I absolutely loved this video. It sums up what it is like raising boys – just multiply by the number of young men under your care and enjoy!
12 Jun 2013 2 Comments
07 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
I received the following email from a fellow blogger about an interesting and informative webinar that will be held the next few Sunday evenings. (I am not sure if the time is Israel or American time) If you are raising teenage boys it may be of interest:
Rabbi Doctor Abraham Twerski, Dr. David Pelcovitz and Rabbi Dr. Benzion Sorotozkin will be featured in an educational webinar series starting this Sunday at 8pm and continuing for 3 consecutive Sundays. Parents and educators can gain keen insights from some of the leading experts in the religious Jewish community.
You can register and watch the webinar series at (kesher Israel dot com) http://www.kesherisrael.com/webinar. The webinar focuses particular attention on factors that may influence the decision to choose a post high school Yeshiva in Israel.
The first webinar on June 9 examines issues related to teenage boys who are off the derech as well as the far more common situation of being apathetic to Judaism. The second seminar on June 16th deals with behavioral issues and the concluding seminar on June 23rd tackles issues of substance abuse. See the poster at http://kesherisrael.com/email/webinar/index.html
Questions and comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kesher promises that someone from its professional staff will respond within 2 working days.
For more information and to sign up visit http://kesherisrael.com/email/webinar/index.html
Marketing to the Jewish Community
05 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
For those of us living in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) tremping (hitchhiking) is a fact of life. We live in areas that are rural and the bus service is usually not adequate. Therfore adults and teenagers take rides with strangers.
For a long time we did not have a car and I took rides home to my yishuv after work (going to work was somewhat easier as I took rides with people I knew). As my sons grew older they also started to take tremps. I tell them that they need to travel with at least one other person, have their cell phone on at all times, and look carefully at the driver before getting into the car. With all of these precauations, I still get nervous when they do this.
Now the IDF has put out a video trying to discourage teens, especially those who live where we do, to avoid hitchhiking, because there are many terrorists who want to kidnap Israelis, like they did with Gilad Shalit. I wish I hadn’t watched the video, because it will give me nightmares.
I don’t think the video will affect the number of teens traveling like this though. During the spring months, when high school kids have a lot of bagriot (matriculation exams) the usual school schedule is practically suspended. A kid will have a day off to study before an exam, and then have to get to the school at 1:00 pm for the exam itself – and there is no school bus for them to take. Most parents are not available to drive kids to school in the middle of the day, and the busses are practically non-existent during the slow hours.
Both of my boys are learning to drive now, and will hopefully get their licenses soon. As much as I fear them driving I think this video will put that fear into persective.
26 Feb 2013 2 Comments
Now that Purim is behind us, Jewish women all over the world start what for some is a very stressful month – the time before Pesach (Passover). Some have known for a while where they will be for seder and some are just deciding now. Some have started to clean already and others are refusing to even think about it.
What we all have in common though, is the almost Pavlovian reaction to seeing another Jewish woman during this month – the inevitable question “what have you done so far for Pesach?”.
I’ve thought a lot about this situation, and I have come to the conclusion that what we are looking for when asking this question is not information (who really cares how your neighbor or friend does the cleaning?) but emotional support. What we really want to hear is that someone else is farther behind than where we think we ought to be at the given moment – so that we can feel less guilty about procrastinating, and less stressed out about the whole thing. After all, if Mrs. X has so much more to do than I do then surely I will be able to manage in the end. In addition, we also want to show off a bit, giving ourselves a pat on the back for whatever work we have done so far, and giving us further incentive to do more so we can brag again.
The main problem with the above scenario is that we don’t always hear what we want to hear. If your neighbor has done way more than you have then instead of the emotional support you are looking for you get a tremendous source of stress.
In addition, the conversation can take an insidious turn if we start to talk about what the other members of our family are doing to help. We all know women who are married to angels from heaven who not only know how to clean like professionals, but are willing to do this cleaning after long days of work, and do the cleaning EXACTLY as we would. Others have daughters – and sometimes sons, who are tremendously helpful and just live to ask “what more can I do to help, mom?” Most of us, of course, are married to wonderful but regular men who don’t exactly fit into this category, and have children who don’t think cleaning for Pesach is a top priority. Comparing our families is not only deadly for shalom bayit (peace in the home) but it almost always just adds to our anxiety and stress and feelings of jealousy.
