Health & Heels - Winter 2021-2022

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.


credit card


company &

POS system

designed for

your business.

Winter Issue


Yes, it s










Thanks for making us

the #1 trusted company,




Tanya Rosen Editor In Chief

Basya Kovacs Managing Editor

Moshe Kinderlehrer/The Jewish Link Media Group

Publishing Consultant & Advisor

Rachel Herman Assistant Editor

Basya Kovacs Content Manager

Yehuda Kovacs Rabbinic Advisor

Adam Negnewitzky Layout & Design

Rivky Bergstein Proofreader & Copy Editor











Winter Issue

CONTACTS Website: www.healthandheelsmagazine.com | General Information: info@healthandheelsmagazine.com |

Submissions: submissions@healthandheelsmagazine.com | Letters To The Editor: editor@healthandheelsmagazine.com |

Advertising: ads@healthandheelsmagazine.com | Address: 3817 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218 | Phone: (844) Tanya-Diet

Disclaimer: This magazine is for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional or medical advice.

This magazine may contain sheimos. Please treat with proper respect.



In this issue














































Meet the


Karen Behfar

Malky Blum

Estee Cohen

Sara Freed

Blimie Heller

Yael Ishakis

Malka Ismach

Basya Kovacs

Amy Lefcoe

Sunny Levy

Elana Mizrahi

Tanya Rosen

Debbie Selengut

Jen Sharbani

Atara Malka Silva

Winter Issue

Devorah Soroka

Etty Surkis

Shira Walden





Reshaping industry leaders

of today and tomorrow.

Branding + Identity Creative Web UX/UI Design Web Development

Creators of the New Tanya Web Experience

Nutrition by

start a conversation


new business


account servicing



follow us.

letter from the editor



Dear readers,

I am sitting here as we are getting ready to go to print

and I am almost speechless with emotion. Just over a year

ago Tanya and I sat down to discuss the creation of this

magazine. We both agreed that the need for a women’s

magazine that caters to women, is written by women, with

pictures of women, was important. But Tanya had a brandnew

baby, we had multiple other projects in the works,

and despite our excitement, the idea was placed temporarily on the back burner. Creating a

magazine is a huge undertaking and the time had to be right.

Fast forward several months, and suddenly what was once important became almost urgent.

Orthodox women were being portrayed poorly in the media, the new Netflix show (which

thankfully has become mostly irrelevant, as people began to see it for what it was: an attention

grab at best, and a story woven with lies at the hands of a master manipulator at worst) could

not be ignored and demanded a “rebuttal,” and suddenly we could wait no longer.

Our original mission took on new meaning. Instead of the magazine being informative,

interesting, and perhaps filling a void where frum women’s faces had become invisible, it

became almost a calling. We felt we had the opportunity to be part of the solution, part of

the answer. We had a chance to show that frum women are not uneducated, oppressed, or

minimized. We are empowered. We are celebrated. We are encouraged to use our talents, follow

our passions, and live our lives to its fullest. This magazine is proof of the talent, creativity,

education, and beauty that exists in the frum community.

I am so grateful to Tanya for believing in this mission and supporting this (and all) my crazy

dreams. I am grateful to you, our readers, for bringing us into your homes with open arms; the

feedback we have received has been nothing short of amazing. And I am grateful to be a frum

woman living in America where I truly feel that my family, my education, and my community

celebrates and empowers women to reach their full potential.

And don’t forget, this magazine is about YOU. Please continue to share your experiences with

us, let us know what kind of articles and content speaks to you, and keep the feedback coming.

With love,

Basya Kovacs, Managing Editor

Winter Issue


Basya Kovacs is one of Nutrition by Tanya’s beloved nutrition counselors. Having

lost over 30 lbs. and keeping it off for ten years, Basya shares her balanced,

practical approach to health and weight loss. To have your health and weight loss

questions answered, please email us at info@healthandheelsmagazine.com.

letters to the editor





Mothers Beware!

I am so excited about this new

magazine and I can’t wait to find

it in stores. I truly believe you are

filling an important need in the

community by providing a kosher

form of entertainment that doesn’t

erase women. I wanted to comment

on the article “My Miracle,” in which

the author’s son fell through a screen

while she wasn’t paying attention.

