For Israel's Anglo olim (immigrants), the name Givat Shmuel conjures up a marriage scene to rival that of New York's Stern University for Women. Home to hundreds of young English-speakers studying at the adjacent Bar-Ilan University, Givat Shmuel has produced a vibrant, growing community of overseas students – and a reputation for their enthusiastic coupling. Each year, the community watches as many new couples are formed, engagements are announced and weddings are celebrated.
While things might have seemed very strange in this foreign college environment, especially because I was tossed in without any roadmap to help me navigate and understand the kinds of things I was seeing all around me, there was one area I was not worried about: academics. Northeastern Illinois has a rather derogatory nickname, “Northeasy," and it does not have a very good academic reputation. I didn’t think my classes would be very hard at all.
In February, Chessed Yad L’Yad, Kiryat Mattersdorf’s local chesed organization, celebrated forty years of active involvement in the community. Beged Yad L’Yad, the Hand-Me-Down Pass-Me-On clothing gemach, was a natural subsidiary, especially with dozens of Anglo-Saxon families receiving clothing packages from abroad.
Less than two weeks before Pesach and days after the Toulouse tragedy, where a woman lost her husband and two sons in a terrorist attack, my son and I were discussing another horrible tragedy that had befallen a family in Rehovot, a young woman who had lost her husband and five young children in a fire.
Pesach is the time of redemption and salvation, which can often come from the most unexpected sources. Such is the story of a boxing title fight in Yankee Stadium that launched a young boy from Russia on a journey to discover his Jewish heritage in Israel.
Ever since I’ve started writing “You’re Asking Me?” people have been writing in to ask for advice, like they expect me to have all the answers. Seriously. Don’t these people have any friends? Or anyone else they can ask?
If you are anything like me, Chol Hamoed can be just the teeniest bit stressful. Okay, maybe very, very stressful. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
Although I was very aware that who I was and how I acted would seem out of place to the diverse student population at NEIU, I never really thought about how unusual their cultures would be for me.
Bat Melech, Israel’s most comprehensive network of social service for victims of domestic violence, has reached across the Atlantic for assistance, hoping to create a funding base in America in order to be able to help even more women in crisis.
Horses and buggies? Gas lights on streets? Did my mother grow up in the Dark Ages of History? She told me about living in buildings without elevators, where no apartment had its own bathroom. Years later I decided it was like my college dorm in the 1950's when I had to climb stairs to my room on the 4th floor, and a bathroom with showers was at the end of each floor’s hallway; no big deal.
The family: My name is Ora Ohana. My husband Gadi and I have eight children: Odaiya (30) who is married with four children, lives at the Ein Tzurim caravilla site; Eliyasaf (29) who is married with three children, lives in K'far Tapuah; Elyakim (27) is married with one daughter and lives in Pisagot; Hadass (26) is married with two children and lives at the Ein Tzurim caravilla site; Amitzur (21) has finished the army and learns at the Yeshiva Gevoha in Dimona; Benaya (19) will be enlisting in the army; Tamar (16), is a student at Ulpanat Neve Dekalim and No'am (12) is a student at Talmud Torah Atzmona, Shomriya.
A traditional Purim in Hong Kong requires an obligatory visit to Pottinger Street in the bustling Central District. Also known locally as Stone Step Street, Pottinger Street is more of a steep, irregularly paved pedestrian stone path (with steps too small for Western feet) than a street. My children run ahead up the stone slabs as I carefully balance my size nine feet on the thin, uneven stairs. My five year old stumbles but quickly recovers and catches up to the big kids.
At certain points in each of our lives, we are given challenges – some big, some small. Some people embrace it, welcoming every chance they get to grow and mature, while others are deathly afraid of any sort of change in their blissful, comfortable routine.
I know I’m going to be crucified, but if the appeal I make below helps even one girl in shidduchim, then it will be worth all the fury and outrage that shall inevitably descend upon my soon-to-be beleaguered head.
Tanya Rosen is the owner of Shape Fitness. She recently released a kosher, home-workout DVD for women. Dr. Natalie Zelenko is employed as a radiologist at the Cancer Center at Maimonides Medical Centers. Igor Lempert works as an actuary for New York Life. What they and thousands of others share is a life of Torah Judaism, despite having been raised in secular environments and due to the education and warmth they received at Be’er Hagolah Institutes.
This article has been moved to here: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/purim-and-the-tyranny-of-beauty-a-plea-to-mothers-of-girls-in-shidduchim/2012/03/19/ Sorry for the inconvenience.
As some of you may know, either through my previous articles, numerous online posts, or non-stop chatter about the topic, I recently had the pleasure of attending Yachad’s marathon weekend event in Miami Beach, Florida. I was invited to participate in this incredible experience, both as a writer and as a runner, and to feel firsthand what the words unity, commitment, dedication, and inspiration truly mean.
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we answer questions sent in by confused readers who thought they were writing in to Dr. Yael. That said, I’d like to thank all the readers who wrote in. I’m going to attempt to address your questions, not so much because I know the answers, but more so that I have an excuse to get out of cleaning for Pesach.
The real question is "What is happiness?" We seem to be a very unhappy generation. Even when we say “This makes me happy”, “I am happy”, “I would be happy if you would do this”, “I will be happy to do that”, do we really mean happiness? Do we even know what happiness feels like?
I hate to tell you this, but Pesach without pressure is a myth. No matter what anyone tells you (and it’s usually men who tell you that Pesach preparations can be tension free), it just doesn’t exist. To be fair, I don’t know that there is any major holiday or occasion that doesn’t involve some kind of pressure. Eliminating the stress entirely is not a realistic goal. But minimizing it is.
Jonathan, who once wondered how he would ever get his son close to Hashem, now knows he wasn’t the only one who wanted it. Hashem had an interest in it as well, and made it all come together.
This Purim centerpiece is sure to keep all your guests “hanging around” until dessert. It can be put together on any level, from simple backyard branches with plain gingerbread man cookies dangling, to curly willow branches with elaborately decorated royal iced gingerbread man cookies – and everything in between! Before you can say all of Haman’s 10 sons in one breath – the cookies will be gone.