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The Heroes Around Us

November 22, 2023 4:01 PM

Dear Readers,

As the war in Israel continues and develops into various stages, our hearts and minds are with all our dear brothers and sisters.

One of the beautiful things that has emerged from this intense darkness is the many inspiring acts of light, kindness, love, and generosity. Over the last 6 weeks, I have heard so many stories that have warmed my heart. These are stories of people who have extended themselves to help one another. Though their own lives have been turned upside down, they still seek to make someone else’s lot easier. These are the true heroes of our people.

One such example is Naomi Galeano, a medical volunteer for Israel's United Hatzalah, who I interviewed this week. On the day of the Simchat Torah attacks in Israel, she rode directly into the danger zone to provide her medical expertise to the victims of the massacre. She understood that she was entering a precarious, life-threatening situation, but that didn’t prevent her from going beyond the call of duty to help however she could. Six weeks later, she's still stopping whatever she is doing to answer the calls of those who need her. Her story is compelling and worth the listen, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Have you heard or experienced any stories of heroism over the past few weeks? We all need inspiration; please share them in the comments.

Most importantly, let’s remember that no matter in which corner of the world we live, each of us, too, can do our part in emulating these heroes, by extending ourselves just that little bit more for each other.

In heartfelt prayers for the safety of all our brothers and sisters, the return of ALL the captives, and the speedy healing of those who have been wounded,

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

Light in the Darkest Chambers

November 15, 2023 10:44 PM

Dear Readers,

The seasons have changed, our daylight hours have become increasingly shorter, and the nights, coldness, and darkness have become longer and more intense. It is hard to believe that a month and a half has passed since the horrific Simchat Torah massacre on October 7th. Israel is at war, and our hostages have still not returned.

We are now in the Jewish month of Kislev, the month when we celebrate the victory and power of light. Though it is such a dark month outside, it is also a month of miracles and a time when the glow of the candle shines its brightest. As the blackness lingers outdoors, we need to create greater brightness within.

Throughout the history of the Jewish people, many nations have tried to destroy us and snuff out our light. But we remain here today, still shining the light of Divine morality, spreading the beautiful teachings of the Torah, and performing mitzvot.

This week, we read more about our third patriarch, Jacob (Yaakov). The name Yaakov is made up of a yud, which is the smallest letter and refers to the essence of G‑d, and eikev, which means “heel,” the lowest part of the body. The mission of the Jewish people is to bring the light of G‑d into even the lowest and darkest reaches of our world.

It’s an awesome undertaking, but light prevails, even over the most intense darkness.

As in the days of our past, may this month usher in great miracles for our nation. With prayers for the security of the land of Israel, the safety of our brave soldiers, and the immediate return of all our hostages,

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

PS If there is something that you could shout out to the world right now what would it be? What message of light would you want the world at large to know and understand? Please share in the comments.

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

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November 9, 2023 4:18 PM

Dear Readers,

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewing people from Israel. By hearing their stories, we get a better feel for the tragic suffering that resulted from the barbaric events on Oct. 7, and we understand more about the personal ramifications of the ongoing war on our brothers and sisters. Their perspective also inspires and invigorates us to take on more mitzvot as we hear about the rock-solid unity of our nation, and the numerous beautiful acts of faith and kindness, even amid the hardship.

Two weeks ago, I interviewed the shlucha in Eilat who explained what help was being offered to the massacre victims. Last week, we featured a fascinating interview with the wife of an Israel Defense Forces’ officer about her struggles, coping mechanisms and what she asks us to do on her behalf.

This week, closer to home, I interviewed Rabbi Levi and Nechama Haskelevich from the University of Pennsylvania. The video of this Chabad rabbi went viral, reaching close to 2 million views. He was wrapping tefillin on a campus student just as a group of protesters marched by, chanting for the destruction of Israel. It was a remarkable contrast between those who seek our destruction and this beacon of light and pride in being Jewish.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing more people about their extraordinary stories. These interviews are all part of our podcast Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories.

You can now sign up, by clicking here, to get updates whenever another extraordinary episode—and they’re all extraordinary—drops. And after watching any of our episodes, please don’t forget to share your feedback. I love to hear from you!

With heartfelt prayers for the safety of all our brothers and sisters in our Holy Land and for the immediate return of our hostages ...

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

Which Prayers Are Resonating Deeper with You Nowadays?

November 2, 2023 11:59 PM

Dear Readers,

These are unsettling times. We are four weeks into the war in Israel. Our courageous soldiers are on the front lines, fighting for the security of our people. Over 200 of our kidnapped hostages still need to return home safely. Meanwhile, across the globe, there have been callis for the genocide of our people.

Many of you responded to last week’s editor’s note on How Has Your Life Changed Since October 7 by sharing your feelings. As a nation, we have taken on extra mitzvot, fighting against the evil and hatred around us through the power, light, and spiritual ammunition of every additional mitzvah.

As I say my daily prayers, the words jump off the page and have become more meaningful and significant. Words that were written thousands of years ago feel like they are playing out in real time.

Every morning upon awakening, we say a series of blessings thanking G‑d. One blesses G‑d “who frees those who are imprisoned.” Never has this blessing become more relevant than now, as we literally wait for every hostage to be freed.

As I praise “G‑d, King of the Universe, Who gives strength to the tired,” I pray that G‑d invigorates our soldiers and gives them the power they need to protect us. I pray too that G‑d gives strength to the wives who are at home alone, many with their young children, bravely coping without their husbands, who are in the IDF.

Later in our prayers, the story of the Egyptian slave masters chasing us to kill us feels relevant even though it occurred over 3,000 years ago. “Who is like You, G‑d? You stretched out Your right hand and the earth swallowed them. With Your kindness, You led this nation that You redeemed. You guided us with Your strength to Your holy home. The nations heard and trembled with fear…May terror and fear fall upon our enemies.”

And finally, at the end of our prayers, Psalm 20, written by King David, resonates so deeply for me right now: “May the L-rd answer you on the day of distress, may the Name of the G‑d of Jacob fortify you. May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion…We will rejoice in your deliverance, and raise our banners in the name of G‑d…Some rely upon chariots and some upon horses, but we rely upon and invoke the Name of the L-rd, Our G‑d.”

Given the current world situation, do you find yourself praying more lately? Have your prayers become more deliberate or determined? Are there any specific prayers that have become more meaningful to you? Please share with us below.

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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 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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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