While the mother seems to have

learned her lesson, I believe there is

a general sense of complacency and

perhaps even negligence in the frum

community. I can’t tell you how many

times I have seen young children

playing alone without supervision,

or being “supervised” by their older

siblings who are 5-6 years old. Horror

stories of children being left at home

alone with a neighbor listening in

with baby monitors, and children

being left in cars while mothers

quickly run errands are pretty much

the norm in some of our communities.

Please, mothers, watch your children!

We are so quick to bemoan tragedies,

and we would go to the end of the

Earth to save a child who is sick—so

why are we so careless with the basic

rules of safety?! Why does it take

a near-tragedy to get us to pay

attention to basic safety measures?

Chana W.

Hubby Time

Thank you for this beautiful,

inspirational magazine. I was amazed

at how much content you included

in the first issue. I was expecting the

magazine to be about health but

it was that and so much more. “The

Meaningful Marriage Manual” on

page 66 really hit home for me. I

decided to take it upon myself to say

something positive and nice to my

husband as soon as he walks in the

door after work. This way we start

the evening off on a positive note,

We love to hear from our readers! To submit a

letter to the editor, please reach out to us at


and because I linked

it to his walking in

the door, it’s easier

for me to remember

to do it. I also find

myself thinking about

what positive thing I am

going to tell him all day so that I am

prepared when he walks in the door—

so this exercise has become so much

more than one positive comment; it

has really shifted my thoughts all

day. I am looking forward to more

practical, doable advice! Thank you!


Food for Thought

I read the article “Weight Loss News

You May Have Missed” with interest,

as I have struggled to stick to a diet

for more than 20 years, and have

never been able to stick to any diet

for more than a few weeks, and was

recently considering getting the

band. Knowing that I am going to

eventually do surgery has made it

even harder to diet, because in the

back of my mind I keep thinking

I’m doing surgery anyway, so there’s

really no point in putting forth the

effort. After reading this article I

feel that there may be a nonsurgical

approach that can actually work for

me, and have been putting forth

more effort into healthy, balanced

eating. Thank you for giving me


Shira. F

From a Teen

I just wanted to take a second to

comment on the article “Soul Food”

by Amy Lefcoe. I really appreciated

how she tied in a meaningful Torah

lesson with real-life examples that

can really apply to anyone. It spoke

to me when she talked about putting

so much effort into helping or doing

something nice for a friend, only to

receive nothing back.

I now have a new

perspective on

how to handle

this type of

situation and

shift my mindset.

Looking forward to seeing more

articles like this one! I also really liked

the fashion section! I hope you will

keep writing things that teens can

relate to.

A Teen Reader

A Grateful Mom

I’m writing in reference to the article

about parenting. Although I consider

myself an avid reader and subscribe

to many Jewish and non-Jewish

publications, I have never read such

a refreshing and earnest interview.

It was so simple yet so to the point—

wow! Keep bringing material that is

typical and not typical to us Jewish

women! Can’t wait to read more.

Dena Kohn

Sheimos Alert

Firstly, thank you for this awesome

magazine. There is such a need for

this in our community and I am so

excited about it. Loved the first issue!

I just wanted to make you aware that

in the first issue, there is sheimos

in the table of contents and also

on page 34. Hope you can let your

subscribers know! Thank you again!

Devorah S.

Hi Devorah!

Thank you for your positive feedback!

Regarding the shaimos, yes, that

oversight was brought to our

attention and we spread the word

and publicized it as much as possible

to make sure it will be treated with

proper respect. Thanks for pointing

it out!

The H&H Team

The Inside Scoop

How I Met Tanya


I met Tanya six years ago at the JWE

conference. Tanya was one of the

panelists. I asked her what she looks

for when hiring—education, personality,

team player? Upon hearing her

response, in front of a room of over 100

people, I asked her, “Would you hire

me?” The whole room had a great

laugh, and the rest is history.


I met Tanya eight years ago through

Facebook. I came to my interview in slippers

and PJs—a day she will never let me forget,

LOL, but she hired me! She hired me even

though I didn’t own a resume or dress

appropriately for the interview. And it was

the best thing that ever happened to me! I

get to work doing my favorite thing and in

the best environment ever!!


I met Tanya six years ago through a mutual

friend. I came into Shape Fitness on Avenue

M not during typical work hours, if you get

what I’m saying. What was it, like 8 p.m.?

