One of the primary areas in daily life where I strive for piety is in my eating choices. Jewish tradition is rich with wisdom pertinent to our greatest moral problems related to food consumption today: hunger, just labor practices, treatment of animals, fair trade, environmental impact, and access to healthy food options. I have become more interested in exploring the degree to which the lifestyles advised in Chassidic thought can assist the moral life choices of one seeking to eat and consume more justly.
Some 300 years ago in whatís now Ukraine, a young boy, Yisroel Ben-Eliezer, couldnít stand to stay in the classroom. Heíd run away into nearby forests and fields. On one of his runaways he came upon a small house, illuminated from within. On his return he told of entering the innermost room where demons were laughing wildly.
The Lubavitcher rebbe is alive. And while some panic at anyone talking like that, the fact is that since the rebbe’s 1994 death, more than 400 Lubavitcher couples have gone out into the world as his emissaries, establishing 370 centers on every continent, in every time zone.Including emissaries — shluchim, as they’re called — who had gone out before his death, the rebbe lives on in 3,500 of his best and his brightest. They operate with an international budget of $400 million.
The Baal Shem Tov never belonged to the big-city Jews in suits or the yeshiva prodigies in fedoras. He was ordained in the hard-luck seminary God reserves for His favorite students. Orphaned at 5, a widower in his 30s, a migrant, a destitute tutor, a shochet, he slept in the shadows, in the company of Carpathian highwaymen, thieves and peasants.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.