I'm sure no one believes
there is room in one body for more than one
mind, or room for more than one heart. And I'm
equally sure that most people believe that every
body needs its own mind and own heart. But
right now, I believe, we are all one body with
one heart and mind. Because Israel's fate is all
our fates! We are only safe, wherever we are, if
we know we always have a place to go home.
Home is that place we
are accepted for who we are. Home is that place
all our strengths are appreciated and our
shortcomings are overlooked. Home is that place
that welcomes us with open arms. Home is the
place we belong and no one tells us we don't!
Our home is not a large
one. It is a blip on a radar screen. It is
surrounded by hostile neighbors who would love
to post an evictions sign on our front door.
Even though we would gladly mind our own
business, if we just were left alone to enjoy
and thrive in our tiny little inheritance.
Though some of us are
spread out far from home, our life line comes
from the existence of our homeland. The last
time we didn't have it innumerable family
members were decimated and obliterated.
Our bodies, hearts, and
minds understand we must survive. Some have
differences, on how to accomplish that, but all
know we need to have a place that will embrace
us, no matter what.
Don't waste your
precious mind, don't neglect your needy body,
don't ignore your throbbing heart - put your
prayers, your energies, your commitment, toward
your home. Even when you’re living in your home
away from home!
Teaching our kids who they really are and what
makes them special.
My 12 year old,
Zack, is in 7th grade. At his middle school
there is a clique of 'popular' kids who have
begun having Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties. My
son, though he is kind, funny, intelligent
and warm, has always had a hard time making
many friends because of his shyness in
social situations. It's hard for him to be
social and he's not invited to most of these
Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties. Most of the kids
hand out sweatshirts as favors at their
parties. The Monday after their Saturday
night party, all of the kids who were at the
party come to school wearing the sweatshirt.
My son comes home many Monday's feeling sad.
Last Saturday night, my son attended a
party of a boy whose father does business
with my husband. (Which is why he was
invited since this boy doesn't really talk
to my son).When Monday morning came my
husband and I told Zack he was not allowed
to wear the sweatshirt to school because I
remembered the lessons you taught us about
teaching our children compassion. We told
him that just as his feelings were hurt on
so many Mondays, other children will be
hurting now. And it's also like bragging
that you went to a popular boy's Bar
Mitzvah. He listened but wasn't happy. When
he came home he said that all the kids who
were wearing their sweatshirts made the
others feel bad anyway so why couldn't he
wear his? I told him that regardless of what
others did he knew he didn't cause others
I feel like it was a character–building
experience that he will one day understand.
Please let me know if I did the right thing.
I read the email and had to pause for a
moment. I was incredibly moved by this
mother's courageous determination to teach
her child a lesson in compassion. After all,
wouldn't most parents want their children to
finally 'fit in' and wear the 'right shirt'?
But the truth is, this mother not only
taught her child to open his heart, she also
gave him the gift of self esteem.
Later that night, Amy and I spoke.
"The first thing I want you to do," I
began, "is to sit down with your son and
have a conversation. Tell him how proud you
are of the way he respected your decision,
even though it was difficult for him to
carry through. Too often we criticize our
children but neglect to tell them how proud
we are of them.
"Next, I would like you to explain to
Zack that when he feels hurt by other's in
life, he should always try to remember that
feeling so that he never inflicts pain on
anyone else. It would be so much easier, of
course, to just forget about the other kids
who are feeling sad and leave them behind.
But then what? You are acting the same way
as those who hurt you. The point of going
through something is not to grow
insensitive, but, rather, to grow from the
experience and become a kinder, more
compassionate human being. That way, you
know in your heart of hearts that you have
taken the higher road, and that is the
greatest road to take in life."
"That is exactly the lesson I wanted Zack
to walk away with," Amy said.
"But here is the greatest lesson of all,"
I added. "Think about this and ask Zack this
question. If these kids are being nice to
him and including him only when he wears the
'in' sweatshirt, what kind of friends are
these? What happens next week, when he's
back Monday morning without the right
sweatshirt on? Are they back to not
including him because he wasn't at the big
weekend party? If someone is your friend
only for the label on your shirt, is that
called a true friend? And then, if you lose
the label, do you lose your friends? Do you
lose your sense of self? Are you only as
good as the sweatshirt on your back? Ask
yourself, without this shirt, who am I?"
"I never thought of it like that," Amy
Angels on Earth
"Listen, Amy, I want to tell you a story,
and I want you to relay this story to Zack.
