information – with a device that fits into our pockets. Like any technology, however, mobile devices can be a blessing or a curse. As Rabbi Yissocher Frand said in his pre-Yom Kippur drasha, “Is Your Master in Your Pocket?” we need to make sure that we are controlling our technology and not vice versa..

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A Jewel of a School


JEWELS first opened its doors in 2012 with 13 students and a goal to equip each child with the skills to achieve his or her full potential through special education, rehabilitation, and loving support, all in a Jewish setting. Five years later, JEWELS has tripled in size to 40 students and has 34 incredible staff members, including therapists. JEWELS is growing…and thriving! Special Educators lead each of the six classes, divided by age and level of development. Through its clinic, which provides therapies to children from all schools, JEWELS fulfills its mission of servicing the entire community, regardless of ability.

JEWELS is the only inclusive preschool program in the Baltimore Jewish community that is equipped to educate children with special needs. Each child has a custom-tailored learning and therapy experience so he can succeed. Additionally, students benefit from a range of supplemental enrichment activities, including music, gymnastics, cooking, and art.

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Ask the Shadchan


I am a 23-year-old man. I work and also go to college, and I am getting ready for my first date. Of course, I am getting lots of advice from friends, brothers, and my Mom. Unfortunately, much of it is conflicting advice. For instance, I usually wear casual clothing. Do I have to wear a Shabbos suit on the date? Will the girl be insulted if I don’t? I would also like to know how long the date should be. I have heard everything from going out for coffee to a three- to four-hour marathon. What do we talk about for all that time? How personal should I get? People say, “Talk about your family.” Well, how deep do you go with a perfect stranger? How much does my date really want to hear? Do I open the car door before the date? Afterwards? Do I just drop her off or walk her to the door? I haven’t seen any men do these things once they’re married, so isn’t it a little artificial? Finally, a friend of mine’s wife set us up, so am I expected to go through her for a second date, or can I just ask the girl out again if I want to?

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Dreams Come True, Journey to Neve Yaakov, The Aliyah of the Hersh Family

neve yaakov

Surrounded by majestic desert mountains, Neve Yaakov lies just north of Pisgat Ze’ev at the very edge of northeastern Yerushalayim. With its warm, friendly, out-of-town atmosphere and its acceptance of variety amidst its chareidi population, it’s no surprise that the growing community attracts many Baltimore families.

Back in the days when Neve Yaakov had fewer residents, Chaim and Ruthy Hersh joined its close-knit community. Raised in Baltimore, Ruthy, whose maiden name is Engles, forged a path for herself as a young adult, and years later merited to plant roots in Eretz Hakodesha. I listen as Ruthy happily shares her story with me.

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Give Us your Shoes for Shalom Bayis


Shana and Avi* had only been married three years, but already it seemed like they were headed for divorce. All they ever did was fight. The tension in the house was constant, and they could hardly remember why they had gotten married in the first place. As far as either could tell, the only reason they were staying together at this point was for their one-year-old daughter Malka, whom they both loved dearly. But Malka had an unusual medical issue that took a lot of time, energy, and money to address. Shana and Avi were physically, emotionally, and financially stressed.

It had been suggested to them a number of times to seek marriage counseling, but that was simply never in the cards. Their insurance had told them it wasn’t covered, because it was not a medical issue – at any rate their deductible was astronomical – and they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket. They were getting increasingly overwhelmed, resentful, and hopeless.

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Shalom Bayis


Dear Dr. Weisbord,

I am struggling with the decline of my favorite aunt and wonder if you can give me some clarity. What is the correct Torah hashkafa about visiting or being involved with a person with dementia who does not seem to recognize you or appreciate your coming to see her? Sometimes I think that it is useless to visit my aunt. Moreover, I feel certain, knowing that, if she had a choice, she herself would not want others to see her in her diminished state. As I try to interact with my aunt and get no meaningful response, I wonder if I should just follow the advice of an acquaintance, who told me that she had not seen her good friend for the 10 years before she died because the friend did not recognize her.

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