Posts by slapin

Another Day at the Office

January 21st, 2021 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

I think many of us expect to be facing tumultuous times. While I am sure there will be a great deal to say, one message I keep repeating to myself is that I cannot control national or world events. I can pray and do what is within my abilities, but I most effectively have power only over myself, and perhaps influence over those closest to me. I can’t let fears of what I cannot do stop me from doing the things that I can do, such as keeping my own house in order.  

In that spirit, I’d like to add a new phrase to the words that I hope you have already banished from your lexicon. One of my husband’s pet peeves is the phrase, “Giving back to society,” when referencing a charitable donation. Giving is wonderful, but giving back implies that you were taking from society all the years you were working hard to earn money. Unless you are a repentant thief, or perhaps a self-serving, venal politician, while you were making your money you were actually contributing to society, not taking from it.. Why should your words suggest that you were involved in a nefarious and immoral activity?

I would like to recommend another sentence to this aggregation of misleading words:  “No one ever said on their deathbed, that they wished they had spent more time at the office.” I have seen this phrase, usually in regard to parents being on hand for their children’s activities.

I am a huge advocate of carving out large quantities of family time, of building community relationships and of devoting volunteer time to various causes. Nonetheless, the above sentiment is unadulterated bilge-water.

Let’s try hearing what it sounds like in another iteration:  “No one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time on the sofa.” If you are a couch potato and lazily sink back into your sofa to watch endless hours of movies, that might be a meaningful sentence. But sitting on your sofa is usually not the goal of the action. I spent many hours on my sofa cuddling babies, reading to toddlers or older children, telephoning elderly relatives, and keeping my finances organized. I clocked many more sofa hours with other necessary and worthwhile activities. I might well wish that I did have more hours to spend on my sofa. 

I spend many of my waking hours in the kitchen. Will I, after 120 years*, say that I wish I had spent more time in the kitchen? Not if the focus of my kitchen-time was simply being in a certain room. But will I wish that I had prepared more nutritious meals for my family even if they took a bit more effort? Will I wish that I had prepared more meals than I did for new mothers or families with a hospitalized child? Will I regret not having shared more hours baking with my children and grandchildren? Possibly. Once again, the heart of the matter isn’t the room but what I was doing in it. 

Will anyone feel bad that they didn’t spend more time at the office? Doesn’t that depend on what he or she did there? Will someone actually rue the hours he spent keeping a company going during a difficult time, thus allowing three or thirty or three hundred employees to continue supporting their families in an honorable manner? Why would anyone regret office time that provided  a product or service that benefited one’s fellow human beings as well as providing food and shelter for his or her own family? I can’t think of any respectable man or woman I know who wishes they lived off charity or taxes forcibly taken from their fellow citizens so that they could diminish their hours at work. If anything, the number of people suffering because they have lost the ability to work this past year, even if they are not struggling financially, should remind us of the centrality of work. The important thing is what is taking place in the office, not the location. 

So, yes, it is entirely possible that some of us might wish we had spent more time doing those things that take place on the sofa, in the kitchen, and most definitely at the location of our economic productivity, even if that location is an office. 

* See Genesis 6:3 and Deuteronomy 34:7. A Jewish blessing often given on birthdays is “until 120 years.” (and be ready to see the connection between the two verses as we go Scrolling through Scripture.)

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A Party Divided

January 14th, 2021 Posted by Susan's Musings 26 comments

We have never been a television family, but we used to have an old rabbit-ears-antenna TV set in a closet that we pulled out on rare and special occasions. That TV came out on September 11, 2001. As it stayed out for quite a few days, I noticed a TV tug of war unfolding. 

On one hand, the news was so overwhelming and the sorrow so great, that running a quiz show, or worse a comedy show, was unthinkable. The question was how long that reticence remained. Five days, five weeks, five months? Closer to five days later, things turned back to “normal,” though a distracting news stream ran across the bottom of the screen. 

What is going on in the United States right now cannot be compared to 2001 in terms of loss of life and suffering. However, history shows that the internal falling apart of a society is often even more dangerous than an attack by an external enemy. In the long run, I think our country is in more danger now than it was then. 

