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“The ultimate training for a rebbetzin is not, in fact, hosting a Shabbat dinner, or remembering the name of a congregant during Kiddush.
It happens, actually, in your dining room on a late weeknight. When you’re basically still a novice bride yourself, your wig sitting awkwardly on your head, not yet molded to your crown, and you sit across from another young Jewish bride, who comes in her gym-wear wearing a tank-top and leggings. You smile at her, take a deep breath and say, “Let’s talk about your period.”
Quickly, all proprieties fall to the side, and Jewish family purity laws — centuries upon centuries of rabbinic texts — are laid out: The moment a woman menstruates, she and her husband are forbidden from sexual intercourse. This separation (in Hebrew, nidda) continues through seven days after the completion of her period, during which she must check that she is clean of any blood. After the seventh day, she then immerses in a mikveh, the ritual bath (after intense preparation), and relations between husband and wife can now resume.
When I first started teaching, I was shocked by how much I stammered. How would I explain these intricate laws — and translate the ancient and medieval intents behind them! — to a modern Manhattan woman who has lived with her boyfriend for three years?”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday wasn’t the country’s impending departure from the European Union. It was milkshakes..."
"I often disagree with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., but I've been disturbed by the idea that he should be run out of the Republican Party just because he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses."
"The Icelandic band Hatari, whose members are quite vocal in their animosity towards Israel, held up Palestinian flags... Madonna, likewise, had two of her performers wear Israeli and Palestinian flags on their costumes."
"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, I turn to movie critic Roger Ebert's old review of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Trust me on this one.)"
"The money is already here—and has been for years. In the midst of a housing crisis, an injection of cash into the superheated real-estate market seems likely to cause an uptick in evictions and displacement."
"Parents concerned about YouTube debate whether to let their children have their own channels; some forbid it, others send them to summer camp..."
"‘I Had Completely Lost the Knack for Staying Alive..." Warmer weather brings daffodils, rhubarb at the farmer’s market — and, for some, despair."
"With his new book, Howard Stern proves that his rightful place is among the prophets and moral visionaries, not the ‘shock jocks’"
"I’m terrified of parenting in the anti-vaxxer age: Anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t just harmful to children. It threatens to erode our entire sense of community."
"...doctors are starting to think more about specific nutrients that feed tumor cells. That is, how what we eat affects how cancers grow..."
"...it represents an impressive achievement: a victory of humankind against the chaos that pervades the universe."
"If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. The United States will see a continuing decline in overall numbers, with a growing observant Jewish population..."