(Click on the writer's name for a list of their articles.)
Over the past two years the joy of sharing my stories with all of you has been a true blessing. I am particularly inspired by readers' responses to my writing. In all my years as a television writer and producer, except for the occasional review or award, I got little feedback from individual viewers. Now, when I write something, hours after it's posted I can read a comment from someone halfway around the world.
And then there's the thrill of reading what everyone else is writing! I log on to the website with the same eagerness I feel when I enter a bakery and smell the fresh rolls. Every week, a little after midnight as Saturday turns to Sunday I check in, excited to see the new batch of stories. I savor each of them, amazed to find connections with women of all ages, whose lives now intersect with mine. I am thankful to Sara Esther Crispe for all the hard work she puts into this site. It is a gift from G‑d, through her, to all of us. I'm happy and proud to be a part of it. Happy Birthday to TheJewishWoman.org. May you - and we - have many more!
Jessica Klein Levenbrown
Jessica Klein Levenbrown is an award-winning television writer and producer. She began her career at Sesame Street, was the head-writer of the daytime drama As The World Turns, and with partner Steve Wasserman wrote and produced the television series, Beverly Hills, 90210. Jessica created the teen television drama Just Deal and most recently produced the series, Scout's Safari.
We live in a modern culture of emotional, spiritual and intellectual zones where we are expected somehow to separate our hearts, our souls and our minds as we go through our daily lives. Modern life is in so many ways so lonely! When I am writing for The Jewish Woman in mind, I feel I am part of a community of healing and hope. Because those of us reading and writing in The Jewish Woman can be honest with one another, we can truly understand each other, and learn from each other. That understanding and learning is a blossoming, a joy, and a sacred blessing... true tikkun olam. Happy second anniversary, and thank you so much for publishing "A Jewish Woman"!
Jampa Williams is a single mother, poet and writer in Connecticut, and has journeyed through (and beyond) domestic violence and cancer.
This inspirational site has transitioned smoothly from its infancy to the toddler stage - no 'terrible two's' for TheJewishWoman.org As a writer I feel privileged for the opportunity to share some of my life experiences and journeys with people locally as well as across the globe.
As a reader, this informative and never ending source of enlightenment offers me access to teaching material concerning Judaism and educational articles about people from all walks of life.
TheJewishWoman.org has an irresistible appeal for me, whether I'm in the mood for humor, courage, insight, or thought provoking topics.
Mazal Tov and thanks to all the talented staff and contributing writers for providing all of us with a quality site; many more fruitful and successful years ahead!
Catherine Roozman Weigensberg
Catherine Roozman Weigensberg, a married mother of four residing in Montreal, Quebec, was a geriatric social worker for several years before becoming a full time caregiver for her mother.
About two years ago, I needed help. I needed comfort. I needed an outlet. I also needed a double-lung transplant. I prayed and tried to keep up my spirits. Mostly, I needed someone to hear me. To listen. I had to write about what was going on in this world of mine. I had to share. My desire to be connected to my Judaism, to my essence, got stronger and so, almost as if Hashem pointed the way, I found myself at Chabad.org. I found a page to submit a writing of sorts. And so I did. It was a poem about my daughter. To my surprise, Sara Esther Crispe wrote back saying they were launching The Jewish Woman website and would gladly publish the piece and more importantly asked me to keep writing. I think her interest in my writing most definitely got me through over a year of waiting for my transplant. My health was failing but my soul was being nourished. The more I wrote for the site, the more pieces I read from other writers, the closer I felt to G‑d and a sense that everything would be alright.
Maybe even most importantly, were the comments I received about certain articles and how people could relate, maybe take solace, and moreover, people were praying for me. Total strangers praying for me? It made me cry. It affected me in ways you cannot imagine. The interactive exchange of words, thoughts and feelings that would come through The Jewish Woman website kept me hopeful and strong and gave me another sense of purpose. If I could help one person, one person could help me, this equation could expand exponentially. Hundreds of readers helped. Hundreds of words were written. And an infinite amount of faith, love, and kindness flowed back and forth. It was palpable even in this digital age.
I received my double-lung transplant just over three months ago. When I signed on to this site, my lung function was at 16% and I was on oxygen most of the time. Today, I walk freely with these new lungs working at 98%. Thank G‑d. Sara, without you, I am not sure how I would have made it through the waiting. Readers, without you, I don’t know if I would have ever experienced such pure love and concern I cannot even begin to describe.
