The Secret to Success

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Rabbi Mansour’s article last month (“The Secret to Success During Times of Crisis”) was right on point – as usual. With the rabbi’s permission, I would like to add the following thought. I was taught that tzedekah can take many forms besides a gift of money. According to Hillel, the highest form of tzedekah is to help another person become self-sufficient, not to give them a handout. If you can teach your trade to others, drive them to job interviews, volunteer in a school (even as a janitor, because it will allow the school to spend its limited funds on education, instead of paying janitors) or otherwise do something to help others become self-sufficient, that is a higher form of tzedekah than a financial contribution. Of course, if you are able to do both – to donate funds and your time – that would be even better. As the rabbi wrote, may we all be deserving of a year filled with joy, health, blessing, and success.

Albert M.

Family Tree

Last issue’s column about tracing one’s family heritage (“L’Dor V’Dor – Tracing My Family Heritage”) emotionally moved me. I am also searching for my roots, wanting to find out about my mother’s relatives and ancestors. Who were they, what did they do, how did they think? What were their personalities like? Why was the preservation of our traditions so important to my mother?

To tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure why I’m doing this. I know I want to preserve the pear tree my mother planted, the intricate doilies she crocheted despite being legally blind. I want to see the home where she grew up in Aleppo, Syria. I want to see pictures of her parents. And I wish so badly that I could recall all the details she shared of her youth, while I was a child.

Can you give me information about doing ancestral research? I will be traveling to Israel for my mother’s yartzheit – are any records kept there? Thank you!

Raquel W.

Finding Your Soulmate

Last month’s article about shidduchim (“Finding Your Soulmate”) was one of the most sensible articles written on the topic. This is the sort of thing that should be included in the school social studies curriculum. Give kids at least some straight-forward, level-headed advice, which they can actually follow in practical terms, instead of leaving them with all the ridiculous media messages and silly “Cinderella and the Prince” ideas they get from the movies and magazine articles. I posted the article in my kitchen for my 24-year-old son. Thanks a lot.

Margie  T.

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I found last month’s article about finding one’s naseeb way too simplistic – and far-fetched. Where does attraction and liking the person fit in? The  suggestion that looking for a person with good quality traits seems way too cut and dry. I agree that having fine middot is an important qualification, but if this is the only factor, then it seems as if you can marry just about anyone. Of course, this is not so. True commitment is an essential mainstay of marriage, but if this is what is being taught to people as the Jewish way, I have no doubt as to why there are so many divorces in our community – and not at the fault of the couple – rather a society that defines marriage in such an unrealistic way.

Solomon H.

Recipes

Photo by Adina Yaakov

I love the recipe for the Fruity Pebbles Ice Cream Bowls. It is right up my alley – easy to make and so much fun to eat! My kids loved it!

Sonia E.