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Dealing with Challenge

A Grief Therapist Faces Grief
6 Truths for When the Pain Cannot Be Contained
I wondered if all of my personal and professional work during the past 40 years could possibly sustain me and my loved ones and my beloved “students” (aka clients).
The Egypt of My Childhood
I remember the day in September of 1989 when I walked out of my home in Saratov into the unknown future.
My Son’s Journey From Chronic Illness to Exploring Life
As a witness to this journey, I saw opportunities to learn how to parent as a loving educator, practicing humility, shedding many tears and calling out “Dear G‑d, please help him find his way, and please help me help him.”
Post-Childhood Trauma, the Path to Finding My Personal G-d
My childhood ended when I was 10 years old. I left for overnight camp an innocent girl; two weeks later, I was called to the head counselor’s shack and told that I had to go home.
In Far-off China, G-d Lovingly Winked at Me
I decided to push forward and explain that I would be delighted to teach, but cannot do so on the two Saturdays in question because I am Jewish and observe the Sabbath.
How Chassidism Is Helping My Husband Through Cancer
We got the diagnosis on February 23, 2017, at 9 p.m. A new anniversary: before and after knowing your husband has cancer.
The 92-Year-Old Who Wanted to End Her Life
Ruth's son suddenly died. All those people who had known her son were not there to assuage her loneliness.
What It's Like to Ask for Help All the Time
Being afraid to go out the door or being afraid of falling was like walking through life alone.
Why Did G-d Give Me More Time to Live?
Why do I have to endure such pain and disability? For what reason had G‑d given me more time?
For a moment, I stood in frozen disbelief—and then started running with all my might. A voice inside said not to look back—to keep running. I never moved so fast, yet it felt like slow motion.
A Little Prayer for You, My Husband
“Bring your husband to the hospital,” the doctor said after I told him Adam was having trouble walking because his feet were numb.
Battling My Eating Disorder, Day by Day
I have an eating disorder.The doctors call it anorexia nervosa, but I resent being put in a box with a nice little label.
Mommy's in Heaven, and Daddy Doesn't Know How to Pick Our School Clothes
Two sisters who lost their mother had found support from a woman struck with the same disease.
Spending Shabbat in the ER
It was the most uncomfortable Shabbat I have ever experienced. What was meant to be a quick visit to the emergency room turned into a hospital admission over Shabbat, with no advance warning.
A Bumpy Way Back, but Home at Last
Maybe I turned down the wrong street. They all look alike.
Dear Estranged Family: The Ability to Forgive Never Expires
We discussed issues of intense bitterness, anger and guilt, but also forgiveness, responsibility and letting go.
Angels by Her Side
Esther Malka was born with a rare bone disease. When she was mainstreamed in first grade, her wheelchair no longer seemed like a throne; it began to irritate her.
What I Learned from My Husband's Final Illness
It was devastating to watch as the cruelty of the mental illness began to steal his independence and the identity that he had established for himself. What was it that G‑d expected from me as we became engulfed by the darkness that seemed to control our lives?
Growing Up in the Shadow of the Holocaust
I once brought a friend over for a Shabbat meal at Bubby’s house. Had I realized my friend was a picky eater, I might have chosen to bring along a different guest, or at least warn my friend of my Bubby’s background. But I realized my mistake too late.
Bubby Annie's Candelabra
I remember 13 years ago. An icy rain like death called to me from the west. I looked out the window in the darkness and shivered.
How One Small Mitzvah Turned My Life Around
Although Jessica was clear about the direction she was headed, behind the scenes G‑d was preparing a detour with a totally different destination in mind.
What Happens to the World After the Loss of a Child
My 11-year-old cousin is gone, and everything is the same … or is it?
The Holocaust Torah and the Stories It Tells...
There were lots of things I knew about Mr. Friedman, and many I didn’t. One fact I thought I understood was that he’s always been a man of ordinary means. So when I first heard about the Holocaust Torah, I thought I’d misunderstood.
My Letter to G-d
Thousands of people have committed to say extra prayers or do extra mitzvot in my husband’s honor. The world is changing for the better. There is so much goodness and beauty all around. If I can see it from my little corner, I cannot begin to imagine what it must look like to You.
On His Terms
Perhaps it was nostalgia, or me trying to recapture whatever it was that I may have lost, but I started looking through some of my writing from years ago—words and experiences from a different place, and a time when bottomless sinks of dishes and baskets of laundry, utility bills and work e‑mails were not my primary concerns...
