Miscellany · Of Interest

Of Interest – December

Wow. Wow wow wow. It has been such a whirlwind I can’t even pinpoint when the whirlwindiness began. There are three things I want to share with you this month, so let’s jump right in.

Towards a Healthy Balance

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Eating. It’s something we all do, and something more than one of us (I’m going out on a limb here), has a complicated relationship with. Well, I’ve got good news for you. Rena Reiser, a/k/a the Ima Rejuvenator, is hosting a live, free (FREE) teleseminar this Sunday, December 20, at 12:45 EST / 7:45 Israel. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rena, and am still benefitting from her wisdom, her insights and her totally attainable suggestions and advice. Here’s more about her upcoming teleseminar. Don’t procrastinate this one!

You CAN keep those cookies in your kitchen cupboard without them haunting you!

Rena knew what it meant to eat healthfully. She had the healthy recipes and the gym membership. Yet somehow, when life threw her a curveball (as it always does), it was the cookies that seemed to be the perfect solution.

Now she knows better: it’s not about a food plan — it’s about our relationship with food.

In this live, free 60 minute teleseminar training you’ll learn the 5 behaviors that prevent you from eating right and the keys to unlock them.

Plus, Rena will be sharing her #1 tool for eating right — consistently.

Sign up for Rena Reiser’s call — Break Free from Stress Eating — she will show you where to start. December 20, 2015 12:45 pm EST / 7:45pm Israel. The only reason to skip this call is because you have already mastered intuitive eating and feel totally free around food!


Nathan Wolff contacted me this past summer, asking if I would be interested in reviewing his novel, a story of dating from an Orthodox perspective. I said yes (obviously).

I thought I had the storyline figured out early on in the book, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself proven wrong, and, subsequently, curious at where the plot was going to go.

I greatly appreciated how Mr. Wolff’s characters were nuanced in their relationship with observance, how they were on a spectrum of observance, not stagnant, not over-the-top, but the kind of Jew that you might actually run into on the streets of Brooklyn, a Jew with a complicated relationship with observance, with family members and friends who are on different pages in their relationship with Judaism.

One of the main characters, Joe, is a ba’al teshuvah who we see struggling with, among other things, what form of his name to use. Should he be Joe? Joey? Yoseph? The name he gives is dependant on who he is around, maybe also on how frum he thinks he should appear to be in that circumstance.

He also struggles with a friendship with Sharon, the other main character. Sharon’s social milieu is one with no qualms about inter-gender friendships. Joe feels that he is moving toward a more conservative path of Orthodoxy which discourages such relationships. He has successfully navigated that transition except for this one friendship, and he finds that it is complicated and confusing, especially as he begins to date.

They makes choices which are not ideal, but are entirely human and realistic, and I appreciated how Mr. Wolff provided this nuanced view of what it can be like to move within the different strata of observance and all the complicated, messy social details that can occur.

The only criticism I had of the book is that I would’ve liked some of the characters and some of the religious aspects of the characters, to be more fleshed out. I think more backstory, or more detail into the why of certain religious observances or choices would have benefitted the book.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and I sad to say goodbye to the characters. Maybe Mr. Wolff will write another novel about what happens to Joe and Sharon during the next period of their lives.

Ner Echad

I’d heard about Ner Echad from a few people. Rebbetzin Heller had endorsed it, and it seemed like the kind of thing I’d be interested in, but I dragged my feet about signing up, and then it flew out of my head, as do most things I don’t act on immediately (or at least make a reminder for myself).

So it was a very pleasant nudge when Naomi (who didn’t realize at all that she was the messenger for  reminding me) asked me if I was interested in joining together with the other women who participate in this initiative.

What is Ner Echad? It’s an organization, or movement, started in the memory of Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky (remember when I read her biography?). It unites Jewish women all around the globe at candle lighting time, through lighting, charity and prayer.

I signed up, and now I receive a text (you can also get an email) with the candle lighting time for where I live, and also I get the name of another Jewish women so I can daven for her after I light. Lighting can be a hectic time, especially when Shabbos is so short, and I really appreciate the chance to think about something outside of myself and my family, to daven for someone else, and to know that someone out there is davening for me, too.

I also signed up to donate a dollar every week, to be donated automatically before lighting. All of the donations go to the Batsheva Kanievsky Widow and Children Fund, which distributes money to women and children across Israel. I like this because I don’t always remember to physically give tzedekah before I light, so with Ner Echad’s automatic donation, I know that I’m covered even if I forget to do it in my home.

It was very simple to sign up, and I’ve been enjoying the benefits of being a part of this movement. It’s always powerful to come together as a people, to focus on togetherness, and especially when there are so many dark things happening in the world. I’m glad to be a part of creating more light by doing mitzvos through Ner Echad.

~ ~ ~

That’s it for me. Tell me what’s been on your radar this month. What’s Of Interest in your life?

4 thoughts on “Of Interest – December

  1. I love this feature of your blog (yep, your blog has cool “features!”) where you highlight and plug relevant stuff of the month.

    Food and me – we have a complex relationship. Gotta work on that. And that book that you reviewed does sound pretty risqué and interesting too. Finally, (lehavdil) the ner echad is a fabulous tzedaka and is spearheaded by someone I know.
    Thanks for an enjoyable read.

  2. I wanted to add Outdated to my Goodreads list, but it’s not on the site! (2nd time that’s happened to me today!)

    And this month I spent a lot of time eating…including stress eating. Maybe I should check out that free class.

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