Sara Yoheved Rigler has published 232 articles on To see full list 

Was the (Jewish) Darling of the Iranian Mullahs a Mossad Spy?

The real reason Catherine Shakdam rejected Shia Islam. Catherine Perez-Shakdam’s life reads like One Thousand and One Nights. Her biographical stories include a paternal grandfather incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp in Tunisia, a maternal grandfather who sought to escape Hitler by converting to Christianity and fighting in the French resistance, four years living as […]

Harrowing Escape from Ukraine.

The action-packed, miraculous escape of Kyiv’s Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Yonatan Benyamin Markovitch’s escape from Kyiv is a combination Hollywood adventure movie and Hasidic tale. A high-speed drive in the dead of night through roadless fields, past ax and knife wielding Ukrainian volunteer soldiers, attended by miracles, and led by an “angel” – this is the […]

Reincarnation and the Holocaust

Finding an article about reincarnation in Scientific American is as unlikely as finding a recipe for pork chops in a kosher cookbook. How surprised I was, therefore, to read “Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics?” in Scientific American’s online issue of November 2, 2013. Its author, Jesse Bering, a former professor of psychology, is […]

Of Angels And Poinsettias

My father did not believe in angels. He could not be bothered with spiritual notions or metaphysical concepts. But when he died, and I stood beside his sheet-covered body in the mortuary’s refrigerated room, I was overwhelmed by the sense that legions of angels were surrounding my father and escorting his soul to the next […]

The Chapter After

After World War II, the Ponevezher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, used to visit Miami annually in order to raise funds for his yeshivah. Rabbi Berel Wein, who was a congregational rabbi in Miami during that period, relates this story: One day the Ponevezher Rav called me and asked me to arrange a meeting in […]

The Secret Life of Gershon Burd

We, the members of his community in the Old City of Jerusalem, thought we knew Gershon Burd. The men at the yeshiva where he worked full time and learned Torah full time thought they knew Gershon. Batya, his wife of ten years and the mother of his five children, thought she knew Gershon. Only after […]


The struggle and freedom of asking and giving forgiveness. It was not a demonstration. The posters billed it as a Maleve Malka — a Saturday night music fest to escort out the Shabbos Queen, accompanied by my husband’s klezmer band and circle dancing. True, the location chosen was an abandoned cul-de-sac a block away from Orient House, […]

Beyond Just Desserts: A Recipe of Thanksgiving

Seventy-five orphan girls in Calcutta taught me the real meaning of thanksgiving. Although it was my second extended period helping out at this Calcutta orphanage, I still marveled at the standard of living of the girls. Growing up, I had had my own room; these girls didn’t even have their own beds. They slept on […]

Who Got the Better Deal? An Incredible True Story

Had I been in the hospital in Salem, Illinois, on October 1, 1987, when a baby girl was born without legs, my heart would have clenched in pity for this poor child, and my mind would have railed at the unfairness of her fate. So grotesque was her deformity that her parents chose to leave […]