What we should really be doing during this month is giving each other support. Asking “how are you doing” and responding that “yeah, this time of year is tough” and reminding each other that we somehow all get through it is what we really should be doing. I for one am going to give it a try this year. Who is with me?
08 Jan 2013 1 Comment
I came across this article quoting the wife of a Hamas operative saying that the Palestinian mother “instills in her children the love of Jihad and martyrdom for the sake of Allah,” – and “I am constantly praying: ‘Allah, make the end of our days be in martyrdom.”
In other words, she prays that her her husband and children will kill themselves in order to kill others (Jews, in her case). This is her greatest goal.
I don’t know about you, but I pray for other things for my husband and children. I pray for them every day using my own words, and on Friday afternoon right after lighting the Sabbath candles I use the text in my siddur (Jewish prayerbook).
Here is this prayer in part:
“May it be your will Hashem, my G-d and G-d of my forefathers, that You show favor to me [my husband, my sons....] and all my relatives; and that You grant us and all Israel a good and long life:….Privilege me to raise children and grandchildren, who are wise and understanding, who love Hashem and fear G-d, people of truth, holy offspring, attached to Hashem, who illuminate the world with Torah and good deeds and with every labor in the service of the Creator…..” (taken from the Complet Artscroll Siddur)
I thank G-d every day that he made me a Jew, and I am profoundly grateful that the spiritual goals that we strive for are achieved by living a good life – illuminating the world with Torah and good deeds….
28 Dec 2012 1 Comment
I would like to share this beautiful tribute to the IDF soldiers that I found on the IDF Facebook page. My two younger sons are now in the process of going through the various tests to figure out where they want to serve, so this is becoming more and more relevant to our family. Enjoy!
01 Nov 2012 1 Comment
Today I officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. The horrible economy in America has finally affected the small business I worked for to the point that they needed to cut back staff, and I was laid off.
After working for six years at the same place I am frankly looking forward to some downtime to catch up with friends. I also want to get some of those perpetually postponed errands done.
I also hope to do some more blogging, and since I am a political “junkie” I will go from my obsessive following of the American elections to the obsessive following of the Israeli elections. I will try to write a few posts explaining how our system in Israel works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be). Stay tuned….
Some important dates: November 6th – not only is this election day in America, but it is primary day for the small religious party in Israel called Bayit Yehudi. Many in the national religious community will not only vote but will be curious to see whether the winner of the primary (between Zevulun Orlev and Naftali Bennet) will then forge a union with the other national religious party called Ichud HaLeumi.
November 25th – primary day for the Likud party. The ground rules for this primary have not been set up yet. The main question is regarding the “saved places” on the party list, as the Likud has now approved of its proposal to run with the Israel Beitenu list.
One thing is happening already – the pollsters are having a field day. Every day there are more polls trying to predict how many Knesset seats each party, or groups of parties, will garner.
07 Jun 2012 3 Comments
There is a response team in our community that is in charge of handling trauma. This means that if G-d forbid someone is hurt or killed in an accident or by a terrorist attack, this team,( consisting of the Rabbi, social worker, security chief and other personnel) springs into action to take care of the family involved. Unfortunately this has happened a number of times where I live.
You can imagine, then, what I felt when seeing a group of cars including the security truck and the social worker’s car parked in front of my house, as I was coming back from the grocery store.
Instinct kicked in and I sent up a fervent prayer that nothing had happened to my family. 100% selfish – please G-d, take care of me and mine.
It turns out that a little boy had run into the street in front of our house and had fallen. The social worker happened to be driving in the street at the time, so she parked in our driveway and went to help him. She of course called the Magen David Adom ambulance and that brought the security truck. (Thank G-d the boy is ok).
I know I should feel guilty at my relief that it wasn’t about my husband and kids – but I don’t. During my morning prayers, in the place where you can put in your own personal requests, the first thing on my list is “please keep my family healthy and safe”. I have a nice laundry list after that, including prayers for others, including children for couples who have not been blessed yet. But the main blessing that I seek is the basic one, and this desire is hard-wired into my female soul.
30 May 2012 1 Comment
My youngest son went on an unusual class trip a few weeks ago. Their tenth grade class had a choice of a number of options, and they decided on what is called a “tiyul shetach” – “survival trip”.
