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Dear readers,

This Thursday we celebrate Rosh Chodesh Shevat, and on the fifteen of this month, Tu BeShvat, the New Year for trees. This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

It never ceases to humor me how here in America we celebrate the birth of the new fruit trees during one of the coldest winter months, when the ground is frozen over and the trees are barren and exposed.

But perhaps that is the message that we need to remember precisely at this time—from the cold and gloomy barrenness lies life giving treasures hiding beneath the surface just waiting to blossom.

So too within each of our sometimes gloomy circumstances lies the keys to unveil the beautiful potential of our world.

This week, we look at this theme. When life hands us lemons let’s learn how to make succulent lemonade. An ordinary trip down aisle eight in the supermarket opens our eyes to a new perspective on aging and the aged. And we discover a new spin on parenting in… what else but a spinning class. We also take a deeper look at one of the hardest hearts in history and learn how even such a heart can be melted through conviction and belief.

Wishing us all the opportunity to melt the surrounding ice and find the beautiful opportunities hidden within.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

Dear readers,

Last week we began a multi-part video series titled Miriam, The Mother of Rebellion, which like this Parshah parenting article and Parshah essay provides more background information to the Torah readings.

I actually filmed this particular video series two years ago.

I remember very clearly the afternoon that we filmed. I remember, too, in exquisite detail its message of strength and optimism banishing the surrounding gloom and painful hardship.

I remember that day with such clarity because that morning I had tearfully sent off a very dear and close relative to treatment for a life-threatening illness about which we had learned only shortly before. I had chosen not to cancel this class because I believed it would be a merit for my sick relative, and we needed all the merits we could muster.

The wonderful women gathered around my dining-room table for our learning session had no idea about what I was going through. I remember fighting off my tears as I explained how we can find unbelievable hidden strength during harrowing conditions.

Whenever I view this series, I am reminded of that challenging time. I’m also reminded of my family’s thanksgiving soon after, as light prevailed over our personal darkness, and how to date my relative is—thank G‑d—completely recovered.

This week’s portion begins with G‑d saying how He appeared to our forefathers, and how He promises to hear our cries and bring us to our salvation.

This week, may each of us experience our personal—as well as collective—salvation.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

P.S. Also check out this week’s Solace During Divorce, a personal journey through the hardship of divorce, and how the author’s faithful book of Psalms helped keep her faith strong.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

This week we begin a new book of Torah, Shemot (Exodus), and with it a new stage of Jewish history. The family of Yaakov (Jacob) grows into the nation of Israel, and this new beginning is accompanied by terrible growing pains and hardships.

But along with hardship comes strength and faith. And at the forefront of this faith we are introduced to the incredible women who used their ingenuity, creativity, perseverance and tremendous conviction to ease the plight of their people.

Yocheved, the mother of Moses, who was born at the walls of Egypt, teaches us how to synthesize opposing aspects of our lives.

Miriam, the sister of Moses, teaches us not to succumb to our harsh surroundings, but to rebel against the bitterness.

Batya, the daughter of the wicked King Pharaoh, teaches us how to totally transform our identity and life’s path.

Also this week, in our home crafting section, Chana Scop shows us how to organize and beautify our home by jarring creatively.

We begin a new video series with Goldie Plotkin called The Whys of our Ways, exploring the meaning behind Jewish customs. Miriam Adahan teaches us the incredible power of a ruler. And Beryl Tritel relinquishes her makeup and begins to accept imperfection.

Wishing you a week of good new beginnings!

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

I’d like to introduce you to two special women who are making their debut this week on TheJewishWoman.org: Tamar Maerim-Yunger and Ellen Resnick.

Both these women share with us their intimate, personal journey and its effect on their lives and their families.

For Tamar, it was covering her hair. For Ellen, it was her first experience at the mikvah.

Each of these women speaks in her unique voice, through different mediums (video versus written article), in different countries (Canada versus the United States), about entirely different experiences. But what they both have in common is how they convey their thoughts and emotions about being Jewish women with a true genuineness.

In a similar vein, in G‑d’s Secret Service, Rochel Holzkenner explores the qualities of our matriarch Rachel, and through her, all Jewish women.

Also this week, look out for Communicating Genetic Diseases in our health section, which has important health reminders for all of us.

So, this week, in whichever city or country you live, in whatever stage you may find yourself on your life’s journey or on your level of observance, raise your head a little taller as you stand in solidarity with these genuine voices, as we all celebrate our own contribution as part of the sisterhood of Jewish women.

Wishing you a wonderfully genuine week.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

There’s no time like the present.

That seems to be a recurring message this week, in Elana Mizrahi’s Being Present parenting article and in Karen Rapoport’s inspirational and motivational Chanukah Lights piece.

Unbelievably, this Wednesday is already Rosh Chodesh Tevet. With almost half of Chanukah already behind us, what memories will you create for yourself, your family or friends? How will you use the opportunities of this holiday to bring more joy into our world?

Will you try out our menorah-crafting project that you can do with your children? Will you throw a fabulous Chanukah party for friends? Or will you engage in more internal character-building projects like exploring the role of anger in your life, or finding more tolerance, sensitivity or awareness? Whichever you choose, now is the time!

Share with us how you will use these last days of Chanukah to bring more light into your world.

Wishing you a wonderful Chanukah!

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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