Rabbi's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's blog features his Dvar Torah (Torah lesson) column from the weekly E-TORAH, ocassional musings and other articles that he authors from time to time.
Your comments are welcome.

Can You Have a Downtown Without a City?

Remember downtown?

Whether you live in Boise or Boston, downtown just isn’t what it used to be. No, I’m not referring to whether downtown has been gentrified or not, whether it is the city’s financial district or whether it is home to endless millennials in condos or homeless camps.

I’m talking about the fact that downtown vibrancy has changed recently. There are simply less people on the streets. Which makes many people wonder whether the allure and necessity of downtowns will return.

The truth is that downtown is a bit of a strange word. Usually it refers to the historic core of the city or the center of commerce. But, it’s not necessarily lower. Nor is it always south on a map.

The concept of cities… Read More »

Digging Deeper

When my father was hospitalized in the ICU with coronavirus, I felt somewhat helpless. He was nearly 2000 miles away in Ohio. He was sedated. I couldn’t even get ahold of the doctor. The staff was simply overwhelmed.

How can I connect with him?


In this week’s double-header parsha, G-d claims ownership of the Jewish people. In Behar-Bechukotai G-d declares, “For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants, whom I took out of the land of Egypt.”

Every word in Torah conveys deep meaning. This begs the question: Why the redundancy of stating twice – in the same verse – that the Jewish people are servants to G-d?


In our relationships, we are driven by a desire to receive. We crave… Read More »

It’s Not Too Late!

My sister-in-law’s father came home yesterday after over seven weeks in the hospital due to covid-19. He had a tracheostomy and was on a respirator for over a month. At times, there was grave concern for his life. To see him walking on his own two feet, joyously reunited with his family, was truly miraculous.

During the weeks that went by in a haze of conscious and unconscious, he missed out entirely on observing Passover.

It’s hard to imagine the emotional feeling of helplessness when you realize that a period of your life has been virtually deleted. Thankfully, he is around to tell the tale.

As he joked, “I was wrong about how serious covid-19 is. Thank G-d, I was not dead wrong!”

On a more serious note, h… Read More »

Truly Contagious

Some people wear masks, others don’t. Some have jobs, others don’t. Some are ill, others are healthy. Some have loved ones that have tragically succumbed to this disease; others don’t personally know anybody who is COVID-19 positive.

Some airlines require masks in order to board aircraft, others are stuffing people into every seat. Some businesses in Idaho will open today, others will remain shuttered.

As society knocks off the initial shock of life during COVID-19, the greater discussion is evolving into how we adjust to a more long-term coronavirus lifestyle.

The coronavirus has affected each of us differently. In the diverse society called America, what should be my attitude to all these varying degrees of reali… Read More »

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