Ok. We’re down to the
wire. Let’s talk Passover. The Seder
specifically- what are we really doing here? In
fact, did you know it is a mitzvah to talk about
the Exodus from Egypt every day? So then- tadah-
why is this night different from all other
nights? (Wow that has a familiar ring!!)
Also, it’s all about the
miracles that happened to our forefathers in
Egypt, in fact 600,000 of our forefathers- so
why- no “Ahl Haneesam” like we say on Chanukah
and Purim; When Al hanissim is recited, raving
about the miracles G-d performed for our
forefathers. Are we thinking these ten
miraculous plagues plus splitting an entire sea
for us was not that big a deal, not all that
impressive?! Let’s see any one of you do even
one of them!
Oh and furthermore, why
don’t we say a Bracha before maggid (the telling
of the entire experience). It would seem we
should! We say a bracha before the megillat
Esther. We say a bracha before lighting the
Chanukah candles or sitting in the Succah.
We’re about to do a required mitzvah- the
re-telling of the exodus from Egypt- yet silence
on the blessing part!!-what gives? Aren’t we
thankful? Would we still like to be out there
breaking our backs or delivering six babies in
one shot- no easy feat (in fact 12- no easy
feet!)!!! Are we ingrates? Where’s the love?!
So let’s try to figure
Yes, there is a mitzvah
to remember leaving Egypt daily. But there is a
separate one for the Seder. We are not just
supposed to remember it; we are supposed to
re-live it! Notice it says, “Vihigadita
Livincha…Bayom Hahu Laimor...” “Vihigadita”-
means telling the tough stuff and then “laimor”
is the more pleasant details. We start with the
reality of all the difficult stuff we went
through in mitzraim and then segue into the more
pleasant gifts of exodus and freedom.
Why do we do that? Why
do we first discuss and sort of personally
experience the hardships of Egypt?
Here’s the answer
-Appreciation! That is the theme of the
Seder night! The best way to really appreciate-
central air conditioning is to spend the
day out in the 100 degree weather.
When we remember how we
were out there in the brutal sun, slaving away,
suffering, then we can truly internalize the
gift of our redemption and freedom.
Ahahh - if we are
reliving the plight, from start to finish,
how can we say a blessing at the start of the
Seder. We are all in a state of distress. We
have not gotten to the blessing of freedom yet
at the beginning of the night. (The Talmud in
Megillah 31b, states we don’t make a bracha over
And how can we recite
“Al Hanissim She-ahsitah La avotainu Bayomim hahaim
Bazman Hazeh”… For the miracles you did to our
forefathers in those days at this time …. That
prayer is for remembrance of a miracle that
occurred in the past to someone else. We are not
merely remembering it- we are living it
personally. And therefore, not up to the
miracles at the start of the Seder. We are going
from oppression to freedom through the night. We
are reliving the entire experience in real
It’s not till the end of
the Seder that we say a prayer of thanks.
Because then finally we are freed. (Asher
Ga’alanu). So at the Seder we have the full
experience - in order to appreciate
Even the four cups of
wine through the night, relate to the theme of
appreciation. Sure no one needs to really ask
why we have wine- after all wine’s always good
for a celebration – who needs an explanation!
But one explanation relating to the appreciation
theme is each cup represents a reason we would
give a korban todah =Thanks offering back when
the temple sttod. By the way - Here’s a good
way to memorize when we give a Todah offering:
Use the word “chaim” to remember the four
reasons (they are four reasons we bench Gomal
today too): Chet-cholah- when one is made
better, Yud-Yam,when one crosses the sea
safely, Yud-yissurim-being freed from suffering
or bondage, and Mem- midbar ‘ getting through
the Midbar/ desert safely.
Interestingly, all four
events were present when we escaped Egypt. We
ran from being Cholah / sickened- by hard work,
through the- yam/water, away from- yissurim /
bondage, and through the- midbar/ dessert. And
we blessed with life/ Chaim!!! And we
therefore owe Hashem 4 Korban Todahs. That’s
certainly nothing to “whine” about!!! But it
is something to “wine” about- four fold in fact!
Finally, an ending
message about an interesting starting point: why
is there always all the arguing over what to use
for karpos? “You need to use a stalk of celery,
no, a potato, it’s got to be parsley”. Well
guess what- karpos is wool. It’s used to
describe the beautiful woolen tapestries in
Ahchashvairosh’s palace “chor Karpos Vitichailet”
in the Megillah of Esther. And it’s used to
describe the Kitonet Passim- Joseph’s woolen
The dipping is to take
you back to the beginning of what caused all
this suffering. The brothers dipping Joseph’s
woolen coat into goat’s blood in order to have
Jacob thinking Joseph died. Meanwhile behind
the scenes he was really sold down to Egypt. So
…That’s how we start our night, dipping the
karpos and reenacting the brothers dipping the
wool into the blood, representing the
in-fighting among the brothers that brought us
down to Egypt in the first place.
It’s funny that we seem
to bicker over whether Karpos is celery or
parsley or a potato. And it takes us back to
the brother’s bickering. What a perfect way to
start a re-enactment of how we wound up down in
Ultimately, let’s learn
to stop the bickering. The Seder is about
appreciating all the suffering… we were freed
from- Hoooorayyy!!! And all the good G-d
bestowed on us, thereafter- capped off by the
gift of the Torah and Israel.
Now let’s use the Seder
to really do our job- APPRECIATE our freedom
–Experience it in real time. Use the night to
personally feel it- like the best and most
refreshing central air conditioning anyone was
ever lucky enough to have in a world so full of
many heated issues!!!
Have a wonderful Pessach!!!
Rivki Rosenwald is a
certified relationship counselor, and career and
life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004
7 pieces of Jewish wisdom to build a stronger
"With hearts full of sadness we have decided
to separate." Gwyneth Paltrow announced her
'conscious uncoupling' from husband Chris
Martin on her website Goop. Paltrow has been
candid about the difficulty of marriage in
the past. "It's hard being married," she
said. "You go through great times, you go
through terrible times. We're the same as
Whether you are a famous celebrity or an
ordinary couple, keeping your marriage alive
can be a struggle. Creating a happy life
together takes sweat. It requires
introspection, courage and commitment.
