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May 30, 2016 / 22 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘dr’

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Dear Readers:

Last week we featured a letter of chizuk from a woman who first found her bashert at the age of 37. She discussed some of the challenges she faced on her journey and shared some pointers for those who are still searching.

 

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt and important letter! Your story is extremely inspiring and gives hope to those still struggling to find the right person to marry. You are absolutely correct that age and nuances in frumkeit are not as important as basic middos and an overall frumkeit match! Being open-minded is integral when you are in shidduchim.

You mentioned that the hardest part was other people’s pitying stares. If all anyone walks away from your letter with is an extra sensitivity to this issue, it will be worth it. No one likes to be pitied and we must remember that most people are doing the best they can in the situation they are in and we should always treat people the way we would want to be treated.
A large part of the “shidduch crisis” is age. As you noted, this is an area in which men would benefit from being open-minded. Men generally start dating at an older age, so right away there are about three times as many eligible women, which makes things more difficult. If men were more willing to date women who were older, they would be introduced to many amazing girls and women.

While it is important to think out of the box, we must also be cognizant of people’s wants and needs. Try to think of appropriate people for the singles you know to date, this will keep them from feeling as if they were wasting their time and getting burnt out and frustrated. It’s not fair to set someone up with a person who does not have a single characteristic that he or she is looking for.

That being said, those who are single need to remember that most people have their best interests in mind and are not trying to hurt them. Frumkeit and hashkafa have become so pigeonholed that many people in my generation do not even know what all of the different “types” and “levels” mean! Yes, it is important to find someone who is on “the same page as you,” but when we get specific to an extreme we are limiting people’s choices. You spoke about the different labels that dating websites use, some of which seem unimportant. It was sweet that you and your husband ultimately found each other because he wrote that his “category” was shomer mitzvot!

Shidduch resumes have also gotten out of hand. When we were “in shidduchim” there was no such thing as a shidduch resume and although people did inquire about possible matches, there was no “FBI checking” the way there is now. This type of checking is detrimental as many times people do not get to meet because of something that was said during the investigative process – and would not have been an issue if the couple had actually gone out once or twice and liked each other.

Shidduch resumes also highlight people’s age and height, which can be an issue. As you noted in your letter, age is relative and although most men want to have children, this is not something dependent on age. There are many young couples struggling with infertility, while there are older couples who have children easily. Additionally, while some people have strong preferences when it comes to height, it isn’t generally something that will make or break a marriage. It’s important to look for a spouse who will be good to you and a good parent to your children. Statistically, age and height do not have any correlation with those variables. These are areas that people should consider being more flexible in as it will not impact their marriage in a significant manner.

As individuals can only work in the parameters that have been already set up, we must try to do our best to think of all of the singles we know and try to help them network. After all, it is Hashem who decides who is bashert for whom; we just need to do our hishtadlus to help them come together!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Hatzlocha with your marriage and your new journey!

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

At the ripe old age of nineteen I decided I was ready to begin a new and exciting life for myself. I was newly graduated from seminary, had just begun my path towards a college degree and felt it was time; the world was at my fingertips. It was time to embark on one of the bumpiest trails known to any Orthodox single… the shidduch scene. At the time I naively thought, “How hard can this be? I am a good person with solid values, have a good family established in my community, am attractive, have a bubbly and outgoing personality and many friends who would vouch for all of my positive attributes.”

The calls began coming through as soon as word got out that I was “on the market.” Intimidating at first, I was incredibly exhilarated at the prospect of what could come with each potential match.

Weeks became months and months became years. I graduated from college and landed a great job at a well-known institution. I knew it was just a matter of time… I was officially settled. I thought I hadn’t found my match until then because I needed to graduate from school. Over the years I came up with many “logical” reasons why I was still single. It gave me a sense of comfort, even if it was short-lived.

A piece of that dream crumbled after my dad passed away when I turned twenty-three… the image of both my parents walking me down the aisle was no longer possible. I felt that I had let him down.

