Archives: Thought Tools


by Stan Lerner

A short story by Award Winning author Stan Lerner:  I was a person of means and considerable talent, when I left the city of my birth. To some this may sound like the words of a man lacking for humility, but suffice it to say that my many character flaws are more humbling to my [...]

Go For It

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

Encountering a stranger who knows more about your life than he should is eerie.  Well, I don’t mean to startle you, but I do know a private fact about you.  I know that you are weighing up a decision in your life. To be sure, I do not know any details.  I have no idea [...]

Retreat to Advance

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

Have you ever experienced intense frustration trying to recall something?  Perhaps it is the name of someone you want to call.  Sometimes it is a tune that is dancing around your mind just out of memory’s reach.  There was an item that my wife asked me to pick up at the store.  “Write it down [...]

The Pilgrims and Rosh HaShana

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

Rosh HaShana, the start of the Jewish year 5770, begins on Friday night. There could hardly be a more appropriate week to discuss the Pilgrims. Those who sailed on the Mayflower were deeply religious and Biblically knowledgeable Christians. So it is astounding that in setting up the Plymouth Plantation, they agreed to an arrangement with [...]

Feeling Lucky, Punk? Thought Tools

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

I misquote.  In his 1971 classic, Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood actually said, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk’?” How about you? When things seem to be going your way, from finding a new job to meeting a potential mate do you marvel at your luck? When [...]

Life Happens—Not

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

In malls from San Antonio to Santa Monica expensive retailers like Neiman Marcus, Tiffany, and Bloomingdale’s are opening new stores.  That suggests many customers with money to spend, yet we all know legions of debt-strapped people struggling to keep their noses above water. Looking at the economy, it is easy to see that some people [...]

Star Struck

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

I bumped into Maria Shriver—literally.  I was entering the office of a New York publisher just as she was leaving.  I apologized, we wisecracked for about ninety seconds and she was gone.  I told quite a few people about it.  Then a sobering thought struck me. I’m certain she did not mention our encounter to [...]

He Knew Her – Or Did He?

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

My parents were classical music enthusiasts so I grew up familiar with the works of many of the great composers. Had you asked me, I would have said that I knew Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral. Then, a few years back, my son-in-law Max directed me to an audio program in which a wonderful music [...]


by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

Twelve women shot in a fitness center by a man the New York Times called “…tortured by loneliness.” Thirty-two victims shot at Virginia Tech by a man the New York Times described as “…consumed by a troubling silence.” Thirteen people killed in a Binghamton social center by a gunman the same newspaper labeled “…an introvert who was [...]

Angel On A Motorcycle

by Rabbi Daniel Lapen

Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself calling on your guardian angel?  If you’ve seen active military service, I probably know your answer. Most who have experienced danger answer in the affirmative.  This is hardly surprising. A 2008 Baylor University study showed that more than half of all Americans claim to [...]