Our Lives

When Motherhood Gets You Down
Do you feel that feeding and cleaning is the most important thing in the world? My answer depends on the day.
How I Got off Instagram, and You Can Too
You might think the contemporary phenomena of social media and its effect on our mental health is a modern issue. In reality, the fact that everything we see, hear, and read burrows into our minds and takes up space in our hearts actually goes back to the very beginning of humankind.
Shining Lights in Mumbai
The rabbi brought out a few Jewish books with bullet marks through their pages from the massacre. I held one book in my hands, connecting to this incredible couple who had dedicated their lives to the Jewish people.
From Construction Chaos to Divine Abode
We are building this home together, which means being connected throughout the process.
He Slept Soundly and I Was Fuming. Here's How I Calmed Down.
When his laptop kept me awake, how I calmed myself down.
4 Lessons From a Birthday Gone Wrong
I tried to stay positive, but it was hard. I knew how blessed I was and I felt G‑d telling me to slow down. “But G‑d,” I asked, “so slow? So quiet? It’s lonely in this space!”
Why My Mother Named Me for a Princess
I don't know why my parents chose my Hebrew name, but I do know why they called me Ann.
Two Remarkable Visits to the Ohel
Marina and I also committed to returning to the Rebbe’s Ohel a year after this visit. We pledged that our second trip would be a celebration of Marina’s victory over her illness.
My Husband Doesn’t Want My Advice
Giving unasked-for advice appears innocent, but it sends a harsh message to the person receiving it. It sounds like: “You can’t do this.” “This challenge is bigger than you.”
How I Ended Up Marrying My Childhood Friend
Right away, I knew I had to go out with Avigdor, if only to meet him again.
The ‘Needless’ Pidyon Haben
I found it very moving to be present at this quite rare ceremony for only the second time in my life.
Losing (and Finding) an iPhone in New York City
When you think positively, good things happen!
A Yearbook Tagline From 60 Years Ago Still Hurts
I don’t even remember their names any more, but I will never forget what they wrote.
The Courage to Identify as a Jew on Campus
The Jewish star was my signal to G‑d, to myself and to others that I believed and trusted in G‑d, as a Jew.
Lightening the Load: How a Household Chore Became More Inspiring
How did I make my family feel good, feel special, feel singularly loved by me, I thought?
Ordinary Kids Doing Extraordinary Things
It provides me with strength and happiness that the future will be bright because our children are making the world a better place.
Fasting on Tisha B’Av in Wimbledon
“You sure do pick your moments to make a point, dear. Is fasting on Yom Kippur not good enough for you?”
Finding Gratitude Even During a Frustratingly Long Wait at My Doctor’s Office
There had been a glitch in the computer system and appointments had been double-booked. In short, it was a mess, and the wait would be very long.
The Lost Wallet and My Return to the Jewish People
It took many years of detours until I found my destination.
My Identity Is Forever Found in Translation
My story is not simple. To Russians, I am an American. To Americans, I am a Russian. To Jews who were observant from birth, I am a baal teshuva, a “returnee” to the faith. To my non-observant friends, I seem extremely religious and committed to Judaism.
A Journey Back in Time: Visiting the Graves of the Righteous in Ukraine
Time has passed, and so much has happened since I was a child in Soviet Russia, yet I feel an undeniable connection to this land where so many righteous tzadikim are buried.
Homeless Man + Me + Psalms = Hospital Room on Fire
A wiry man with a neatly trimmed graying beard, Sam was pacing back and forth in the small hospital room when I knocked. He greeted my, “Hi, I’m Chaplain Miriam” with friendly intensity and dove right into his story, his challenges.
The Stranger Who Saved Me From Fainting on the Subway
“I think I am going to faint,” I say nervously to no one in particular.
The Law of the Shopping Bag
How many bags would I actually need? What if I said one number and really needed more? Now that each bag cost money, could I get by with fewer bags than usual?
The Sigh That Breaks the Human’s Back
Who else comes to a massage therapist except women with tense backs?
Looking Back, Digging Deeper and Finding the Silver Lining
One part of me lives as though something scary is just waiting to whip its head out from around the corner up ahead. Another part of me sees life from a bird’s-eye view, and knows that although things were frightening, they worked out, and I was in fact being guided to a more beautiful place.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
As I sit in a specialist’s examining room, surrounded by high-tech equipment that is surely the latest word in medical care, my thoughts revert to a conversation I’ve recently had with a friend.
G-d's Gift-Wrapped Present
A sudden overwhelming urge for chocolate made my eyes snap open.
What I Do When My Mind Begins Concocting Worst-Case Scenarios
There are days when my brain is so fired up with worries of what-ifs and how-coulds that my fight-or-flight instincts take center stage, resulting in mental paralysis, emotional hyperactivity, and the never-ending feeling of swimming upstream while weighted down.
Why My Letters to the Rebbe Stopped
My parents divorced, and the only letters written were to judges and mediators; the only car trips were to downtown Chicago for court dates.
Good-bye, Abba
Who hears him cry? Does he know? He doesn't remember having daughters.
Getting Spiritual in the Cemetery
It was the perfect activity for one of those dreary Sunday afternoons in the summer: a visit to my father's grave.
My Special Sukkot Visitor
We decide to rent an apartment in Jerusalem over the High Holidays, to get a feel for what it will be like to actually live here. Maybe at the end of our holiday, we'll make the big decision which will impact the rest of our lives.
The Loftiest Tear
I am humbled by the sensitivity and compassion of my daughter. She is crying tears of sadness at the very thought of another human being hurt by an insult.
To Lose a Child
People say . . . time will heal. How can a broken heart ever be healed?
My Life Is a Boat Ride
G‑d put me on a boat and released the anchor, or so I feel. Truthfully though, G‑d holds on, and I must not forget that.
Jealous of the Dog
Was this the first time that my mother felt welcomed and greeted with sincere happiness? Can I ever remember, as a child, being excited as my mother walked in the door?
Baking Cookies
It’s a shame I didn’t take pictures of them. But I’ve got those pictures engraved in my head. And more importantly, my daughters do...
I obliterated the shadow of illness and defilement that had poisoned what I had held sacred. When I affixed the mezuzah to the doorpost of the den, I affirmed that what is created in this room, what is thought in this room, is free of lies and deception. Only truth is spoken here...
I Want to Write
I want to show my readers, in the wrenching three-dimensional visions of words, how things could turn around...
Who Am I?
What happened is that my soul, which has always been a Jew, woke up. But when it awoke it was empty, filled only with a yearning it didn’t understand . . .
Giving Back to its Owner
I am excited. My rabbi said relax. “Return the world to its Owner.” How profound...
I don’t live a Torah life. Until about six months ago I didn’t even live a Jewish life.
When You Wish Upon A Star
I immediately knew what part of town I was in . . . A little backwoods, hillbilly kind of place aptly named Christmas, Florida. Yes, Christmas. From the highway it seemed like a cheery little town, with twinkling lights up year round, but in reality it was far from being a merry locale...
Twenty Sheckels
When they told me my whole life depended on those coins and bills, I refused to believe. After all, I could not eat or drink them even when hunger gnawed at my edges. They were slippery and thin and could not shelter me from the wind. They seemed even lonelier than me but never said a word to breach the distances...
A Dream Come True, Almost
Everything about it seemed so strange. I tried to deny the vision. I tried to re-work it in my head, pick a place closer to home, resign myself to simply staying put, but the feeling kept nagging at me...