Contact Us
 Email
Let's Go For Coffee

Anna’s family escaped from Iran and lives on the West Coast.

In Iran, Anna had learned about Judaism, but when she was twelve, she became obsessed with the Holocaust. She grew bitter at G‑d and decided that He would no longer be a part of her life.

When Anna was 13, she was riding her bike and fell. Before realizing it, she called out, “Oh my G‑d!” Catching herself, she began to think about G‑d and blurted out, “If You exist, then give me a sign. When I turn 18, show me a rainbow.”

Before long, Anna forgot about her “deal with G‑d.” In college, she excelled at math, and would tutor a friend. One day, as the two were studying, Anna mentioned it was her 18th birthday. Despite Anna’s protests, her friend insisted on leaving so Anna could celebrate. Opening the front door, her friend called out, “Look!”

She was pointing at the most magnificent rainbow in the sky. It took Anna a few minutes to remember her “deal” and realize this was her sign.

The years passed quickly. Anna and her husband were now living in California, and she was in the early stages of pregnancy with her sixth child. At a routine checkup, the doctor informed Anna that her fetus had a defective heart. If the baby survived, she would need surgery and would have trouble breathing her entire life. He strongly advised Anna to abort.

Despite his repeated recommendations, Anna refused.

Two weeks before her due date, Anna asked her doctor to redo the tests. The results were just as grim.

Anna now turned to G‑d. “At 13, You heard me, and at 18, You showed me a sign. Only You can help. Please G‑d, heal this baby.”

Anna went into labor, fearing the worst. The baby was immediately whisked off to neonatal care. Shortly after, Anna’s doctor reappeared. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I have no explanation, but your baby is 100% healthy!”

As Anna shared her story, she pointed to the backyard where her “baby,” a beautiful and healthy pre-teenager was sitting.

Recently, Anna felt that her house was generating negative energy. She asked her Chabad rabbi to affix mezuzahs, without realizing that her large home would need several dozen mezuzahs! But it was worthwhile because her home has once again become peaceful and positive.

That night, the yearly women’s event for her local Chabad was hosted in Anna’s lovely home. I was invited as the keynote speaker, and that is when Anna shared with me her story.

Wherever I travel, I am amazed by the depth of beauty of the Jewish soul. No matter the circumstances, level of observance or location, the soul restlessly calls out to its Maker, pursuing a connection.

Kol dodi dofek, the voice of my Beloved is knocking. Throughout our lives, G‑d “knocks” at our door, seeking to strengthen the bonds of our relationship.

This Yom Kippur, let’s resolve to open the door wide.

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 reader,

At a recent wedding, I met up with an old friend. As we were catching up on the last couple of decades, her daughter passed by, and she introduced her to me.

A few years earlier this daughter had suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a treatable cancer of the immune system. She described the terrible anxiety, the indecision and the fears.

Her daughter had suffered through surgery and chemotherapy treatments, and had recovered, thank G‑d. In her early twenties, she was now a survivor for four years and her prognosis was excellent. Despite being worried about the unknown, G‑d had been kind to them, my friend said, and her daughter had in the interim married and given birth to two beautiful children.

“G‑d alone runs the world,” she said, “and He decides if and when we marry and if and when we have children—even after undergoing a battery of chemo treatments.”

My friend’s faith was inspiring. She also shared a story that truly touched me.

As her daughter was suffering through the chemo treatments, her hair fell out and she wore a wig, like so many cancer patients.

One day, her daughter met an acquaintance who had no idea what she was going through. Though my friend’s daughter was quite young at the time, the acquaintance assumed that, like other Orthodox women, she was wearing a wig because she was married.

“I didn’t know that you had married,” the woman enthused while eyeing her wig.

“I’m not married,” my friend’s daughter responded simply.

She related the event later to her mother, who asked her if she had been very uncomfortable by the exchange.

“Well, yes,” her daughter replied. “I wasn’t embarrassed for myself; I just kept thinking how mortified that woman must have been after she realized. I felt so bad for her, and I was so sorry that I had inadvertently caused her such embarrassment.”

Not only was my friend’s daughter not personally offended or slighted by a thoughtless (though innocent) remark, but she had apparently so honed her sensitivity towards the plight of others that she was only concerned for this woman’s feelings.

We all go through challenges in our lives. We cannot control what suffering we will have to endure. But our perspective on how we choose to emerge from our situations is our own choice.

What a lesson as we embark on a new year.

In just a few days, on Rosh Hashanah, we will stand united before our Maker, awaiting judgment for the coming year. We pray, “Borcheinu avinu kulanu ke’echad,” “Bless us, our Father, all of us as one united whole.” Let us resolve to forgive those who may have wronged us, innocently or purposely, just as we beseech our Maker to forgive us for our own shortcomings.

