Sooo people leave a
gentile wedding and everyone stands there
throwing flakes of rice after the bride and
groom. But with us it's different. We throw
-ourselves -after the bride and groom,
continuously, for the next seven days. They just
can't shake us.
We call it Shevah
brachot! Seven blessings. But are they feeling
blessed or persecuted? Do the bride and groom
love this endless round of celebrations or are
they hoping everyone would just go home.
“They” do a romantic
honeymoon trip to somewhere exotic. We drag
"ours "to Shloime's kosher restaurant and bring
half the neighborhood along to ogle.
Of course we do give
them a little private time. After all she needs
some space to figure out how to disseminate her
gorgeous head of hair evenly beneath her new
gorgeous head of hair. More importantly she
needs time to decide which of her newly
purchased outfits would look best for day 1, 2,
3,4,5,6, or 7, of marriage on display.
Now let me say this
there are certainly some amazing advantages to
Shevah brachot. One is that the celebration
doesn't end abruptly. Otherwise -One minute you
were the bride and groom the next minute you're
just another old married couple!
You don't suffer the
syndrome -all dressed up and no place to go.
You've got parties galore waiting for you.
You are hailed as a
queen and king for a week straight. After all
-You have the rest of your life to be an
anonymous nobody. This week - It's all about
And honestly all day
you, the new couple, can do whatever you like
and hang out together.
But as the sun sets you
better be heading to Brooklyn or Queens or NJ;
wherever the meal is being held. Because 15 of
your parents’ closest friends, from that
particular area, just chipped in to make your
parents happy and even came out to give you a
blessing. So now-you certainly wouldn't want
them to go the other way on that blessing
The speeches are all
about.... You. The humor is all about ....you,
and the celebration is all about ....you. So how
can that be bad.
Look at it his way
“They" get one day of rice - thrown at them no
less. You get seven nights of rice- prepared in
every possible delicious fashion.
So take my advice -
enjoy the attention. You'll be alone together
and figuring it all out before you know it. It's
great to have all those blessings working for
Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner's Divorce
Understanding the 5 Stages of marriage can
increase your commitment when times are tough.
Ben Affleck's Oscar speechdescribed
the need for ‘work’ when it comes to
marriage. His wife, Jennifer Garner, smiled
through her tears and we thought that this
couple really ‘got it’. They seemed to be
the Hollywood couple who understood that
there are no myths of ‘happily ever after’.
They told us that we need to put effort into
our relationships. Every marriage has its
ups and downs – even (especially?) if you
are Hollywood celebrities who seem to have
it all. Ben acknowledged this to millions
from the podium that night in 2013 as he
addressed his wife: “I want to thank you…it
is work but the best kind of work and
there’s none I’d rather work with.” And
Garner responded as she told reporters
afterwards “I think he was saying, ‘Look,
what we have is real and I value it above
all and I’m in it with you and I know you
are in it with me.’”
And now they
announced they are getting divorced after 10
years of marriage.
No matter who you are or how many years
you've been married, divorce is painful. If
children are involved your lives are forever
Divorce is sometimes the necessary choice
to make. Some difficulties are
insurmountable. One need not be a celebrity
to grapple with addictions, abuse, and ugly
altercations that create flames of
dissension which consume both husband and
wife. At times a man or woman reaches the
breaking point feeling disrespected. When a
couple realizes that they cannot continue to
live together in peace, the Torah provides
us with divorce as an option.
But we must never come to this decision
lightly. Rabbi Elazar taught that the altar
in the Temple sheds tears when a couple
divorces. It is specifically the altar that
is mentioned because these stones help us
re-establish peace between man and His Maker
and bring us close once again. Now that
harmony has been lost, the altar itself
weeps for the pain this couple has suffered.
presence of God, departs from a home where
there is strife. The blessing ofshalom
bayis, peace in the home, is gone. This
precious blessing in a home should never be
taken for granted.
It is possible to breathe new life into a
marriage, despite some stormy seasons. Of
course, this is not an easy path. Creating a
marriage that endures is a humbling
experience. Sacrifice, intense efforts,
internal character growth, commitment, and a
true desire to make this marriage work all
help the quest for rebuilding the spiritual
sanctuary we call ‘home’. This journey is
not for those who simply give up.
