Daddy and Me and Shadow Makes Three


I got an award today.
When I go out on Shabbat night on crime deterrence patrols I always wear my Daddy’s North Face jacket- it is my  talisman.  Sometimes it is a stakeout and  I have to be quiet for hours on end. We are  watching  out for criminals and their patterns. My trainer said in this part of the world all it takes a one move for a simple burglary to go bad and end up making the perpetrator into a national hero.
Most nights I think about how I ended up there. I like to think  my Daddy would be so proud of me standing up to the bad guys. Under the same  canopy of stars he took me to see on Deveraux Beach in Marblehead, MA- I stand watch over my part of Israel.  I remember the night he told me about Abraham and G-d’s promise to the Jews while Shadow our dog ran on the beach. I believed him and the promise and I have spent my life acting on it.
My Daddy always had good relations with the local police and local K-9 trainers. Despite being a serial entrepreneur he always made time for community service usually in his own quiet way. He taught his children to respect the law and the peacekeepers.
So when I found myself on a mission…being eaten by mosquitoes – I sucked it up and I did my duty as my Daddy would have done,Image

Joe Goldman Brings His “A” Game to Israel

Doing Business in Israel:

The Jerusalem Business Networking Forum  is  jewel in the crown of  Jerusalem’s business community.  I love this group, since there are so many positive, energetic and creative people who make up this group.  JBNF  is run by by volunteers and uses  its various events – lectures, panels, discussions and fairs – to facilitate meaningful mutually beneficial business contacts.

Last week, JBNF met at Canada House just behind City Hall, in the Capital.  It was a very busy night and there were many new faces and new entrepreneurial participants making connections. It was sort of like “Speed Dating” for business. It was fast paced and very intense with lots of business cards getting exchanged.

This time, I had the pleasure of meeting a refined new oleh named Joe (Yosef) Goldman.  He has been in Israel just under a year, hailing from New York. After nurturing the dream of Aliyah since…

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Mentors and Help are everywhere….


The thing about Israel is you must be flexible to make it here.  Before I came to Israel, the shaliach [representative] from Nefesh B’Nefesh came to Baltimore to interview me in response to my aliyah application.  She told me that it was probably a good thing that I had more than a few skills, rather than being “the foremost expert in exotic South American butterflies”.  She assured me that this multi-skill approach would serve me well in my resettlement process.

In reality, I have relied on my doula, catering, childcare and marketing skills to make a few shekels. In the process I have evolved. What I came here hoping to do is not what I am ending up doing. The Israeli government recognizes this and is very good about, in some circumstances, reimbursing people with money for retraining programs.

Every month I make an effort to attend the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum (JBNF) which has both a Facebook presence and a group.  Presenters talk about marketing, sales, personal development, time management, start-ups, funding and so much more. I can honestly say, I have met the best and the most dynamic people at this networking event (that is entirely staffed by volunteers). There is always time both before and after for networking and business card exchanges.

I have also attend workshops at a Haredi women’s start-up “business incubator” hub with training and support for women entrepreneurs. The workshops given by Estie Rand and Leah Aharoni  at Temech/Jerusalem Hub have given me tools presented in a fast-paced and interesting format. The best part is that the class is located conveniently in the center of the city just one block from the Central Bus Station.

In addition, I studied personal development and business training with Lesley Josman Kaplan, owner of LAK Creations and Consulting. During that class we worked with other classmates and were encouraged to support and critique our businesses. The class was given in cooperation with Emunah Jerusalem. Lesley has recently taken the reins of the AACI’s Professional Women’s Network which meets once a month for learning and networking in Talpiot.  This is a whole new chapter for businesswomen in Israel.

Over the past two years I have attended business classes in Talpiot at MATI Jerusalem.  MATI which is sort of the equivalent of the American Small Business Administration. This was a fantastic course led and staffed by very generous and professional leaders in their fields.  Now, I am taking advantage of the 20 hours of business mentoring offered to new immigrants to refine my business approach. MATI worked hard to find me the just the right MATI mentor. I am working with Chaya Ben-Dor. Chaya has a background in marketing, sales and coaching. Each week I am to meet with her, I have an assignment to turn in. This week, for example, I had to do a SWOT analysis on my program and one for my personality.

Through Nefesh b’Nefesh in Givat Shaul I went to several career workshops, most memorably one given on Marketing Tools by Mike Mintz, Esq.  I learned so much from him in one half-hour lecture. Last week,  I read that he was offering a 16 part class on “Internet Marketing: SEO, Social Media and Analytics”. I knew that I had found the program for me, at John Bryce Hi-tech College in the Malcha neighborhood of Jerusalem in the Industrial Park. It looks like it will be a challenge and I am looking forward to it.