When my children were little we would often
stay at my parent's home for Shabbos. My
siblings would join us with all their little
ones and though space was tight, incredible
love and laughter filled the house. Friday
night, after finishing the meal, all the
cousins would gather together and ask my
mother to tell them a story. 'Bubba, can you
tell us about when you were a little girl?'
they would say.
"No matter how exhausted she was, my
mother would settle down with her sweet
grandchildren around her, waiting to hear
their Bubba's tales.
"One of my children's most requested
stories was my mother's description of
Shabbos in Bergen-Belsen. Each week, my
Zaydah, my grandfather, would set aside his
meager portion of stale bread. When Friday
night would arrive, Zaydah would gather his
children close, together with Mama, my
"'Close your eyes,kinderlach',
Zaydah would whisper. 'Imagine that you are
home and the Shabbos candles are lit. The
flames are dancing and Mama's challah is
warm. The house is filled with light.'
Zaydah would take out his hidden crumbs and
share them with us.
"Zaydah then began to hum'Shalom
Aleichem', the prayer we say to welcome
the angels into our home. For those few
minutes we were back home, away from all the
darkness. One week, my little brother called
out, 'Tatty, you are welcoming angels but I
don't see any angels here!' Zaydah began to
cry. He looked at us and said, 'You, my most
precious children, you are the angels.'
"'And you know what, my children?' my
mother asked. 'Each morning I had to stand
at roll call in the freezing cold. I was
dressed in rags, my head shaved, covered in
lice. I was starving. I looked at those Nazi
guards standing across from me in their
shiny boots and fancy uniforms, all neat and
perfect. But to me they had nothing and I
had everything. I would never in a million
years want to be one of them. I would rather
be barefoot and freezing but still be me,
the daughter of Zaydah and Mama, an angel
here on earth.'"
"Amy," I said, "Here is your opportunity
to teach Zack an incredible lesson for life.
It's not your sweatshirt, your iPod, your
sneakers or your car that defines you. It is
your heart, your soul, your deeds, and how
you impact others in this world that tells
you who you are. Especially now, when we are
all feeling the 'economic crunch', and we
are unable to give our children so many of
the things we've taken for granted, we need
to give our kids a true sense of what really
counts in life. Really, who are you and what
makes you special?"
"I can't wait to speak to Zack," Amy
said. "There is so much I want to share with
him. You're right, we have been feeling
stressed from all the financial pressures
right now…and I know that if I give Zack an
understanding of who he is I'll be giving
him one of the greatest gifts a parent can
give a child."
Recently, I received an email from Amy:
I just dropped Zack off at school. It's
Monday! As he was getting out of the car,
Zack turned to me and said, Look Mom, there
are all those kids in those silly
sweatshirts; and then he laughed. And I
laughed too. Thank you for helping me teach
my son one of the greatest lessons of his
It is up to us, parents, to ask
ourselves: Who am I? What defines me? And
how do my children define themselves? If we
are able to discover our sense of self
beyond the cars that we drive and the labels
on our backs, we will then be able to impart
to our children a greater understanding of
'self'. They will be fortified to climb the
many mountains that life's challenges bring.
And that is 'true' self esteem.
Help Me I’m Falling And I Can’t Get Up!
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
Does anyone like falling?
At any age? The scraped knees, the bruised hips,
the broken bones. Why would anyone want to fall
at any stage?
Then why do people want to
fall in love? Falling usually leaves you in a
state of pain or at the very best it doesn’t
harm you. But a positive outcome from a fall?
Never seen it.
That’s the problem. It’s a
misnomer. You are set up to fail right from the
start. You are freefalling and there is nothing
to stop you from hitting the ground.
Love needs to be an action
not the destination you plunge to. Especially,
because even with a soft landing, you can fall
out of something you fell into just as
haphazardly. For instance -Last night I was
exhausted I fell into bed. This morning I was
rested, I fell right back out-just 8 hours
Love needs to be a verb not
a noun. Love needs to be an action you can
control not an inanimate object like a place you
land when you’re thrown off kilter.
If love is good -we want to
have some control in keeping it around. An
“Object” is usually limited an “action” is
usually infinite- as long as you can keep doing
So how can we keep love
Easy- keep loving!! The
Aha, there’s the rub. How
do we keep the action of love going? First let’s
get an operational definition of the word -
There are 2 important
Maimonides says love is
seeing and focusing on the virtues in another
person. Oh sure - Easy enough when you first
meet someone and are excited about them! But
with a little bit of familiarity comes the
unfortunate reality that people have a “tad bit”
of imperfection, as well.