So I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and signed up for an online frum dating site. I told myself that for sure this would be the ticket to finding my bashert. There were so many potential matches with just the click of a mouse. As online dating became more and more popular, I signed up to any new website that I discovered. With time I began to think there must be something about me that’s holding me back. My friends and family reassured me that it’s all about timing and that I was doing every possible hishtadlus.

By the time I hit my mid-thirties I began doubting their words. How could I still be single? I had already met with numerous matchmakers, gone to different singles events and was open to dating guys of varying ages, hashkafic backgrounds and professions.

When you first start dating, you have a laundry list of qualities for your “perfect” man. With time, however, I began to consolidate that list and choose what was most important to me. I knew I needed a man with a big heart, a good sense of humor, who was non-judgmental and matched me in four religious areas: being shomer Shabbos, keeping kashrus and taharas hamishpachah and covering my hair. I also knew I wanted to be happy and married to my best friend and soul mate.

Being an older single is a huge nisayon. People who believe they have the best of intentions will candidly tell you that you’re just being “too picky,” and that you “need to get out there more.” Others discuss behind your back what a shame it is that you’re still single and question whether or not you really want to get married. And there are the looks of pity on people’s faces. I got them a lot once my nieces and nephews began to get married. I was the “nebach older single aunt.” I cried over my status too many times to count.

My dates were no walk in the park either. I can count on my fingers how many normal and decent guys I actually went out with. I went through my share of heartbreak as well. Each time I was ready to throw in the towel.

By the age of thirty-seven I resigned myself to the fact that I probably would never get married, as agonizing as that thought was. Many of my friends already had children in their upper teens. At one point, I even considered freezing my eggs or perhaps adopting a child on my own. Despite all of my blessings and accomplishments, I felt hollow. There was a huge hole that weighed down on me like a ten-ton boulder. There was nothing I could do to alleviate the intense frustration and pain.

Although I had removed myself from most dating websites, I remained a basic member on Frumster which was now called “JWed.” I thought at least I was still doing some hishtadlus, although I had little expectation of meeting anyone on there at that point. Each week JWed sent me an email with five or six featured members who met the basic criteria I had entered when I first signed up. I usually ignored and deleted these emails.

On one December evening in 2014 I received another batch of featured members. I hesitantly opened the email. My eyes immediately went to a picture of a member I had never seen before. I noticed that he was listed as “Shomer Mitzvot,” a hashkafic category I never considered throughout the years on the site. I generally browsed profiles of members who were listed as either “Modern Orthodox Machmir,” “Modern Orthodox Liberal” or “Modern Yeshivish.” There was something about this particular member, though. I knew I needed to click on his profile and find out more about him. I noticed he was the same age as me. From my experience, guys did not want women their own age, another ridiculous standard that is holding back so many from meeting their basherts and getting married. I took a leap of faith and sent him an email. To my astonishment, he wrote me back a short while later and within one week we were on our first date. From the second I laid eyes on him in the back of a crowded Starbucks (yes, it is acceptable and not a turn-off to go to a coffee shop on a first date), I knew there was something different about him. He was real! I felt that I had known him for years after an hour of talking. We had so much in common. After our date, my mom had asked me how it went. I remember telling her, “If I end up with this guy I will consider myself a very lucky person.” I always said I needed at least three months before getting engaged. Well, after six weeks we became unofficially engaged, and were married four months later.

I promised myself that I would make sure to write my story as it might give chizuk to so many out there who need it. I am begging every single person to reevaluate his or her list and not get hung up on the smaller, unimportant factors.

To all the men out there, please consider dating women your own age or even a year or two younger. What will it matter when you’re both pushing your walkers that she is eighty-eight and you’re eighty-seven? Men who believe marrying someone younger guarantees that they will be able to have children are not only ignorant, but are demonstrating a lack in bitachon. Ultimately it is in His hands. I know so many couples who got married in their early twenties and struggled with fertility while other couples who got married in their upper thirties and into their forties had children ten to twelve months after their wedding. Hashem presents us with so many opportunities. We have bechirah to choose, but sadly people’s stereotypes and rigidity prevent them from seeing what’s right in front of them. Shidduchim is all about timing, but you have to remain alert to see it when it presents itself. Time goes by way too fast and you can never get it back. What I’ve learned is if you keep your eyes wide open and focus on what matters, the reality is so much better than the fantasy!