She hired me the next morning and I started

a few days after. First day on the job I took

a one-hour lunch break, and since then that

was history. What’s a lunch break?!


When I was in 12th grade I was

very close to my teacher. The

teacher was Tanya’s client, and

Tanya was looking for a tutor

to help her children with their

homework after school. Because

the Rosens lived near my home,

my teacher asked if I would be

interested in working with them

and I agreed. I met Tanya and

her husband Ruko and helped

the children with homework

every day. Ruko would offer

me TAP muffins (and other

unhealthy foods too!), and

toward the end of the year I

told Ruko I was looking for a

job since I’m graduating, and if

he knows of anything to please

keep me in mind. That same

night I received a text message

from Tanya telling me she

will hire me at her company,

Nutrition by Tanya. I googled

the company and immediately

accepted the offer!


When I was in seminary

a friend asked me what

I thought I wanted to

do in life. I responded, “I

love health and fitness, so

hopefully something like


So as a joke she asked,

“So what, you’re going to

be the next Tanya?”

I’m originally from out of

town (my friend was from

Brooklyn) so I had not yet

heard about The Tanya.

I signed up for emails

and started following her

on social media and was

immediately drawn to

Nutrition by Tanya.

That year my family even

followed her to a Pesach


Several months later I

saw an ad that Nutrition

by Tanya was hiring. I

sent a resume and the

rest is really history.

Winter Issue


healthy bodies



Guide By Tanya Rosen

Isn’t this such a great

time of year?! Many

of us have a break

from school and work,

and it’s an excellent

opportunity to go on

vacation or have a

staycation. Whether

it’s because we won’t

have easy access to the

foods we need while

traveling or because we

have too much time on

our hands when staying

local or the many other

reasons we seem to


worry about, I’ve got

some tips and tools to

help you through.



healthy bodies




Workouts During

Your Time Off

Whether you’re in the tropics on a getaway vacation, staying

at a hotel or timeshare, or staying local, here are some

workouts you can do, Try one, try all and try variations of

them. You have some time now to be creative with your fitness.






The hula hoop is a great workout, both

in terms of calorie burn and toning your

hips and midsection. Most people have

more space outside than inside, and you

don’t have to worry about bumping into


Trampoline. Great for you and the

kids. Just make sure you put something

padded around the trampoline.

Watching your kids play? Bounce on a

stability ball while you’re doing that

and you get a workout too! Because the

ball is not stable, it challenges your core.


The boardwalk is great for jogging

or walking. Make sure you’re wearing

good sneakers with a thick sole to avoid

splinters in your feet.

The benches are great for tricep dips

(to work the back of your arms). Sit at

the edge of the bench with your fingers

and palms facing forward at the edge

of the bench. Slowly take yourself off

the bench, keeping just your palms on

the bench. Dip down, making sure your

elbows bend and then straighten as you

come up. Repeat 12 times, rest and then

do another 12 times.

Run or walk fast on the sand. The sand

is very hard to run or walk on because of

its’ resistance. You will work harder

and burn more calories.


Winter Issue

Benches. There are often benches

scattered throughout most parks. You

can also step on and off the bench. This

will elevate your heart rate which will

make you sweat and burn calories. It will


also work your legs. Just make sure

to be very cautious when stepping

and make sure your entire foot goes

on the bench. Dangling feet cause

sprains and falls.

Monkey bars. These are great for

your upper body. Try to stay on as

long as you can. If you need to get

off andrestart, that’s ok too. As you

build your upper body strength, you

will be able to stay on longer.

Incline benches. Some parks have

these. These are great for sit-ups.

Lie down on the bench, cross your

arms over your chest, and sit up as

much as you can. Do 10-15, rest and

then repeat. These will work your

abs, so no matter where you are,

there is always a way to squeeze in

a workout!


Aerobics in the pool is a very fun

way to work out. Some simple and

fun things to try:

healthy bodies

Dear Tanya,

I just got back from Miami

and I am so disappointed.

For the first time ever, I

actually stayed on my plan

while on vacation. I didn’t

touch the bread basket or

desserts by restaurants,

stayed away from the latenight

munching aside from

my treat, and chose sugarfree

frozen yogurt instead of

milkshakes. However, when

I came to weigh in, I found

that I had lost less than

half a pound despite all my

efforts! What went wrong?


