Showing posts from February, 2013

Antifragility and Jewish Survival

When I read  Nassim Nicholas Taleb's latest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder , I thought of how that applies to Jewish thought on both the individual and national level.

On the individual level, we have the teaching of Rabbi Abahu, who said, 'Where baalei teshuvah stand, people who have never sinned cannot stand!"  (Berachot 34b). One who has been broken, so to speak, and then put himself back together again has proven his strength in a way that cannot be claimed by one who has not been put to the same test. 

 For the nation at large, the antifragile nature of Jews is illustrated by Vehi She'amda in the Haggadah:

And it is this that has stood for our Forefathers and us. For not just one enemy has stood against us to wipe us out. But in every generation there have been those who have stood against us to wipe us out, and the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands.
What is this in the passage? To put it in grammatical terms, it is a pronoun with no…

New site

New site set up at

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Shidduch dating and the rest of the world

I shared the tips that Saw You At Sinai lists  for young women in shidduch dating in

Interestingly, when it comes to questions of dating etiquette, the world at large is still debating whether or not a man has to foot the bill. See the range and consensus of opinions in  Who Pays for the Date?

Follow me on Twitter @AriellaBrown and circle me at Google+ For wedding tips and insight, as well as recipes and practical advice, visit

Thought experiment for frum parents on Feb. 14

Imagine that your child comes home from yeshiva or day school with pictures of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln and compositions about the accomplishments of the first or sixteenth president of the USA. Of course, that would be in honor of Presidents' Day. 

I'd venture to say no one would have a problem with that, as it is about history and national identity.

Now, picture this: your kids comes home, saying, "Guess what we did today! We made 
Valentines! We're supposed to bring in money for a heart-shaped boxes of chocolate to give out with them on Thursday. That's Valentine's Day, and our Morahe said that the whole world celebrates love on that day."

Would you think the teacher is seriously out of touch with her audience? I would think so. Now remember, I'm only talking about frum schools, the kind that do not put up red and green stuff in December or witches and bats in October.

Given that it is not something we would like to see in our school curri…