Summer is coming to an end. This means that we have been living in this strange world limbo for half a year. Some of us got sick, and recovered. Some lost their loved ones, some lost their jobs, and all of us lost our ways of life that each once of us deemed sacred in some way. Many people, yours truly included thought that the situation will teach the humans to be more caring, more compassionate, more attuned to the needs of others. While many people stepped up to the levels of חסד – kindness, and caring not known, others – many of others – preferred to exercise their freedom that manifests as “my freedom is greater than yours”.
Caring for others starts with understanding that one needs to care for oneself in a positive way. Many times we forget that nourishing our own souls and bodies helps us to care for others. As a part of my not-too-new routine, I am trying to enhance the lives of others by doing two things – one for our souls, and another – for our bodies.
I have started online classes in Jewish history a while ago before the craziness of COVID-19 hit. I thought of our schedules and responsibilities, and the fact that it is a bit hard for a grown up with children at home, or other responsibilities to get to a class after work. So, I’ve assembled a group of like-minded adults that wanted to know more about their heritage. We pick the subjects and times together. I run a Facebook group where I post little bits of Torah, daily thoughts, daf (Talmud page) commentaries, and so on. This project is going to get refreshed and will become more in depth with my starting to teach my course on Jewish women in history at a couple of Jewish institutions around the country. I am very proud, very humbled, and even scared a little bit – one of these institutions is going to be Gratz College, the place where I got one of my Master’s degrees. The new reality of Zoom allows people from different places to get together and learn, share and dream together. I guess, this is one of the things that is positive in all of the chaos our there.
The other thing that I am no less excited about is my newly found drive for a healthy lifestyle. I have been having some health issues for a while a couple of years ago, and when a friend of mine introduced me to a Wellness Company, I was interested, but as most of us, coming from the Former Soviet Union, quite skeptical. Yet, I decided to give it a try, especially because my sensitive skin stopped tolerating the commercial cleaners completely. I started with them, and surprisingly moved back to cleaning without the need of gloves. Further -more: after a few frantic rounds of doctors, a couple of whom offered surgery, I tried a supplement as a last resort hoping against all odds. And it worked! I then tried more and more products, and now I can safely say that after a few months of using several things made by them (all in America!), I will never go back to commercial cleaners, expensive and useless drugs, and expensive skin care. Really loving what I use now, and I have even started running a couple of mornings a week – this has been especially helpful considering that I got locked out as all of us, from my favorite Pilates, the only physical activity that I really liked. Of course, during the last year I completely went off meat and started to eat even healthier than I ever did. You can check out my very poor picture of very delicious dishes here if you are so inclined.
I now treat all minor inconveniences with essential oils, and love what I see and feel! I am telling the whole world about this amazing transformation in myself. I would not have believed it if someone else told me. I really had to try it!
Fittingly, this week’s Torah portion is רְאֵה – Reeh – See. I am so glad that HaShem gave the the ability to see what’s was missing in my life, and how I can help others to see as well. While we are on it, please check out this video on the Parshah by Harry Rothenberg.
I would love to invite you, my readers to participate in both of my new endeavors – just shoot me a note, and we’ll talk. Hoping that your lives will turn for the best as mine has turned despite all the negativity that we see and feel from the outside. What I learned, though, is that we need to concentrate on our own feelings, emotions, and trying to help others by enhancing their lives any way we can.