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“I am ahead of some people in life, and behind some others, but I’m not superior or inferior.” –Dina Friedman

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The dreams of life, the future of our beings, the beauty of life, hope will be fulfilled! Enjoy my friends!:)photo © 2010 UggBoy UggGirl | more info (via: Wylio)
A few months ago, my teacher Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi advised us to bless our kids before they leave for school in the morning. I’ve been blessing my kids every weekday morning ever since, and I’ve been loving it. And my kids have too. I think the Weisberg kidlings really crave that extra concentrated dose of Eema love and blessing before they rush out the door at 7:21 AM for the big wide school-ish world.

So every morning since school started, I have put my hand on the head of each of my children, and recited the required verses from the Priestly Blessing:

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

 

Which means:
“May God bless you and guard you.
May God make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God lift up His face onto you, and grant you peace.”

And every morning, after that, I think of an issue that that particular child is struggling with (or some sort of struggle that I’m having with that child) and I give him or her a personalized blessing related to it. Here are some recent examples:
Please bless this boy that he should stop coming into my bed in the middle of the night…
Please bless this girl that she should start loving her teacher, and that her teacher will start loving her…
Please bless this girl that she should stop fighting with her sister…
Please bless this girl that her nose should FINALLY stop running…

But this morning, I had a fantastic JewishMOM lightning bolt of an idea that I really wanted to share with you…

This morning, for each of my children I said the Priestly blessing and then added, “Please bless this child that he/she should grow up to be a great light for the Jewish people!”

What a wonderful feeling it was to give that blessing.

At the moment I said it, it plucked me up by the scruff of my neck out of the sisterly bickering and the perpetually runny noses and the middle-of-the-night bargaining with my son to go back to his own bed. And it placed me, instead, twenty, thirty, forty years into the future, looking straight at the kind of grownups my kids will, G-d willing, grow up to be. Sincere, idealistic, passionate and caring people, parents, and Jews.

That switch of blessing made me look into my children’s faces as I blessed them, suddenly free of the traces of frustration that tinge my motherly life all too often. And replaced, instead, by respect and anticipation for the adults they will become. Please God.

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I am already 3 plus months into my EXTRAORDINARY parenting class with BRILLIANT JewishMOM-mentor Dina Friedman. The Weisberg home has been running a whole lot smoother since I started this course, making my JewishMOM life tremendously easier. I wanted to share with you moms 4 amazing parenting tools from Dina…

1. Non-Sticker Chart #1, The Gibor (Hero) Chart

Dina Friedman's Famous "High-Level Choice" Chart

This is an incredibly powerful chart that has been totally transforming my kids. Here’s how it works:
1. Choose something your child is struggling with (i.e., sharing, cleaning up after herself, being patient, getting along with others, speaking respectfully to parents)
2. This is a “Non-Sticker Chart,” which means that unlike old-fashioned sticker charts, you do NOT point the chart out to your kids and say “Whoever cleans up their toys 10 afternoons in a row will receive a new doll.” Instead, you just post this chart, and don’t say a thing about it.
3. When your child makes a high-level choice, with a lot of enthusiasm and fanfare you put a star on his chart. You tell him “You could have left your toys on the ground, but you made a high level choice instead! You cleaned up! You are are a Gibor, a hero! (Dina recommends that you feel your child’s arm as though you are feeling a muscle, and tell him you can feel how he is getting so much stronger, like a real hero).
4. Do not encourage your child by saying “I’ll give you a star if you clean up…” You just wait until after she has done the good thing, and give the star with fanfare.
5. When the child completes the chart, just erase the stars and start again. There are no prizes (remember, it’s a NON-sticker chart.) I made my own kind of prize though for my younger kids. Whoever finishes the chart gets to wear a conference pin that says “I am a Hero” to nursery school. They are SO PROUD to wear that pin!

I didn’t think this Gibor Chart would work with my kids, since they are so used to sticker charts with treats or presents afterwards. But my kids are incredibly motivated and excited about getting a star on the Gibor Chart. In general, using this Gibor chart has been phenomenally effective in helping my kids overcome their various personal challenges. In fact, last week I was looking at the list of issues each child was working on during the first round of the Gibor chart, and in all cases the issue simply did not exist anymore! The star and encouragement has been a very surprisingly effective motivator! Truly incredible.

2. The Bedtime Job Non-Sticker Chart

Bedtime Jobs Chart


Dina recommends that children should have a chart including everything they need to do before they go to bed.

Above is the chart I set up for my older girls to remind them of the one thing they were forgetting to do before they go to bed–their 10-minute nightly chore. This chart has meant that I no longer need to be the nightly-chore policewoman. I cannot tell you how much I love not having to nag!

3. Bedtime Fun
Another bedtime tool I LOVE from Dina is what she calls Bedtime Fun. What you do is you stagger bedtimes so that every younger child gets 10 minutes quality time ON HIS OR HER OWN with mommy. For bedtime fun, every child chooses what he or she wants to do with Eema. My 3-year-old son, for example, likes me to watch him doing somersaults on the bed for 10 minutes. My 5-year-old daughter likes reading, especially Amelia Bedelia. I love this time since it is so fun, and also because it is guaranteed one-on-one time with my little kids. I’d like to also start doing this with my 8 and 10 year old at one point.
I so love Bedtime Fun, it’s one of the highlights of my day.