Torah's wisdom provides a path for us to
build a home filled with love. How much
effort we put into the journey is our
choice. When a marriage is coasting along or
feels stuck, I am often asked if one partner
can really make a difference. The answer
quite simply is 'yes'. If a husband or wife
decides to nourish the relationship, there
is a renewed sense of hope. The energy in
the home grows positive. True, it may take
time, but our spouse will eventually mirror
our emotions. If you offer love, you will
strengthen your bond. If you generate pain,
you will probably discover more pain. If you
withdraw emotionally, the void will overcome
For the next 7 days be inspired to love.
Drawing upon Torah wisdom for each day, here
is a concrete 7-day plan of action to
empower you to love. In one week you will
discover that you have the inner strength to
climb from the promise of love to genuine
daily practice, moving from a place of
frustrated dreams to a more joyous reality.
DAY ONE: SMILE
"Shammai says, receive each person with a
cheerful face" (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:
When you see your spouse for the first time
in the morning, give a smile. When evening
comes and you see each other again, greet
your partner with a pleasant face. Even
if you had a lousy day - there was a problem
in the office, your son's principal called,
and there is a leak in your bathroom - don't
lose your smile. A smile warms the heart. It
shows our husband that we are happy to see
him. It relays to our wife that we are glad
to be here.
The way we wake up to each other can set a
tone for the day. A grumpy look creates a
sour mood. Morning or night, be careful that
the first moments you see each other you do
not convey stress and pressure. For a house
to be a haven, it must be a place of joy.
Our faces project a feeling of warmth and
pleasure or aloofness and distaste.
Today be the first to smile. Communicate
tenderness. Create joy.
DAY TWO: GIVE PLEASURE
"Love others as you love yourself"
Instead of asking what has he done for me
lately, ask what can I do to show my love?
Don't wait for your spouse to initiate good
feeling, today you be the one to bring
pleasure to your relationship. The best
way to do this is by thinking what it is
that you would want and then just do it for
your spouse. Make a surprise breakfast,
bring home a favorite treat, offer to take
on a carpool, run an errand, set up a date
night - anything to show that you care.
How would you want your spouse to treat you?
Give emotional support. Give undivided
attention. Give of your time. Give the
gift of love. This is the key to create a
Today put new energy into your relationship
and do an act of kindness for your spouse.
DAY THREE: SPEAK KINDLY
"Death and Life are in the power of the
tongue" (Proverbs, 18: 21).
Words create. Words devastate. With one word
we can encourage dreams, create joy, inspire
hope and soothe wounds. And with one word we
can inject hatred, cause grief, destroy
desire and demolish self-esteem. Today speak
with kindness and dignity - even when you
disagree. Challenge yourself to stay away
from saying things like 'are you nuts?',
'what's your problem?', and 'can't you do
anything right?' Determine that you will
stop shaming and embarrassing your partner.
Instead of using put downs or dwelling on
past hurts, extend words of gratitude.
DAY FOUR: BE SILENT
"A protective fence for wisdom is silence"
(Ethics of the Fathers, 3:17).
There are times that it is better to hold
your tongue than to respond. Anger can bring
a person to say things he doesn't mean. Rage
can cause deep regret. Silence takes you to
a place of wisdom. You can review your words
and think before you act. Many couples tell
me that they don't even remember how the
awful argument started. If only someone
would have remained silent, the situation
would not have spiraled out of control.
Today think before you speak. If you are
about to erupt in impatience or anger, hold
yourself back. Curb negative comments. If
you are provoked, find the strength to keep
DAY FIVE: BE A FRIEND
"Acquire for yourself a friend" (Ethics of
the Fathers, 1:6).
See your spouse as your best friend. Best
friends are loyal to one another. They share
each other's secrets but do not reveal them
to others. True
friendship means we don't gossip or
complain about our spouse. We revel in each
other's success and are not indifferent or
uncaring when there is pain. We believe in
each other. Friends enjoy each other's
company and are sure to make time for one
another. Laughter is a large part of life
together. A good friend is accepting of
shortcomings because the focus is on what is
right about the person instead of what is
Do something today that will express your
friendship for your spouse. Be thoughtful.
Challenge yourself to confide in your
spouse. Make your spouse feel safe with you.
Show that you trust and are trustworthy.
DAY SIX: RESPECT
"Who is honored? He who honors others"
(Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1).
Respect is the bedrock of marriage. Too
often we believe that if we show respect, we
will seem vulnerable. We restrain ourselves
from displaying honor and instead wait to
see how our spouse will honor us first. We
lose out on a great opportunity to express
our love through consideration.
When you are sitting at a meal with your
spouse, turn off your iPhone. If your wife
asks you to do something, don't keep pushing
her off. When your husband makes a comment,
stop rolling your eyes.
Your challenge today is to find a way to
show honor to your spouse. Communicate
respect through your actions and words.
Watch your tone and facial expressions. Be
courageous and express feelings of
admiration and affection.
DAY SEVEN: SEEK PEACE
"Be among the disciples of Aaron, loving
peace and pursuing peace" (Ethics of the
What is your goal? You want to build a home
filled with serenity. When there is war in
marriage, even if you prevail, you lose.
There are no winners in this battle. You
must decide to seek peace.
The final challenge is to pursue peace. Can
you give in to your spouse for the purpose
of shalom bayit, peace in the home? Can you
hear your partner's side and put yourself in
the place of another? Be the first to say
"I'm sorry"? Don't harden your heart and
refuse to forgive. Let it go. Free yourself
from the burden of having always to be
It is true, marriage can be hard. But it is
also the greatest gift; the most awesome
opportunity to discover true love. May we
all find the strength and courage to grow
and give today so that when tomorrow arrives
our homes will be filled with blessing.
A Resolution at Last for a Father’s Unsettling
Joseph Corsbie was haunted for decades by ashes
that his father received from a survivor of the
Dachau concentration camp and later passed on to
him.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times
DOBSON, N.C. — Sometime in late 2012, feeling
his mortality after two heart attacks, Joseph
Corsbie realized that the moment had come to
tell the story of the ashes. He had first heard
it nearly 30 years earlier from his father,
Walter. And only in the face of imminent death
had Walter finally spoken, keeping his promise
to never forget.