So what’s a person to do
when they start seeing those imperfections?
Well – to keep loving
someone, you need to keep focusing on their
strengths. I’m not saying you absolutely cannot;
notice, mention, work on, discuss, figure out,
etc. how to accept their “tiny imperfections”.
I’m just saying you need to keep those
“Wonderful virtues”, strengths, positive
qualities, gifts they have, front and center.
This is one very important secret to loving!!!!
Get it- it takes an action- to keep putting
those virtues back into the front and center
when they get pushed aside. That will definitely
keep you actively loving!!
The other element of
loving, is one a new born figures out
immediately upon passing through the birth
canal. Imagine that- and I need to tell it to a
literate, educated adult like yourself! To
keep someone loving you- you need to incline
them to keep GIVING to you. Every kid makes it
so easy for their parents. They demand and
demand and d..e..m..an..d and the parent gives
and gives and- voila, as drained and depleted
as they are, the parent, has totally become a
Why is this so hard to do
with a peer or a mate? Well, since you don’t
meet a peer in as helpless a state ,one
figures they don’t need to do as much for them
: After all , They can feed themselves. They are
thankfully, toilet trained. They can even get
themselves, everywhere they need to go. They
seem completely independent. There’s where the
trouble exists. Expectations!! A kid is
expected to be dependent and demanding. A peer
But the trick is to take
your cue from a drooling, crying, babbling,
baby. That baby knows how to make a lover out of
someone- just let them give. So, if you want to
be a lover, you must give to someone else! They
may not need a bottle or pacy or a push in a
stroller but they do need: help, support,
thoughtfulness, gifts, attention, affection,
Remember you don’t want to
be the person going to a party alone, called-
“stag” rather you want to have someone with
you , and the best way to get that is-
“stgag” ( see the good and give). So stop
reading this and take action. Go love someone.
It might take a little more active effort but
it’s definitely a lot less painful than taking a
TODAY IS MY JEWISH BIRTHDAY. AN OPPORTUNITY TO
BLESS YOU ALL AND THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS:
1. First and foremost all those who are ill
should have a speedy recovery, especially Zev
yehuday ben faigel and aryeh ben chaya sarah.
2. God should grant us everything we want, but
only for the good.
3. God should grant us the wisdom to see all the
blessings around us, especially those we take
for granted, inlcuding nature. 4. It was exactly
a year ago that I landed in the hospital with my
back injury, and believe me when I tell you that
being able to get out of bed and walk should not
be taken for granted. This is the Hebrew month
of Iyar which is an acronym for Ani Hashem
Rofechah/I am God your healer. 5. We should all
have whatever kind of healing we need. 6. God should
grant us and our partners and children with the
ability to have an easy income, and one that we
enjoy and the wisdom to know that every client
that calls and walks through the door is a
blessing, espcially in this economy. 7. There are many
who are in pain. If that is what is meant to be,
then God should give us the ability and wisdom
to turn these pains into moments of growth or
growing pains. If we are given a heavy boulder,
let's turn it into a stepping stone. 8. Today in the
omer it is the day of Bonding in Bonding. Lets
take a moment to recognize that God gave us a
divine soul that is nurturing and loving and we
must learnt to recognize the voice within, which
will allow us to experience other peoples hearts
and souls. Do me the honor on
this birthday of taking out one minute to say a
chapter in Psalms and put a few cents in the
I am turning 49 today. It is the number of
gates of impurity the Jews were in before they
were redeemed from Egypt. It is also the number
of days between Passover and Shavuoth, the day
the Torah was given to us. We need each day to
pull us out of each gate of impurity. In the 49th
year, we prepare to go from the decade of binah/wisdom
to the decade of counsel/eitzah. Fifty was the
age at which the Levites were no longer
considered for for heavy work, but continued to
act as guides and counselors to the younger
Levites. At this age one can draw on her life
experience and intellect to advise others.
Those who are looking for a spouse should find
the right person at the right time. There
should be shalom bayis/harmony in the family.
Those who are looking to have children should
conceive easily, have an easy pregnancy and
labor and yiddisher nachat from their children.
Finally, as always, may God speed us the Messiah
immediately. More than anything, which includes
everything, we need redemption.
Stressful times produce stressful kids. How can
we empower our children as we empower ourselves?
The kids are not all right.