All this is to say that while I personally am focused on my own family, faith, finances, fitness and friendships, I still don’t feel ready to go “back to normal” and talk of those issues in this column. I have strong political views as do most of you. How those translate into practical action is an evolving question. 

In chess (a game I play so amateurishly that I consider it a success when I beat a six-year-old) one strategy is to fork your opponent. The idea is to present them with a lose/lose situation. If they save their rook, they will lose their bishop; to protect their queen, they must forfeit their knight.  There is no step they can take that is completely positive. 

That is the position of the GOP today. The GOP has jumped to impale itself on a fork meaning that it is now a badly splintered party. Those who support President Trump antagonize some conservatives; those who attack the president alienate others. Even if the divide was a 90%—10% split, we are talking about enough disenfranchised voters so that the party will have trouble winning anything more than local elections. In reality, I think the split is closer to 70%-30%. The divide may be more lopsided or less than I think—that is irrelevant in terms of a united front. There is a huge swelling of anger among many conservatives, especially including new, younger ones. While the destructive actions taken by a few last Wednesday do not represent the majority, the anger and frustration they expressed is widely felt and poised to grow, especially as free speech is assaulted. That anger, in turn, will repel the old guard.

On the other hand, perhaps the very split in the Republican Party will prove the beginning of the cure. I think many Americans still are naive about Leftism. If an emboldened Democrat majority moves towards Leftism and overplays its hand, the suffering that attends those kinds of actions will become impossible to ignore. That provides an opening to a meaningful conversation.

I have faith that America is still the exceptional  land dreamed of by our Founders, still populated by  people who see themselves “under God.” Tyranny and totalitarianism have always rightly recognized God as their ultimate enemy.  While the push to eradicate God and His laws is growing, after all these centuries He is still around. Betting against Him may lead to great suffering for many, but not to eventual triumph.

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Nothing to Say

January 7th, 2021 Posted by Susan's Musings 40 comments

There are weeks when an idea catches my attention and my Musing is written on Sunday, then edited and hopefully improved until it is time to publish on Thursday. Many of those Musings tend to write themselves—I’m passionate about something that I want to share with you.

Then there are more stressful weeks when I write and delete my writing, when I try a little of this and a little of that. On Thursday, panic sets in because I don’t like anything I have. Those Thursdays are not very enjoyable. 

So, I was feeling quite relaxed when, last week, a phrase in a book caught my eye and words spilled onto my page, sharing my response to those oft-spoken and oft-written words. Then, Wednesday, January 7, 2021, happened. And while I would still like to share my planned Musing with you, I don’t think that my mind or yours is actually interested in it right now. 

What took place in our nation’s capital yesterday was unprecedented in some ways and a continuation of history in others. I cannot share my thoughts with you because they are in a jumble. I do not know what I think. Not only do I not have clarity, but I don’t know where to turn for basic facts. I can read this new site’s agenda or that newspaper’s slant, this pundit’s ideas and that talking head’s points, but I do not know where the unembellished information is so that I can come to my own conclusions. 

I don’t watch the nightly news and I do not listen to the radio or internet continually through my day. Air time has to be filled and that means that people talk even when they have nothing to say. It doesn’t work for a reporter to suggest that you check back in a few hours when they may have more to report on a situation. Instead, they blather on. 

I don’t want to do the equivalent of that. I know that over breakfast, when I read yet another accolade to Richard Nixon for conceding an election in order not to “trigger a constitutional crisis” I was annoyed. Today that election in 1960 is generally acknowledged as having been fraudulently won by the Kennedy campaign, Had Mr. Nixon pushed back at that point, it is very possible that the country would have been spared both the assassination of President Kennedy as well as Watergate, two events that roiled the nation and set it on a different course. As I see it, whether the future president’s acceptance of the fraud helped or hurt the country is up for debate. 

A few hours after my breakfast, I watched unanticipated events unfold in Washington, DC. Until I know more, I have nothing to say. 

Many events are out of our control.
Let’s take charge of the parts of our life that we can affect.


Our Family Cheating Scandal

December 31st, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 25 comments

Several in our family tackle the same newspaper’s crossword puzzle every day.  We’ve been having a bit of a debate. Is it, or is it not, cheating to look up an answer to a clue? No one is completing the puzzle for a prize, no one signs an honor code before being allowed to fill in any answers and most frequently, each day’s puzzle is long-forgotten before the next day’s newspaper arrives. The puzzle provides a few minutes of intellectual stimulation every morning, not a competitive step towards career advancement. 