For decades after his military service in World War II, Walter
had kept the yellowish powder in a metal
cigarette case, stowed amid his Army
memorabilia. The ashes had been given to him, an
aspiring minister from North Carolina, by a
Jewish survivor of Dachau in the weeks after
American troops liberated
that concentration camp. Take this, the former
prisoner said to the soldier, so you will
remember what happened here.
The terrible evidence wound up in a dresser
drawer of Joseph’s house trailer, just around
the bend from the lumber mill and up the road
from the Solid Rock Baptist Church, so distant
in place and time from the Nazi killing grounds.
For years, Joseph pondered what to do, how
exactly to fulfill the obligation. He hoped for
marriage and children, another generation to
assume the responsibility, but those things
The ashes which the New York City medical
examiner verified as human remains, will be
interred in a synagogue’s cemetery in Durham,
Dove for The New York Times
So two years ago he told the story, first to a
cousin, and that cousin told her sister, and the
telling and retelling set into motion a chain of
events that led to a plan to bury the ashes with
a Jewish service at a synagogue’s cemetery in
Durham. The ceremony, scheduled for mid-May,
will take place 69 years after the slaughter
ended at Dachau.
“It’s like I became guardian of that memory,”
Joseph Corsbie, 62, said. “I have to make sure
they aren’t forgotten. They were innocents.”
Another innocent, at least at the outset, was
David Walter Corsbie Jr., a carpenter’s son who
went by his middle name as he grew up in
Greensboro. He entered the service in November
1942, a few weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, and
was ultimately assigned to the 364th Fighter
Squadron of the Army Air Corps, training as a
As the squadron was preparing to provide bombing
support for the Allied invasion of Western
Europe, a doctor found that Walter had an
irregular heartbeat. He was ruled out of flight
and combat and assigned to clerical duty. On the
last day of 1945, he was discharged, and he
returned to his wife, Martha, and their son,
David, who had been born while Walter was
For Joseph, the couple’s younger child, Walter
was a frustrating figure. So many of Joseph’s
friends had fathers who regaled them with tales
of wartime grit and valor. Walter barely touched
the subject. One day in his midteens, Joseph
told Walter he had been nothing but a “pencil
view of Dachau after the camp’s 1945
The insult jolted Walter into action. He pulled
out his box of Army artifacts — enlistment
papers, honorable discharge, cap and uniform,
dog tags, medals. Amid them lay the cigarette
case holding the cake of ashes.
Joseph asked about it, and Walter began to shake
and cry. Martha told Joseph: “Stop it. He
doesn’t want to talk about it.”
And Walter did not talk about it, until shortly
before his death in 1986. What he recounted to
Joseph then had taken place soon after Germany
surrendered in early May 1945. Walter’s unit was
posted near Munich. One day, he was sent to
Dachau as a messenger. Then and there, he
encountered the prisoner who presented him with
the ashes and the admonition.
"It’s the most expensive thing I own, aside from
my house." CATHERINE
HAYLEY, whose diabetes was diagnosed when she
was 9, describing the digital insulin pump that
helps keep her alive. CreditLuke
Sharrett for The New York Times
MEMPHIS — Catherine Hayley is saving up for an
important purchase: an updated version of the
tiny digital pump at her waist that delivers
lifesaving insulin under her skin.
Such devices, which tailor insulin dosing more
precisely to the body’s needs, have transformed
the lives of people with Type 1 diabetes like
Ms. Hayley. But as diabetics live longer,
healthier lives and worries fade about dreaded
complications like heart attacks, kidney
failure, amputations and blindness, they have
been replaced by another preoccupation: soaring
“It looks like a beeper,” said Ms. Hayley, a
36-year-old manager here for an environmental
services company, referring to the vintage 2007
pump on the waistband of her jeans. “It’s made
of plastic and runs on triple-A batteries, but
it’s the most expensive thing I own, aside from
A new model, along with related treatment
supplies, prices out at tens of thousands of
dollars for this year and will cost her about
$5,000, even with top-notch insurance. “It’s
great,” Ms. Hayley said, “but it all adds up.”
Traditionally, insurers lost money by covering
people with chronic illnesses, because they
often ended up hospitalized with myriad
complications as their diseases progressed.
Today, the routine care costs of many chronic
illnesses eclipse that of acute care because new
treatments that keep patients well have become a
multibillion-dollar business opportunity for
device and drug makers and medical providers.
The high price of new treatments for diabetes,
rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and other chronic
diseases contribute mightily to the United
States’ $2.7 trillion annual health care bill.
More than 1.5 million Americans have Type 1
diabetes and cannot survive without frequent
insulin doses, so they are utterly dependent on
a small number of producers of supplies and
drugs, which have great leeway to set prices.
(Patients with the far more common Type 2
diabetes — linked to obesity — still produce
insulin and can improve with lifestyle changes
and weight loss, or on oral medicines.)
That captive audience of Type 1 diabetics has
spawned lines of high-priced gadgets and
disposable accouterments, borrowing business
models from technology companies like Apple:
Each pump and monitor requires the separate
purchase of an array of items that are often
brand and model specific.
A steady stream of new models and updates often
offer dubious improvement: colored pumps;
talking, bilingual meters; sensors reporting
minute-by-minute sugar readouts. Ms. Hayley’s
new pump will cost $7,350 (she will pay $2,500
under the terms of her insurance). But she will
also need to pay her part for supplies,
including $100 monitor probes that must be
replaced every week, disposable tubing that she
must change every three days and 10 or so test
strips every day.
That does not even include insulin, which has
been produced with genetic engineering and
protected by patents, so that a medicine that
cost a few dollars when Ms. Hayley was a child
now often sells for more than $200 a vial,
meaning some patients must pay more than $4,000
a year. Other refinements have benefited a
minority of patients but raised prices for all.
There are no generics in the United States.
Companies that produce the treatments say the
higher costs reflect medical advances and the
need to recoup money spent on research. But
David Kliff, a financial analyst who is editor
Investor, an independent newsletter
on the industry, points out: “Diabetes is not
just a disease state; it’s a huge business,too.”