The Fireflies
Growing up a second-generation survivor
She knew that her mother was unlike other mothers. She knew that something had happened to her, but she was never exactly sure what had happened. Her past was divided into “The War” and “Before The War,” never talking about either...
Growth Through Fear
I realized that fear can be used for growth. Here are three fears that help us instead of stopping us in our tracks . . .
Am I Rude?
How an Insult Led to Growth
“You are the most despicable, disgraceful and rude person! I think you need to change your attitude, and I wish you luck!” And then she hung up the phone...
Unblocking Ourselves
If a person has something of great value but doesn’t realize it, it is as if he does not really own it. In order to acquire something of value, it is first necessary to appreciate its true worth...
Growing from Sandy
The last few days have been a constant stream of neighbors, friends, clients, whomever, coming in for breakfast, dinner, to work ‘remotely’, or just to recharge their battery-literally and figuratively...
The Jewish Take on My Car Accident
Mayim Bialik Shares
I have written about the accident cursorily and somewhat lightly...but my religious identity has pursued me—or I it—throughout this ordeal, and I have a desire to write about some of the more complex aspects of the accident and recovery as an observant Jew...
Inspired in the Hospital
Being in the hospital can be lonely and depressing, but this 16-year-old girl took the opportunity to bring light and joy to others...
Forgiving My Father
My father did reach out to me a number of times. I, however, could not bring myself to answer his messages. I was afraid that somehow he would rob me of the peace and happiness I had found, and reawaken old and painful memories...
The Treasure Within
Discovering the Blessing in the Challenge
My stomach fell; my heart skipped beats. My throat had a lump in it, and tears were about to burst forth on my cheeks. I was exhausted, worn out and drained. We have no one to call, no one to turn to...
New Beginnings
Learning to Love Myself
I tapped into a part of myself that’s generally under wraps. Mummified, really. This part of me, in case you’re wondering, is my integrity. My authenticity. Not that I’ve been living a lie, but I haven’t been so honest with the world, not even with myself . . .
The Double-Edged Sword of Pain
I wanted my father to cocoon me, like he did when I was ten years old. Isn’t that what fathers are supposed to do? Shield their little girls and keep them away from fear?
Taking the Witness Stand
A True Story
I was thirteen years old when my life with the Tanners began. It was a cold day in January in the year 1985 when I stood clutching my meager belongings on the concrete stoop of the Tanner family’s residence . . .
Knowing When to Fight Back
Things were going well in my life. Oh, there were a few bumps ahead but I had enough experience and, hopefully, faith to know that they could be overcome. I definitely wasn't ready for allegations of verbal abuse, harassment and being the cause of a nervous breakdown...
Overcoming a Painful Childhood
Keeping the connection is what helped me overcome and recover from a tragic childhood that was filled with misery, pain and constant struggle. Thank you G‑d for helping me overcome this challenge: the dreadful storms of childhood neglect and abandonment...
Re-Defining Normal
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?
Giving Fear a “Time Out”
A close friend of mine has been fighting breast cancer for nearly five years. It seems like her cancer is winning the battle...
In Need of Love
I don't want to pass the pain on to my kids. I want them to have love and closeness with me and with others. But I see that as much as my revealed love for them is in the home, my hidden hatred of myself creates a stinging bubble around me that fills the house when I hit bottom...
Losing to Win
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...
Running on Empty
When life seems to have no meaning
She says that she is running on empty. She says that there is vast, useless space inside of her. She looks the same on the outside. But things are subtly falling apart. She is bored literally to tears even though her schedule is full. She can’t find meaning despite the rituals and beliefs that frame her days. She doesn’t want to do anything, but she does everything anyway. She can’t figure out where she went wrong when she was playing by all the rules . . .
Rebuilding After the Holocaust
My mother’s behavior was not unique. To be a child of a survivor means being hyper-vigilant, as though this act of vigilance could keep the wolves from their prey . . .
What I've Learned From Jill
When Jill was born her doctor advised her parents to "let her go." Jill's mother informed the doctor that she would only permit the infant to go one place and that was directly to her heart...
How My Mother's Cookies Saved My Life
The Germans told us to leave our belongings, assuring us we could retrieve them later. Suddenly, my mother turned to me. 'The cookies! Let me at least go and get the cookies that I baked for you. I'll be right back...'
The Bomb Scare at My Son's Wedding
How Kindness Defeated Terrorism
"This can't be true," I thought, "probably just some prank." But then I saw the wedding crowd slowly filing out of the hall and assembling on the synagogue grounds outside...
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