As soon as they got off the bus at their destination, the counselors asked them to turn in their watches and cell phones. This wasn’t a problem for my son (I have written before about how my kids are not addicted to the things) but it was a bit rough for a few of his friends.
For the next few days they could only wash in water that they brought themselves in a bucket, they only ate vegetarian food, they slept in sleeping bags under the stars, they had to take turns keeping watch at night so to keep the animals away, and they learned some very interesting skills. These skills used to be basic for survival, but we have bypassed them in our modern life.
One of the things they learned to do was to chip flint rocks, and weave rope out of plant materials. They then made primitive knives. The next skill was to make a fire – sticks, friction, and dry leaves and twigs.
They learned about camoflauge. The kids was divided into two, and one group needed to do whatever they could to blend in with the scenery, and the next group needed to find them.
Another skill they learned was what they called “walking like a fox”. They were blindfolded, and needed to place their feet very carefully before taking a step. Each one held onto a rope and was told to proceed all the way until they felt a piece of cloth which told them that they had reached the end. My son said that afterwards they were told to take off the blindfold and see the obstacles that they had walked through. He said that he would never have done it if he didn’t have he blindfold on!
Of course this type of thing is a lot of fun for a sixteen year old boy, but the three days taught the kids other things besides raw skills. When they were taught to build a fire, they were broken up into groups of two. My son said that one by one the other groups were successful in starting a fire, but he and his partner were having a bit of trouble. His partner started to get worried about their lack of progress, and kept looking at everyone else. My son told him, “don’t worry, we’ll do it. It doesn’t matter if other people do it faster, we’ll be ok”. In the end of course they were successful, and they both really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment.
They came back dirty and tired but very happy, and they all agreed that this class trip was a huge success.
27 Apr 2012 3 Comments
When it comes to technology, I am very old fashioned. I have a cell phone – and I use it to make and receive phone calls. If I have to I send a few text messages. I also turn off my phone when I get home from work. If someone needs to get in touch with me, they call the house phone. (It took my extended family awhile to figure this out, and some think I am a bit weird).
What is worse, westbankpapa and I are very old fashioned when it comes to our kids and cell phones. We bought them ones that can make phone calls, send texts, take pictures, and play music - but do not have internet. The end result is that when our kids want to go onto the internet, they do so from our computer, with our Internet Rimon (an Israeli internet provider that screens out nasty stuff). They also have to share the computer with the rest of the family (no laptops for us), so by nature their total time on the internet is limited (and we kick them off when they have been on for too long, even if noone else wants the computer).
As you can imagine, it has caused a bit of conflict with the teenagers, and we have been accused of being unbelievably square.
I don’t mind being called a square – it reassures me that I am doing my job as a mother. This past few days I received another sign that we made the correct decision.
We had friends over recently and they brought their teenagers. Each one had an Ipad, and throughout the afternoon they played with them. When the discussion turned to something interesting, they would join in, and they would of course answer questions politely when addressed. When the discussion was “boring”, or did not concern them personally, they would play their games and check their Facebook pages. My kids of course did not do this.
After they had left my son mentioned this behavior to me. He told me that he has a friend who drives him crazy – because he can’t stop playing with the Ipad. “I even told him once – turn off your phone, I am trying to talk to you!”
At Pesach someone gave me a copy of Jewish Action, the magazine of the OU. There was an article in there about kids who, although they are Orthodox, they keep what is called “half Shabbos”. This means that they keep most of the laws regarding the Sabbath, but they use their phones to text to friends (which is against Jewish law). I was completely shocked. I could not understand how kids could be so addicted to this little machine, that they justify breaking Shabbat. (I am not sure if it happens here in Israel).
We need to put the latest technological tools in perspective, and we have to teach our kids to do the same. Just because you have email, does not mean that you have to be connected to the computer for most of the day so that you can check it. Just because you have a cell phone, does not mean that you have to be available to anyone who wants you at all times. When you are with other people, you have to be “with” other people. There is a reason it is considered rude to answer a phone call when you are in the middle of a conversation with someone else. The only exception should be medical personnel who are on call. (During work hours there are exceptions of course).
If I am considered square for insisting on this, so be it.