The largest confrontation between Israel and Gaza since May 2021 concluded with a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. After a mere 54 hours, Israel managed to completely demolish the command structure of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and prove to the world at large that it will not allow her citizens to be the indiscriminate target of attack.

We are not protesting against; we are protesting for Shabbos, Torah, and HaKadosh Baruch Hu,” were the often repeated words of HaGaon HaRav Simcha HaKohen Kook ztk”l, whose petirah was announced this past Tuesday afternoon. Rav Kook was the nephew and talmid of Rabbi Avaraham Yitzchak Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine. Rav Kook also followed in his uncle’s footsteps, one of the founding fathers of modern religious Zionism. The brilliance of Rav Avraham Yitzchak and the depth of his knowledge were simply otherworldly, his devotion to Hashem was supernal, and his character traits were heavenly - always more concerned with helping others come closer to Hashem.

The 14th of Adar, Purim, is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing in costumes, getting together with my community, and partying with friends. Hopefully, we do this more than once a year! But on Purim, the joy and communal harmony is mandated. What fun it is to see normally straight-laced folks in the ‘hood letting their hair down! Purim is a time when everyone is on the same goofy page, rejoicing in the miracle of our survival from yet another archenemy while basking in the light of eternity.

Flemington, New Jersey, was stop number one on my three-week August concert tour some years back. Half of the buildings in this Delaware River town are on the Register of Historic Places. Masterfully restored nineteenth-century Victorians resplendent with sumptuous flower boxes line each side of the main boulevard. This is not just another exit on the turnpike— its claim to fame is the immense Greek Revival courthouse built in 1828, the site of the Lindbergh “Trial of the Century.” I was staying in a quaint bed and breakfast just a block away. All these niceties have little to do with what made this event so special. Here’s the story: