| Family First Inbox |

Family First Inbox: Issue 879

“Reframing those memories has helped me let go of so many negative associations from my childhood”

Out of Love [Family Reflections / Issue 878]

I was intrigued by Sarah Chana Radcliffe’s piece about making sure our children feel the love we have for them.

In my twenties, I went to a therapist to work through some issues that had come up. We did a lot of inner-child work that was incredibly healing.

One of the most powerful aspects of the therapist’s approach was looking at painful childhood memories from the other person’s point of view.

If my mother didn’t want to buy me a certain thing that I wanted, it’s not because she thought I wasn’t worthy of it — it’s because it wasn’t practical/wasn’t in the budget/might have attracted bullying from my peers.

If my teacher didn’t treat me as well as I’d expected, it’s not that she hated me — it was outside pressures/it was a misunderstanding/it was a myriad of other reasons that actually had nothing to do with me at all.

Reframing those memories has helped me let go of so many negative associations from my childhood, and view my parents and teachers in a new light.

I’m so sad that it took me 20 years to get to that point.

I hope that Sarah Chana’s article prompts mothers to consider how their communications are coming across to their children, and make sure they understand on a subconscious level how everything is done out of love. This can serve to avoid so much pain in the years ahead.

Name Withheld


Knee-Deep in Laundry [Inbox / Issue 878]

While knee-deep in laundry from my children in the army, I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read Ms. Halberg’s letter about her two washing machines, one with a steam option, and how much time they save. We made aliyah over 30 years ago, bringing all our appliances with us at the time. However, we quickly discovered that American appliances just don’t cut it in Israel. We learned about the European machines Israelis use because they heat the water to avoid depleting all the hot water from the dud shemesh. We’ve grown accustomed to a wash in these types of machines taking an hour and a half (and that’s considered a short cycle). I found myself fantasizing about sending her my six loads!

Debra Weiner

Jerusalem, Israel


She Wasn’t a Mensch [Inbox / Issue 878]

Dear Rivka T.,

Thank you for sharing your take on the Second Guessing column regarding competing playgroup morahs, where you said the lack of competition in the childcare market means our children lose out.

I fully agree with you that “children aren’t a commodity,” and certainly no one has “the rights to anyone’s child.”

I think that in your frustration over the situation in your neighborhood, you’ve missed the point.

It’s not about anyone having the “rights” to run a playgroup.

That’s a separate issue — we all know that Yiddishkeit isn’t about “rights.” If the halachah says it’s okay, then it’s okay. And if halachah says it’s not okay, then it’s a nonstarter, and that’s a question for a rav. It’s difficult to say unequivocally that Nava would not have received a heter for opening a playgroup with longer hours.

But this discussion is a question for the fifth chelek of Shulchan Aruch — whether or not Nava acted like a mensch toward a woman who devoted time and effort to help her out.

And the answer to that is a resounding no.

Wishing you much hatzlachah in finding the perfect childcare option for your children!

A Playgroup Mom


Kudos to Mothers Today [Family Tempo / Issue 878]

I want to take the opportunity to say that I have been really enjoying the recent pieces by Esther Mandel. Her article “Perfectly Okay” was the perfect blend of poignant, heartbreaking, and hilarious. And “Man Overbored,” about her trying to entertain her children when they had nothing to do, was compulsively readable, especially when juxtaposed with Ruthie Miller’s “Screen Time” describing her secular mother’s attempts to stop them from watching television.

As a grandmother several times over, I think that today’s Jewish mothers deserve a round of applause for trying to raise children without relying on Cocomelon or Bob the Builder (either at all, or too much).

These days we’re much more aware of the dangers out there, and we can’t just send our children to play outside without supervision like “the good old days.” We’re also becoming aware of the dangers of technology, and how it can damage a child’s intellectual and emotional development.

It’s become really hard to keep them entertained in a safe environment, so let’s acknowledge the incredible amount of effort that Esther, Ruthie, and the other mothers of our communities are putting into raising healthy, well-balanced children, with as little reliance on technology as possible.

Round of applause!