Each day’s puzzle gets progressively harder as the week moves on. Each household that subscribes to the same newspaper has one member who enjoys the puzzle. After all, it is often much more relaxing than the news! Mondays and Tuesdays are relatively easy. Wednesday, most of us can manage. On Thursday, we occasionally work jointly. Friday, no one has time for a puzzle —Shabbat is coming! Various family members have different areas of specialty: sports, science, history, current pop-culture, pop-culture pre-1980, etc. Together, we do rather well. Sometimes, though we are all stumped, but we know that the answer is easily accessible via technology. 

That is when our naysayers chime in. While no one objects to our pooling resources (let’s hear it for family togetherness!), one or two of the non-puzzle fans have snidely suggested that looking up an answer is cheating. 

Our most recent discussion on this topic took place as a cheating scandal at West Point came to light. With tests being administered online, dozens of cadets have been cited for cheating on a calculus exam administered this past spring. Their actions are in direct contradiction to the West Point honor code, ”A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” 

The good news, if I can term it that, is that there have been other cheating scandals. There is no need to cry “the sky is falling” while seeing this as unprecedented misconduct. There is even a silver lining. Overwhelmingly, those who cheated were first-year students, a sharp contrast to the last large incident in 1976 that involved upperclassmen. One might hope that the occurrence points to a problem in instilling values, especially in light of the difficulties posed by COVID, that needs to be solved rather than being an example of complete and irrevocable failure. 

Nonetheless, I’m wondering if honesty is less valued today than it used to be. West Point’s honor code even sounds somewhat archaic. Ironically, this is partially due to an increase in transparency. In the glamorous Hollywood of the 1950s, studios falsely presented stars as romantically involved, knowing that they would lose audience if the truth of those stars’ private lives was known. Years ago, ubiquitous social media wasn’t present as it is today to instantly reveal the hypocrisy and mendacity of dishonest politicians. Was Bill Clinton’s disreputable behavior worse than John F. Kennedy’s or for that matter, Warren Gamaliel Harding? Or do we just know more about it? 

I am not downplaying the need for honesty or the negative ramifications when a populace does not believe (often with good reason) those in public office, the media, scientists and others who used to be seen as trustworthy. I’m just trying to figure out what would have happened if my grandfather, who used to fill in the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen, would have had access to Google. Would he have used it? Would you? 

No cheating. Just daily clues into yourself.
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Facing Fear

December 28th, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting, Your Mother's Guidance No Comment yet

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter

Anxiety in children was on the rise way before COVID but, unfortunately, it is even more prevalent now. Fear itself isn’t a problem—it’s an opportunity to either become empowered and take action or, God forbid, to take the opposite path and become anxious and fall into dejection.

Let’s take a lesson from Jacob as he prepares to meet his brother, Esau, while bringing his family home after years of living with his father-in-law, Laban.  Genesis 32:8 tells us that when Jacob heard that Esau was advancing towards him with 400 men, he was very frightened and distressed. Immediately after the Torah tells us this—in the very same verse—it continues to tell us that he split the people that were with him into two camps to prepare for battle.   His fear also spurred him to prayer and earlier, worried about a hostile encounter, he had sent presents to appease Esau.  Fear that is overwhelming and leads to despair isn’t good.  But fear can also be a motivator, a force that inspires us to act decisively and turn to God in prayer.

Mothers are known for worrying.  Some of us even become specialists in the field!  So I think it’s important for us to ground ourselves in this message.  Fear is okay, but we want to learn to use it as a tool that drives us to prayer, to cast our burdens on God and put Him in the driver’s seat of our lives, as well as to take whatever action is within our control at that time.  Once we’ve done those two things, we need to drop the fear.

There is nothing wrong with even a righteous person being frightened, but the important thing is to know how to react when we feel fear.  Jacob’s fear inspired him to connect with God through prayer and to act productively with gifts and battle plans.  Interestingly, that’s the last we hear of Jacob’s fear.  Once he’s prepared in those three ways, he is no longer afraid, not even when he’s left alone and wrestles with an angel. 

