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An American Education

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According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2015, eight of the top ten universities in the world were in the US. The propensity for the inclusion of international students into these pillars of higher learning is, to many Americans who have benefitted from acceptance into their programs, a part of what makes...

What Is Going On With New Jersey’s Gas & Estate Taxes?

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There has been a lot of talk lately about recent developments with New Jersey’s gas and estate taxes, and I wanted to pass on a quick update for the readers of the Jewish Link.

Let’s start with Estate Tax. As you’ve heard here before, New Jersey has the worst estate tax in the country. Better said, New Jersey’s estate tax exemption amount, i.e., $675,000, is the lowest in the country. That means if your estate (including life insurance) exceeds $675,000 then your family members could be on the hook to pay New Jersey estate tax. Not to mention New Jersey has inheritance tax as well.

But change could be on the way. In February, a state Senate committee passed a bill that would...

It’s All in the Family

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Some may not even know what we are talking about when we remember the days of Archie and Edith on “All in the Family.” At this point in all of our lives, while presidential conventions are either taking place or about to take place, we were discussing the fact that Archie Bunker sort of reminds us of Donald Trump. He definitely does not hesitate to say whatever is on his mind. Archie said whatever came to his mind and we all laughed and thought it was quite funny. His relationship with Edith was charming and his bantering with Gloria and Meathead, who did have a real name (Mike), put a smile on everyone’s faces. They were a family that became a part of many of our lives.

Another...

Transgender and Judaism

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I. What Is Transgenderism?

Transgenderism has been in the news lately, with Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn and President Obama’s executive order on bathroom usage. Judaism is very clear on this subject, although often misrepresented.

In many places, the Talmud discusses the cases of a tumtum and androginos, people whose gender status is unclear either because their genitalia are covered by skin or otherwise ambiguous (tumtum) or because they show physical signs of both genders (androginos). These are not examples of transgender people. Transgender is an umbrella term for people who believe their gender identity is not fully represented by their biological gender.1 Intersex is...

‘Aleph Bass’ and ‘Orthobox’ Take America’s Got Talent

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Kippot and tzitzit have been popping up on national television lately, in the Chopped kitchen, American Ninja Warrior and now the America’s Got Talent stage as well. On July 5, Yeshiva University student Ilan Swartz-Brownstein (“The Aleph Bass”) and University of Maryland alumn Josh Leviton (“The Orthobox”) performed “All About That Bass,” by Meghan Trainor.

Facing Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum is no easy task, but the Orthodox duo’s impressive talent blew the judges away. All four gave the thumbs up, sending Brownstein and Leviton on to the next round, much to the audience’s approval.

Leviton, a Delaware native, has always had a love of music...

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