Those companies spend millions of dollars
recruiting patients at health fairs, through
physicians’ offices and with aggressive
advertising — often urging them to get devices
and treatments that are not necessary, doctors
say. “They may be better in some abstract sense,
but the clinical relevance is minor,” said Dr.
Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes
Center at Montefiore Medical Center.
“People don’t need a meter that talks to them,”
he added. “There’s an incredible waste of
Even patients with insurance often feel squeezed
by large out-of-pocket costs, and many describe
holding old pumps together with duct tape,
rationing their test strips and skimping on
insulin. Dr. Jeoffry B. Gordon, a family
practitioner in San Diego, said he had patients
with failing kidneys and others who had ended up
in emergency rooms because they could not afford
their maintenance care.
“From a guy on the front lines, the improvements
have been miraculous,” he said. “But the
acquisition cost is very high, and the pricing
dictates what treatment you get.”
Complication rates from diabetes in the United
generally higherthan in other
developed countries. That is true even though
the United States spends more per patient and
per capita treating diabetes than elsewhere,
said Ping Zhang, an economist at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The high costs are taking their toll on public
coffers, since 62 percent of that treatment
money comes from government insurers. The
cumulative outlays for treating Type 1 and Type
2 diabetes reached
nearly $200 billionin 2012, or about
7 percent of America’s health care bill.
Expenditures could well
double by 2030, according to
estimates by the C.D.C., in large part because
the number of Americans found to have diabetes
has been increasing more than 50 percent every
10 years. Most of the increase is attributable
to Type 2 diabetes patients, whom manufacturers
are encouraging to try insulin treatment and
glucose monitoring, even though that is rarely
medically required. Also, the Affordable Care
Act requires health insurers to cover people
with chronic disease, meaning they will have
better access to treatments.
“This is not just a health care crisis,” said
Mr. Kliff, the newsletter editor, who has Type 1
diabetes. “It’s an economic crisis as well.”
Catherine Hayley was born in 1977, the year
before the first synthetic human insulin was
made using new gene-splicing technology. Her
diabetes was diagnosed when she was 9, about the
time this new generation of genetically
engineered insulin was brought to market. One of
her earliest memories is practicing insulin
injections on an orange.
The development of insulin therapy in the 1920s
was one of the great medical triumphs of the
20th century, on a par with the discovery of
antibiotics. Before then, Type 1 diabetics often
died within a year and were on such restrictive
diets that they sometimes succumbed to
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the
pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin.
Without it, sugars build up in the blood,
producing symptoms like blurry vision,
exhaustion and frequent urination and leading to
a severe accumulation of acids that can be
rapidly fatal. Even when treated with insulin
shots, moderately high sugar levels over the
long term can damage the eyes, heart, kidneys
and nerves. But if too much insulin is given,
blood sugar can plummet, leading to
unconsciousness and seizures. Because digestive
enzymes degrade insulin, it cannot be swallowed,
and must be injected.
When Ms. Hayley’s diabetes was diagnosed,
maintaining that balance involved testing a drop
of blood on a paper strip that would change
color to indicate — within a wide range — the
patient’s glucose level. Patients would
typically give themselves a shot of insulin
morning and night in response to the results.
“What I ate was all very regimented, and it had
to be at the same time each day,” she recalled.
At school every day at 10 a.m., she pulled out a
snack of a precisely weighed chunk of cheese and
The treatment tools were initially cheap: simple
syringes and pig insulin, which is almost
identical to that made by the human body. But
that all changed after a landmark study in 1992
showed that patients did better if they
maintained very tight control — keeping their
blood sugar within a nearly normal range by
checking it frequently and taking multiple
insulin shots a day. Around the same time the
business of American medicine was changing, too,
with direct-to-consumer advertising, proprietary
treatments and designer insulin in development.
When Ms. Hayley left Memphis for Colorado
College in 1996, she was using a tiny meter
through which she could get more precise
measures of her blood sugar level, a penlike
injector containing insulin with an adjustable
dose, and human insulin made with gene-splicing
technology. All were covered by patents.
She did not switch to a pump until 2006 when,
after years of waiting tables and studying in
graduate school, she got her first job with
insurance benefits. “It controls my blood sugar
better,” she said, on her way to a dinner that
included sharing a once-forbidden fruit cobbler.
“I’m really able to live how I want. However,
the price has increased dramatically.”
The tiny squirts from her pump are delivered
more precisely by patented systems with
microchip sensors and Bluetooth capability, with
technical support by company representatives in
endocrinologists’ offices. When Ms. Hayley
pricks her finger, it is with a customized
lancet to go with a customized test strip that
fits into a customized meter, which transmits
the result wirelessly to her compatible insulin
pump, which delivers the appropriate insulin
dose. (There is not yet a one-device-does-all
that automatically performs the pricking,
measuring and dosing.)
While some components, like the meters, are low
cost or even free for patients, their supplies
are costly. Dr. Spencer Owades, a dentist in
suburban Denver with Type 1 diabetes, said he
was shocked to discover that his test strips —
which cost just pennies to make — were priced at
$1.50 apiece when he ran out and had to buy them
at a pharmacy. He usually received them in the
mail through his insurer and uses five to 10 a
“It’s a printer model,” he said, “where the
printer is cheap, but they get you on the
cartridges.” He added: “But if you have
diabetes, they have you over a barrel.”
Why Are These Weeks Different From All Other
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
Let me start with:
5 easy steps to make
1. Go away- let it be
someone else’s problem!
2. Get a prescription for
Xanax- that way you’ll never know it’s your
3. Learn to love cleaning,
scrubbing, shopping, and cooking!
4. Start downing prunes or
5. Become Sephardi
One thing’s for sure,
Passover prep does really authenticate the
experience of leaving Egypt. You are either busy
packing to leave or struggling till the night of
the Seder arrives. No one gets off the hook-
everyone’s either getting ready for the Exodus
or entrenched in the 10 plagues:
-And the 10th plague- wanting to kill
No one needs to tell you,
after all this, to “picture yourself as if you
too, were leaving Egypt by G-d’s strong hand”.
The Haggadah is almost redundant when it
requires it! When that first Seder finally
descends upon you- you are truly happy-
freedom has arrived.