Our faith, our Judaism ties us together, around the world, transcending all levels of being; the head, the heart, the soul; we are all part of one another as we are all part of G‑d. The Jewish Woman website continues to foster and nurture us with the infinite inspiration that is there in all of us. For my part, it is thanks to Chabad.org and this site that brought forth the best of me in the most difficult of times. May G‑d continue to bless us with the marvelous and talented people who give us this opportunity to interact and care for each other, with a stroke of a key, across the continents, in a mere instant, a connectivity we must never take for granted.
With love and gratitude,
Melody Masha Pierson
Melody Masha Pierson is a 50-year-old Jewish woman in Montreal, and member of the Chabad Montreal Torah Centre. She is the happy and grateful recipient of a new pair of lungs following a recent double lung transplant. It was her writing and Torah learning that provided her with the strength and faith to stay positive and productive through her challenging time.
It is such a blessing to contribute to The Jewish Woman. I am so grateful to be a part of this network of holy women who come together to share pieces of our lives together. And not just the "good" fluffy parts... we share our struggles, our pain, our failures and our hopes. That's the beauty of the pieces featured on this site - they are always honest, but at the same time they are chock-full of hope. I love Sara Esther for creating this amazing venue for us simple women-folk to "roar" and to support each other there. I have learned so much from you all, and I humbly thank you. Happy birthday Jewish Women everywhere....
Sarah Zadok is a childbirth educator, doula and freelance writer. She lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, with her husband and four children.
Last week, the editor of a Jewish blog asked me to write up my "Recipe for Successful Parenting." This is the kind of thing I could write in my sleep, since I am certifiably fixated on all issues related to Jewish motherhood and mothering. So lickety-split I wrote something up for him about how to be a better mother. I read it over, decided it was good, and had my finger poised above the "Send" button when I realized something. This particular blog is read by men and women. I consulted with the editor, and he agreed that I would have to make my "recipe" apply to both mothers AND fathers.
OK, no problem. I used the "find and replace" option, so each of the 9 times I had written the word "mother" it would become "parent." But I'll tell you something. I read it over, and it just didn't work. Not at all. I had to work on my "recipe" for a few more long hours, and even when I sent it off, it wasn't so great.
The truth of the matter is that I don't really have so much to say to "parents." The words and memories and ideas that sit in my heart and cry out at me throughout the day until I give them a life of their own on my computer screen are meant for mothers. I want to write for Jewish women, because our experiences are different. Our experiences are amazing, and awe-inspiring, and breath-takingly unique.
I congratulate TheJewishWoman.org on its second anniversary. This is the only site today dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of the Jewish woman. The Lubavitcher Rebbe treasured and had the utmost respect for Jewish women, and I commend this site and its excellent editor Sara Esther Crispe, for continuing the Rebbe's legacy.
Chana (Jenny) Weisberg
Chana (Jenny) Weisberg is the author of the new book One Baby Step at a Time: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood (Urim), and Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy through Judaism (Urim). She is the creator of the popular website www.JewishPregnancy.org, and lives with her husband and children in Jerusalem.
When I sit down to write for Chabad.org the words flow from my heart. I'm able to express my thoughts, my fears, my observations as a Jewish woman. When you read the articles on the site, articles whose topics range from birth to death, pregnancy to infertility, you're given the keys which unlock the heart of every Jewish woman. When reading the articles you realize, you're not alone in life's journey.
Originally from Northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She also teaches brides and is a writer.
I love writing for The Jewish Woman because it challenges me to organize my thoughts on Torah into a coherent, cohesive product. Through writing, I am able to understand things about myself and Torah that I would never achieve otherwise. It is so gratifying, to see that others share the same thoughts and sentiments and relate to the Torah the same way that I do!
Stacey Goldman teaches Torah in the Philadelphia area while raising a house full of boys.
As a reader as well as a writer for TheJewishWoman.Org, I've come to believe that this website is a model for the way the world is meant to operate. Think about it. We are all important contributors, no matter our job title. Sarah Esther Crispe and Chana Lewis, our very talented editors, put it all together and they do it beautifully. The encouragement they give to the writers, the respect, as well as the help they offer make them a joy to work with. The writers themselves share their lives, their hopes, fears and the love they have for our religion. They teach through experience, as well as knowledge.
But it's the readers of the website that are able to elicit this from us. They, in turn, teach us through their comments, comments that encourage as well as offer constructive criticism. Yes, we are a microcosm of the way the world should be, all of us working together, egos in balance, learning, teaching, supporting and striving to be the best Jews that we can be as well as doing our part in fixing a broken world. Being a part of this community is an honor.
Sara Tzafona currently lives in North Central British Columbia where she is working on various writing projects.
I came home from shul one day feeling sad. I was sad because I was asked a question. This question was the same question I had been asked many a time, but this time, instead of answering with the usual "no," I decided it was high time I give the answer that was burning in my heart. I spoke the truth, just a different kind of truth.
