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Mourning The Living On The 9th of Av

A few years ago I was a campus Rabbi for the Jewish Awareness Movement (I even made the video on their home page) at USC. One of my primary responsibilities was to lead large groups of Jewish college students on inspiring trips to Israel.

Of course, the personal inspiration for me, was very often, greater than the inspiration for some of the students.

One episode has inspired me since the moment it occurred and it is directly related to today’s Tisha B’Av fast.

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10,000 Page Views

Thank you , dear readers of this blog

Today, we hit 10,000 page views in under 8 months. When I started this blog I had no idea if anyone would ever read my writings. You have all supported me and I appreciate it.

Looking forward to the next milestone!

-Eliyahu Fink

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Have You Been Invited To A Brachos Party Or An Amen Party?

This post has been cross-posted to DovBear – more discussion there.

The newswires have been full reporting the massive scandal in NY / NJ the last few days. There is a strong correlation between the scandal and something prevalent in contemporary Orthodox Jewish society.

You may think you are far from a money-laundering, tax evading, kidney-dealing, FBI snitching, tax-evading, “knucklehead”. You may even be have the cleanest books on Wall Street and third party audits to prove it. Yet, our entire generation is infected with the same virus that the”knucklehead”are carrying.

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Solar Eclipse In Judaism

Last week the world witnessed another wonder of our universe, the Solar Eclipse. This eclipse was visible from Southeast Asia and was the longest eclipse in 18 years and will remain the longest for the next 123 years.

The eclipse has long been associated with mythology and supernatural acts. If you are a fan of the TV show, Heroes, you know what I mean.

In Southeast Asia, many Hindus were gripped by fear. According to Hindu  tradition, the eclipse can cause harm to unborn children. Many ancient cultures attached mythological meaning to solar eclipses. Today, we know that the eclipse is part of the solar pattern that is predictable to the second.

What about Judaism? What do we say about the solar eclipse?

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How Many Is Too Many?



The writer, a woman, calls upon all Orthodox Jews to reject “the evil feminists” of Kolech and “have as many children as possible, as soon as possible”. For there is no greater joy in life than having many children.

Her arguments are weak (read it for yourself) and the ending says it all: “Trust me”. Why should I trust her?

As a proud father of 2 beautiful boys (a 6 year old and 8 month old) I can attest to the joys of parenthood. Giving the gift of life to one’s offspring is both very powerful and oftentimes emotional. I cannot imagine my life without my family.

I must take issue with this woman’s assertion that “the greatest gift we can give our families is a big family. Very big”.

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Shame on Gizmodo | Shame on Us Too

One of my favorite gadget blogs ran a discpicable headline for a post yesterday. Gizmodo is a great blog when it comes to getting information, reviews and opinions on the latest technology and gadgets. Unfortunately, yesterday they disgraced their reputation with a pretty offensive headline.

The headline garnered enough attention that they ultimately changed it to something less offensive.

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A Happy 2009 Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.

I am not huge “birthday guy”. I love my children’s birthday more than my own birthday and my mother loves my birthday more than I do.

A lot of people know my birthday. Co-workers, family and friends all know my birthday. This year I got a ton of birthday wishes.

But itwas different.

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The Sales Pitch

This post is cross-posted to DovBear – more discussion there.

I read an important column on a good website yesterday.

It wasn’t on NYTimes.com or Yahoo.com or ESPN.com (some of my favorite sites to link from) this article was on Vosizneias.com. VIN is a Orthodox Jewish blog with editorials and news. I recommend checking it out when you have a chance.

The column I read was a great perpective on Baal Teshuvas and their integration into the Frum community. In particular the column focused on various reactions of the BT (I use the term adoringly) when encountered with other (supposedly) Frum Jews who are not living up to their own standards.

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Summer Reading

During the summer months many people find some extra time to catch up on their reading. By reading, I mean books with paper, ink, covers and turning pages. I don’t mean on a backlit display plugged into an electrical outlet.

