Andrea Simantov Andrea Simantov

Precious Giving


One of my most respected teachers frequently intoned, “If you can say ‘Yes,’ say ‘Yes.’ But if you cannot say ‘yes,’ you are obligated to say ‘No.’” This lesson has profoundly altered my life. In the years prior to the aforementioned epiphany, I’d been crazed with a desire to be liked, valued and emulated. Frequently… Read More »

Twenty Twenty


For several shabbosim in a row, I’d noticed a beautiful young woman sitting on the right side of the women’s section, balancing an extremely large Artscroll siddur (prayerbook) on her lap and an even larger chumash (Pentateuch). Like most of us, she knew the service almost by heart. The Torah reading and subsequent Haftarah reading… Read More »

Masks and Meaning of Purim


We know that she was raised in the house of Mordechai, a devout and G-d-fearing Jew.  Thus, it stands to reason that the laws of kashrut – keeping kosher – were scrupulously observed.  No mixing of milk products with meat and separate utensils for both, no shell-fish or pork, vegetables checked in a prescribed manner.… Read More »

Punditry. Or Not.


Because I’m Israeli-by-choice, some credit me with an insider’s view of events in this corner of the world.  I have no such credentials.  Still, my opinion was frequently sought during the American pre-election period and after the results were in, I was queried relentlessly about then President-elect Trump’s ambassadorial and ministerial choices. I read three… Read More »

Everything Old is New Again


Traditional Jews celebrate their new year at summer’s end but this year, as we well know, it arrived quite late, in early October. Please, however, don’t ever say this to my-husband-the-rabbi who sneers when I say things like that, retorting, “It isn’t late. It’s exactly on time. The way G-d designed it.” Ignoring him, I’d like… Read More »

The Myrrh is Mine


Although raised in a home that had two sets of dishes but only occasionally displayed Sabbath candles, we were a little hazy in the mitzvah department. One year, my father erected a sukkah in the backyard because he thought it might be fun. It felt Jewish. Because our house was quasi-kosher and I didn’t attend school… Read More »

Pulling the Lever


It might feel liberating to say that Israelis do not care about the American elections because it has nothing to do with us.  But the number of Israelis who actually subscribe to this logic is quite small. The accepted understanding is that we need American support like the body needs oxygen and that, consequently, entitles us… Read More »

The Wedding


Boarding the flight to New York, I felt uncharacteristically calm.  The schedule for the next six days was so tightly crafted that my usual fears of not maximizing “visiting time” were completely abated. All catching-up and chit-chats would have to take place between Sabbath meals, songs, prayer sessions and loading and unloading car trunks. To make… Read More »

A Word About “Choice”


It wasn’t really a conscious decision to stop listening to the news; it crept up from somewhere beneath the kitchen floor as I washed dishes one day. Sleep had become difficult due to the peppering drone of helicopters hovering the dark skies, searching for the respective day’s terrorists and their abettors.  Ambulances and border police… Read More »

Oh Sunday, Sunday


Upon assuming the presidency of UN ratified State of Israel in 1948, David Ben Gurion instituted a few absolutes that remain iron-clad even today. One of them was that serious yeshiva students would be exempt from military service so that a nation that had been decimated by the Nazi war machine could rebuild the learning… Read More »