Out of all the lessons our children can learn from us these days, using fear positively is very timely and valuable.   It is easy to catch ourselves fear-mongering, worrying, predicting, discussing negative possibilities in ways that build anxiety or fear.  Instead, let us model the positive use of fear and discuss it with our children.

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An Outsider’s View of an American Christmas

December 23rd, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 17 comments

One of the most noticeable aspects of being in Israel is how the  Jewish calendar dominates, as well it should. Signs on buses offer good wishes for the holidays in September, bakeries sprout Chanukah delicacies in the winter, and school and government calendars are built around Jewish festival days.

Growing up in America, in my Italian-Catholic and Jewish neighborhood, come December, Christmas was the dominant feeling in the air. Whether it was the music in the supermarkets or on the radio, the brightly lit houses on my street, or the special Christmas cookies in the market (which, happily for us kids, were frequently kosher), it was impossible not to know what the season was.

It may not have been my holiday, but it was lovely.

As I recall it, things started changing in the 1970s, when those shouting about the “energy crisis” attempted to turn lighting up your house into a statement of selfishness rather than celebration. I can think of other factors that, over the next few decades, minimized Christmas Day. The devaluing of religion in general and households headed by single parents with less focus on building family traditions (especially ones that, even in our politically correct world, favor men as ones who are more comfortable with stringing electric wires high above the ground), are two that leap to mind.  While our Founding Fathers, those men who meticulously saw freedom of religion as an imperative, declared Christmas as a Federal holiday, since then,  confusion, lack of education, and outright hostility about the United States’ religious heritage transformed  ‘Merry Christmas’ into ‘Happy Holidays’ and then subsequently into, “I’m safer not saying anything.”

This year, the government response to COVID has struck another blow. Is this scientifically, politically, economically, or culturally driven? Most likely, all of the above are correct. This lays the onus on those of you to whom the day is a sacred, religious observance to ensure that in your homes, even if the gatherings are smaller, the practices of the day shine brightly.

Wishing you a merry Christmas,



COVID Victim or Victor?

December 21st, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting 1 comment

We human beings habituate very easily to new ideas and actions. Growing up, my mother taught me to grease a pan by dipping a paper towel into Crisco shortening (hydrogenated oil was not a phrase we knew) and smearing it over the pan. Years later, when I set out to bake some cookies and realized that I didn’t have any Pam, I almost aborted my effort before remembering that women managed to bake before the invention of spray oil.

In that vein, a young mother told me that she needs to tell her son to take off his mask when he is home from daycare. In his four-year-old life, wearing a mask has become a norm. He doesn’t question it; instead, he questions when he is allowed to discard it.

What else are we being led to think of as normal? I am hearing refrains of low expectations for today’s students. Having missed so much school and with so much of school taking place on ZOOM or in classrooms with masked teachers, we should expect little of today’s children. They will lose math skills, have fewer communication skills, they will be behind— maybe we should just sign them up for years of government support because they aren’t being given the tools to succeed.

What a twisted and nefarious prediction! We used to highlight stories of success for our children. Today’s educational establishment and too many parents instead highlight stories of victimization and failure. There is no quicker way to turn our children into failures than to expect them to be so.

Each and every parent has the sacred responsibility to provide a path to success for his or her children. There are true stories, not of one unusual person, but of many people who triumphed over grueling circumstances. Are we actually going to use COVID as an excuse for failure when thousands of enormously successful people came out of slavery, arrived on these shores penniless and not knowing English, spent their formative years hiding from the Nazis, or fought life-threatening and debilitating childhood illnesses?

This pandemic continues to present challenges to parents. It has also made one of the overarching conflicts of our culture even more clear.  Each of us must choose to stand, and to have our children stand, in the line labeled “losers/victims”  or in the line labeled, “strivers/victors.” It is absolutely a choice, not a pre-determined reality.


On Shaky Ground

December 17th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 76 comments

If I told you that I missed writing a Musing last week because I was under the weather, I would be telling the truth. But I wouldn’t be telling you the whole truth. Certainly, some of the fogginess in my mind came from the medication I was taking and was a result of my body working on healing, but in all honesty, much of it was coming from feeling emotionally ungrounded.

