We had just moved back to the States, after nine years of living in Israel, when my job began at Chabad.org. I had felt there was the need for a site by women and for women, and pitched this desire of mine to fortunately welcoming ears. And thus began my position as the editor of TheJewishWoman.org.
I had hoped that the site would reach and inspire women from all walks of life. I had hoped they would find the articles meaningful, stimulating and thought-provoking. And I had hoped that a community would be created where women would feel comfortable sharing and connecting with one another.
I had felt there was the need for a site by women and for womenBut then, something happened beyond my expectations. I started to see how through the power of the written word lives could be changed, transformed, and in some cases, even saved.
I love to write. I think through words, and need to write to digest and express what goes on in my mind and heart. And what a blessing that my job has been to read and work with the words of others. When someone submits a piece, there is such vulnerability and trust that is needed. And I take that very seriously. They have put themselves out there, given me a piece of themselves through their writing, and it is my responsibility to honor and treasure that. I hope I have done so.
I recently wrote a piece about our beloved crossing guard Mr. Bill. Because of the cold, I have been driving my kids to school lately, so I never had a chance to speak to him after giving him the article. The other day, though, I was at the school, and saw him. Not only did he thank me, but he told me that his wife framed the article, and that when he read it, it made him cry. I can’t tell you how much that moved me.
But more than that, it made me realize that we all have so much to say and such powerful words to use. And no matter who you ask, they will tell you that at one point or another they thought about wanting to write something, but didn’t have the time, the energy, the ability or the talent. But we owe it to ourselves and to the rest of the world to write what only we can write. We all have a story, an insight, a perspective like no other. And we all have loved ones in our lives who would love to read and hold on to to the words we choose to express our feelings for them.
This week, in conjunction with the 22nd of the month of Shevat, we celebrate the sixth birthday of TheJewishWoman.org, which was created in memory and honor of the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson. She was a woman whose words, actions and deeds impacted and affected all who knew her and all who knew of her. She exemplified the grace and power of the Jewish woman, and so her yahrtzeit became the launch date of the site.
We all have a story, an insight, a perspective like no otherThinking back over the years, I reflect on the thousands of pieces that we have reviewed and published from women across the world, spanning all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Through our words, we have created support, guidance and relationships. Through our words, we have all become better people. And as I sit and write, all I can say is thank you for allowing me the opportunity to write, read and be read. It is a gift unlike any other.
And please, if you have the time to read this article, you have the time to write something, anything, to anyone. Pull out that keyboard or that paper, and just start. Write down what you are grateful for. Write to your mother or father or husband or wife or daughter or son. Write to your best friend. Write to yourself. Just write!