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Archive for the ‘Nachlaot’ Category

I have been begging begging begging my Nachlaot buddy Chaya Houpt for several months now to start a blog. Chaya is a very thoughtful, very smart, and very funny mom of 3 kids ages 3 and under. She’s also a really great writer. Well, my nudging finally paid off and Chaya finally agreed to start a new blog called AllVictories. I read it and was truly blown away. This totally surpassed my expectations. Definitely check it out.

Here’s a recent post from Chaya’s new blog. This brought tears to my eyes…Chaya, please keep writing!!!!

Elevating the Pink by Chaya Houpt

The discussion around Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter caught my attention. See, I have young girls, and there’s a lot of princess talk in my house, too. And most of it is coming from me.

I tell my young daughters to sit like princesses, no feet on the table. Meals are served in “princess portions,” and if they finish that, they can ask for seconds. When they behave in a way that is beneath their station, I tell them, “You are princesses; I expect more of you.”

I encourage my girls to see themselves as princesses, but I’m not talking Disney. Orenstein describes the effect of the princess culture as creating a reality where “how a girl feels about her appearance – particularly whether she is thin enough, pretty enough, and hot enough – has become the single most important determinant of her self-esteem.” That is not my aim. With all the princess chatter, I’m pushing for something a little deeper and more ancient than Grimm.

I am an Orthodox Jew. My concept of a princess comes from Psalms: “Kol kevuda bat melech penima—all the glory of a princess is within.” This is the opposite of the image of a pretty princess all in pink. The true value of a princess, according to the Psalms, is her internal reality, her essential self. Her image, her physical appearance does not define her. It is not here that her value lies. She is not rescued by the prince; she builds her relationships and her family through her greatness and nobility.

According to the mystical tradition, royalty (malchut) is a feminine trait. The Jewish concept of regality implies both grandeur and dignified humility. This is the royalty I desire for my daughters, this is what I am trying to teach them. The glittering tiara, the pink everything—this is not what it means to be a princess. A princess is someone so confident in herself that she can make space for other people. A princess radiates majesty and self-possession that come from within.

My twin girls are three-and-a-half. They love trucks, construction work and dinosaurs. But soon they will enter preschool, and all of that is likely to change. They will be assaulted by the “girlie-girl” ridiculousness that Orenstein critiques. My hope is that I can inoculate them by painting an alternate picture of what a princess is, so that when they hear, “You are such a pretty little princess,” they will recall that they are capable of true greatness. I hope they won’t be blinded by the sparkle. I can’t push back against the pink entirely, but I can try to rechannel it and elevate it.

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Aaron Razel last month with his newborn son, Eliya Mordechai. Photo by Efrat Razel.

I have been waiting for FOUR WHOLE YEARS for Aaron Razel to put out a new solo album. And I’m sure I’m not alone– Aaron Razel is one of the most popular musicians in Israel today.

So I was really happy and surprised to hear the fantastic new song “What did You Do Today?” on the radio last Sunday, and the announcement that this song will be featured on Aaron Razel’s soon-to-be-released album.

I LOVED the song, and I right away started working on a music video for it– with a JewishMOM twist;) My favorite photo in the video is, of course, the one of Aaron holding his month old baby, Eliya Mordechai. SO CUUUUTE!

I became totally obsessed with making this video this week, it kept me up too late and wake me up too early and distracted me throughout the afternoons with my kidlings. Efrat Razel, my dear buddy and Aaron’s wife, helped me out a lot with it as well with advice and photos. This video completely gobbled up my week, and is the reason why there are fewer posts than usual this week…Enjoy!

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My lungs fell towards my stomach when I noticed the death notice this past Monday.
“Oh nooooo…..” I groaned under my breath.
“What happened, Eema?” Moriah asked me.
I had to wait a moment. My throat was too swollen with shock to speak.
“You remember the old grandmother I used to speak with when she was hanging out her laundry? Well, she’s in Heaven with Hashem now.”

Rabbanit Rachel Fisher was the wife of the rabbi of the Charedi sections of Nachlaot. She came from an important Yerushalmi family and was the daughter of a member of Jerusalem’s High Religious Court. She was also the sister-in-law of the revered Rabbi Dayan Fisher.

Rabbanit Fisher was also one of my favorite people in the world.

Over the years, we had countless conversations when I was picking up my kids from nursery school and she was hanging out her wet laundry.

We spoke about so many things– her health, the weather, her multitude of grandchildren, Passover cleaning, what it was like to grow up in Nachlaot in the old days.

What I loved the most about Rabbanit Fisher was how entirely down to earth she was. Pure goodness and simplicity.

Her life revolved around her home and her family and her husband’s Torah learning. But at the same time, while her feet were planted firmly on the ground, what most amazed me about Rabbanit Fisher was how she saw the world through purely spiritual eyes.

Rabbanit Fisher had been attending a daily netz minyan (sunrise prayer service) for decades. She read Tehillim whenever she had a chance.

But these facts don’t begin to do justice to the spiritual greatness of Rabbanit Fisher.

Since she wasn’t a person who just went to shul, or just prayed three times a day. She was a person who lived with Hashem. He was a part of her daily life. He was with her when she was cooking and cleaning and on her way to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread and leben.

Rabbanit Fisher saw the world, in a way, through Hashem’s eyes.

I will never forget you, Rabbanit Fisher.

Thank you for being my friend and for everything you taught me over the years just by being you.

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