Wishing each and every one of you a year full of blessing and goodness, health, happiness and prosperity.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

P.S. Please help us light up our world by joining and inviting your friends to join TJW's Facebook Shabbat and Holiday Candlelighting event here. As we begin the Jewish New Year, let's bring more light, blessings, clarity and spiritual protection to our world!

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,

Several weeks ago, I received a memorable e‑mail. It was from someone who years ago had attended the same school as I. We were never particularly close, and I had completely lost touch with her. She had just read my most recent book and wanted to thank me for the inspiration. She wrote that over the years she had read many of my articles and books, but had never bothered to write. But she had just read a story that I wrote about the importance of feedback, and immediately was motivated to fire off an e‑mail to tell me how touched she was by my writing. Of course, I reciprocated and sincerely told her how much her thanks meant to me.

We all need feedback. Whether it is in our workplace or in our home life. Whether we are just doing our job or we are going well beyond our sense of duty. Whether what we do is motivated by a sense of obligation or an inner fire of love.

We all need to be told, at least occasionally, that someone notices what we are doing and appreciates it. That we are valued and that our deeds are important.

The more often we are given feedback and the better the compliment, the more inclined we will be to try even harder and do even better; whereas the fewer kind words we hear, the more prone we will be to slack off. After all, why bother if no one even cares?

Hopefully, throughout the year we acknowledge the meaningful people in our lives and thank them for all they do and for who they are. But special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, or after a particularly difficult ordeal or an especially happy celebration, are times especially conducive to reflecting and expressing how important the other individual is to you.

So, how about G‑d? Does He need our feedback?

On many occasions—hopefully several times a day—we acknowledge and thank G‑d for the abundance of good He showers on us. Though G‑d is above any “need,” and certainly doesn’t need our “feedback,” He does have a want—the desire to have a relationship with us. A relationship, even the most exalted one, is by definition reciprocal and goes in both directions. As our sages state, there is no king without a nation accepting him. Unlike a tyrant who forces himself over his subordinates, a king or ruler—and G‑d—as defined by the Torah has a relationship over those whom he governs.

Rosh Hashanah is the time of year when we reaccept G‑d’s rulership. It is our chance to stop, reflect and take notice. The Rosh Hashanah prayers are replete with us telling G‑d how much we seek His presence in our lives.

Because feedback is something we all appreciate.

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,

“In case of emergency, if you are traveling with young children or someone who needs assistance,” the stewardess intones as she cautions her passengers about the plane’s safety procedures, “put on your own mask first before assisting another.”

Although intuitively a parent will first take her child out of harm’s way, this is not proper safety procedure. Nor should you help another, more vulnerable individual before first taking care of yourself.

There are logical reasons for this.

The most obvious is that a person in distress is not capable of assisting. If you’re gasping for breath, you will likely become anxious and incapable of calmly and patiently tending to the needs of another.

But there’s more to it. If you are in turmoil, your child will sense it even if your actions claim otherwise. Even if he is comfortably outfitted with his oxygen mask, your child will be distraught. Only when a child sees his parent calm and under control will he relax with the understanding that the situation is under control and help is on the way.

Children sense the mood and mind frame of their parents. They sense their parents’ inner truth—what is important to us and what we value—and react accordingly. Children learn what we live, not what they are told.

We are beginning a new year—a new Jewish year as well as a new school year. It always amazes me that the new Jewish year so closely aligns with the new academic year, and that the mood around this time is so full of freshness, new beginnings and new prospects.

How do we view these new opportunities? Do we see them with jaded eyes as just more of the same drudgery? Or do we grab on to the atmosphere of newness by embracing positive change in our lives? Do we see our children’s teachers as new sources of wisdom and new channels of growth, or do we show disregard or apathy? Do we see a new year as a chance to erase all the old and bad and start over, refreshed and improved?

Our attitudes, demeanors and moods are sensed by our children (and many others around us!) even more than the words that we utter. How we react to our life experiences, our choices, our opportunities is a daily learning experience.

As women, wives and mothers, we tend to intuitively take care of everyone else—physically, emotionally and spiritually—while selflessly neglecting ourselves, or putting our needs on the bottom of our ever-growing to-do lists.

But we can encourage another only if we are also encouraging ourselves.

Because if we don’t take the time or energy to ensure that spiritual oxygen is pumping through our veins, it becomes difficult to assist anyone else.

And there’s too many people counting on us.

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.
Recent Posts
Blog Archive