Every once in a while, a bigamist or a con-artist or even a mass-murderer is unmasked. He turns out to be the nice guy who everyone liked. His wife, his neighbors, his employer all had no idea that he was a monster. I don’t think that I’m the only one who feels unsteady when such news breaks and is hyped all over the media. Suddenly, I start looking at people I know and…wondering.  I start seeing fault lines in ground that I had always thought of as rock steady.

I feel that way now as I am coming to accept that Joe Biden will be sworn in as our next president. This certainly isn’t the first election where my preferred candidate lost. That is a normal fact of life when one lives in a free country. I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton or for Barack Obama. Yet, I understood their appeal and the limited appeal of their Republican opponents. I felt that an honest and fair election had taken place and even though  I worried about the repercussions, I accepted them.

This election is different. The unrestrained hatred of President Trump, the vitriolic dishonesty of the mainstream press, the suppression of information and the deliberate release of misinformation over the past four years has me looking at the incoming administration and…wondering.

Will I be forced to choose between my own religious, moral, patriotic, and ethical beliefs versus obedience to those running the government? I recently read a piece written by the daughter of two Soviet dissidents living in the now-extinct U.S.S.R. When her mother and father acted in opposition to the oppressive government, they did not know that they would prevail. That is always the pattern in a fight against wrong.

We are in the final day of the holiday of Chanukah where we speak daily of God’s allowing the weak to prevail against the strong, the righteous to triumph over the wicked. When the Maccabees fought, they did not know of their eventual (and sadly, temporary, triumph). Neither did the Union soldiers fighting against the Confederacy during the American Civil War or the Allies fighting against the Nazis in World War II. What is important to remember, is that while the fight ultimately was against evil ideas put into practice, many of the people who ended up siding with those immoral causes were aligned on that side by fear, geography, ignorance, and a host of other reasons, not from an ideological agreement.

I do believe that Leftism is not just wrong, but evil and incompatible with the Constitution.  Identifying when Leftism starts dominating the Democrat Party rather than just being a force within it, will be an important moment in our nation’s history.  It is a moment that I pray we’ll never face, but that prayer is uttered while teetering on shaky ground.

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Permission to Mourn

December 14th, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting, Your Mother's Guidance 2 comments

‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ by Rebecca Masinter

After Joseph was sold to Egypt, his father, Jacob, was told that his son had been ripped apart by a wild animal. Jacob mourned deeply.  We’re told “vayisabel al bno yamim rabim,” “he mourned for his son for many days. “ Over time, his children tried to comfort him.  Genesis 37:35 says:

All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted.

Rabbi Shimshon R. Hirsch (1808-1888) points out that the Hebrew word to be comforted is in reflexive form— “l’hisnachem”.  Reflexive verbs are ones where the subject does the action to himself.  For example, a reflexive form of the word would be used to describe dressing myself versus dressing someone else.  So when Jacob refused “to be comforted,” Rabbi Hirsch notes that he was refusing to console himself.  What does that mean?  In verse 34, the word for “and he mourned” is also reflexive.

The Lord’s language, Hebrew, reflects the reality that both mourning and comforting are processes, or two points of the same process, that an individual must go through and do to and with himself.  Mourning and comfort are intensely personal processes of reorienting oneself to one’s new reality, whether it’s a world without a loved one, a dream that won’t come true, or a goal that can’t be achieved. There are many events in a person’s life that lead to mourning and comfort, to feeling sadness over what was lost and learning to accept a new reality and live with it.

In the world today, there is great discomfort with grief, sadness, and mourning.  Most especially, it is difficult for parents to watch their children grieving over any loss or disappointment.  We sometimes wonder what our role is when our son or daughter is saddened over something not going their way, or facing a loss of any type.  The Torah is teaching us here that accepting and recovering from a loss, including any disappointment or moment of futility where life isn’t working the way our child wants it to work, is a process each person has to be allowed to go through until he or she comes out the other side.  We may be tempted to distract our child, to explain to them why their disappointment really isn’t so bad, or maybe that it’s even for the good. Maybe we try to draw their attention to all the blessings in their lives. But when someone is grieving, they need to feel that sadness. The only way to the other side is straight through it, as messy and uncomfortable as it may be.  Just like Jacob’s sons and daughters rose up to comfort him, our role is to be present with our child, to make room for the sadness, to allow it to be felt, but ultimately we have to allow our child to go through the process until they comfort themselves by coming out the other side of grief, achieving acceptance and resilience.

