Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
I recently heard that an acquaintance of mind got divorced for the 2nd time. The marriage had lasted a very short time, but I was not surprised. Her reason for getting married was flawed – she hated being single. She hated being a single parent even more. While I can understand her anxiety at being “normal” again, and wanting to “be like everybody else” those reasons tend to blind people to troubling characteristics of a prospective spouse.
Many years ago, I had the misfortune of being set up with a man who sounded just wonderful. He was highly educated, good-looking and a brilliant conversationalist. Over the phone he was easy to talk to and delightfully witty. He was even willing to fly to Toronto from New York to meet me! It became apparent to me, however, after spending some time with him, that he was a “toxin” on feet. Luckily I had the self-esteem to not allow this poisonous person to be a part of my life and my family’s.
What was it that gave me insight into what this “catch” was all about? A simple remark. Upon noticing my kids’ ice-skates and hockey sticks in the closet as I took out my coat, he asked me about their after school activities. I told him that they played ice hockey in a league that had been set up by shomer Shabbos parents and games were played on week day evenings. As we were talking, the boys were running around chasing one of their pet gerbils that had escaped from its cage. In answer to his unspoken question, I told him that my kids had several gerbils, an iguana and turtles. I personally could have done without these critters and the mess they make, but when the kids asked for pets, I acquiesced, feeling that taking care of dependent animals would teach them responsibility and compassion.
My date quickly informed me that if we ended up getting married, the boys would have to give up their hockey and other sports activities since it took time away from Torah learning. “But exercise enhances one’s ability to learn – it increases blood flow to the brain making you more alert” I pointed out to him, reminding him that he told me he jogged. Well jogging did clear his mind for Torah, he declared but playing hockey was a game and bitul z’man. As for the pets, being treif animals they did not belong in a Jewish home and I would have to get rid of them.
The only animal I got rid of was him.
The issue here isn’t whether Jews should own non-kosher pets or whether sports take way from limudei kodesh. The real point is that this “charming, educated man” was a control freak, a tyrant who gave no thought at all to the feelings or opinions of anybody else. He assumed that as the husband and “father” he was going to be the baal habayis, the master of the house, his word the household’s command.
The true issue here was that his view of marriage was a dictatorship.
Unfortunately for him – my view of marriage is that of a partnership. Both husband and wife should have equal say in running the household and any differences of opinions are to be discussed and resolved to both parties’ satisfaction. In terms of my own family’s dynamics the kids, as members of the household, were entitled to a voice and an opinion and had the right to choose activities and hobbies that gave them a creative or athletic outlet as long as it was within a halachic framework. How else can children grow up to be confident, frum and well-rounded individuals unless they are given the opportunity to think for themselves and partake in Hashem’s creations. Building snowmen and having a snowball fight can be a kiddush Hashem for a child – as is something as simple as petting a goat in a zoo.
Unfortunately there are many single parents in today’s heimishe community – due to an untimely death or divorce. Many are anxious to remarry and become part of the mainstream society. However, mothers and fathers who are dating have to be extra mindful of who they may be making a commitment to. The relationship a new spouse will have with ones’ children can either make them or break them as well adjusted future adults. Don’t let your anxiety to remarry make you vulnerable to “falling in” with a toxic person who will verbally if not physically abuse you and your children by being controlling, critical, hot-tempered or close-minded.
In my opinion, the ideal step-parent – especially when there are older children at home as opposed to infants and toddlers – should act like a loving aunt or uncle. Someone who has a deep interest in the child’s welfare and has a warm and generous relationship (in terms of attention given or time spent on activities), but who does not act like a parent. Gradually as the years go by and trust and love develops the step-parent – if invited by the child – can take a more hands on approach.
You not only owe it to yourself to not let your eagerness to remarry color your judgment. You owe it to your kids and their future well-being.
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Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chavrusa working with you, guiding and helping you in your work environment?
What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.
Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”
Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
Imich was born in 1903 in Poland, where he later earned his Ph.D. in 1927, despite the best efforts of anti-Semitic professors to sabotage his thesis
Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.
Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.
Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
But even though their medical situations were similar, how they mentally dealt with their new status quo was often as different as night and day.
How confusing it was growing up with conflicting messages. On the one hand, we were told, even admonished, to eat everything on our generously piled up plates (it was a sin to waste food), yet we were made to feel like we were a lower form of human being if we were overweight.
While in New York recently, I was invited to see a performance of “Waiting for Godot” – a multi-layered play on the human condition that I was introduced to in high school. What was fascinating and unique about this particular production was that this renowned play was being performed in Yiddish – with English and Russian subtitles beamed onto a screen for non-Yiddish speakers. (Staged by the New Yiddish Rep, at the Castillo Theatre, and directed by Moshe Yassur, it stars Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum, Rafael Goldwaser, Avi Hoffman and Nicholas Jenkins.)
Now and then my Bubby would open up about what she went through in the camps, of what she witnessed… From time to time she would talk about her baby sisters – twins – and how she would sew them identical dresses and braid their hair the same way challenging everyone to guess who was who.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/thinking-before-you-leap/2005/03/09/
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