May all the singles find their basherts soon.

 

Our response next week.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

​I am writing to you about a problem that I have every Pesach. I would like to begin by saying that I am already a very young great-grandmother and I have an older sister who is an amazing person. We are both happily married and share a loving close relationship. She also has a beautiful family and even more great-grandchildren than I have! It all sounds perfect, right? So why am I writing to you?

I just want to tell you my story and see if you have any solutions for me. Our parents were both Holocaust survivors who lost their entire families in the war. We don’t know much about their experiences as they never shared anything with us and are both, unfortunately, no longer alive.

Sadly, our house was not a happy one. My mother and father tried really hard to be great parents, but they had a hard time with their traumatic memories. My house was run with great efficiency. Dinner was always delicious and ready on time. They worked very hard to give us everything they could. Nevertheless, my parents never really understood me and my sister was more of my emotional parent. She made sure I had what I wanted, because “all the other kids had,” even if it meant spending her own hard-earned money on it.​

Fast forward many years. While my sister’s husband earns a decent living and they live nicely, my husband and I were zoche to become very well off.  We are very generous with my sister and her family as my hakaras hatov runs very deep. We give her married children, who are struggling, money and we also sometimes buy my sister huge gifts that she would never allow herself to buy – my sister is a very practical person who will only buy what is necessary.

My love for my sister is very deep and I want her to learn to enjoy her life. This is true especially on Pesach. My family goes away every Pesach with the Katz Family and really enjoy ourselves. That is one of the reasons I choose to write to you, as I know that you have been going to the program for a long time.

Every year I beg my sister to come with us. It would be our pleasure to treat her whole family, but every year she declines. At first I thought that she felt bad spending our money. I told her that I could never repay her for what she did for me as a child – she saved my spiritual and emotional life. However, I soon realized that there is a deeper problem.

I think the problem is that she is my older sister and I have a life more financially successful than hers.

I know that people say sibling rivalry is the oldest problem in the world, but we understand the feeling of being a sole survivor and we cherish each other and our families. But, I have come to the realization that maybe it is too hard for her to go away with us and have us pay for it all. Maybe it makes her feel bad and maybe she is even a little jealous of our financial success.  I wish I could change this and help her without her feeling badly about it. Please give me ideas on how to deal with this.

A Loving Sister

 

Dear Loving Sister,

​I hear your pain and I understand the deep love you have for your sister. Without knowing her it is hard for me to say exactly what the problem is, but let’s assume that in her mind she should have been the one taking care of you financially, not the reverse. She was placed in the role of parent at a very young age and was therefore robbed of her own childhood.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Dear Dr. Respler,

​My husband and I have been married for five years and have three adorable children.  I am a happy and hard-working full-time mother.  My husband is a special person. He is smart, nice, has great middos and is very ehrlich.​ So why am I writing to you? The relationship my husband and I share is not what it once was.

Our shana rishona was out of this world. We were thrilled with each other, hardly ever got upset, quickly got over any arguments, and showed endless love and care towards one another.  We were both sure that it would be that way forever.

But the passing of time and the birth of our children has brought a cooling off in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, we are still a great couple and care about each other greatly. It’s just that many of the little things we overlooked during shana rishona seem to upset us now. I believe its normal for this to happen; however, I cannot accept the fact that our fantastic relationship is not as fantastic as it once was.  It bothers me so much!

We have the same ridiculous fights over and over again, mostly about unimportant things because we are tired or irritable, and it’s really starting to get to me! What happened to the days when we gave into each other right away? Why are we more irritable and annoyed with each other? Why don’t we have that same sparkle that we had in the beginning when we were in our own little bubble.

