We set an example for our children that they never forget
As parents, we don't always know how our behavior affects our children. One thing is for sure though: the only way to teach them to cope with life's difficulties is by setting a personal example, showing them that we are coping with faith, patience and courage. It isn't always easy, but if we do so—then they'll remind us to do the same.
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Sweet and Lovely by Paul McCartney
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The sexational Dr. Ruth ByGreer Fay Cashman August 29, 2017 21:35
Dr. Ruth Westheimer was interviewed at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York by Steve Linde.
Some 15 months ago, world-renowned sex therapist and sitdown comedienne Dr. Ruth Westheimer was interviewed at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York by Steve Linde, who was then the outgoing editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post. This week, Linde, who is now editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report, was in the audience when Westheimer spoke to a packed hall at Jerusalem's Beit Avi Chai on Monday. Needless to say, there was a warm reunion with lots of hugs and kisses.
Prior to her conversation with film and television producer Michael Greenspan, Westheimer was lovingly introduced by Beit Avi Chai executive director David Rozenson, at whose Shabbat table she had been an honored guest only two days previously.
Together, they represented the long and the short of it. The diminutive but effervescent Dr. Ruth is just a little over half of Rozenson's height, but that is actually part of her charm, which has earned her a global following.
People who don't know her and listen to her for the first time are amazed that this small bundle of energy can talk with wisdom and humor on sensitive subjects, generating peals of laughter with her remarks, but simultaneously providing much food for thought. Not only was she as sprightly and funny as ever, when talking about sexuality in Jewish tradition in her interview with Greenspan after giving a short lecture to the audience, but she also used the occasion to promote her book The Doctor Is In, edited by Ilan Greenfield, who heads Gefen Publishing, and who was sitting in the audience with his wife.
Born in Frankfurt in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, Dr. Ruth lost her whole family in the Holocaust; she was saved by being sent on the Kindertransport to Switzerland. Her next stop: British-controlled Mandatory Palestine, where she joined the Hagana and was trained as a sniper.
After fighting and being wounded in the War of Independence, she migrated to the United States, where she had a hugely successful career and became a lovable media personality.
"Being Jewish helped me in my professional endeavor," she said.
"For us Jews, sexuality has never been a sin but a mitzva of the married couple." She noted that in the "Eshet Hayil" (Woman of Valor) psalm recited by religious Jewish men in appreciation of their wives on Friday nights, there is one key line about relationships. "It says there are many women out there, but you [the husband says to his wife], you are the very best of them all. In all of my work, I have never found anything that would be so sexually arousing to a wife as that."
Dr. Ruth, who is a frequent visitor to Israel, is currently in the country to film a documentary on her life.
"Is this our opportunity to get to know more about you?" Greenspan asked.
"I first said no to the documentary," Westheimer said. "I said I'm not going to raise any more money at almost 90 years old. I want to make some money. The Hollywood producer promised, and I agreed to talk a little bit about things that I have not talked about before. My husband and my children – and I have the best four grandchildren in the world – I kept them out of my professional life. But now, I said, the time has come for me to talk about having grown up in Frankfurt in an Orthodox Jewish family as an only child.
"After the Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht), my father was taken to a labor camp. He then wrote to my mother and grandmother that I have to join the Kindertransport. So my parents gave me life twice."
She received warm applause from the audience, a good mix of religious and secular Jerusalemites of all ages, who were given a chance to ask her questions after the interview. Dr.
Ruth pointed out that all the questions had come from women, and she insisted at the end that at least one man ask a question.
She encouraged all members of the audience to be in healthy relationships, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, and concluded by saying, solemnly, "I don't want people to be lonely."
After the event, Dr. Ruth stayed to sign books, including her own book and a beautiful new coffee-table book published by Gefen Publishing, My Jerusalem, in which she is one of several prominent personalities from around the world who contributed articles on what Jerusalem means to them.
Staying in shape the new way-Planking
Nefesh B'Nefesh: High Costs of Jewish Education Main Reason for Orthodox AliyahBy David Israel - 3 Elul 5777
The astronomical costs of private Jewish education in the US is the main motivator behind the decision to make Aliyah for American Jews, according to Zev Gershinsky, Executive Vice President of Nefesh B'Nefesh.
Gershinsky told Makor Rishon on Friday that many Jewish families are collapsing under the burden of paying private Jewish schools, and even take out loans they find hard to repay in order to be able to give their children Jewish education. Makor Rishon cited Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts, where annual tuition per child is around $30,000.
"A family with three children attending private Jewish education in the US must budget on average $80,000 a year for tuition alone," said Gershinsky, noting that a year in Yeshiva University would set parents back some $50,000, including food and lodging.
"We see more and more young families who make Aliyah with their kindergarten-age children," Gershinsky said, attributing their decision mostly to the cost of Jewish education in America. "They would have to earn at least $150,000 annually to survive, maybe even more," he pointed out.
Without spelling this out, it is clear throughout the interview that the families Gershinsky described are, for the most part, Modern Orthodox. He went on to say that many US Jews who are looking into Aliyah are often surprised to discover that the Modern-Orthodox education they seek is provided by the state, free of charge, in religious public schools.
"This is one of the central factors that attract families who weight making Aliyah," according to Gershinsky. This gets even better "when they discover that as Olim they are entitled to free college education, rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a private US university," he adds.
Gershinsky knows of many Jewish families living in the US who would like to make Aliyah, but aren't able to, because "they've taken out loans in the US, and should they move to Israel and earn less, they won't be able to pay off the loans. On the other hand, if they stay, they would continue to send their children to private Jewish education – and their debts will keep on growing." Unfortunately, these families who are yearning to make Aliyah, are stuck, all because of the cost of Jewish education, says Gershinsky.
According to the CEO of the OU in Israel, Rabbi Avi Berman, the insane cost of Jewish education in the US not only encourages Aliyah, but also is a factor in reducing the Modern Orthodox birthrate in America. "With every new child you bring into the world will end up costing you half a million dollars, you ask yourself where you're going to get all this money," says Berman, whose nine children enjoy Orthodox education for free in Israeli public schools.
According to Berman, a Jewish family with four children must earn a minimum of $300,000 a year, which suggests the entire Jewish community in the US must be in the top 10% in terms of earnings. But that, Berman notes, is inherently impossible, "which is why so many Jewish children do not receive Jewish education."
The OU is part of a coalition of religious organizations in the US that are working with the Trump Administration to promote state sponsorship of religious schools. Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, is a great promoter of school choice and school vouchers, which could mean that for the first time in US history, government might do something to ease the burden of religious education.
Which, obviously, is not great news for Nefesh B'Nefesh…