Thursday, August 29, 2013

Letting Our Hair Down -Should We? -Part 2

·         Now, aside from the fact that Uri is an amazingly healthy 14 year old and the fact that Uri is totally secure with himself, his place in the family –not threatened by his brother’s greatness at all

·         The issue to explore here is Yoel is he really normal? Is he just bottling up his frustrations in life and just goes crazy- out of the home? Maybe he hunts, maybe he dances at all kinds of hours at South Beach, maybe he just goes out and annoys people

·         What does Yoel understand that so many do not

·         Yoel understands that the true measure of a person, the true barometer of personal greatness  it all starts when he gets home and that’s where his quest for true greatness really starts

·         He understands that he is a %100 responsible and accountable to the people he loves most and that love him most.

·         What’s a home? A place to nurture and to be nurtured – a place to respect one another a place to feel cared for and loved

·         An opportunity to make the greatest difference in the lives of your parents and siblings and allow them to make a difference in yours

·         The shocker is that the people that you naturally and normally take most for granted –are the people that  are the most important and first priority in your life

·         It is sometimes because of the true intimacy of the relationship the underlying subconscious unconditional love for one another that tends to cause you to overlook the respect owed to the people who love you most, do for you most

·         Have you heard the way that we sometimes speak to each other in our homes?

·         It’s an amazing paradox –It’s because of the sub- consciousness feeling that no matter what I really do, no matter what I really say - my parents, my siblings will be there for me

·         If I was on the other side of the world and I called for help they would come running no matter what kind of trouble, situation or challenge I was in

·         The unconditional love of a family actually prevents us from fulfilling and excelling at how we treat our family members – how we honor our parents –and how we love our  siblings – Love your neighbor as yourself starts at home

·         When Yoel gets home he doesn’t just let his hair down and  indulge in himself alone 

·         He is oriented towards gratitude for his parents – how can I be of help? What can I do for you? How can I give you nachas

·         How can I make my parents and siblings feel valued, strong, appreciated and important

·         The Torah teaches the lesson that how you act in your home to your parents, wife, husband and siblings are the true measure of the person

·         In the book named Ethics of our fathers there is a teaching that people commonly translate as “ don’t judge a person until you stand in their shoes” – that is a beautiful idea and a true Torah teaching

·         The real literal translation is you can’t judge a person until you have arrived at their place – where is a person’s place?-their home.

·         When someone teaches us an obvious truth, our natural internal response is like yeah that’s true, yeah I know that , tell me something I don’t know –it is so hard to listen to something that is obviously true – you tune out and turn off

·         But the question is not whether or not it is true but  “ do you live with that truth” or not

·         Many people, a lot of the time are not living with the idea that the measure of man is how he really acts at home –behind closed doors when no-one is looking

·         Don’t judge him until you are able to see him at home with his wife, husband, siblings and children

·         So why do people often act better to others outside of the home than the people who give them unconditional love?

·         The need for honor, approval, recognition, affirmation, validation, to be liked, to be beloved,

·         I need and want these “others” outside of this house to help me know that I am truly great, I am truly worthwhile, I am truly awesome

·         But I can’t do it myself, I desperately need your help “the people outside of the house ” to fill that whole inside

·         The bigger the whole inside, the more I don’t believe that I am great the more I need you

·         If our hole is too great – not only do I not believe myself, but I know that you in the household don’t believe in me either.

·         And if the hole isn’t too great –my household they don’t really count – they aren’t objective - of course that’s how they feel good about me but it isn’t necessarily true

·         But if I know that I am good – really good – I accept myself – feel good about myself –I don’t need a whole lot of verification from the outside to complete me
·         And then…..I can focus on you –others in the house.  In fact there seems to be a general and direct correlation so often that those who crave so much honor, recognition, admiration and fame from the outside, all that craving for self completion

·         the worse I do in my home with my wife, husband, children and siblings,  

·         And the worse thing about it – is that the more you crave, even when get the validation from the outside, you don’t wind up believing it either

·         And how hideous - You wind up sacrificing the relationships and the people that you hold most sacred for the illusion of self completion that you are seeking in desperation

·         The answer is inside of us – to see our true beauty, true magnificence, our spark is none other than God himself –Like Yoel

·         When we can feel good about ourselves like Yoel – we won’t miss the opportunities in our lives to make the people in our lives to feel valued, strong and loved

Letting down our hair at home! Should We? Part 1

I was at an engagement party recently where the Groom’s little brother –maybe 14-15 got up to speak and spoke glowingly about his older brother –Yoel-who was getting married. I was waiting for the sarcasm but it never came.
He spoke about his brother’s integrity – my brother says what he means –means what he says, he has an incredible upbeat positive attitude in the face of all his challenges – and Yoel looks at the glass as half full, has a can-do attitude and is always there to help me when I need him
No smirk – No back-handed joke under-cutting the message – I mean he was serious. There wasn’t any mention that Yoel takes his t-shirts – uses his stuff without asking-or takes the last crisply cream donuts in the house. You could genuinely tell that his brother was – well –his role model –his hero if you will –footsteps to follow in
Wow – I was thinking -Doesn’t Yoel come home and let his hair down – isn’t that the last place he should feel “on”. Isn’t home the one place where you can just be yourself and not to conform to your boss’s expectations or the demands of your prospective customers –or your best behavior for your teachers- University teachers. Like take off the suit – walk around in your next to nothing outfit – let a little gas out-scratch an arm pit-eat with your hands- burp –whatever. I’m finally home- I can do what the heck I want –time for all of you to leave me alone. I’m now off duty – I want little or none obligations, responsibilities,
I mean home is usually the place for burping contests, parading around in your underwear,  – telling inappropriate jokes, looking at magazines that you wouldn’t be caught looking at the grocery line, and most common the place to speak about other people
Home is where I don’t have to play up to expectations about how I am supposed to dress, talk, do, eat, etc, etc-at least until the next day at work or school where protocol and real consequences of life are on the line
Home is where the people who care about me most-they “can” reasonably understand what a stressful life I have, what I go through, the day to day challenges-surely they can understand that I just need time to be myself. Home is where I can be myself! Right?
So if this is all the case –then how in the world does Uri get up and praise his older brother as if he is not one of the top 50 most influential people in America but #1 or maybe 2 besides his father.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Pizza can lead to!