Last week I
met Emily, a sweet 11-year-old who came to
speak with me in anticipation of her Bat
Mitzvah. After talking together for a few
minutes, Emily’s sparkling eyes grew
serious. “Slovie, can I tell you something?”
“Sure, sweetie, what is it?”
“I’m really scared. There are people that
I know who are sick and I’m afraid that
someone I love will get sick or get into a
car accident or something. And some kids in
my class, well, their parents lost their
jobs and they have to sell their house and
move now. They’re really sad. I stay up at
night thinking about all this and I get a
scary feeling inside.”
We live in challenging times. Our world
is changing drastically and there are
moments when we all feel vulnerable. We
stress about our jobs, our families, our
future, and our children feel our strain.
Children sense their parents' pressures.
They feel worried, sad and frustrated.
Nearly one third of children interviewed in
a new American Psychological Association
study said that they had stress related
headaches and stomachaches. 91% of kids said
they know when their parents are stressed
because they see them arguing and
complaining or because their parents won’t
spend time with them.
Sue Shellenbarger writes in the Wall
Street Journal’s work and family column that
“A new generation gap is emerging between
American parents and their kids.” She
concludes that this gap isn’t about chores
around the house or nighttime curfews;
rather it’s all about our stress and how it
affects our children.
Anxiety is catchy. It becomes easy for
children to feel our tensions and grow tense
In such challenging times, it is almost
impossible for us to live stress-free lives.
Life is filled with struggles. There are
times that we must confront frightening
health issues, relationship problems,
tension with children, or financial
challenges. Some parents try to guard their
children from the storm but kids know that
something is going on. They see past the
masquerade of frozen smiles and overly
cheerful voices. They grow even more
frightened as they imagine the worst and try
to overhear hushed conversations.
While we do not have to give our children
inappropriate details, we must acknowledge
our children’s fears.
Storms will rage. One day our children
will be forced to face their own struggles.
If we could teach our children how to handle
stress without falling apart, we impart
tools for life.
How can we empower our children as we
Our children know that we are stressed
even if we think they don’t. The mood in the
house is tense; you sense it the minute you
walk in. When we are overwhelmed it becomes
easy to snap. Our patience is short.
“Mommy, can you help me with
“Daddy, can you play a game of catch
“LATER! I’M BUSY!”
You didn’t mean to answer with that harsh
tone. You feel awful when you see your
child’s face react to your sharp response.
But what could you do? You are overloaded,
short on time and patience.
Take a breath. Concede to yourself that
you are going through challenging times. Be
sure to take some quiet time out for
yourself each day even if it’s just for a
short walk or thoughtful prayer.
Resolve that you will not allow your
stress to impact your children’s nature.
Your temper will only destroy your children
as you diminish yourself.
Your children are seeking answers.
Reassure them that despite the hardships
faced, your love is unconditional and
forever. You are here for them. Tell them
that you are doing your best and ultimately,
things will be okay.
Carve Out Time with Your Kids
Spending time with children shows them
that we love them. We do not need to take
them on exotic vacations or thrilling day
trips to express our emotions. Reading or
baking together, sharing an ice cream, going
for a bike ride, playing a game, sitting at
the table for dinner as a family – all these
little actions reassure our children that we
are here for them and enjoy their company.
Don’t lose your sense of humor. Laugh out
Good times together build memories of joy
instead of painful recollections of a
childhood filled with negative vibes and
Model An ‘Up’ Attitude
Your children hear your words, observe
your actions, and watch your reactions. If
you do not allow challenges to get you down,
your kids will pick up on your positive
attitude. They will learn the power of
resilience; the strength that we infuse in
our homes when we resist the pull of
pessimism. It is easy for worry to turn into
hopelessness and in the process we lose our
Sure, this is easier said than done. But
as we empower our children, we empower
ourselves. And think of what is at stake.
Raising a child when all is well is
simple compared to bringing a child up while
faced with difficult challenges. This may be
the greatest battle of our lives.
I was driving a carpool when a child in
the back seat piped up with a request.
“Mrs. Wolff, can you please turn onto
the news station? You know, the one that has
all the news all the time”
“No problem, but why would you want that
station?” I asked.
“I want to know how the stock market did
today,” was the reply. “I need to know what
mood my father’s in before I get home. If
it’s down, I can’t talk to him.”
This true story says it all. Let us ask
ourselves: what is the aura in our home? Are
we pushing our children away as we try to
shoulder our burdens?
When faced with darkness we can either
fall into despair or kindle a light. Our
choice molds the next generation.
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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