Even though I know the kids have taken a lot of our attention and energy, I feel that we can still have that amazing relationship we once had!

Lost our sparkle

Dear Lost our Sparkle,

​I know that this must be very hard for you, but it is normal for infatuation to develop into a comfortable mutual love.  I am not saying that you shouldn’t be “crazy” over your husband; rather, what I am saying is that it is normal for you to feel the way you describe, Of course, there’s always room for improvement and it’s admirable that you want to have an amazing relationship with your husband.

It is very easy to be stress-free and on cloud nine when there are no children around, however, the reality is that children take a lot of our strength. It is a great bracha that you have three children, but you must not “neglect” your marriage because of it. The feelings you and your husband had are still there; they are just clouded by everyday stressors and the like.  While you are a mother, you are also still a wife.

Date night is important – either going out, or putting the kids to sleep early and having one at home – so be sure to have one at least once a month. During the week, make sure you have at least 20 minutes a night where you get to talk to each other about your day, or something interesting that happened.  It’s important that you keep that communication open in order to strengthen your relationship. Sometimes even one or two nights away from the children can do wonders for your marriage.

It is also very important for you to take some more time for yourself.  You mentioned that you are a full-time, stay-at-home mother.  While this is a wonderful way to spend your time, you must not forget to take care of yourself as well. Since you did not mention any outside activity, I will assume that you do not leave your kids very much (I apologize if this is an erroneous assumption and hope these ideas will be helpful to other stay at home moms, even if they do not apply to you).  It is very healthy and normal to want to get out every day for at least an hour or two.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Dear Dr. Respler:

I am a middle-aged woman who until recently was of average weight and reasonably attractive. Then I went through menopause and gained about 50 lbs. I am trying to lose the weight, but it is very difficult for me. I have a good marriage, we are well-off and have a beautiful family. Two of our children are happily married and we have several grandchildren. I am a very successful professional and make a good salary.

And yet, I don’t understand people. Whenever I go to a simcha or even when I go shopping, I bump into women who ask, “What happened to you? Why did you get so fat? I have a great diet that can help you!”

I am mortified, Dr. Respler. Do they think that I am stupid? I know that I got fat and I know what I have to do. All they do is hurt my feelings and make me want to hide.   Baruch Hashem, the people I work with never say anything to me.

I love your column and I thought you might be able to help here as well.

Please, Dr. Respler, tell people to mind their own business. If someone has a medical issue or a weight issue, believe me she is trying to deal with it. I have a friend who has tremors in her hands due to a medical condition and she is going crazy from everyone’s “helpful advice” and nosy questions. Trust me, my friend consults with the best physicians and does everything possible to ameliorate her situation.

Are people trying to be helpful or do they want to make us feel inadequate? I have always been perceived as a strong, happy and successful person and I am beginning to feel that others enjoy making me feel vulnerable. I look forward to your response and welcome any advice you can give me.

A Fan

 

Dear Fan,

Honestly, there are many reasons why people say painful things to others. There are people who feel inadequate and make themselves feel better by putting others down. Although the things these people say are painful, the recipients of these comments should remember where it is coming from and try to ignore them.

Other individuals say painful things because they do not think before they speak. I know that there are those who mean well and truly want to help others; however, offending a person is not helpful and could be damaging.

I heard a wonderful piece of advice: “Do not complain and do not explain!” In reality, people do not enjoy hearing others complain and will try to avoid those who do. At the same time, we do not owe anyone explanations about what we do in our lives or about the problems or challenges we face. Thus, your weight gain is not anyone’s business and you do not owe other people an explanation, just as your friend does not owe anyone an explanation for her tremors.

Please, dear readers, be sensitive to others and think before you speak!

Don’t ask people if they are pregnant; they will tell you when they want you to know.

Certainly, do not tell people they have gained weight – they know; please have some seichel! Even with your own children and in-law children, you need to be aware of what you are saying and try not to be critical. I know many parents feel that if they do not say things to their children, then who will? Nevertheless, would you want to be close to a parent who always points out your faults? Think ten times before insulting/criticizing your children and then, if you really feel you need to intervene, say your piece in a loving and positive manner.