So, I ended up interested in the program because three of my mentors and teachers opened my eyes to the fit between my personality and marketing. Imagine that.

The Chassidic Approach to Joy

torah with Gartel

“The Chassidic Approach to Joy” or  better yet…  “How I spent  my Year in Seminary”  

I was asked to speak at the Mitzpeh Nevo monthly Rosh Chodesh gathering of women organized by Annie Kadosh Orenstein. I immediately started to  consume  Sichot of the Rebbe, but I knew I could rely upon my teacher at Machon Chana Rabbi Shlomo Majeski’s fantastic book on the topic of joy. I  couldn’t put it down and I wanted to make sure that I was true to his words and representing the Rebbe accurately.

I learned that the Chassidim were at  first known as “de Freilicha”  – the happy ones! I have had the opportunity to spend this year learning in Malchus Seminary in Jerusalem, a project of Chabad Lubavitch.

The father of Chassidut – The Baal Shem Tov – taught that the yetzer hara/ the evil inclination wants you to be depressed.  When a person has problems they can be paralyzing and rob a person of the ability to problem-solve with clarity.

Rabbi Akiva said everything that  Hashem  is does is for good. Every painful experience leads to something positive.

Chassidut teaches that vitality and the entire existence of the world depends upon G-d.  With 10 Divine Utterances everything exists.  The Tanya explains that the belief in the constant renewal of the universe is part of a Jew’s existence.

This leads us to an appreciation of Divine Providence in the world – Hashgacha Pratit – G-d causes everything to happen.

And…. simcha (joy) comes from the belief that G-d is good and everything happens for good.

Okay, how?

There are two kinds of goodness and each has its roots in holiness.

1. Revealed – we all think we know what that looks like. Nachat /satisfaction from your children, winning the lottery or just being healthy.

2. Hidden – this requires a mindset. G-d wants us to search for him. Sometimes it takes a nisayon /test  – not to verify, but to know  for yourself and about yourself.  This test is meant to “raise us high” and to show us that we possess inner resources and strength.  G-d’s Will is purpose oriented.

So I ask you to expand your vision and know that there is Olam HaBa and Olam HaZeh and  there is a physical and a spiritual world.

The Chassidic approach is to tune out the pain and because  thinking about it reinforces and magnifies it. Make a diversion and don’t feed the flames.

The Alter Rebbe in Tanya says to push away a bad thought with both hands.

Schneur Zalman of Liadi

Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chassidut teaches that the mind is the key to the emotions. Head over heart -Moach Shalit al HaLev is our mantra.

If you are serious about making changes there is no time for crying. Personal growth depends upon a person controlling his/her feelings.

For example, here is an effective technique if you are prone to worry. Set aside a specific time to do it – 5-6  pm or whenever and do a chesbon ha-nefesh / inventory of your soul. When that time comes, make your decisions and move on after the allotted time.

The Rebbe said do not focus on your pain – instead focus your energies. Transform the pain to positivity and productivity. Reach out to another person share your insights with him. Benefit another Jew and you will have relief.

The Rebbe’s approach is to explain everything in the positive and to focus on joy/simcha.

The Rebbe tells the story of when his father-in-law was called before the authorities on Moscow where they were to harass and scrutinize him and it was very dangerous. It involved great misirut nefesh / inner strength and risk. Yet he was tranquil.

The Freidikker/previous Rebbe – the father-in-law of our Rebbe explained    “A person should train himself to focus on the matter in which he is personally involved. Nothing of the past or the future should bother him, no matter their significance.  They are non-existent! Once this state of mind is achieved, the person can perform many tasks in even a short period of time, for the lack of disturbing thoughts enables him to utilize even a moment to its utmost.” This he called “successful time”.

Genuine happiness is an expression of inner truth and understanding and appreciation of the good qualities we possess.

Chassidut goes further to teach: There are two ways of being in the world:

With Yayshoot/ an obsession with self motivated by ego. This way a person takes offense at everything. If a person is too tied to the self that is what their life becomes about. We all know people who  succumb  to this way of being.

Or to be a Batteil / Selfless person. A healthy person is centered on their goals and objectives. You need goals. Happiness in the Kabbalistic sense is Kabbalat Ol / accepting G-d’s yoke. Our energy stems from profound spiritual awareness and the absolute clarity of direction. By transferring our control to Hashem we can  achieve  Simcha which is considered a high level of Divine Service.  Whether we are running carpools, cleaning our mikdash me’at / dwelling place or reciting Tehillim / Psalms for those in need, we are in service.

