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September 29, 2013

Have you ever run a marathon? Neither have I.

But I imagine that while running, it is not the time to calmly strategize on a plan of action.

You could call the month of Tishrei a sort of marathon. (And I don’t just mean because of all the cooking!) With a whole assortment of holidays ranging from serious and sedate to joyous and jubilant, Tishrei is like a spiritual marathon. Cheshvan, on the other hand, is the month when we can catch our breath, so to speak, and internalize all the inspiration from the holidays and integrate it into our lives.

This Friday and Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. Though bereft of any special holiday, there is still a lot of insight and inspiration that you can find on our Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan site.

This week, we also read the Torah portion of Noach. In the month of Cheshvan, the flood waters began and, a year later, in this same month, Noach and his family left the ark to begin a new life on dry land.

As we enter the month of Cheshvan, we too are back to real life.

This week, we explore lots of great new topics. We learn tips to outsmart clutter both within our homes as well as in our negative thought patterns. We feature a poignantly touching account of a woman whose pregnancy ended, bereft of a longed-for child. And we apply Noach’s strategies to regain our own equilibrium in dealing with the sometimes overwhelming ”flood waters” of life.

As Noach emerged from the ark, he beheld a beautiful new world.

We can too.

Wishing you a Chodesh Tov (a good month)!

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.

September 22, 2013

Men and Women.

Husbands and Wives.

Brothers and Sisters.

What do we want from one another? Are we hopelessly stranded on different planets drowning in the waters of strife and miscommunication? Can we ever find the life draft that will bring us peace and reconciliation?

This Shabbat, backing on to the holiday of Sukkot, we begin a new yearly cycle of Torah readings, starting with the portion of Bereishit, which recounts the creation of our world.

And wouldn’t you know, on the very same day that the first man and woman were created, merely hours after life has been breathed into their nostrils, the world experiences The First Big Fight.

Nor is it merely a small skirmish, but the whole works, full of denial, recriminations, blame, countercharges and more blame. His fault. Her fault. The snake’s fault.

But hidden too within the lines of the story are the keys to finding the understanding and harmony that both men and women seek.

What are a husband’s greatest complaints against his wife? What are a wife’s greatest complaints against her husband? And what are the underlying, but albeit different needs of each?

Got 3 minutes? Then click here for some insight.

Just make sure to share with us your comments.

Wishing you a most joyous and harmonious Sukkot and Simchat Torah.

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.

August 15, 2013

Life is full of stress.

We all know that. We all experience that.

We also all know the benefits—physically, emotionally and spiritually—of reducing stress and feeling more joy.

Yet, many of us have plenty of good reasons to feel anxiety, despondency and unhappiness. So, the real question is, can joy be packaged? Can we have joy on demand? Can we make ourselves happy? Or is joy something that is genetic, or a product of our circumstances?

The holiday of Sukkot is called “the Festival of Happiness.” So, now is a good time to explore the topic of joy and how to bring more of it into our lives.

Taking a quick survey of our authors this week, here’s their advice for creating more joy:

  1. Do exercises to increase joy: find your sense of purpose and accomplishment, experience gratefulness, help another person, and focus on doing enjoyable things. (Nomi Freeman)
  2. Meditate on the etrog. See it as the heart within the Tree of Life, pulsating with G‑d’s infinite love. Feel the love within your own heart. (Shimona Tzukernick)
  3. The Sukkah reminds us of how temporary stuff is. The best things in life aren’t things. Prioritize your life to create a more simplified existence. (Rivka Caroline)
  4. Feel happiness and wholeness through your relationships, in connecting with the other half of your soul. (Women of Distinction)
  5. We are merely a passerby on the journey of life. Feel the protection of G‑d surrounding you. (Elana Mizrahi)
  6. The Sukkah invites us to abandon the illusion that physical things can protect or limit us. Step out of your limiting boundaries and embrace your uninhibited potential and unique destiny. (Shifra Hendrie)

What are your thoughts? What do you do when stress threatens to overwhelm you? How do you increase joy in your life?

Wishing you a most joyous Sukkot,

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.

September 8, 2013

I was in the airport with my husband, who looks obviously Jewish, and we were bageled.

A gruff looking, strong muscled, metal clad teenager casually approached us and disarmingly wished us, “Shabbat Shalom!” Though it was a Wednesday afternoon, the teen was obviously letting us know that he, too, is a member of the tribe.

Bageling is the idea that Jews have a powerful urge to connect to one another. You could “bagel” by telling someone outright that you are Jewish, but often it has more subtle forms. At the currency exchange What makes us feel the need to bagel?line, an elderly man may whisper to you, “I could use more Chanukah gelt now!” Or, in the gym, a sweaty stranger bouncing on the exercise ball may say, “This reminds me of my bubby’s matzah balls.”

What makes us feel the need to bagel? There are many theories. Here is mine. When we see another Jewish soul—irrespective of how religious or affiliated we may be—a strong, inexplicable, perhaps mystical urge awakens our desire to connect with another part our own Divine core.

This week, we celebrate Yom Kippur, a day in which we totally submerge ourselves in intimate connection with our Creator, baring our souls and uncovering the underlying bond with one another. As the day reaches its climax, at the final “Neilah” prayer, which literally means “locked” as theDoes Yom Kippur play a role in your life? heavenly gates close for the day, we become locked in an absolute embrace with our Maker.

This week, we feature many wonderful articles demonstrating the power of this awesome day. In particular, I enjoyed Bracha Goetz’s hauntingly honest piece, Why Do You Care if My Boyfriend is Jewish? which describes her personal awakening as she discovers her inner core.

Have you ever bageled someone? Do you relate to Bracha’s struggle? Does Yom Kippur play a role in your life? Please share with us.

Wishing you an easy fast and a very meaningful and awesome Yom Kippur.

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.

It’s happened to all of us.

It could have been something powerful that we read, a heart-stopping event that we witnessed, or a life altering experience that we lived through.

It could have lasted but a moment, or for several days.

It may have been a visit to our doctor and a stern warning about the state of our health. It could have been the death—or birth—of a loved one. Or, a final hideous act of abuse—or generosity—that was just too much to bear.

We cannot ignore our experience

Whatever the case, we cannot ignore our experience. Something deep within us metamorphosed and we are compelled to create change.

Change may be as minor as a slight modification of our schedule, or as huge as a complete overhaul in our career or family structure. But the change must be real.

This week, we feature a very short and inspirational video called The Book of Life, written, created and directed by the students of Tzohar Seminary in Pittsburg. The powerful story involves the discovery of a remarkable “book of life” that ultimately transforms the lives of those who found it.

Can you share with us any life transforming experience that changed the way you think or feel—or the way you live? Please share in the comment section below.

We pray that we be judged favorably

Because this is what the introspective mood of this holiday season is all about. As we pray that we be judged favorably, we are meant to use this opportunity to evaluate the state of our lives and discover a new awareness that propels us to positive growth.

Wishing you a transformative Rosh Hashanah and a new year in which you are written in the “Book of Life” for happiness and health, meaning and prosperity,

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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