5 Stages of
In my last article ‘Ben
Affleck on Marriage’, I spoke about the
ways we can work on our marriage and help it
grow stronger through the years. Keep
updated, make your marriage your priority,
show respect, do small acts of daily
kindness, and be positive were the 5 labors
Recognizing that marriage has its stages
gives us the wisdom to keep laboring and not
give up hope when times are tough.
1. The Passion
Intense feelings of desire and love,
seeing your spouse as ‘The One’, and
anticipating spending time together helps
you commit to one another. Little
irritations don’t bother you. Excitement and
discovery of this new person in your life
brings you positive energy and attitude.
2. Letting Go
of the Fantasy
Difficulty sets in when you realize that
(s)he is only human. Your spouse can get you
nervous with his nightly snoring or her too
loud laugh. You bicker. She seems too
sensitive, while he seems indifferent.
Disappointment sneaks in. You wonder if you
made the right decision. Children may add to
the equation as you argue about childcare,
household chores and finances.
Jennifer Garner herself said last year,
“When we had our first child we were babies.
It happened so fast, I hardly remember what
we were like before the kids got here.”
You are now at a crucial crossroads in
your marriage. Are you able to let go of the
fantasy? The journey starts here. Once you
comprehend that for marriage to endure you
need to set aside your Disney-like dreams
and deal with reality you are ready to live
as husband and wife. Getting married is not
the destination point, it is only the
beginning. The challenge is making it work.
3. Getting to
The labor of love begins. Working on a
relationship means that you will be using
spiritual muscles that you have hardly used
before. Forgiveness, understanding,
sensitivity, compassion, patience,
expressing gratitude, humility are all
character traits that help you reignite that
spark of love. Each day you work another
muscle-even if you are tired you don’t give
You have discovered that it is okay to
disagree as long as respect remains part of
the equation. Communication grows as you
refrain from put downs, snide remarks and
hurtful gestures. You decide to put a
positive attitude into the relationship by
developing your ‘ayin tov’, your
‘positive eye’. Work on blaming less and
listening to the other side more. Attend
workshops and Torah classes, read articles
and surround yourself with friends who
Some insightful questions to ask
Do I always need to win? Can I ever
Do I raise my voice, insult, degrade
or walk away?
Am I overly sensitive to criticism?
Do I hear another point of view?
Am I self-centered? Arrogant?
You have resolved to stop trying to
makeover your spouse. You have come to a
place of appreciation for the joy that love
brings. As years pass, you enjoy each
other’s company more. Instead of growing
apart, you have discovered your best friend.
You share memories and dreams for the
future. You have stopped struggling with
your differences and instead focus on the
treasure of having this other person in your
life. Trust fills your heart. Acceptance
grows along with a love that is mature yet
tender. Even tough times frighten you less
because your partner is at your side. You
know that you will endure.
Sadly, many couples never allow
themselves to reach the stage of peace.
Crisis or disappointment arrives and we
throw in the towel. Let’s remember that
marriage is our greatest source of blessing.
Homes filled with harmony becomes a resting
place for God’s presence. Yes, it does take
work. But the joy endures forever.
Someone Stole My Brain
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
Did your computer ever
just shut down! Did your phone ever just not
open? It's kind of like your car running out of
gas, in the middle of a 6 lane highway. You're
stuck, and overwhelmed, and ready to crash!
We are all so loaded
with information. Yet we can easily lose access
to it. And then- uuuuuhhhh, just the thought of
My friend told me her
son just retired at age 25. Sounds young huh?
Most people that age are still looking for their
first job. So, did he hit it rich you wonder?!
The answer - He was a computer technician! Now
you may think it's horrible to see people in
dental pain or in therapy coping with a life
crisis. Well, he said experiencing people in the
intensity and trauma mode they went in to when
their computer somehow failed , was so stressful
he needed to regroup and start again. Can you
relate to that?! Most people can. Everything is
in that little box or littler one.
Want to see my kids -
where's my phone.
Want to see my bank
account -where's my phone.
Want to see the weather
outside -where's my phone.
No one even thinks to
just look outside anymore. And trust me that's a
sure fire method to assess the weather.
We are so tied in to our
phones and computers. We'd sooner leave our kid
at home with someone we just met then entrust
our phone to them. Kids are resilient, made to
last, phones break in a minute.