Name Withheld


Refreshed and Rejuvenated [On Your Mark / Issue 878]

I enjoyed last week’s well-written article by Libby Livshin about Keren Ohr, the wonderful organization founded by Chana Falk that provides respite for couples undergoing fertility treatments. My own daughter and son-in-law stayed in their retreat a few years ago, and came back refreshed and rejuvenated. This couple is now  baruch Hashem blessed with a little girl after many years of waiting.

May we all share only good news!

A Grateful Grandmother


Tips from a Traveler [Family Table / Issue 878]

I loved the travel piece in Family Table that gave some fabulous ideas for food that works on the go.

As someone who loves to travel and has found herself in strange places with zero kosher food, I would love to add some more ideas (with the caveat that I do shop fruits/veggies in local groceries).

I sometimes travel with carry-on only and need to be mindful of liquids. Here is what I learned: frozen passes 99 percent of the time. I freeze yogurts and never had an issue. I freeze milk and soups, and there it depends on the agent — I take the gamble with the knowledge that I need a backup plan.

Equipment all $25 or less:

Electric thermos: It’s like having an urn on the go with hot water for drinks and any instant type of meal.

Mini George Foreman: This can handle four mini burgers or two cutlets at a time and takes up very little room in the suitcase. It also toasts those buns really well.

Mini pancake maker: This is great not just for pancakes but for eggs or anything. Note: You don’t need this if you’re taking a Betty Crocker, but if you want a serious space saver….

Breakfast/Lunch Ideas:

Bring frozen pancake mix (homemade or bought) and cook in pancake/waffle maker or Betty Crocker. (Note: In the Betty Crocker it’s often hard to keep contained so I make a jumbo size and cut like a pizza.)

Hard-boiled eggs: Eggs and disposable pots or simple 9x13s is all you need (tins are hard to find in many parts of rural America so I advise bringing any aluminum or plastics you need).

Frozen pretzels can be heated in a Betty Crocker and drizzled with cheese.

Oatmeal bowls: instant oatmeal, plain or flavored, topped with fruit and/or yogurt.

Israeli salad (no checking of those veggies required so it’s easy to get), pita (these defrost beautifully), and tuna.

Osem has instant meals of couscous, Knorr has Cup of Soup, Heaven & Earth has quinoa cups, Hadar makes instant mashed potatoes… all excellent options.

Dinner ideas:

Ramen bowls: I grill chicken (that I bring frozen in a marinade) in the George Foreman and add (instant) Ramen noodles with avocado from my local grocery for a meal.

Buy pre-formed and seasoned mini burgers in the grocery. Freeze. Grill on the George Foreman and serve with sliced veggies and mini pretzel buns.

Deli sandwiches, like you said!

Frozen potato burekas in a Betty Crocker with thinly cut marinated minute or sandwich steaks.

Full disclosure: I often schlep only to walk the aisle of a local grocery, and find it so well stocked with kosher food. I have no idea who stocks it in each community but it is always inspiring to see how people will go to lengths to ensure that keeping kosher is as doable as it can be.

Sarah Rivkah Kohn


When Challenge Is Abnormal [Family Reflections / Issue 877]

It amazes me how week after week Sarah Chana Radcliffe has such relevant and wise content to share. I think her column about how to know when marital challenges are abnormal was a really important article. When a marriage is challenging it’s imperative for people to know that they may need outside help in assessing and dealing with a situation. It’s not always a question of just working harder in the marriage. I want to thank her for bringing awareness to this topic.

Name Withheld


Help for Grief [A Better You / Issue 877]

Abby Delouya’s article, “Sad but Not Alone,” regarding supporting those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, prompted me to add a postscript that could be of help to your readers. There is an organization in Israel, Nechama Grief Counseling, that offers expert grief counseling to Anglo speakers; counselors work with clients in person or on Zoom, anywhere in the country.

It should be noted that grief over the passing of a loved one affects many of us, especially during these difficult times. Nechama Grief Counseling is here for everyone who is experiencing grief due to a loss.

Contact information for Nechama Grief Counseling is available through Family First.

Thank you for posting such important articles.

Hindy Lewis


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 879)

Oops! We could not locate your form.