OU Life

Below are Ariela’s articles that were published by the Orthodox Union on their website, OU.org. To read each article in full please click on the article title and you will be redirected to the OU website.

From Charleston, SC: Hurricane on Shabbos Shuva

September 13, 2018, by Ariela Davis

Storm of the century! This one will be worse than Hugo (chilling words for a South Carolinian)! The Carolinas have never seen one this bad! Anticipated to be the most expensive storm ever. Evacuate now before it’s too late! Hard to imagine you can joke about words like these but last night my friend said

The Positivity Challenge

August 29, 2018, by Ariela Davis

The alarm goes off and the kids jump out of bed. They put on their uniforms, which are laid out carefully on their beds, eat breakfast while chatting with each other about what they are looking forward to that day and head out to the car excitedly, while holding onto their neatly packed backpacks. On

Revitalizing Life by Finding Time for Tefillah

August 23, 2018, by Ariela Davis

For many years, the gage of an Orthodox home was the observance of Shabbos, kashrus and Taharas HaMishpacha (Laws of Family Purity). Nowadays, with the growth of observance, there are often more telltale signs of an Orthodox home: modest clothes, sheitels, tzitzis, seforim (Jewish books) in the home, minyan and shiurim as part of the

Craving Quiet; Quitting Facebook

August 16, 2018, by Ariela Davis

I used to say that I lived on the Cross Bronx Expressway. For the first year and a half of my married life, I commuted from Washington Heights to the Five Towns and although without traffic the ride is an easy 45 minutes, most of the time, the trip home took closer to two hours.

When Nothing Feels Missing: How Do We Make Tisha B’Av Personal?

July 16, 2018, by Ariela Davis

Yom Kippur is my favorite day of the year (I know, I’m weird). The intensity, the single-minded focus that spending the day davening in shul allows, the steps of teshuva and self improvement which are spelled out already from Elul; all contribute to allowing me to leave the day feeling cleansed and spiritual. I literally

Shiva Call Anxiety

July 10, 2018, by Ariela Davis

My friend’s father passed away recently. She is an incredibly outgoing and well-loved person who is approachable and easy to talk to and despite this, some expressed discomfort in reaching out. Both in my role as Rebbetzin and unfortunately in the cases of when my friends and husband lost a parent, I’ve seen many such

Rifts for a Reason: When We’re Too Hurt to Forgive

July 5, 2018, by Ariela Davis

A friend told me this week that she plans to sever her relationship with her sister, a relationship which she feels has become toxic. While I understand why she is taking this course of action and don’t know that she’s wrong, the conversation left a pang. Maybe because I’ve seen, both in personal relationships and

Slouch of a Husband

June 25, 2018, by Ariela Davis

Two weeks ago, the man who was reading the announcements at the shul we were visiting decided to have some fun: As he read through the various upcoming classes, he announced an upcoming women’s Seudah Shlishit with a well-known speaker who would speak about the following topic: “How to effect positive change in your slouch

It’s Hard to Be Wrong; It’s Even Harder to Admit It

June 13, 2018, by Ariela Davis

  Accountability for our own actions is a concept not really discussed in today’s world. But it’s the key to stopping an endless downward spiral to disaster. Ariela Davis is the Director of Judaics at Addlestone Hebrew Academy and the Rebbetzin of Brith Sholom Beth Israel, the historic shul of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. She

The Kate Middleton Effect

June 5, 2018, by Ariela Davis

Search for Kate Middleton (despite the fact that this hasn’t been her name in 7 years) and you will find 27,800,000 queries on google. For some reason, there is tremendous public interest in the wife of Prince William. Is it because she will one day be the Queen (Consort) of England? Or is it because

The Janitor, the Rosh Yeshiva and a Lesson in Appreciation

May 31, 2018, by Ariela Davis

There is a piece of marriage advice that was shared during one of the many kallah-training courses I took, that has always stuck with me (although I can’t say I always implement it with aplomb): A renowned Rosh Yeshiva, who spends his day full of acclaim for his brilliance but comes home to a screaming

United as Two

May 16, 2018, by Ariela Davis

They were as different politically as two people could be.   They both came to shul each week, Stuart dressed in a dapper suit and bowtie, Andrew, in casual clothes. Stuart was robust and full of energy and opinions, which he liked to share in person and on Facebook with the most irreverent, colorful language,

Why I Write to Half-Empty Pews

May 9, 2018, by Ariela Davis

When we moved to Charleston, we knew we were looking at a very different community than the large community of Houston, which we had just left (and certainly from the very large communities of the Five Towns and Skokie, where we came from). Among the many differences was that Jews in Charleston often do not

