Have American Jews Become “Non Jewish” in Practice and Belief?

Have American Jews become so secular that they are actually non Jewish? A fascinating article on The Algemeiner makes a convincing case. Outside of the Orthodox community, Jews are increasingly moving away from traditional Jewish beliefs and practices—abandoning Jewish education, turning against Israel, having no Temple affiliation—or being “2 Day a Year” attendees—and overwhelmingly embracing Intermarriage (80% rate for the Reform). 

All of this is horrifying to me! Just one generation ago, American Jews supported Israel, and I mean all of them. I do not know a single Jew, over the age of 65, that would disagree, yet the Millennials and younger, who get to experience Israel firsthand, and for free, on Birthright trips, condemn Israel, insanely calling it an Apartheid State, due to propaganda about supposed abuse of the Arabs (none of which is true). 

How did we get to this point? Strangely enough, it stems from society becoming more inclusive. Throughout history, whenever Jews were allowed to assimilate, they have done so, in large numbers. Anti-Semitism, conversely, has the odd effect of making Jews feel, and behave, more Jewishly. (Such irony, it’s hard to wrap your mind around.)

How can we reverse this scary trend towards complete Secularism? It’s not going to be easy. Certainly, we have to make a much bigger effort to reach out to the Unaffiliated, as a start. We have to offer comprehensive Jewish education—to kids and adults. We have to promote traditional families and that means, whenever possible, a Jewish husband and a Jewish wife, committed to raising Jewish children. For those who are already Intermarried, we need to facilitate and encourage conversion.

Does this mean we all need to be Orthodox? Of course not. But we must not embrace the other extreme of Secularism. There is a middle ground that will work for most of us. Judaism is not an insignificant relic. It is a living, breathing entity that sustains us as a community and makes our lives a million times better. If we choose to abandon it, we will suffer and I don’t want to see that happen. 

Judaism will look different, and mean something different, to each one of us. That is ok. What’s not ok is throwing our hands up in despair and accepting these changes as inevitable. It can be reversed; dare I say, it must be reversed, if we are to grow and thrive as a People. 

I love Judaism. I love other Jews. I want to see both flourish. I care way too much about our future to give up and I pray that everyone else feels the same. We must do our part to ensure that Judaism remains relevant and continues to be practiced. A secular life, without the Commandments, and without God, is so frightening and awful, I can’t even contemplate it. 

Judaism isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely better than the alternative of a Humanist, Godless world without order and meaning.

Making Holocaust Education Inclusive for Special Needs Students

Holocaust education is something that should be universal for all youngsters. Unfortunately, special needs students are often left out. Not only is it unfair, it’s also unkind. The World Jewish Congress is trying to be more inclusive. They just hosted the first-ever special needs group from Israel to Poland, where they were able to tour Auschwitz, Krakow, and the Warsaw Ghetto.

I would love to see this program expanded to include Jewish youngsters from all around the world. Whether their disability is mental, emotional, or physical, with reasonable accommodations, most of them can participate—and they truly want to! They deserve to have the same experiences and educational opportunities that “normal” kids enjoy. 

We need to stop the “handicapped” mindset and replace it with a “handicapable” one. These beautiful children are not throw-aways who should put up with second best. Let’s give them the care and love they need. God never makes mistakes and they are different for a reason. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. They are exceptional in their own unique way and I fully support the special needs community. 

Trader Joe’s Kosher Beef Taste Test

Finding Kosher beef outside of a metro area can be a challenge. There are no specialty butcher shops and regular grocery stores don’t carry it. Prior to Trader Joe’s coming to town about 3 years ago, if we wanted it, we had to drive an hour to Boston. Now, it’s readily available.

If you have a hard time locating it, too, check out Trader Joe’s meat department. Not every location carries it, but most do. At mine, I found 4 different cuts—brisket, stew meat, ribeye and ground beef. 

The brand, which is certified Glatt Kosher, is Teva, and has good reviews. Of course, taste isn’t universal, so I figured after 2 or 3 pounds, I’d make up my mind. 😉

Cost-wise, it’s comparative to other Kosher brands, which is usually twice the price of conventional meat. Here’s the breakdown:

    • Stew Beef – $9.99/Lb.
    • Ground Beef – $8.49/Lb.
    • Ribeye – $16.99/Lb.
    • Brisket – $10.99/Lb.

Since we were having an unseasonably warm day today—85 degrees!—I dragged out the grill and got cooking. The ground beef was turned into burgers and the steaks were cooked plain. 

It’s hard to ruin a meat feast and these goodies did not disappoint. Everything came out tender and delicious. (I won’t say “juicy” because I prefer everything cooked well done.) Some Kosher meat can be excessively salty. I did not notice anything like that, just a good overall consistency and flavor. 

After such a hearty lunch, I wasn’t in the mood for more meat at dinner. The stew beef is presently in the crockpot, along with potatoes and carrots and will be on the menu tomorrow. From the look and smell, it should be equally good.

And, the brisket, which is my favorite cut of all, went into the freezer. When we’re ready to eat it, I will make Atlanta Brisket, either for Shabbos or we’ll save it for Hanukkah. (Brisket is my special occasion choice.)

Due to the high cost, we eat a lot more conventional meat, but for those who keep strictly Kosher or who want something extra nice, I can recommend Trader Joe’s beef selection. This is definitely a 5-star product.


Have you tried Trader Joe’s Kosher food?

Super Savings Saturday – 10/6/18

After last week’s craziness, it’s been nice to experience a slower pace. In addition to regular grocery shopping at Market Basket, I found a few good deals at the drugstores and tried shopping at a new store for the first time.

It’s always nice to find cheap paper products and free cosmetics!


3 Nice storage ziplocs, sale price $0.99. Total: $2.97.

3 Smile paper plates, sale price $0.99. Total: $2.97.

Sparkle paper towels, sale price $5.99. I used a $1.25 manufacturer’s coupon. Total: $4.74.


Details on this one can be found here


Poparazzi nail polish, regular price $2.99. I used a $2.99 store coupon. Total: Free.

4 Rimmel Eye Shadow Sticks, sale price $2.99. I used 4 $3.00 manufacturer’s coupons. Total: Free.


Have you used any coupons lately?