(Names have been changed)
This world is full of goodness. People are generous and caring and willing to help. As we age, we sometimes lose focus on what is good around us and (if only for a while) wallow in the experiences that have upset us and caused us pain. Our perspective gets distorted and we see evil where there is none intended, and cruelty in the place of thoughtlessness.
We embrace grudges and hang them in gold frames in the living room of our mind. Well spouses fall prey to this perhaps more often then the rest of us as they cope with the hardships of their daily lives. What often rescues us is the perception of children. Clear and undistorted by years of disappointment, children often remind us that people are basically good and caring. Their view of the world, their generosity of spirit, help us take down the grudge picture and remind us that the world is full of positives. All we have to do is be willing to see them.
“It had been the hardest two years I could remember. I was a “veteran” well spouse and thought I had been through it all. For more years than I’d like to remember, I had dealt with the ups and downs of the disease and always managed. But this time it was different. Perhaps it was harder because I was getting older, or more tired, or more depressed. Perhaps it was because my children were gone and the need to be strong for them was no longer there. Whatever the reason, I found myself forgetting to pay bills, keep appointments, and I was generally taking longer to do everything.
I prioritized and way down on my list was the gifts I owed. My refrigerator seemed wallpapered with invitations to weddings, bar mitzvas, graduations and birth announcements. It was my filing system. I kept the invitations on the fridge until the gift was sent. As some of these invitations were by now almost two years old, I decided it was time to take a day and catch up with my gift giving. I did it resentfully, without my usual joy in sharing thoughts of happy occasions, wishing I could use the time for something more self-indulgent.
With each delayed gift went a note of explanation about my husband’s deteriorating health over the past two years, and an apology for the lateness of the gift. It was only when I received this thank you note from a Bar Mitzva Boy whose Bar Mitzva was almost two years ago that I did a complete turn about. Here was a teen, an age that is synonymous with self-indulgence, showing more generosity of heart than I had shown for a long time. His note pulled me out of my depression, as his selflessness and generosity made me ashamed of my own self absorbed behavior.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. T…
Thank you for the money and the card. It was very generous of you. In your letter to me, you said that you were sorry that you were late. After reading your card, I realized that you shouldn’t be sorry at all. I thank you for being one of the few people in this world who puts others in front of themselves. I am going to take $25 from what you gave me and I am going to give it to a fund to try and help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
Miriam continues: “I have kept this letter. It is hanging on my fridge where I can see it every day. It is still surrounded by invitations that need gifts sent. But I send these gifts with a more joyous heart now, celebrating the milestones they honor. Whenever I see this note, my heart sings. No matter how difficult my day may have been, I feel joy. I feel joy and gratitude that a young teen reminded me of the generosity and caring of people, and that the world is indeed full of goodness.”
Posts Tagged ‘Bar Mitzva’
(Names have been changed)
In the past few years, quite a few programs have been released to the public that help make tracing your lineage a lot easier. However, for the Jewish community at large, extra features are required that have not been addressed in these programs. That is until recently, with the release of Doro Tree. Not only does Doro tree create a family tree, it is packed with a bunch of extra goodies that I am sure you will appreciate.
Doro Tree is a most excellent program that outranks many of the secular programs that are available today. For instance, one of the most annoying and difficult things to do is keep track of a person’s Hebrew and secular name. In most of the programs out on the market, you can’t even insert Hebrew. While with Doro Tree, this is not an issue.
The program comes in several languages. They are all on one disk and integrated into the program. For instance, if you like you can use the program in English, Hebrew, French, Spanish, or Portuguese. When using the English, don’t worry about not being able to use the Hebrew – the program allows you to integrate it without difficulty.
Also, you can choose which format in which you would like the dates to appear.
O.K. You have installed the program, and you are just about to get started, but you realize that for some of your deceased relatives you only have the secular date on which they passed away. To make matters worse, it is too far back in time to find that exact Hebrew date.
Solution: Simply put the date into the program and the converter will get the Hebrew date for you. (Please note: It is important to know if the relative passed away during twilight. If in fact the relative passed away during sunset/twilight, you should consult a rabbi as to what day the Yahrtzeit should be celebrated.)
The same goes with finding a Hebrew name (although today many people do not give English names corresponding to the Hebrew name).
However, if you are sure that a relative was given an English name that is similar to the Hebrew name, the converter will give you the Hebrew name you are most probably looking for.
When entering a person’s information, you can insert their, title, first name, birth date and day of death. There is an option to check off if the time of birth or time of death occurred at sunset. (This option will figure out if the Hebrew day is that day or the following day. However, a rabbi should be consulted to make sure of the exact day.)
Also, you have the option to note the birthplace, place of death and cemetery and whether the person was male or female.
After entering the basic information, you can store the person?s information, address, telephone, fax, e-mail, comments, etc. There is an information tab where you can store general information about the person i.e. former names, aka occupation, etc.
There is also a tab where you can store the person’s medical information, notes and a picture of the person.
One of my favorite features is the option of checking off whether the person is a Kohen, Levi or Yisrael, and if they belong to a particular Chassidus. This is a definite first for genealogy programs and a great feature.
The ability to generate reports is very flexible and comes with quite a few options. The user can generate detailed ancestor, descendant, Doro Tree reports.
The options in these reports let the user decide from which generation the report should be generated and whether it should be from the current person or any of the other people that are inserted into the Doro Tree program.
The ancestor, descendant, and Doro Tree reports allow you to create the reports vertically or horizontally and with the choice of including the family members’ pictures in the report.