You see, the question was, "Edith, do you have any children?" I said, "Yes, my mother was my child, but she has passed on now, may she rest in peace." The mother who was holding her infant just stared at me with questioning eyes. After all wasn't I a mother? I was the parent for as long as I could remember. I knew I hadn't given birth to my mom, but did this mean I didn't understand parenthood?
Well, I wrote just a few sentences to The Jewish Woman, never ever expecting a reply. But, lo and behold, I got one. Sara Esther Crispe wrote back and not only did she think what I had to say was valuable, but she asked me if I would expand on my story. Of course I jumped at the chance. With much help from Sara Esther, my most precious article was created a little over a year ago: My Mother, My Child.
The Jewish Woman opened doors for me I never dreamed were possible. I only had one article published before The Jewish Woman. Now I have had several. Every week, I have a place I can go read that I feel is just for me. A place women can voice their concerns about intimate issues, loss, hope and grief. A place we can have a discussion and agree to disagree. A place all women are welcome, no matter what their religious affiliation.
Edith Brown, a native of Washington DC, currently lives in Maryland where she volunteers for the American Cancer Society. She also started a Parkinson Support Group which she ran for five years. Edith has won various awards for the excellent care she provided her mother.
I was seeking an outlet for my thoughts. After I had lost my dearest friend and severest critic (my husband of sixty years died a year ago), it had to be an outlet that valued quality and also would understand me on a special level. I wanted now to explore a part of me which I had not focused on before... being Jewish. One can get very taken up with being a wife, mother, and having a career. Now it was time for me to reexamine my identity. A dear friend mentioned Chabad to me. I read several "issues" and submitted my essays. It has become something that matters to me now... My muse is very happy with it too!!!
Shirley Coles, formerly of Rhode Island, now resides in Flagstaff, Arizona with her two cats and her favorite pastimes: reading, writing essays and poetry, and volunteering as a tutor of ESL, Spanish, and Creative Writing. A graduate of URI with a masters degree in mental health counseling, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has three married children and three granddaughters.
A smart person (who happens to be a writer) once told me: If you write something unusual or creative, you haven't necessarily served any 'higher purpose.' However, if you invest that very imagination and effort into penning thoughts that address the "neshama" - Jewish spark - of your reader (and, I add, its' authors as well), then you have truly used the power of words to their full potential.
Moreover, each time a reader is inspired through such writing, that 'full potential' continues to spread and grow- ultimately resulting in our strengthened connection to G‑d, the Torah, and its Mitzvot. Chabad.org provides both writers and readers the opportunity to exemplify this never-to-be-forgotten advice I once received from a writer (who also happens to be a very smart person).
Chana holds a Master's degree in Special Education and has been in the field for over fifteen years. She presently serves as the Curriculum Coordinator of Bais Chaya Mushka in Toronto, Ontario. As a mother of three young children, she finds inspiration and material for writing at every turn.
What is incredible is how people just don't know - whatever - through no fault of their own. When they find out something - anything - it is like a huge light going on in their soul. Your vision of this website is, as I am seeing firsthand, a link in the chain of Jewish women spanning over 3,000 years. You took what appears to be totally non-spiritual, the internet, and transformed it into something holy.
Joannie (Henya) Tansky works in the Montreal Torah Center as special projects coordinator. Amongst her other responsibilities, she is editor of their magazine, The Mosaic. She has visited Chabad Houses around the world, writing about them for the magazine. She is in the process of compiling her writings into a book.
Mazal Tov on your second birthday. May you celebrate many more "birthdays!" The Jewish Woman site is so popular because everyone can see both you and your assistant produce this site with love. May G‑d continue to guide both of you with His Hand.
Your authors are just amazing. They write from the heart, and as a reader, my emotions take on their article. I have laughed, cried, smiled and enjoyed each article thoroughly. I look forward to receiving your email notices each week.
On a personal level, I was very honored that you printed three pieces that I wrote. To me, writing is a hobby, and it is very satisfying to share my thoughts and see my work in print.
Miriam is an extremely grateful grandmother to twelve beautiful children. She lives in Netivot, Israel and writes poetry as a hobby.
For the most part, we hope life will be good. And often it is. But then there are those challenging moments, the deaths, the hardships, the difficult pregnancy later in life, when you expect everyone to be as elated as you, and instead hear onlyTheJewishWoman.org is the place to go to meet other women, share their joys and their struggles. And mostly, to know you are not alone.
Orly Fuerst was born in Israel and raised in the US. She has a Master's in Education, and spends most of her day chasing her five kids and wishing she had more time to write, while dreading the day when she will no longer be needed to chase her kids.