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Chabad on Campus

There is a lesson to be learned from everyone and everything we encounter. It is just a matter of trying to find it...

The Human Tree: roots, body and fruit

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 1:09 pm
Posted by Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson

Interestingly, the Jewish calendar reserves one day each year, the "New Year for Trees" on the 15th of Shevat, for us to contemplate our affinity with the botanical universe.

Why is the human being compared, in the biblical imagination, to a tree?

Roots, Body & Fruit

A tree’s primary components are: the roots, which anchor it to the ground and supply it with water and other nutrients; the trunk, branches and leaves that comprise its body; and the fruit, which is harvested and enjoyed by humans or animals and also contains the seeds through which the tree reproduces itself.

...a human being is also comprised of three components: roots, a body, and fruit.... ( Read More » )

The Car Menorah

Monday, November 25, 2013 - 11:57 am
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

car menorah.jpgI'll never forget the look on my sister's face when I came to pick her up from the train station. I thought I should warn her that I was almost there so I called as I rounded the corner. She asked what car I was driving and I assured her she would have no problem finding me. And then I heard the gasp. She found me.

You see, for the past few years during Chanukah we have strapped a large menorah to the top of our van. Depending on where you live, you may have seen this. But for the general public of Philadelphia, this still definitely draws attention. Granted, we are far from the only car to sport one; there are probably a few dozen even in our immediate area, and we always honk and wave to each other when we pass. But... ( Read More » )

Thanks, Giving and Chanukah

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 2:00 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

thanksgivingkah.jpgSome say that Thanksgiving and Chanukah won’t land on the same date for another 70,000 some years. Others calculate that it could well happen again in another 50 or so. Regardless, we can all agree that this overlap is a rare occasion and deserves some contemplation.

Living in America, Chanukah usually falls out in the calendar at close proximity to the Christian holiday season. And many would argue that the whole focus on Chanukah gift-giving is in order to compete with our non Jewish celebrants. After all, the only gift-related connection to Chanukah is that of gelt, coins, and the purpose of gelt is to be able to give to tzedakah, charity, or to reward Torah learning. It certainly isn’t the idea to get a present for the... ( Read More » )

Snakes and Scorpions: Parshat Vayeishev

Monday, November 18, 2013 - 3:16 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

snakes-and-scorpions-73141289450846KIF.jpgThere are certain people who can never get anything started. No matter what idea they come up with, there is always some excuse as to why it won’t work or succeed. Then there are others who simply can’t seem to finish any project they have started. They have the draft of a book that never gets to the publisher, a new business plan that never gets off the ground…endless directions that they have invested time, energy and money into but never come to fruition. And at the end of the day, if a project doesn’t happen either because it didn’t begin or it didn’t end, it is a problem.

In this week’s Torah portion of Vayeishev we learn about the power of thought. We are told of Joseph being thrown into a... ( Read More » )

Dream On: The Month of Kislev

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 10:42 am
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

sleep.jpgAre you a dreamer? Do you dream when you sleep? Do you remember your dreams? Do you ever wonder what they mean?

Dreams are important. Impactful. Powerful. And they are real. At least a part of them. Jewish Mysticism teaches that dreams are actually 1/60 prophecy. In Hebrew, the word for “dream” is chalom which means “to be healthy.” Dreaming allows us to envision new possibilities, new realities, and in our dreams anything is possible. We don’t put up boundaries and limitations like we do when we are awake. We allow ourselves to feel and experience what we are simply too scared to or don’t believe we could in “real” life. And yet, we say in the prayer following a meal, that truly this world... ( Read More » )

From a Yearly to Daily Connection: The NYC Shabbaton 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 2:53 pm
Posted by Danny Abalev

Torah.jpgUntil a few months ago, my Jewish involvement amounted to about two hours of commitment per year. My dad grew up in the Soviet Union, and he was never Bar Mitzvah’d. It was against Soviet Law to practice Judaism, and his family decided it was not worth the risk to practice it. Although my mom attended Yeshiva for school in her early childhood, after emigrating from the Soviet Union, she barely practiced Judaism throughout her adolescence or adulthood. The extent of her practice was a one-hour commitment at services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I was raised to practice Judaism at a comparable level to my mom. Although I was Bar Mitzvah’d, I never went to Sunday school, BBYO, or Hebrew High, and the extent of my Jewish... ( Read More » )

Two Little Words: Parshat Vayeitzei

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 3:46 pm
Posted by Mrs. Sara Esther Crispe

thank you.jpgIt’s amazing the difference two words can make. Sometimes they actually make all the difference. So simple yet so powerful, they are “Thank You.”

We all want to be acknowledged. We all want to know that when we do something for another it is appreciated. And hearing those two words makes us know that it was.

Have you ever done someone a favor, really extending yourself, and then wonder if they even recognized what you had done? Then a few days later you get a beautiful thank you note in the mail or maybe flowers or a gift delivered to your door. It feels pretty amazing. It validates your effort, but even more so, it makes you want to help out even more. When someone doesn’t thank us we feel taken advantage of.... ( Read More » )


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