Sadness feels uncomfortable and many of us try to avoid it, but it is truly a gift from God that allows us all to adapt to life’s realities with resilience.  We can give our children a gift in allowing them to feel sadness, making it safe and okay to feel sad, sitting with them in their sadness, and allowing them to move through the process from mourning to comfort.  Just as with Jacob, no one else can do it for them it’s a reflexive journey which each of us does within ourselves.


One Gift Is Worth a Thousand Words

December 3rd, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 17 comments

There is so much about which to write. The great loss sustained by America as Dr. Walter E. Williams died this week, the ongoing election drama, and COVID-19 among much else.

Instead, I am bringing back this piece from 2009. In the final analysis, while the fortunes of countries and individuals wax and wane, often with devastating consequences, some things remain constant.

From an early age, I was aware that a dresser drawer in my grandparents’ apartment housed a box with my name on it. Inside was a tablecloth, hand-embroidered with pictures and, in Hebrew, the words, “In honor of the Sabbath and Holidays.” Just as she had once done for my mother and aunt, my grandmother spent hours stitching this special cloth for me. I don’t know if she did the work when I was an infant, toddler or child. I do know that during those years when I was busy looking at a different drawer, the one which my grandparents stocked with Archie and Superman comic books, my grandmother was envisioning my being grown-up and setting a festive table for my family.

Though she was no longer alive by the time I got married, I brought my grandmother’s priceless wedding present into my marriage. In the years since, I reverently lay out the tablecloth for holidays and for special occasions such as when a newborn is spending his or her first Sabbath in the family. Each time I unfold the tablecloth from its original box, slightly battered from various moves, I am transported back to a time when my grandparents’ love enveloped me. I am a better wife, mother and Jew when the cloth is on the table, and its presence spurs me to act in ways worthy of my grandmother’s devotion.

Many years ago, in the hope of passing that chain of affection down to another generation, I embarked on a quest to hand craft a Sabbath tablecloth for my firstborn daughter, who was lovingly named after my grandmother. A slight glitch developed as our family grew and I realized that I only had limited time to work on the cloth, usually was when I was in the hospital for a day after childbirth or on vacation. Both those times were in short supply.

Of course, I wanted such a treasure for each successive daughter as well. I knew I was in trouble when around the time of my eldest daughter’s twelfth birthday I finished her gift and realized that if I took twelve years to embroider something for my other girls, my youngest would be an octogenarian by the time her gift was completed.

After boxing up the first tablecloth I immediately started on the next one and managed to have it done in time to serve as an engagement gift for my second daughter. But our six daughters are relatively close in age and I was in real trouble. Fortunately, as the children grew and needed less hands-on attention, I had more opportunities to grab time for needlework, even if it was only ten minutes before falling asleep.

Our third daughter requested a wall hanging depicting a panoramic view of Jerusalem rather than a tablecloth. I readily agreed, relieved at the smaller size though the intricacy and complexity of the work was greater. I didn’t make it in time for her engagement or wedding, but it graced the wall of her new home during her first year of marriage. Before I completed that needlework, daughter #4 threw us a curveball and got engaged. I hadn’t even begun to contemplate her gift! Last week, I finally finished her challah cover (the covering for the Sabbath bread), once again smaller than a tablecloth but incredibly detailed and elaborate. She and her husband should be able to open the package before their second wedding anniversary.

As I’m quite sure was true of my grandmother’s efforts, much more than time and effort have gone into these gifts. The hundreds of hours spent on each one, as well as on the bag I needle-pointed for our son’s bar mitzvah to hold the articles he uses in prayer, and on the gifts I have yet to begin for my youngest two girls, are meant as a way for me to encourage and care for my children when I can’t be with them in person. Each piece of handiwork speaks to my conviction that they will be true to their faith and families.  Each stitch carries a prayer, each thread an overflowing pool of love.

Update: I wrote this a few years ago. Since that time, I have completed a tablecloth (as requested) for daughter #5, a challah cover for daughter #6, and a challah cover representing my first attempt at quilting for our #1 daughter-in-law. All made with love.

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