| A Better You |

Purim on Your Terms

Here is our checklist to help you make sure your Purim spending is what you want it to be

Purim on Your Terms
Rivky Rothenberg and Tsippi Gross


oes this seem familiar? It’s the night after Purim, and you’re left with a counter full of cellophane wrappers, tissue paper, cute mini boxes, individually wrapped cookies and challah rolls, a pickle, a few containers of soup, some hummus and crackers, a box of candy for the donation pile, two of Mrs. Schwartz’s homemade rugelach, the nosh pile for the snack drawer, each kid’s collection of treats that might magically disappear by morning, a lonely apple, and a few cans of seltzer.

And a large bill.

“In my neighborhood, everyone gives elaborate, themed mishloach manos. I’m not really that type, but my girls are mortified by my ‘nebby’ ideas. The standards are rising and rising, and by now I spend more on my shalach manos than I do on my matanos l’evyonim. Something is backward here. What am I teaching my kids? But on the other hand, I don’t want them to feel like we’re nerdy. So I go along with it.”

Or do you resonate more with this?

“I know the real mitzvah of mishloach manos is to give two kinds of food to one person… And I know it’s really not necessary to send fifty to a hundred elaborate packages. But I love it! I love themes, matching costumes, and lavish food, think miniatures, chocolates, hors d’oeuvres, crepes… And don’t get me started on the packaging! To me, it’s art! Purim is the one time I go all out and have a blast.

“My husband used to tell me I’m wasting so much money, but by now he just knows that’s how I am. I feel that Purim is all about relationships and connections, and this is just my love language. It really makes me happy. Everyone is always trying to guess what I’ll dream up each year.”

We each have a different way of celebrating and connecting; what’s important is that we do it on our terms.

Here is our checklist to help you make sure your Purim spending is what you want it to be.

Purim comes every year. Think ahead of time what you want to spend, what your values are, and what’s important to you. What memories do you want your kids to have? When they look back on how they grew up, what do you want them to learn from your example?

Let’s talk costumes. Do your kids need new costumes? Will they be happy with a cute hand-made thing or a hand-me-down? Maybe they’ll even have fun making it? Do you find yourself more concerned about what others will think of you than how your kids will feel? What would make you feel good about the costumes you use?

What’s your goal for mishloach manos? If you save here, will you have more to spend on matanos l’evyonim? The seudah?

Plan with your spouse so you’re on the same page about what’s important to each of you. What checks the boxes for a meaningful Yom Tov for each of you?

No matter how you decide to celebrate this year, just make sure you’re making an informed choice, rather than getting a bill later for something you regret.


Rivky Rothenberg, CPA, has vast experience helping families with money. Tsippi Gross is a business consultant and fractional COO who focuses on results. Together they started Ashir, a nonprofit financial consulting program to help families go from financial stress to money confidence. Rivky and Tsippi can be reached via Family First.


The Deal on Meals
Shira Savit

“I’m too busy for lunch... I forgot again... the kids... I’ve got no patience... it’s not worth the calories... I’m not really hungry....” These are frequent comments I hear from women who skip meals throughout the day. Almost invariably, these same women find themselves struggling with overeating and bingeing at night.

Whether it’s due to a hectic schedule, ingrained dieting mentality, misinterpreted hunger and fullness signals, or any other reason, meal-skipping — especially breakfast or lunch — is a prevalent habit among women. And while overeating and bingeing are often associated with emotional factors, the physiological aspects are frequently overlooked.

When a meal is skipped or there are prolonged periods between eating, the brain registers scarcity, prompting a primal response known as the famine mode. This survival mechanism heightens cravings for carbohydrates, sugar, and fat, often leading to uncontrolled eating as the body strives to compensate for perceived deprivation. In a nutshell, the lack of food earlier in the day sets off a biological alarm, compelling the body to overcompensate later on. Women who’ve been in this state describe detachment from their actions and sometimes a “complete daze,” accompanied by a deep sense of shame over their perceived lack of self-control.

The truth is, though, exerting self-control and relying on willpower won’t address this behavior. The body isn’t aware that you’ve been occupied with shopping and errands for hours and couldn’t find time to eat; it’s simply responding to its biological instincts, acting in accordance with survival mechanisms.

Fortunately, the solution is easy enough: implementing a structured eating routine, and incorporating regular meals and occasional snacks throughout the day. Women who aren’t in touch with their hunger and fullness cues will usually find that eating this way helps regulate things, fostering a sense of rhythm and balance in the body. So, no matter how hectic your schedule may be, remember to nourish yourself — your body will thank you for it later.


Shira Savit, MA, MHC, INHC is a mental health counselor and integrative nutritionist who specializes in emotional eating, binge eating, and somatic nutrition. Shira works both virtually and in person in Jerusalem.


Liability or Asset?
Shoshana Schwartz

George Bernard Shaw’s quote, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” is often misconstrued as a put-down, implying that someone who turns to coaching (or any form of teaching) does so not because they’re passionate, but because they weren’t exceptional enough to be considered a master.

Ironically, too much natural talent can actually hamper your ability to teach effectively. If you need to invest less effort to achieve superior results, you may have trouble anticipating or even comprehending difficulties faced by others navigating the same path.

Whether it’s mastering a sport, improving health habits, or learning a new language, the best coaches and teachers often are those who’ve navigated their own struggles and can wisely and compassionately guide others through similar journeys. Their experience facing and conquering adversity isn’t a shortfall — it’s their greatest teaching asset.


Shoshana Schwartz specializes in compulsive eating, codependency, and addictive behaviors.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 886)

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