You can also create a family group. The family group will show you that person’s immediate relatives (i.e. wife and children with their spouses) where the person lives and his or hers contact information. Also, the family group is displayed with English and Hebrew. In addition, you can change around the settings such as the fonts, back color, the page border, and the margins.
If you want something simpler, you can generate a simple outline report that just lists all of those particular person’s descendants. To help you view the report better, you can zoom in and out of the report with the option to print.
If you are the type that likes to have everything organized in alphabetical order, this program will not disappoint you. It can generate an alphabetical list. The list shows you the person’s name, date of birth, gender, and their Doro Tree number, aligned side by side with the same information in Hebrew. The lists views can be adjusted and has the same options as the family group report.
Have you ever met someone that you know is related to you, but you are not sure how? The program comes with a kinship calculator that will make everything clear. You can also generate a kinship report which will list all the members of your family and how they are related to you.
There is a convenient feature that makes keeping track of Yahrtzeits a cinch. The Yahrtzeit table generator will generate a table listing all the Yahrtzeits in a clear organized fashion. You can also create calendars that contain birthdays, Yahrtzeits, etc. and the option of printing it out on paper or converting it to html.
Mazel Tov! It’s a boy!
Now you are trying to figure out when his Bar Mitzva will be. Very simple! Just use the Bar Mitzva calculator to find that special date. Making a Simcha? Want to send out New Year greeting cards to all your relatives? The program has the ability to make address lists and even create labels.
The program is compatible with any PC running windows 95 or higher and only takes up approximately 20 MB (megabytes) on your hard drive. The computer should also have at least 32 MB of Ram and a Pentium processor.
As you can see, this program is packed with many great features that go beyond what is expected from a family tree software program. Therefore, this is something every family should consider purchasing. The software can be purchased online at websites such as www.davka.com and the like or at your better local Jewish bookstore.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:
Over the years, my family and I have been reading your column regularly, and I must commend you for the way in which you bring critical issues to the attention of the Torah community. I always marvel at the variety of subjects that are aired in your column, and every time you focus on a story, I ask myself what other issues can be left, but then, amazingly, your readers come up with a subject that has hitherto not been discussed. Well, I think that the subject that I am now bringing before you has yet to be aired.
My husband and I are the proud parents of six children, bli ayn hara. We are Yeshivishe people and live on a modest, tight budget. My husband is a rebbe in a yeshiva and learns the remainder of the day. I also teach, and between our two incomes we manage, although it’s difficult.
Recently, we had a Bar Mitzva for our son. For months prior to the simcha, we were debating as to how we should celebrate. My parents are not religious people. They are American in every way, and I became a ba’alas tshuva while in high school. My husband is also a ba’al tshuva, but he came to Torah when he was still in elementary school. He was influenced by Orthodox neighbors with whom he remains close to this day.
The reason why I am going into all this detail about our family background is so that you may appreciate the many problems engendered by our Bar Mitzva preparations. Both sets of parents insisted that we have a catered affair with music, etc. As I said, we are Yeshivishe, and that’s not our style. We would have been content with just a kiddush in a shul with our son reciting his pshetel (bar mitzva discourse). My husband and I felt, however, that our parents have had to accept so many changes in our lives that the least that we could do for them would be to try to accommodate them since their request was not in conflict with Torah. We took a catering hall and the simcha was great, but the cost was also great. As much as we tried to stick to a budget, additional costs kept cropping up. Once you become involved in something like this, you want everything to be as nice as possible, so you say ‘yes’ to many little things and before you know it, you’re in over your head.
But for all this, I am willing to accept responsibility. We made the decision … we wanted to please our parents, and Baruch Hashem, we accomplished that. But what we found very annoying, indeed, unforgivable, was the lack of consideration shown by many of our guests.
Like all ba’alei simcha, it took some time for us to draw up the guest list, adding, then cutting, trying to make certain that no one was insulted. Every guests represents an expenditure, and for people like us, that’s no small consideration. We were told by friends who had gone through the same experience, that we shouldn’t be afraid to invite more guests than we could handle because there is always a tremendous fall-off. On the average, they said, only 75 percent of those invited attend. To our surprise however, 95 percent responded in the affirmative, which was more than we had bargained for. But still, we were delighted to know that so many friends wanted to join us in our simcha.
And now, the reason for this letter: Of the 95 percent who responded that they would come, only 85 percent actually showed up! And even of those who did show, there were a number who stayed only for the smorgasbord, and left before we even sat down to the seudah (dinner), which of course, would have been fine, had they not indicated in their response that they were planning to stay for the entire dinner. We, of course, had to pay, regardless of the fact that their chairs were empty. You can’t imagine how aggravated I was when I walked around the room greeting out guests and finding empty chairs at every table. It’s not just the lack of consideration, but the sheer waste of money and food.
The Torah admonishes us not to be a ba’al tashchis (not to be wasteful), and some of these friends failed to take our feelings and resources into consideration. Besides, I must tell you that it was very depressing to see all the empty seats. We had worked so hard to make compatible table partners, and then to see that all our efforts were for naught, was to say the least, upsetting.
Initially, I was angry, but now that some time has passed, I have decided to channel that anger in a positive direction, so I am writing to you to make people aware that it is far better to say ‘no’ to an invitation than to respond with a ‘yes’ and then not show up. And if you plan to come to the smorgasbord and not stay for dinner, then have the courtesy to inform your host. Why should you cause someone financial loss and create hurt feelings?
I hope Rebbetzin, that you will publish this letter. I really feel that by airing these problems you are performing a great service to the Jewish community.
May you go ‘from strength to strength’ in all your wonderful undertakings.