This summer, I have been too busy to do any real substantive offline reading. I have done a lot of online reading, but my book reading has fallen behind.

One exception has been DovBear on the Parsha, and you can read my review here.

Part of the reason for this is that in my “spare time” I usually end up reading up on Law School materials. I actually enjoy reading cases and Law Review articles, so my reading of other stuff has fallen a bit behind.

There is plenty of summer left and I thought it would be nice to provide some of my all time favorite reads and a quick note about why I like each book.

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Misleading Charity Campaign

A Religious charity in Israel has embarked on what I and many others feel to be a misleadeing charity campaign.

Promises 0f safety from danger, special perks and privileges and out of context quotes from great Rabbis permeate the campaign.

I wrote all ab0ut in on DovBear. You can check it out by clicking below.

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Manny Being Manny | Some ‘Gladwellian’ Insight

This is Manny. Manny Ramirez.

Manny RamirezBelieve it or not, Manny is one of the greatest right handed hitters in Baseball history. He is also a 2 time World Series Champion and 1 time World Series MVP. Manny was also recently suspended from baseball for 50 games for violating the league’s Substance Abuse Policy when he tested positive for a substance used to hide performance enhancing drug use.

In other words, he cheated. And yet, he is adored and loved, cheered and ballyhooed. Why?

You don’t need to be a baseball fan to continue reading.

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Jewish Blog Round-Up #225

Another week, another Haveil Havalim.

This week’s round-up is hosted by “How To Be An Israeli”. A number of excellent blog posts from the week that was are linked.

An excellent job all around.

My Book Review of DovBear on the Parsha is mentioned with a very nice comment:

Rabbi Fink talks of being swept away by DovBear’s passion and insight; I felt the same way about reading this post!

Thanks for the mention.

To check out Haveil Havalim #225 click through. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Great Post On ParshaBlog

The proliferation of Segulahs and tricks to get your way with God is increasing daily.

The Yated (American Yeshivish news paper) has a Chinuch Roundtable where this issue was discussed. Almost to a man the Rabbis (one of whom is my father) warned of the danger in relying too heavily on these tricks.

Last time I linked to Parshablog it was for a similar reason and yesterday Parshablog had another disturbing example of this trend.

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Book Review | DovBear on the Parsha

Over Shabbos I had the privilege of reading an excellent book. On Thursday my DovBear on the Parshaarrived at my summer residence and I was hoping to look it over on Shabbos.

At just over 175 pages I thought I would peruse the articles and formulate a general opinion of the book over Shabbos. Instead, I was so tired by the time Shabbos came along I decided to just read the first couple of chapters before heading to bed Friday night.

To my surprise I was unsuccessful in my goal… I started the book after the Friday night meal and I went to sleep at 11:30 PM, after I had read the entire book cover to cover (not just the first couple chapters). DovBear on the Parsha is a true page turner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Which Of These is the Nobel Peace Prize Winner?

Last week Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. In the early days of my blog I wrote a couple of Madoff posts (check them out if you have not seen them).

His recent sentencing reminded me about something that I did not post in the fallout from the scandal. This post is not “news” but its message is timeless. Read the rest of this entry »

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This Is My Blog

You have arrived at a place in cyberspace featuring the thoughts, ramblings, musings and Torah of Eliyahu Fink.

If you like what you have found come join us at the The Shul on the Beach. You know the Shul on the Venice boardwalk - you've seen it, right?

Scroll down to the bottom of this sidebar to see some of my pictures of the Pacific Jewish Center just before sundown on a Friday Evening.

Well, we are there every Friday Night and Saturday Morning for services.

Come check us out! You will feel something special in the air. I guarantee it.

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If you have any questions for the Rabbi please click here to privately and confidentially send me your question.

Please include, gender, religion, level of observance and age in your question.

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- Eliyahu Fink

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