-No one needs to encourage you to drink 4
cups of wine- you are wondering how you held
back for this long.
-The dipping at the Seder is a welcomed
change from dipping one more mop into another
bucket of water.
-And the bitter herbs- are a much less
bitter pill than all the hard work you did to
Passover comes in each year
with a bang, or is it a crunch?! Crunch, crunch
as you keep eating and chewing that matzah.
Matzah must stand for:
If your stomach can make it
through eight days of a matzah diet, you know
you can survive anything!
Today there is a lot more
variety than when some of us were little. Back
then it was matzah with butter, matzah with jam,
matzah with cream cheese or Matzah in coffee,
matzah brie, or matzah farfalle. You longed for
a piece of bread just to give your stomach
something a bit softer on it. Today there is
Kosher for Pessach Chametz. Go figure that out!
There is: bread, rolls, pasta, and pizza dough.
But there’s still no getting around the shmura
matzah at the Seders!
Nor should there be!
The matzah is essential!
For years in Egypt Jews ate
Matzah because they had no time to cook real
bread. There was no time to let it rise. Because
they were slaving away….
Therefore, that bread of
affliction was turned into bread of freedom.
Don’t avoid it-embrace it!
All this preparation is-
not spring cleaning or- exertion for nothing.
It’s our way to take note- we are G-d’s
children. G-d comes through for us.
Wouldn’t you agree-All this
is a small price to pay for that kind of a
Rivki Rosenwald is a
certified relationship counselor, and career and
life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004
It’s the season of office parties, family
vacations and too many selfies popping up on
Instagram and your facebook page. It
sometimes feels as if everyone else is in a
better place and having more fun. Many find
themselves feeling down, unsettled, and
battling a touch of the blues.
What can we
do to find our personal joy?
Joy is not the same as fun. You can spend
the day having a great time in the city with
friends but when you walk through your door,
you are not feeling joy. Or you can search
spa finder, book the most lux treatments and
then partake in gourmet meals but somehow a
void remains. At the end of the day
joyfulness eludes you.
Inner joy, genuine
“I-feel-good-about-my-life” emotions takes
work. It requires creating a positive inner
core which can be a strenuous workout for
We need to stop comparing our lives and
digital images with others. By focusing on
the happiness of everyone else we forget how
to zoom in on our own blessings. Once we are
determined to seek out our inner joy and
decide to stop sizing up the vacations,
romantic life and wallets of our friends and
family, we are ready for the first step.
1. Get Into
the Gratitude Mode
Joyfulness begins with a sense of
gratitude. Show me a positive, happy person
and I will show you a grateful person.
Appreciation doesn’t only happen when things
are going perfectly. Our mission is to
cultivate this sensation of thankfulness as
our constant guiding spirit. How?
Customize your outlook to see the good.
In Judaism we call this an ‘ayin tov,’a
positive eye. Instead of focusing on what’s
wrong, train your eye to see what’s right.
Pay attention to the number of times a day
you have a negative reaction, criticism or
complaint. When someone does something for
you, do you find where they fall short
instead of saying thank you? When you’re
eating out in a restaurant, do you end up
griping about the service or the food?
Work on quieting that negative side and
building the positive. You will find
yourself more pleasant to be around, more
thankful and evolving into a happier person.
Look around and what do you see most
people doing? They’re going through life
while talking or texting. I recently spoke
to a chiropractor who told me that most of
her clients today are children whose neck
muscles are strained from constantly looking
down at their phones or ipads. We have
stopped appreciating the life around us. We
have lost our sense of awareness and with
it, our delight for the people, objects, and
moments that surround us. Of course this
lack of mindfulness impacts our
relationships. We begin to take it all for
When we experience the fullness of life
and open our eyes to see the colors of a
sunset, listen to the giggles of a child,
savor the scent of a home cooked dinner, or
share an intimate thought with a loved one,
we become more cognizant of our daily
opportunities for joy. As we grow mindful,
we enjoy more and tune out less.
This consciousness is steeped in Judaism.
Instead of just reciting a general blessing,
we are given very specific words to help us
appreciate ‘the fruits of the tree’, ‘the
bread of the earth’, and ‘the many types of
fragrance’ that we smell. Upon hearing the
boom of thunder, seeing lightning, a rainbow
or fruit trees in bloom, there are
appropriate blessings to say. The message is
that we cannot allow life to pass us by. Joy
awaits us if only we would allow ourselves
to take a moment.
3. Become A
Those who give, who are charitable and
contribute to this world, are genuinely
happier people. Researchers at the
University of Oregon studied the brains of
volunteers who were given $100. The brain
center connected to pleasure and reward lit
up on the scans of the participants who
chose to help others with the money.
When we feel purposeful we feel pleasure.
We know that we count and make a difference.
We feel needed. We feel alive. We experience
the joy of giving.
We also transform ourselves into more
sensitive human beings who touch people with
our kindness. We grow happier knowing that
we have left a beautiful imprint in this
It is not just charities and strangers
who need us. Our families, friends, spouses
and children all have hearts wide open
waiting for us to fill a void through our
acts of love. Giving a bright smile in times
of need, a reassuring hug, a listening ear,
an encouraging message when things seem
bleak all create positive energy to help
others keep on going. When we build bonds we
feel joy. We know that this universe has
been made better through our presence. This
is the joy that money can never buy. It is
The Positive in Times of Challenge
Times of hardship and crisis can leave us
feeling depleted. Even in the most difficult
moments it is important to try and recognize
I asked a few people if they could
pinpoint the positive despite going through
difficulty. Here are some responses:
“When I was faced with serious illness, I
saw how loved I was. I realized what a
special family I have, and what devoted
friends. I never really appreciated what
great people I had in my life.”
“When I lost my job, my wife supported me
emotionally. She never turned her back on
me. We rediscovered how beautiful the little
free moments of life were, that we had taken
for granted. Now that I am working again, we
make sure to take walks and go bike riding
with the kids. I never want to lose that.”