Without access- I can't
cook anymore, my recipes are in there. I can't
call any one, my numbers are in there. I can't
go anywhere; my access to directions is in
there. I can't think anymore, my brain is in
We used to know where we
were going, what highway led to what highway.
Now we follow blindly. If we wind up in a ditch,
a dead end, or China - well, we just google,
activities to do in a ditch, dead end or China.
What else can we do? We are not in control
anymore. It's not our fault we didn't make it to
the wedding. Google took me here, so this must
be where I'm supposed to be! Wow if we could
just have that kind of faith in Gd!
We didn't use to know as
much. That's true. Science, technology, medicine
...we are light years ahead. But turn off access
and we are cavemen. We are storing everything
instead of internalizing it. We need to let
more go in and stay in our heads rather than our
instruments. Otherwise we are all reduced to
assistants and office managers for our
appliances. In other words light years ahead
....till there is a black out, then we are all
in too much dark!
So what's the antidote?
Put some pictures in an album! Listen to the
route you are taking maybe even look at a map!
You can even try to WRITE a letter, rather than
a text or email, before you lose that skill!
Progress is not a bad
thing unless it makes you regress. Expand,
don't just replace. Be multifaceted. That way
our brains will still feel useful. And we may
not get as down when our stuff goes down! Hey
who knows- maybe my friend's son may even be
willing to go back to work.
My husband says soon our
cars will be controlled by robotics. When they
go down we will all be stuck in the middle of
nowhere. Without the ability to get anywhere and
clueless as to where we are. So ... Just a
Thought - It might be worthwhile to still have
some manual skills and a working mind to apply
Wedding season is upon us. How do we hold
onto the spirit of those beginning days of
marriage and harness that positive energy to
keep our love alive?
A woman recently
confided to me that 15 years of marriage
have left her feeling bored. It’s not that
conflict exists; there’s just a lack of
passion. Many marriages fall apart not from
an increase in fighting and strife rather a
decrease in positive feelings. The
relationship seems tedious. We grow tired
and without realizing it move away from each
When we say that “marriage takes work” we
must focus on the type of work that builds
and does not destroy. I’ve spoken with
husbands and wives who insist that they’ve
put great efforts into their relationship.
But after some discussion, they come to
realize that all that they have been doing
is fruitless labor.
What Does Not
Trying to change our partner.
Marriage cannot be about looking to
transform the person you live with. This
causes more harm than good. You end up
feeling resentful and angry. Think about how
difficult it is to change oneself; now
multiply that over and over. Realizing that
you have not achieved results in your
partner leaves you with a bitter taste for
Bickering and Nagging
We can spend years discussing or
squabbling about the same issue. We haven’t
accomplished a thing. The conversation is
replayed; we fall into the same old pattern.
Instead of helping ourselves, we are slowly
dismembering the love that we have.
Recharge Your Relationship
Combat the feeling of boredom by plugging
in to your sources of energy. What gets you
excited? What would you look forward to
doing? Which experience makes you feel
joyful or gives you pleasure?
Instead of complaining that your spouse
is boring, take the initiative. Surprise
your spouse and plan time together doing
something new; or an activity that motivates
you to feel energized. Stop focusing on your
spouse’s lack of drive and you be the one to
breathe new life into the relationship.
Raise Your Partner
Too much time is spent knocking down
those we love. Whether it be through verbal
put downs, a sarcastic one liner or rolling
our eyes, we dismiss and disparage without
It’s those moments when we extend
ourselves that will help us recapture the
magic. Studies show that idealizing one’s
partner is a recipe for marital success.
Think about giving a word of appreciation, a
compliment and sharing a positive feeling
about your spouse. Give warmth, a hug; make
your spouse feel loved.
Instead of engaging in the negative,
break the cycle and find something good to
share. If you feel as if you are struggling
to find that good trait then you have
discovered where your work begins. Every
human being has been blessed with a spark of
the Divine. We simply forget how to focus on
the greatness that lies within and instead
fixate on that which irks us. Each of us
needs to feel valued and cherished.