Yom HaZikaron, When You’re Far Away

April 18, 2018, by Ariela Davis

They call it a Yom Kashe in Israel. A difficult day. Across the country, ceremonies are memorializing the stories of chayalim (soldiers) who lost their lives fighting for the state, and the victims of terror. The newspaper is replete with these stories, and moving videos stream across Whatsapp and other forms of social media. The

Bringing Tam to Our Table

March 27, 2018, by Ariela Davis

I met a man a few years ago who had once been a well known student of a famed Torah scholar. I was shocked when I discovered that although he could quote much of the Torah he had once learned, he was no longer entirely observant. While the intellectual rigor of Torah still excited his

Slaves to Our Peers?

March 14, 2018, by Ariela Davis

I am observing a class. The teacher is giving a familiar lesson before Pesach, namely, the four names of the holiday. Chag Ha’Aviv (holiday of the spring), Z’man Cheiruteinu (Holiday of Freedom), Chag HaMatzot (holiday of matza), Chag HaPesach (holiday of passing over/Paschal lamb). The kids unquestioningly write down the answers. Come to think of

Have We Made Purim Into a Holiday of Materialism?

February 21, 2018, by Ariela Davis

It’s officially that time of the year when the P word has begun to enter our minds. Yes, most of you think I am referring to Pesach and that would apply, as well. For some reason, by Rosh Chodesh Adar, Kosher For Pesach food (in the case of Charleston, canned gefilte fish, matza and potato

How Do We Make Our Kids Love Shabbos? It Starts with Us.

February 8, 2018, by Ariela Davis

Shabbos. The word connotes many wonderful memories from growing up: Going to shul with my father on Friday night; my mother’s fricassee; constructing blanket tents with my siblings. But in truth, it also brings back memories of looking at the clock, counting how many hours were left until it was over. I remember years when

Is Bar/Bat Mitzvah Really a Milestone?

January 25, 2018, by Ariela Davis

This week is my oldest daughter’s bat mitzvah. As my husband is the rabbi of our shul, most of our congregation will be attending. Many of our congregants have attended bat mitzvahs in the greater community where girls lein or lead services but know that the daughter of the Orthodox rabbi will probably have a

The Shochet’s Family Returns

January 11, 2018, by Ariela Davis

He was a shochet (kosher butcher) in Brisk. When Abe Kirshtein left Europe for Charleston in the 1920’s, he figured he would continue in his line of work. After all, a shochet can’t have a better resume than getting kabbalah (certification) from Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. But when he arrived in Charleston, there was already a shochet in

A Wedding Not to Be Missed

January 11, 2018, by Ariela Davis

For 10 years, I prayed for the same thing everyday. When you’re married with children and one of your closest friends is still single, every simcha you are blessed with feels incomplete as you wonder, when will it be her turn to have these blessings in her life? My friend is an accomplished woman; professionally

When it’s not Winter Break for Imma

December 28, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It’s winter break. For some, that means heading down to Disney or Miami, to Israel or to the ski slopes. But it’s hard for my husband to get away for so long and a two-week long vacation is an expense we can’t afford, so every year, we go away for a few days and spend

Presence for Chanuka

December 14, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It’s the conversation piece in every classroom: “So, what did you get for Chanuka?” Some families give large gifts, some give small ones, some give one gift for each night of Chanuka, some give one for the Chag. Whatever the case, it seems like it has become the custom for many families to give gifts

Recognition of Jerusalem: Momentous Occasion or Not?

December 7, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It was the top news on CNN and The New York Times. And everywhere else, really. President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Of course, equally front and center were the dire predictions. Before Trump had even made his statement, many news sources, as

The Charleston Lach

November 30, 2017, by Ariela Davis

This article first appeared in Ami Magazine Charleston, South Carolina is a small Southern city renowned for its history, charm and beauty. Tourists flock to tour this famous place where the first shot was fired in the Civil War, where the architecture is a display of grace and Southern charm, the beaches are pristine and

Should I Push My Kids to Daven?