4. The Morning Routine Non-Sticker Chart

Moriah's Morning Routine Chart


This is another amazing tool which has really transformed my mornings. This is how it works:
1. Sit down with your child and make a list of everything he/she has to do in the morning
2. Make a chart, and post it in a place your kids can see it.
3. The next morning the kids use the list to get ready. No nagging allowed. Only encouragement (i.e., “Great, you have on your socks!” or “Thank you so much for getting dressed so quickly, that’s a big help so I can get to work on time!”).
4. If the child is ready on time, he or she gets to play with a certain toy or book that you reserve exclusively for mornings.

These morning charts have brought about such a wonderful change in my mornings. I’m not sure how I ever managed otherwise!

Thank you, Dina Friedman!!!!

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SUPERMOM.jpgphoto © 2008 Mike On Maui | more info (via: Wylio)
CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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This Israeli news report about the Zalmanov family moved me very deeply, even to tears.

I love this report so much because this is the first video I’ve ever seen that provides viewers with a real taste of a bustling Orthodox kidling-filled home.

I so loved watching mother Sima Zalmanov in action, at the epicenter of the 21-member Zalmanov family. In this video, we see Sima Zalmanov dealing with the inevitable personal and financial stresses of raising a large family. We see her attempting to have an adult conversation– and the muddy socks and the falling toddler and the phone call to her husband that interrupt her. We see her in her ongoing struggle to maintain order amongst their 21-plus pairs of shoes and the six daily loads of laundry and the 3 filled-to-the-brim shopping carts. And we ultimately see her hard-earned nachas, and her intense sense of mission equaled only by her intense love for her children.

As a mom who is working like the dickens just to keep her head above water (and the laundry pile, and the diapers, and the playdates, and the “Eema, can you help me!”), I find it absolutely awe-inspiring to see a mother like Sima Zalmanov who manages to keep a smile on her own face and on the faces of her kids and husband even though she is mothering SO MANY more children than me!

Sima Zalmanov is totally my hero! Enjoy!

Click here to watch one of the most beautiful videos I’ve ever seen– the Zalmanov family prepares for Passover. A must-see for every Jewish mom. Enjoy!

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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Yesterday I posted something about the Bateses of Tennessee with their 18 children, but I realized that it’s a shame to post only about a Christian family when there are so many JewishMOMs out there blessed with jumbo-sized families.

And then I remembered the legendary Sima Zalmanov of Tsfat and her 19 children. I love this lady. She is such an inspiration.

More than anything else, I love Sima Zalmanov’s clarity about the tough-ness of pregnancy and birth vs. the priceless gift of a new baby. Or, as Sima Zalmanov challenges her interviewer, “Tell me, if someone told you that you would have a difficult month, but that at the end of that hard month you would receive a million dollars, would you agree to it?

I also love when she says, “Whatever the Holy One gives, we are happy. He knows what is best for us.” Simple but infathomably wise advice for all situations in life.

Here is a news report about Sima Zalmanov and her family, with English translation provided below. Enjoy!

An English translation of the video:
Anchorman: Sima Zalmanov is 47 years old, and she already has 19 children and 7 grandchildren.
Are you confused? Eliran Tal is too…

Interviewer in voice over: Anyone who thinks that “full house” is just a term used in poker apparently has never met the Zalmanov family from Tsfat. Father Yosef and mother Sima (who is only 47-years old and is a school principal) have no less than 19 children, and the youngest of the crew was born this past weekend. (CJW: this video is from 2 years ago)

The interviewer asks Sima: My wife is in her eighth month of pregnancy and she complains: “It hurts me! it’s hard for me!” and that’s just a first pregnancy. You’ve been through 19 pregnancies, how did you do it?!”

Sima Zalmanov: Tell me, if someone told you that you would have a difficult month, but that at the end of that hard month you would receive a million dollars, would you agree to it?

Interviewer: But pregnancy is nine months!

Sima Zalmanov: If you had to suffer a bit for 9 months, would you do it for a million dollars?

Interviewer: So you have 19 million dollars?

Sima Zalmanov: At least! More!

Interviewer in voice over: So the question is, how is it possible to raise 19 children and host 7 grandchildren in a 4-room apartment that is not especially spacious. And what do the children do in their
free time in a home without a computer or television? The Zalmanov family proves that this is a difficult mission, but that it’s definitely possible. All you need is 3 refrigerators, a 3-meter long kitchen table, a bit of faith, and, more than anything else, a good memory.
(CJW: If I had been the interviewer, I, of course, would have changed this last sentence to “All you need is…a good memory, and more than anything else, a whole lot of faith.)

Interviewer asks: Do you remember all of your children’s birthdays?

SZ: Of course.

Interviewer: What about Estie?

SZ: Estie’s birthday is on the 16th of Adar

Interviewer: What about Yisrael?

SZ: On the 4th of Adar

SZ (pointing to fridge) We have a rotation system. This chart says who is bringing the younger children to nursery school. And this chart is for the sandwiches for school. So that there won’t be any questions,
each child said what he or she likes and doesn’t like…

Interviewer in voice over: By the way, even though it’s difficult at times, there are definitely plans for the future…

Interviewer asks: Do you have plans for a 20th child?

SZ: Whatever the Holy One gives, we are happy. He knows what is best for us. Whatever He does, we will be overjoyed.

Interviewer: There is room for another one…

SZ (smiling): There’s always room.


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