Dear Reader,

As a writer and editor, I spend the majority of my time facing my computer screen. Sometimes it is hard to know if anyone is even out there reading what I post or reacting to it. But then, every so often, I am blessed with a glimpse into the impact a piece has made for a reader, and that renews me with an energy and dedication like nothing else can!

It’s been five years now since went live! We have hundreds of writers who have contributed over the years, along with new sections and subsections that have developed and launched. A few months ago we began our Women’s Prayer Exchange, for women to be able to ask for prayer requests and pray on behalf of other women worldwide in need of help. The response has been so heartwarming, as readers share their concern and love for one another.

I am so proud to be able to be a part of what you have helped create. As I say each year and will say again now . . . we are what we are because of you, our readers. You make this site a community. You make a home where we can all come and laugh or cry, share and be heard. So thank you again for your support, encouragement and friendship. And enjoy the articles below, which are the ten most popular pieces from the past year!

With my deepest gratitude,

Sara Esther Crispe

Editorial & Commentary
When I hear the word “religion,” I instinctively cringe. My stomach turns. My hands become clammy, my throat dry. On occasion, I have been known to break out in hives. This tends to confuse people who know me as a Torah-observant Jewish woman . . .

by Erica Zviklin
Dealing with Challenge
My Brother Josh
I spent twenty years of my life wishing he were “normal.” Imagining. Yearning. Wondering about ordinary things like—what would he be like? What would he look like? Would we get along, and what would we have in common?

By Ariella Sunny Levi
Inner and Outer Beauty
The problem is, I love my hair. It’s thick and dark black, with a natural wave. My hair makes me feel beautiful, spunky and adventurous. It’s as much a part of who I am as my name. So you can understand why I’m not so quick to cover it up . . .

By Rea Bochner
Our Mothers
On autopilot for all those months, I think that if I had stopped to think of what I was juggling, and what I was witnessing, I would have crawled into bed and not gotten out . . .

By Beryl Tritel
Motherhood & Childrearing
Dealing with the Loss of a Child
Sometimes I look at my living family and feel so filled with love that I could radiate with it, overwhelmed with joy to the point of spilling incoherent tears because these people are just so amazing. But even those heavenly moments of crazy-lady love are so augmented by the constant presence of grief that happiness is now a completely different emotion than it once was . . .

By Yael Hanover
I stopped crying, took a deep breath and leaned back. “I’m angry, G‑d. I’m angry at You. There, I said it.” It all came rushing out at once. “I’m angry for these past two years. I’m angry that You weren’t there when I needed You the most. I’m angry because I feel like You’ve forgotten. I’m angry because sometimes it seems like You just don’t care and I’m stumbling through this alone. I’m angry because I want to know: what did I do to deserve this?”

By Anonymous
Editorial & Commentary
Judaism recognizes that we all have the power to change. But it doesn’t happen on its own. It doesn’t happen simply because we grow older . . .

by Sara Esther Crispe
Educating Our Children
Parents usually parent in the style that they do, not because that’s what’s good for their kids, but rather because that is what is suitable to them, the parents, in the moment. Let’s be honest here. The way that we react to our kids has more to do with us and how we are feeling than with what the kids actually did . . .

By Shalvi Weissman
Dealing with Challenge
Learning to Let Go
I know it’s a childish and irrational projection, but that’s how I sum up my heavenly Father—the One up there who has no malice towards me, but is certainly not dependable, who will lure me into a false sense of security, if I let Him, but then will pull the rug out and disappear in the middle of the night . . .

By Hanna Perlberger
Stories of Return
My journey has taken me from my grandfather’s Primitive Baptist Church in Arkansas, to an ashram in the Catskills, and finally to Orthodox Judaism . . .

By Davida Goldberg