November 16, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It’s Sunday morning and I am engaging in the same internal battle that many frum parents experience: It’s the one “day off” of the week. Whereas every day, I need to wrest my kids’ soft cheeks from their cozy sleeping state and urge everyone to get dressed quickly before we make our mad dash out

Teaching our Children to Anticipate Israel

November 9, 2017, by Ariela Davis

A friend of mine recently shared the following story from his daughter’s Jewish preschool. Before the start of school, his child’s teacher requested the parents send in a picture of their child on a family trip to Israel to use for the class bulletin board. My friend was very upset. At first, I couldn’t understand

When Parents Have a Bad Day

November 2, 2017, by Ariela Davis

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Call it bad karma or say that G-d has a sense of humor; whatever the cause, we all have them, and what we’ve learned from Alexander, is that they even have them in Australia. The kind of day that starts off when your kids are moving like sloths

The Shabbos Project: When One Candle Inspires Another

October 26, 2017, by Ariela Davis

The Shabbos Project. Ever since I saw the video about how the South African Jewish community, most of whom are not observant, came together to try out a Shabbos, I’ve been gripped by the idea. The pictures of hundreds of Jewish women baking challah on the streets of Johannesburg and the thousands that attended the

A Fresh Torah

October 19, 2017, by Ariela Davis

I have never enjoyed learning Chumash. While I love learning Torah She Baal Peh, and find that my passion and appreciation for the logic of the halachic process can help make the material come alive for my students, I have never felt that way about learning Chumash, and therefore, I have always stayed away from

Confessions of an iPhone Addict

September 18, 2017, by Ariela Davis

I remember buying my first smartphone. I was at a point in my life where aside from calling my friends and family, there was no need to be constantly available by email, facebook, text, and phone. But there was something appealing about the idea of having the internet at my fingertips and I splurged. A

Atlanta Jewish Community Members Open Their Homes and Hearts to Florida Evacuees

September 14, 2017, by Ariela Davis

Facing predictions of a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, the largest storm the Atlantic had ever seen, Naftali Herrmann told his daughters’ nanny that they planned to evacuate from their home in Boca Raton to Atlanta. When he invited her to join them, she asked, “Who do you know in Atlanta?” “We don’t know anyone,”

Panic Before a Hurricane… but Not For Rosh Hashanah?

September 14, 2017, by Ariela Davis

Hurricane Irma. For days, it was all anyone could talk about. A huge hurricane, the strongest the Atlantic had seen in recorded history, induced fascination and hysteria across the United States.  On the very first day that it was mentioned that there was a possibility the storm might hit us, yellow plastic bags that read

Jewish Communities Mobilize to Help Houston

August 30, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It finally stopped raining, the flood waters began to recede, and the sun emerged from beneath the heavy storm clouds that had been obscuring its image for so many days. Houstonians basked in its presence for just a minute. And then it was time to survey the damages and get to work. The immediate need

Houston: Thrice flooded in three years, A community known for its chesed needs our help

August 29, 2017, by Ariela Davis

I will never forget the first time my husband wrote a drasha to present in shul. We had been living in Houston for about a month, where he was serving as the assistant rabbi, and the senior rabbi felt it was time. Nervous but excited, he sat typing away on his laptop in the living

Elul: The 30-Day Cleansing Diet

August 24, 2017, by Ariela Davis

One year ago, I looked in the mirror and decided I wasn’t the weight I wanted to be. It wasn’t the first time I had come to this realization. With each baby, there were another few pounds that just wouldn’t go away. I would get frustrated, start a diet that consisted of diet ice cream

Jews Across the Hashkafic Spectrum Travel to Find Inspiration at Eclipse

August 22, 2017, by Ariela Davis

In a world divided by hashkafic differences, an out of the ordinary experience brought Jews across the spectrum together out of a common interest. As one of the last locations in the United States to view the eclipse in its totality, and one of the only cities on the east coast to view this rare

In the Place Where a Baal Teshuva Stands

August 22, 2017, by Ariela Davis

It is hard to believe that we already halfway through the month of Elul. Elul conjures different images, such as teshuva and, on a more mundane level, menus. In a rabbinic home like ours, Elul also brings the stress of drasha writing, High Holiday programming and designing their accompanying flyers, classes to prepare and invitations

Biking from New York to Florida

August 17, 2017, by Ariela Davis

Two visitors enter the Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue in Charleston, SC for mincha/maariv. He is wearing a white shirt and black pants, she is modestly dressed in a skirt and sheitel. They look like a typical frum couple in their sixties. He says they’re originally from Chicago but have just arrived from New York,

“Stories from the Front Lines”

August 3, 2017, by Ariela Davis

My family and I live in Charleston, South Carolina. Just saying those words when I visit my family in the Five Towns, where I grew up, elicits stares of shock. At least when we lived in Houston, Texas, where my husband served as an assistant Rabbi before he assumed the pulpit in Charleston, New Yorkers

Looking Past Mount Laundry

July 26, 2017, by Ariela Davis

The Nine Days are not my favorite time of year. I imagine this is the case for most people. It’s hot outside, the kids are bored and we can’t take them swimming. The food options are limited. And with the pileup of laundry, our houses are a mess. Hence, lots of stressed out Moms. But