Dr. Yael Respler

My Week in Israel with Dr. Oz

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Everything over the past week was memorable and magical as Dr. Mehmet Oz, America’s foremost daytime TV host and the world’s most famous doctor, toured Israel. From dancing the horah outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, to dancing Friday night at the Western Wall with Israeli soldiers and thousands of worshippers, to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu for ninety minutes of substantive conversation about Israel, Turkey, and the United States, Dr. Oz and his family showed the Jewish state extravagant love and admiration.

Mehmet is a remarkable man and seeing him up close reinforced the high regard in which I have always held him, ever since we started working together for Oprah at her radio network. First there was his attention to his children, all four of whom accompanied him, along with his son-in-law. Mehmet would go nowhere without them and pulled them in to hear every last explanation about Israel’s ancient and modern history.

Then there is his dedication to his wife Lisa, a remarkable and brilliant woman in her own right, and vastly knowledgeable of the Bible. Lisa was correcting me constantly on Biblical quotations (I purposely got them wrong so she could feel superior). Mehmet is a man who honors his wife at every opportunity.

Of course, there were the legions of fans – Jews and Arabs in every part of Israel – that pleaded for a picture and he turned noone down.

But more than anything else there was his attachment to the Jewish people on display at every moment. Mehmet is a Muslim, perhaps the world’s most famous Muslim who is not a head of state. He is a righteous and proud Ambassador of his faith and feels an innate kinship and brotherhood with the Jewish people.

He praised Israel constantly, from lauding its treatment of its minority citizens at our joint lecture at Rambam hospital in Haifa, to noting Israel’s phenomenal medical breakthroughs at several news conferences, to highlighting his amazement at Israel’s capacity to turn deserts into thriving cities.

In Hebron, at the tomb of the patriarchs, we prayed together publicly for peace and understanding between the children of Abraham. At the tomb of Maimonides we noted the role reversal. Maimonides, a Jew, was the world’s most famous physician, and he served the Muslim ruler Saladin. Now, a Muslim doctor – the world’s most famous – was visiting his Jewish brothers in the Holy land 900 years later.

Joined with Natan Sharasnky at the Jerusalem Press Club for a public discussion, the three of us debated whether there was an obligation to hate evil. Mehmet maintained that hatred harmed he who harbored it, even for the best of reasons. On this Sharasnky and I disagreed. Natan spoke of the evil he encountered in the KGB. I spoke of Hamas’ genocidal covenant and Hezbollah’s commitment to annihilating Israel. Terrorists deserved our contempt. Only by truly hating evil are we prepared to fight it. In the end we compromised in agreeing that hating evil should not be obsessive and internal but rather externally directed at neutralizing those who slaughter God’s innocent children, whoever they may be.

As I walked Dr. Oz and his family through the old city of Jerusalem on Friday night, we passed through Zion gate, still riddled with bullet holes from the heavy fighting of 1967 that liberated the city. At Shabbat dinner at the home of Simon and Chana Falic, my friend Ron Dermer, Israel’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, explained to Mehmet that even after Israel conquered the Temple Mount in the Six Day War it left control of Judaism’s holiest site to the Muslim waqf and that such an action had no precedent in all human history. Ron said that there could no greater illustration of Israel’s desire to respect its Muslim citizens and seek peace.

At the Christian holy sites, like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and Muslim Holy Sites like the Dome of the Rock and the vast Muslim crowds that filled mosques for Ramadan, Dr. Oz saw first hand how Israel is a country of thriving religious liberty.

But the highlight of the visit was the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu where Ambassador Dermer joined Mehmet and me as we heard the Israeli leader deeply engage Mehmet about Israel’s search for peace and the challenges it faces with the destabilization of Syria and Egypt on the one hand, and the changes in its relationship with Turkey, on the other.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/my-week-in-israel-with-dr-oz/2013/08/05/

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