“Our marriage hit a low point. We worked
hard on not getting divorced. There was lots
of anger and pain but I am grateful for the
second chance I have been given. This time I
am trying to live better and learn from my
After going through a life-changing
challenge, like chronic illness or serious
disaster, we should try to focus on what
positive change can now come instead of what
has been lost and how tragic and awful life
is. We can try to steer ourselves away from
the chaos and ask how we can make it through
stronger and more resilient. Think: What
have I gained/learned through this
experience? Of course no one wants to go
through suffering and hardship. But if one
does go through struggle, what now?
The fact that you are still standing
means that you have what to be joyful for.
You have opportunity to take stock and
Though we cannot choose life events, we
can choose to live with gratitude and
greater awareness. We can stop feeling sorry
for ourselves and build bonds with those we
love. We can take a better look at the
positive that we have gained despite the
And then we will realize that we have
tapped into the joy that was waiting to be
discovered deep within our souls.
through an hourglass, so goes the days of my
In the past life felt routine and fast
paced, just like the sand flowing smoothly
through the hourglass.
These days the hourglass keeps getting
jammed and needs to be shaken up to flow
smoothly again. However, once the flow is
disrupted, it never flows the same again.
This past Shabbat the Torah reading was Lech
Lecha. It means go from the place that you
live. If you look back to last years
calendar you will see that the Shabbat
before Hurricane Sandy was also Lech Lecha.
Gd literally sent us from our homes.
Today it is beautiful and sunny out. Many
don’t realize that tonight is the Hebrew
anniversary of Sandy. It was the night my
family, and entire block,was rescued from
the water and slept at the firehouse.
This was the night that changed our life
forever. This is when my hourglass got
jammed. Nothing is routine and smooth
Yes, life is still routine. Life is actually
jam packed. The routine however is far
different than any I would have imagined in
I am 39. I have half a year till I turn 40.
As Miley said , 40 is old. Funny, when I was
younger I thought that too. Now that I’m
approaching 40, I know how young 40 really
is. I feel how young 40 is. My friends are
all working out, running marathons and
picking up new skills. I on the other hand,
struggle to walk across a room without
falling, forget running. As for new
skills…since my fine motor skills are going,
needlepoint and rainbow loom is out. I have
gotten really good at swallowing massive
vitamins 4 times a day. I have learned to
eat with my left hand and drive a scooter
really well. So far I haven’t injured anyone
Truth be told, ALS sucks. It is a disease
that controls you.
I move so slowly these days that it takes me
hours to get out in the morning. I enjoy
sleeping so much lately, that I laze on bed
all morning. This coming from a woman who
used to wake at 5:30 daily.
Gone is my ability to cook or bake. As a
food snob, this is torture. I am a woman who
needs lists for everything. I can no longer
Thank god I was always so bossy. My
housekeeper and kids cook using my recipes.
As for the writing, I must thank god for
touch screens, iPads, smartphones..etc. They
have become my voice, my way of organizing ,
my way of shopping and my connection to the
world that seems beyond my grasp some days.
A woman came over last week to train me on a
computer that I control with my eyes. To my
relief, I can email, talk, chat, text, call,
Skype,Facebook and shop on it. Scary as it
seems, I know I can be bossy and
controlling,even when I loose all control.
I’ll have a voice, when mine is gone.
A year ago we went from our home. I got a
diagnoses that was devastating. We are now
rebuilding our home to face whatever the
future throws at us.
This Thursday morning I will once again be
going from my home. I will be having surgery
that will hopefully prolong my life.
Please keep Devorah Rachel bat Miriam Chava
in your prayers.Lets hope the sand runs
smoothly in my hourglass.
what Rochel wrote in March, 2012
A Message to my Friends
By Rachel Baron
The birds are singing shira
today. They are very happy
to be alive. Do you know
that Hashem loves shira, and
human beings too. We have
to take life to the maximum and
appreciate it. I realize every
day that life is a big gift.
Sometimes we are afraid and we
worry but we have to remember
”ein od milvado,” Hashem really
runs the world.
The more I go to the medical
field to find a cure for my big
C, the more I know there is
nobody like Hashem and if He
wants He can cure me in a second
and He will b’ezras Hashem.
I always say that after 120 when
they ask me what I did with my
life I’ll say I sang Hallel to
the Amen group. Every time
before I do Hallel I get very
nervous and worried because
leading the tzibur is a big
achraiyus especially praising
Hashem. Shira is being in line
with the ratzon Hashem.
The journey Hashem blessed me to
go, which I’m so lucky to have,
is to be b’simcha and one of the
best ways to be b’simcha is to
sing and I hope Hashem loves my
singing as much as I love to
sing to Him. To me to be
able to sing to Hashem is like
hand in hand. When I am
scared instead of dwelling on
fear I sing and it takes the
That’s why I can relate so much
to (and I like to sing this tune
in Hallel) “she’ha’eikar
lo lefached” the song of Rabbi
Nachman. The world is a
narrow bridge and the most
important thing in life is not
to be scared. When I am
scared it helps me to go to
Rabbi Nachman’s tune that all
the world is really a narrow
bridge and we shouldn’t be
scared. Instead of being scared
I try to be happy.
One of the things that I want to
say is that fear takes away from
our simcha. It’s very important
to know that when you are
afraid, the yetzer hara is
robbing you of the present, and
the present really is a
present – you have to remember
that. And when I feel
scared I run to take a siddur
and connect to Hashem.
Tefillah and shira to me
represent to be b’simcha.
Even when you are tired I feel
that you have to push yourself
to do the maximum. You have to
zero in about teaching the kids.
And try to be there for them.
All these years of treatments:
radiation, surgery, and
chemotherapy, I found out that
the most important thing is to
be with your kids, family, and
surrounded with people that love
me is the most important thing.
It is very important to be
modest and to feel valuable.
Being modest is to know who you
really are. That Hashem
gave it to you and you should
appreciate that. Modesty
is not denying what you are,
it’s acknowledging that what you
are is from Hashem.
It’s important to go to shiurs
because it helps you grow in
life. When a person stops
growing, he stops living.