Affection matters, both the physical and
Invest in Your Marriage
Any prosperous venture requires sweat,
sacrifice, and tireless dedication. We don’t
mind because we keep our eye on the goal. We
understand that the more we give the better
our chance of success. Marriage is no
Too many men and women mistakenly believe
that if they are the ones giving, they are
defined then as the ‘weaker one’. They stand
back and wait to ‘get,’ thinking that the
more they get the more powerful they stand
in the relationship.
On the contrary. Waiting to ‘get’ makes
one feel weak and dependent. Lack of giving
leads to disinvestment and waning passion.
Being a ‘giver’ means that you are an active
investor in this venture. Setting aside
time, sharing feelings - hopes, dreams and
disappointments, listening without checking
your iPhone, grooming oneself, writing a
loving text or card just ‘because’, even
taking on your spouse’s chore, all show that
you care and want to make this marriage
work. Nurture each other just as you did
when you first met. Don’t think of this as
your chore; think of it as your passion.
There is one last piece of advice I
recently received on rekindling the spark of
love that I’d like to share with you. These
words of wisdom came to me from my father 20
years after he left this world.
I received a call that a woman I knew was
sitting shiva for her father. We had grown
up together many years ago as little girls
on Long Island. My parents had been her
family’s Rabbi and Rebbetzen and there was a
sense of great warmth and closeness between
us and the congregation. Of course I wanted
to express my feelings of loss.
I took my seat in the shiva house waiting
for the mourner to acknowledge my presence
as is the custom. Though we hadn’t seen each
other for over 30 years it took just a
moment as recognition dawned upon her face.
She opened her mouth in astonishment and
gently told her mother who I was.
“You had a beautiful father,” I said. “He
always had a kind word and a smile on his
lips. And I remember his eyes. He had such
beautiful green eyes.”
Her eyes filled.
“You know that I have my father’s eyes?”
I looked closely. I had never realized it
but she did.
“And do you know what?” she added. “Every
day I wake up and look at my eyes in the
mirror and remember the words your father
gave us under the chuppah. Can I share them
I nodded, and she took out her wedding
album showing me a photo of a young couple
enveloped in love and magic with my father
standing before them.
“Your father told us that years will pass
and the day may come when we look at each
other and feel as if we somehow don’t
recognize one another. That seems impossible
now, it’s true. But he would like us to
recall his words and when that day may come
just take a moment. Don’t speak. Don’t say a
word. Just look at one another, look into
each other’s eyes. Because eyes never
change. And then we will remember. So often
through the years we drew upon your father’s
words. We just stopped, looked into each
other’s eyes and reminded ourselves of the
Now it was my turn for my eyes to fill.
What a feeling for me, to hear my
father’s words to this bride and groom from
years ago that I had never heard before.
Yes, it is possible to still feel love
and passion. Develop a positive
relationship. There will always be some
negative but work on maximizing the good and
minimizing the difficulties. Your actions
will neutralize the tough times. And take a
moment to stare into each other’s eyes.
Because eyes never change.
Joining Me On The Boardwalk?
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
Do you ever walk on the
boardwalk? What's the appeal? The endless
interesting sites? The sand, the ocean, the
sand, the ocean, the sand, the ocean! Maybe the
design of the planks? Diagonal, diagonal,
diagonal! Yet droves of people are pulled daily
to take a walk on the boardwalk. Oh yes it's the
breeze. Whoops forgot about that. That makes it
all worth the trek to the waterfront!
And did you ever notice
the rituals there? Like you get no credit for
walking the full length of the boardwalk, if you
don't touch the railing at each end. Forget that
your Fitbit said you walked 10 miles, if you
didn't tap the railing it doesn't count!
Walking has become -a
feat you get major recognition for. It is no
longer what we do when we place one foot ahead
of the other. It is something we get credit for,
just like attending the gym or working out with
a personal trainer. It used to be merely how you
got around but now if you put the words "let's
go walking or "I'm going walking" before
initiating this natural action it becomes a full
on aerobic workout.
It does make sense to
take advantage of this inborn gift. After all,
most other exercising involves a lot more
expense and equipment. Let me give you this
analogy. My son famously used to share the
advantages of thumb sucking, as he refused to
give it up. And after hearing his dissertation I
actually was tempted to take it up. He said
there's no better piece of equipment to deal
with nerves, or to aid with relaxation or
difficulty falling asleep. First he said it's
always with you. You can never leave it home or
be locked out of access to it. It's the right
price- it cost nothing. It's calorie free. It
travels free and it adds no weight. And it's
always available 24/7 at your beck and call. Can
you argue with any of that?!