This changes a person’s conception of who they are – by being selfless with G-d.

Rambam says in his Mishneh Torah “the happiness with which a person should fulfill the mitzvot and the love of G-d is a great service.  There is no greatness or honor other than celebrating before G-d.  Bitachon means having confidence and trust that G-d will help.

Pesach is the season of understanding the concept of the puffed up ego,  respresented by Chametz, and shrinking our egos.

To conclude, we can see that there is a connection between our spiritual realm and our material reality. They both depend on our conduct and our words, speech and actions.

Our Deeds >>>>> effect the flow of activity in the spiritual realm >>>>> and the spiritual in turn affects the material world.

It is so important to :

TRACHT GUT VEN Zein GUT/ Think good and it Will Be Good

And to know  in a deep spiritual way that Simcha poretz geder/ joy breaks through barriers. The power of our joy is such that with simcha we can change the makeup of the spiritual realm and we can bring blessings to ourselves, our families and the entire Jewish people.

Regarding Pesach, the Rebbe used to wish people a Chag Kasher VeSamayach / a kosher and happy holiday) with an emphasis on the Sameach.  As we go through what we need to do to make a kosher  home for Pesach we have to do it B’Simcha / in joy. . .  May Hashem bless us with Successful Time to utilize every minute to its fullest.

I Never Saw It Coming…

B”H My husband got a follow-up call from  He has tried a few people out and they are very good at following up the “shidduch”/match. I was at my computer terminal in our joint office and I was listening to the conversation. They offered my husband someone he knew from the old country.  My husband jumped at the chance to learn with his old friend. I suggested to my husband some topics he might enjoy and that is when the lady on the other end of the phone asked to speak to me. She said that they need women willing to learn with women. She asked me if I would be interested. I said yes and I told her that I have an interest in Tanya and Torah parasha as well as women’s issues. As a Chabadnik I am supposed to be learning Chumush, Tanya and Tehillim.  I try to improve on each part each day- I don’t always make my mark. Life can get in the way. Part of being a Chassida of the Rebbe is to be mesudar/organized. Last summer I was giving a parasha class with Chassidus from the Rebbe and I gave it up because I didn’t have any guidance on how to prepare it without over preparing. Then something made me uncomfortable and I got intimidated. I shut down. I regret this till today. I struggled with this and I have done teshuvah on this a lot. I asked my mashpia what I should have done- she said I was wrong to give it up.  She said I should teach and I am trying to get a Mommie and Me off the ground for after Pesach. But…along comes this phone call and I knew immediately that this is a message from above.  I going to teach on the level I am on with a person that needs meEsther Rosen. Now I am dreaming about this yet unknown woman- will she be a career girl in some exotic place on earth, or a married women carving out time for herself??? Hashem is so amazing because he always know what I need. I need to learn.

The Jerusalem Business Networking Forum….I Wish I Lived There…

What? I mean that I feel at my best when I am connecting people and sussing out their dreams. I love to meet the shy geeky brainiac who is just going to set the world on fire and then getting him to meet the money people. I love having my “green” friend meet other people involved in new technologies. I love getting all of the alternative therapies and modalities people off to the side and really talking about what they do. I love asking people what they need.

If this were a job I would do it everyday. I love doing the “meet and greet” and finding out what types of businesses people are in and what is their passion. The matchmaker in me wants to help them find a resource they didn’t know about. I love finding the synergy between strangers.

Tonight I met up with a familiar face who is connected with people I have admired and known for many years in completely different contexts.  He offered me an opportunity.  As you know I have been casting about for my next move. This project is something I can believe in!  I’ll let you know when the details are firmed up…but I should have known that Hashem knows where my parnassah comes from. The next time I stress out, you have my permission to call me and tell me to chill. Better yet- come on over to my “Little Chabad House on the Wadi” and I’ll make you the drink.

I love being a doula- there is a lot of downtime. I have managed to make it meaningful and have learned a tremendous amount. I am in the hunt for a job to complement the life I have created up until now. My doula business is important to me and it takes a while to grow a reputation and a clientele.  I have decided to look for something worthwhile to do until then. Until I unearth the treasure trove of pregnant women needing comfort.

Today I applied for jobs- sent out resumes something I have not had to do for over 25 years.  All of my jobs have come from personal referrals. I don’t know what made me think that I needed to do this. I know I have to do my hishtadlut/make my effort. I understand that all of my sustenance comes from Hashem/G-d.  He has fed me for a number of years, given me shelter and knows where my parnassah/income is coming from….even when I don’t.

So if you know anyone who can use a committed, out-going and enthusiastic person in their business call me….