You always have to go and learn
and learn more because the sky
is the limit. Send your hand and
reach it and get it. One of the
things that gives me koach to
continue in my fight is to go to
shiurim. When I go to shiurs and
to the Amen Group my neshama is
blooming and growing and it
gives me koach. People
say, “Are you sure that you can
go?” It’s important to push
myself to learn and grow. If you
zero in on growing, life is more
meaningful. I’m trying to
learn more and grow more and
bloom more in the garden.
I think this experience shows
that we think we have control
and can reach the sky and take
care of everything and then we
find out that really ein od
milvado and we don’t have
control at all. He’s the one
that is running the world and
there is nothing like G-d and
there is nothing besides Hashem.
When you want to make your
wishes and dreams come true,
it’s up to you. G-d is running
the world but you can have the
effort to make your wishes come
true, because they can – lo
bashamayim hee. I know I
wanted to be a journalist and
people said it’s too hard, but
if you want it you can make it
and zero in on the doing.
Take your time, estimate, and
see how you can make your dream
come true and it should all come
true in a beautiful way.
A lot of times I find myself
struggling about being bsimcha.
It doesn’t come to me naturally
not to be afraid. I want to
learn to be bsimcha and connect
to simcha because this is how
you get in touch with Hashem.
The cane and the walker are just
accessories. As long as I can
still walk it’s a big thing.
Don’t think that I’m a hero, it
doesn’t come easily, but I work
on being eved Hashem bsimcha and
that is the motto of my life.
I like to go on the wild side.
Once on a family vacation, we
went on a boat, and jumped from
the boat to go snorkeling.
I went scuba diving. One of the
best vacations in the world is
scuba diving, so I wanted to
give my kids all the adventures
I liked. It’s important to
be adventurous – jump in the
water and just do it. Don’t miss
out in life.
Reader's Note: Since
the writing of this note, Sharon
Schultz passed away. May
G-d comfort her family among the
mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
AYN ODE MILVADO
My name is Sharon Schultz
שרה דבורה בת חיה מינדל
This is probably the name that many people know
me by, even if they don’t know me personally.
I am, baruch Hashem, a wife, a mother, a
grandmother, and a daughter, and belong to a
warm, loving, and supportive family. I am
also a teacher by profession who adores the many
pre-schoolers I have been privileged to teach.
I am also a cancer patient. I was
diagnosed in August of 2005. My initial
symptoms were a persistant cough and difficulty
breathing. An aggressive and vicious tumor
had invaded my chest cavity. Chemotherapy
and surgery were needed to shrink and remove the
With Hashem’s chessed and rachamim, the tefilos
and tehillim of family and friends, and Hakadosh
Baruch Hu’s gifted messengers, the dedicated and
talented doctors and nurses and all of their
ancillary staff, I seemed to have won the
battle. I was in remission for 4 ½ years
and able to have a full life until the cancer
returned with a vengeance.
Since then, my life has been a roller coaster.
Four more extensive surgeries, including the
removal of one lung, several rounds of
chemotherapy with its accompanying toxic and
miserable side effects have forced me to give up
teaching and have shaken me to the core of my
being. I believe that what has given me
strength and hope, and kept me going, is the
continuous fervent tefillos of so many neighbors
and friends – old and new, as well as my loyal
and devoted family – my dear parents, my
wonderful husband and children, my brothers and
My purpose in recording my thoughts is to pause
and reflect, to express my profound
הכרת הטוב to
the Ribono Shel Olam first and foremost for His
constant help through times of deep sorrow and
pain as well as interludes of hope and simcha.
I have tremendous awareness of Hashem’s presence
in my life every single day.
I feel a deep debt of gratitude to all who have
been involved in my case – the kind and caring
doctors and nurses; the gentle aides; orderlies,
therapists, and technicians – all who have
extended compassion and kindness above and
beyond “just doing their jobs.”
I am also keenly aware that I am not alone in
my battle against cancer. These past few
years have acquainted me with many other
individuals like myself who are fighting the
battle of their lifetimes; fighting literally
for their lives. I hope that by sharing my
thoughts and feelings, I can give chizuk to
anyone who is in a similar situation.
Throughout this entire experience, I have
always worried first and foremost for my family
and my students. When I was initially
diagnosed, I worried, how will my students
manage without me while I fight this illness and
recuperate? I felt confused and frightened
at the loss of control of my life, of my role
reversal, in needing people to do for me instead
of the other way around, and fear of all of the
unknown that lay ahead of me.
I was fortunate to be able to go to the Ohel of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe
זצ''ל and to the kevarim of my
grandparents ע''ה before each of my surgeries to call upon
the זכויות of
my great ancestors to be at my side and
with the רבונו של עולם
on my behalf. The first surgery that I had
in 2005, was the only time that I was not able
to go to the Rebbe’s Ohel prior to the
operation. But I feel that in a certain
way, the Rebbe came to me. My roommate in
the hospital was a woman, E.H. She was
supposed to have been discharged, but for some
reason she ended up staying as my roommate until
I went for surgery. E’s father had been
instrumental in bringing the first Lubavitcher
Rebbe to the United States. She was so
familiar with everything regarding the Rebbe,
she had practically grown up in his house.
She recounted to me all about her experiences in
the Rebbe’s home. I felt an immense
feeling of calm and confidence wash over me as I
approached my surgery, because I felt almost
even closer than had I been able to go to the
In February of 2010, I needed to have surgery to
remove a very large and aggressive tumor which
had invaded my heart. There was a terrible
snowstorm, which prevented my parents from
getting to the hospital before the surgery.
I remember singing softly
אין עוד מילבדו
as a shevach (praise) to Hashem before my
surgery, which had a calming effect on me.
I was also very keenly aware of everything in my
surroundings. I was in Room 1811 A.
These numbers add up to 29 which is the yahrzeit
כ''ט שבט of my
ע''ה. My nurse’s name was Rebecca,
which is the same name as my grandmother
felt as if my grandparents were with me,
accompanying me through my surgery and
subsequent recuperation. My room was on
Floor, which signifies
חי– Life. I
felt like I was wrapped in a cocoon of symbols
from which I could draw strength and calmness.
I recall having the awareness that all of the
medical staff was Hashem’s messengers and I
tried to thank each and every one before the
surgery took place.
The two Tefillos of
נשמת כל חי and
קריאת שמע which have to do with a
person’s heart, called out to me much more at
this time, and as a result, I became much more
aware of their meanings and have come to
appreciate these tefillos on many levels.