When a Jewish Teenager is with the right Jewish Resource A Testimonial for the upcoming Just 4 You -Hebrew School

During my teenage years I was as disconnected from Yiddishkeit as I ever have been.  I had a very un-stimulating experience with my reconstructionist education as a child and found that they had no answers for the deep philosophical questions that I yearned for answers to.  The secular world bombarded me with instant gratification and easy choices and it was a no brainer to a 14 year old…the secular world was easier and let’s face it, much more fun. 

My father had started learning with Rabbi Mike Stern in my early teens, and as he watched me starting to go down a path that was anything but rooted in the foundations of Jewish values and principals, he decided to call for back up.  Rabbi Stern and I would have monthly pizza dinners to just schmooze, and debate all of the things that I had found no resolution to in my life.  We discussed and debated deep philosophical concepts, as well as the simplest life choices and issues that any teenager goes through.  Rabbi Mike saw the real me trying to find my way in a very mixed up world and supported me through years of fighting to find a road that was authentic and proper for me.   He helped me lay the groundwork of what it means and why we live as Jews, and he and his family lived by example and were always an inspiration to me.

As an observant Jewish woman that recently hit 30, I look back to those pizza dinners in my teenage years and know that it was Hashem sending me a life raft.  He sent me a very special person that could  see my neshama and help me to work things out on my terms, and without that I truly don’t know where I would be.

I recommend for any parent or teenager to connect themselves to Rabbi Mike and the entire Stern family.  The truth, wisdom and connection that they have brought to the world are immeasurable…but even more than that is that they make it accessible and attainable.  They continue to be a source of guidance, inspiration and light to me and I could not be more grateful for their ongoing presence in my life.  

Prepare for Selcihos - BRS - w/ Rabbi Mike & Denise Stern

Join me, Rabbi Goldberg at 9:30 pm in the Social Hall  for our annual Community Conversation as we explore the role that adversity plays in our lives and in our growth as  people.  Hear from courageous members of our community who will share their personal stories about overcoming adversity. Whether it's battling cancer, experiencing childhood illness, coping with the death of a loved one or general disability, these individuals have overcome incredible hardship and difficulty and serve as role models for us.  There will be tears and there will be laughs, but everyone will walk away inspired.Light refreshments will be served. Featured panelists:

Rabbi Mike & Denise Stern
Jill Kaminetzky
Joseph Bensmihen
Naomi Cohn 

Rabbi Without Walls

Dear Friends

Many have asked me to clarify Rabbi Without Walls for 2013/2014

First of all, a RWW website will be on it's feet fairly soon
Rabbi Without Walls provides full service Judaism without dues, membership or building fund -it's Judaism a la carte pay as go.
High Holiday services, Bar/Bar Mitzvah (Just 4 You Hebrew school) , Life cycle events, Yahrzeit, Yizkor and various study/prayer for people who are sick. In addition, we will be having classes/programs including an Israel trip that now is going to be rescheduled for 2014. I am available to speak in and out of town.

In addition, I am in the midst of developing a entirely new project in honor and memory of Shoshie a'h -named "One Heart" -
educational workshops for schools -ages 2nd -12th grades - Tools to increase respect, peace and unity. This initiative is a response as to how we can continue to spread the gifts that Shoshie had brought to so many people. I will post more about this later or tomorrow.

A few other things are on the burner but that is it for now.
Thank you for all of your love and support.

The family is doing as i have said many times "normal" - it's not possible not to cry every day - it's also not possible to be more determined than ever to bring, joy, meaning and goodness to the world. BTW - for those who want to know - Both boys are in Eretz Yisroel for the year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why are we here? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do?

Everything that happens to us in life is begging us to answer
these questions for ourselves. No more –no less. Wake up
to ourselves – we were meant to feel happy, energized,
be productive with all of our actions and speech leading
towards one direction. When you are in business –it’s easy
everything I do I have to take into consideration how it’s
going to make money – What’s our general direction?
Everything I do is in order to …… and individual direction….
What does it all add up for me?

While we are in the shower, driving alone in our car etc
If we ask ourselves the questions in quiet solitude –your
Soul will speak back to you.

Let’s tell the Almighty in earnest on Rosh Hashanah why
He should give us what we need in order to accomplish
Our purpose in this world

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vulnerability= Greatness

Why does it seem that the people who obviously need to work on improving their character traits the most ….. are the one’s who are the least likely to show any kind of vulnerability that they are not perfect. Yet, on the other hand it seems that people who excel in many areas are most likely to seek improvement to become even greater people.

Vulnerability is an attractive trait- one desperately needs it to be reflective –
Quiet introspection leads to discovery of the darkest recesses of one’s self
There you will find an abundance of areas in which you can take some responsibility for
And be better in the upcoming year.

As far as those go who – aren’t involved in any self dialogue of growth – providence has a way of waking
Us up to ourselves.

Let’s arouse ourselves – and seek the Almighty’s help – his number #1 agenda is our greatness