As the population in our special Baltimore community grows, its financial needs unfortunately continue to increase dramatically as well. Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund is called upon daily to assist those who are struggling financially and having trouble keeping up with basic living expenses. Guided by our wonderful Rabbanim, Ahavas Yisrael responds to each call, always preserving the dignity and confidentiality of individuals and families in need. Here are some of Ahavas Yisrael’s newest developments.
When baby number two was born, and Yedidya was just 21 months old, I suddenly had to learn to play a whole new game. The game was called Who Needs Me More Right Now.
Infant Tzion is fussing in his chair, while Yedidya is trying to pour milk into a glass cup he somehow managed to get off the counter. Who wins?
Ding Ding. Yedidya wins. I walk over and gently hold the glass so he can learn independence – something I’m big on – without my having to deal with shattered glass all over the floor.
I love a lot of people who live in the U.S. Deep down, I don’t believe any of them will leave until it becomes truly untenable to be a Jew in America – and maybe not even then.
In chapter two of Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai sends his students out to discover which human quality is the very best one to acquire. Rabbi Shimon says, “haro’eh et hanolad,” meaning “seeing ahead,” or the ability to predict that which has not yet occurred.
Living in Israel, I feel blessed by many things. One of them is what I believe to be a certain clarity of vision about where the world is headed. This clarity doesn’t come from my imagination and is not simply my personal opinion. It comes from the teachings of my rabbis here in Israel, who base their teachings on Chazal.
I have been helping a man to find a shidduch for the past few years. Over the course of these years, I have counseled him through dating situations, and have seen his growth and understanding of what really should matter in a future wife. He recently approached me with a letter he wrote, and asked if I could find a way to publicize it to help others who might need to hear the advice he has only recently taken to heart but wishes he had sooner. I took his letter, which we discussed at length, and also took note of his feelings and thoughts. We have combined the two, which leaves us with this brutally honest letter to share. In the process of these years of searching, he has managed to find himself, and would like to share his thoughts and experiences with as many people as possible.
“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” (Proverbs 24:13)
The phrase “milk and honey” appears many times in Tanach to describe the fertility and prosperity of the Promised Land, says health writer Cal Orey, author of The Healing Powers of Honey. While rabbis and historians may debate whether the honey was actually bee honey or produced from dates or fruits, the concept of a land flowing with milk and honey conjures up images of health, happiness, and well-being. Rabbi and food historian Gil Marks points out that honey, which comes from nature and does not spoil, symbolizes immortality and truth in many cultures. As far back as 4,000 years ago, ancient Greeks and Egyptians believed that eating honey increased physical energy and enhance mental acuity. Medicinal uses of honey are also noted in the ancient texts of traditional Chinese medicine and in Ayurvedic medicine, a healing system that originated in India. Even in modern medicine, honey is recognized for its antibacterial and wound-healing properties, and as an aid in treating coughs.
To the Shadchan: I am a 21-year-old, typical Bais Yaakov girl from a stable and happy home. I am going out with a boy. I like him, and everything seems to be going very well; we will be having our seventh date soon. This would seem to be an ideal situation, except that I am very nervous. Twice before, I was in the same situation. I went out with each boy for a long time, and it was going smoothly, with the next step to get engaged. Then, for some reason that I can’t explain, I just couldn’t go on. I want to stress that I liked both boys. But I felt something was not right – I couldn’t even put a finger on what was bothering me – and I couldn’t continue. So, I see from my experience that even if I like the boy, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m very scared that the same thing could happen with this relationship. If I do end up breaking it off, I am worried about all the emotions involved – both his and mine – as well as the reputation I will get. I am also concerned that something might be wrong with me. (I don’t think I am afraid of marriage, but how would I know if I am?) What do you think?
I remember the feeling well, although it has been a while – that feeling of being torn, as a young mother, between wanting to go to shul on Rosh Hashanah but not knowing when I should, or even if I should. Although I am not much of a shul goer, it just didn’t feel like Rosh Hashanah if I couldn’t hear shofar blowing in a shul setting or the heartfelt Musaf melodies of my youth. Some years, a neighbor and I would take turns watching each other’s children, giving us both a chance to daven in shul for a short while. To shed light for those women who feel conflicted, as I did, I turned to some of the inspirational rebbetzins with whom Baltimore is blessed for their valued opinions.
You may be thinking that I, as a man, am not the right person to be writing about how to be married to one. After all, I clearly have no experience. However, it so happens that I have a very close connection to someone who does have lots of experience in this area, and together we have collected some relevant psychological data.
The points I will share are grounded in the assumption that men and women have dissimilar ways of doing many things. (I know that not all men do it “the man way” and not all women do it “the woman way.” We’re talking in general.) Here, then, are a few tips for wives who are trying to survive and thrive through the experience of being married to a man.
Sarah, an Ethiopian mom, and Shimon, her youngest son, are driving with me to Petach Tikva. Sarah is pretty religious as far as the Ethiopian women are concerned. She even covers her hair. But her children, influenced by the street and disturbed by their father’s abusive behavior, have left religious observance, one by one. Shimon, an eighth grader, has one foot out the door. He wants to leave his Bnei Akiva middle school – he has been playing hooky for a few weeks already – and go to a secular school.
We arrived at the AMIT dormitory school in Petach Tikva, a religious, coed school set in a beautifully landscaped garden enclosed with walls – a village in itself. There are many counselors, and most of the youth come from troubled or disadvantaged homes. This is Sarah’s last hope for her son to remain religious. A school any more religious would be totally unacceptable to her son. He seemed positive about the place, for now.
While the kid is taking some tests, the siren goes off. People stream from different buildings towards the central school shelter. Right before I enter, I see the exhaust trail of a Gazan missile overhead. Suddenly, a second exhaust trail going almost vertically intercepts the missile. The two trails suddenly spiral downwards. Two minutes later – a BOOM. We go into the shelter and wait; ten minutes later, we are told it is okay to leave. The missile remnants landed nearby, in Rosh Ha’ayin.
Walking down the aisle in the grocery store, a little girl nudges her mother and whispers, “Look, there’s Zaidy Arnold.” Her mother is surprised. She only knows about two zaidies in the family, and neither one is named Arnold.
“Who is that?” she whispers back.
“He reads stories to us,” the little girl replies, “and it is the best part of Funday!”
In “real life,” Zaidy Arnold is Mr. Arnold Shear, who moved to Baltimore five years ago. “I love children,” says Mr. Shear, “and had been reading to them when I lived in Boston. Each week, I choose books at the library to read to the Bais Yaakov nursery and pre-nursery classes. I make it a lot of fun, wearing different hats and fun costumes, which makes every Monday into a fun day! I don’t know who enjoys it more,” says Mr. Shear, “me or the children.”