The praise of Hashem
אין עוד מילבדו is a refrain that I sing
daily, sometimes over and over. It
reinforces the principle of faith in Hashem’s
power to change any situation, regardless of how
hopeless it might seem. Hashem is the
Supreme Decision Maker and can, at any point,
turn any situation around. Our job in life
is to draw strength from our Emunah in Hashem
and use that strength to feel as good as
possible. I believe that no human being,
no doctor, however talented and educated that
individual is, can say with emphasis whether one
is healthy or sick.
We must have the
same beliefs and be able to draw strength from
our trust and belief in Hashem’s supremacy,
whether we are in a situation of seeming good
health or chas v’shalom illness.
Every day when I wake up, I say with emphasis,
“Thank You, Hashem, for letting me wake up after
having a good night’s rest and to be able to
start a new day.” My experiences have
reinforced to me over and over the need to
really pay attention to the small details that
make up the fabric of our lives, the small
pleasures that make my spirits soar – the taste,
touch and smell of delicious foods and beautiful
flowers, grass and trees that surround us, but
in our rushed lives, we may not take note of,
and take for granted. I take nothing
My favorite part of
קריאת שמע על המטה is the
בשם ה' אלקי ישראל. מימיני מיכאל משמאלי גבריאל
מלפני אוריאל מאחורי רפאל
ועל ראשי שכינת ק-ל
My friend R., knowing how much meaning this
posuk has taken on in my life, made a tichel for
me with the words
ועל ראשי שכינת ק-ל sewn on it. This
way, I truly feel that I have the
שכינה with me
at all times.
I am at a point now where I experience both fear
and depression as well as calmness and joy –
jumbles of emotions, as I try to get through
each day. I have learned that singing to
Hashem is a way to counteract the sadness and
fear. I try to have continual hope and
work every day on my Emunah and Bitachon.
I know that Hashem is the Ultimate Healer
רופא – He can cure even the seemingly
incurable and bring about
within seconds, no matter how bleak the
situation. I continue to daven daily for
I know that many individuals join me in trying
to tear down שערי שמים
with their daily Tefillos and Tehillim. I
am grateful to every person who davens on my
behalf, who visits with me, who reaches out to
my family and myself in ways large and small, to
ease our lives, strengthen our emunah,
counteract loneliness and chase away our fears.
May Hakadosh Baruch Hu bless each and every
person with good health, nachas, and the ability
to continue to do acts of kindness.
Perhaps by emulating Hashem’s middos of chessed
and rachamim, we truly can penetrate
שמים and have
all of our Tefillos answered.
Sharon Schultz passed away in Adar 2012.
May she be a malitz yosher for her family and
all klal yisrael.
Sundays only at 8:15am at 386 Felter Avenue,
Women gather to recite and hear at least 100
morning blessings so as to fulfill the mitzvah
of doing so. If you know of someone who is ill,
please feel free to call and provide the group
with the Hebrew name, so that those who are
present may pray for him or her. Haidee
Mondays at 4:15
pm (3-5 Year Olds) - a half hour
program of stories and a short
Tuesdays at 6:30 pm (Grades 4
- 7) Registration
- January 12 Program:
February 10 The
Theif Lord By: Cornelia
- February 9 Program:
To Be Announced
Time: Thursdays at 10:30am
(24 - 35 months) - A lively half-hour
of songs, stories, fingerplays,
movement and a short film for
a child accompanied by an adult.
Fridays at 10:00
am (12-23 months) - Programs of
songs, finger plays, nursery rhymes
and board books for very young
readers accompanied by a parent
Workshop: Thursdays at
10:00-11:15 (12-35 months)
A special program that encourages
parents to play, sing and do finger
plays with their children. Specialists
in the fields of Speech and Hearing,
Behavior and Development, Nutrition,
and Dance/Movement are available
at various sessions. Registration
is required and is being accepted
in the children's room.
with Arnold Rosenbaum:
Wednesdays at 1:00pm
The Defining Moment - FDR's First
Hundred Days and the Triumph of
Hope by Jonathan Alter. January
Economic Problems Facing the Middle
Class .Mr. Rosenbaum will present
his thoughts on the socioeconomic
problems facing the American middle
class. March 14
Be The Food of Love...Shakespeare
In Love: Sunday, January
7 at 2:30pm. New York jazz vocalist
Christiana Drapkin celebrates
the beauty and power of William
Shakespeare's poetry and presents
it in lively, sometimes haunting,
jazz arrangements. The songs are
direct quotations from Shakespeare's
plays. Tickets required.
and American Art:
January 8 at 1:00 pm. Picasso
is acknowledged by many as the
central figure of the modern movement.
Art historian Mary Vahey will
examine the sometimes worshipful,
sometimes testy relationship between
American artists and the Picasso,
the immensely inventive Spaniard.
January 17 at 1:00pm. Corliss
Whitney, the honorary historian
of the Rockette Alumnae, shares
poignant stories about her years
as a Rockette during the 40's
Way to Health - Humor
Therapy: Wednesday, January 24
at 1:00pm. A presentation that
will focus on the latest studies
that scientifically prove and
explain how and why laughter IS
the best medicine.
Does Merman: Sunday February
4 at 2:30pm. Songs and stories
celebrating Ethel Mermans brilliant
career will be brought to PPL
by vocalist Lisa Berman. Tickets
and Ancient Land of Contrasts:
Thursday, February 8 at 1:00pm.
Through lecture and slides, Sally
Wendkos Olds will guide you on
a journey to another world of
exotic beauty and ancient splendor.
and/or Poets: Wednesday,
February 14 at 1:00pm. Arnie Rosenbaum
will share the poetic lyrics of
Ira Gershwin, Alan J. Lerner and
Larry Hart. You decide if the
great lyricists of the 20th century
really were master poets.
Tiffany and Laurelton Hall
An Artists Country Estate: Monday,
March 19 at 1:00pm. Ines Powell,
Metropolitan Museum of Art educator,
will present an illustrated lecture
which will bring together many
of the architectural elements
and design features of Tiffany's
extraordinary country estate in
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