Now think about feet for
walking, they kind of provide almost the same
services and advantages. Don't take this
lightly. Respect your feet. Take care of them
well. Get them a pair of new shoes once in a
while or treat them to a good soothing massage.
You certainly don't want them walking out on
Bike and you need a
Hike and you need some
Gym and you pay a hefty
Slim and your trainers
Run and your knees take
Sun and you’re passively
So just walk ---it's got
all of the benefits and none of the pit falls.
They say things like,
“Why does your skin jiggle or what are those
blue lines on your legs"? Excuse us, why are
they looking anyway, are they premed or
something? We don't ask them "Why are you so
small"? In fact we reassure them, they'll be
big and strong!
They ask "Are we there
yet", 2 minutes after we get into a car. They
know we are not just driving around the corner!
Well truthfully we are probably thinking that
same thing too! It seems we can't check Waze
They say "I hate you"
when we upset them. We say "I love you, but ",
when they upset us! Which seems the more
They say it like it is!
Then we teach them to say it like they should!
Both have a reality to
them. There's purity in expressing with honesty.
But, there's insensitivity to it, too. It is
said that "honesty is the best policy"! However,
there are qualifiers!
Not out loud, except if
unless it's nice.
Not uncensored, unless
Because honesty alone
is not the goal. Rather, honesty, expressed with
Not every honest thought
we have needs to be shared. There may also be
more ways to get across the same thing.
"Think before you
speak"! Now that's great advice. Except that is
not how a kid's mind operates. So kids will
continue to amaze and entertain us, with their
innocent and insulting queries, unless of course
we muzzle them.
Maybe that's why they
say "kids should be seen and not heard". I
actually love hearing them because ultimately
they are kids and that gives them certain
But now what about us?
I think we need to remember that when we speak
we no longer have 'kid dispensation'. We need to
monitor what we say and how we say it! Because
even though we are just kids stretched out a
bit, we are the ones who have earned the
licenses, the jiggly skin and the bald heads.
And along the way we did not love people being
blunt or thoughtless with us.
So when we communicate
let's take that extra second to think does this
need to be heard. And if so is there a better
way to say it? Because guess what - "adults say
the wildest things "-too!
“Please G-d, let me partner with You
and go beyond my constrictions to a
place of expansiveness. Everything that
happens is part of Your perfect training
& development program for me. Help me
respond in the most noble way- help me
judge favorably, have compassion, let go
of having to be in control and give it
over to You, G-d. Please bless me with
an amazing year of walking with YOU.”
1. G-D, You have an incredible
vision for all of humanity and for me. I
want to fulfill Your vision of greatness
for me more and more. Please show me
what I most need to see gently.
2. I want to recognize the gifts in
my life and see the totality of the life
You gave me, the blessings and the
challenges, as an expression of Your
love. Please fill my heart with
3. I want to transcend my greatest
obstacles to fulfill Your vision for me.
Please help me partner with You and go
from a place of constraints to a place
4. Please bless me with all the
resources I need to fulfill Your vision
for me. (health, clarity,
relationships, a job, place to live
5. I want to make You King by living
myself more according to Your Definition
of reality and Your instructions for
living. Please guide me.
6. I resolve that I want to be
connected to You, G-D, as the source of
my wellbeing in life. And not rely on
ANYTHING or ANYONE else. Please help me
remember that no one else has power.
7. I resolve that this moment is the
dawn of a new era in my life.
I stand before You, the Creator of
the Universe, my loving Father, I look
at the Rosh Hashanah prayer and of
course I want to be connected to You as
the source of all life, and be the
beautiful person You created me to be; I
definitely don’t want any of the
mistaken choices of the past to stand in
the way. Please help me repair whatever
needs fixing. I want this year to be
greater than any year I’ve ever had and
I want to be a bigger person than I’ve
ever been. Not just for my own sake but
for the Jewish people and humanity.
Please help me ask for the right things
and help me understand Your loving
I want today to be the dawn of a new
era in my life.
G-d, You know what I’m facing inside and
outside, please help me. “
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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