Devastated about


Dear Devastated,

I understand your frustration! You

were surrounded by temptation for

five days straight and did not cave

in even once! Surely the scale should

appreciate everything you sacrificed!

However, as far as the scale/reality is

concerned, your week in Miami was

good but had some issues.

Eating out at restaurants for several

days straight, even when choosing

the best from the menu, usually

brings along with it extra calories in

the forms of sauces and fats used

during preparation. Additionally,

there is a good chance your dinner

was later than recommended. Also,

treats are meant to be eaten only

when needed, and if used nightly

can slow your weight loss down a bit.

Finally, traveling, particularly flying,

can throw your digestion off a bit,

and being constipated can definitely

slow weight loss.



Kick & Splash- Hold on to the edge

of the pool and lay afloat on the

water so that you are in a vertical

position. Kick your feet as fast as

you can for as long as you can.

This is very intense and a great

workout for your legs & abs.

Pool races. Go as fast as

you can from one end of

the pool to the other end. If

you’re alone, time yourself

& aim to go faster each

time. If you’re with a friend,

race with each other.

For these reasons, we tell our clients

that even with tremendous effort,

your goal on vacation should be to

maintain your weight! So the fact

that you lost even a bit is excellent

and proves that you truly were on

your game! Be proud of yourself and

keep up the excellent self-control! The



loss will continue and you will

get to your goals!


Tanya Rosen is the founder and owner

of Nutrition by Tanya, with 12 locations

throughout New York, New Jersey and Israel.

Tanya is also the creator of the TAP (Tanyaapproved

products) food line sold in all major

supermarkets throughout the U.S., which includes

pastries, meals, kugels and more, all healthy,

of course. In addition, Tanya has published

two cookbooks, multiple workout DVDs, and is

a regular columnist for many popular Jewish

magazines. She lives in Brooklyn

with her husband and five children.

healthy bodies

Getting Back

On Track



Winter vacation means

time off from your usual

routine. Now that that’s

over, it’s time to get back

on track.

As always, I gave out guidelines

to my clients outlining what

to do during winter vacation.

Most of the information was

obvious and nothing new but

it’s always helpful to have

it on paper as a reminder.

No matter how careful and

determined one was over

vacation, there were still

many meals that may have

resulted in some cheats. Most

likely, there were several

meals during the day and a

lot of late-night meals.; not

to mention all the tempting

desserts and gourmet delicacies

around when going on vacation.

Even if you were home for winter

vacation, the break-in routine may

have thrown you off track.

Winter Issue

I have been hearing from many

people how hard it is to get back

on track after “partying” and being

on ‘diet vacation’ for so long so, I’ve

compiled some DO’S and DON’TS

to help you get back on track.



you gain? Stay the same? Lose? This

1. Do go on the scale to continue

keeping track of your weight. Did

is not meant to put you in a bad

mood but rather to face reality.

2. Do write out your menu ahead of

time for the week so that you are

completely prepared and stocked up.

3. Do get professional help from a

nutrition counselor. NOW is always

a perfect time to start getting the

right help to get you back on your

way to your goals.

4. Do get rid of any leftovers or

treats your brought back so that

there are less temptations.

5. Do start a food journal

documenting what you eat (and

sometimes even why).


1. Don’t go on the scale too

frequently (more than once or twice

a week). This will discourage you as

numbers change week to week and

not necessarily day to day.

2. Don’t beat yourself up over what

you ate or how much you gained. It

is in the past.

3. Don’t go on a deprivation or

starvation plan just to lose the

weight quickly. This will only slow

down your metabolism and cause

you to feel deprived.

4. Don’t forget that we have plenty

of time to make up for those meals.

5. Don’t set unrealistic goals. 1-2 lbs

a week is a good target.

healthy bodies




Vacation season is winding

down and it’s almost time

to get back to real life and

routine. An interesting thing

I noticed is that some of my

clients actually lost weight

while away, despite eating

more and exercising less. I

decided to research this a bit

and see why. Here is what I

came up with:

1. You have lower stress levels. When you

go on vacation, you’re taking a break;

not only from your health habits but also

from your stress. Your adrenal glands get

a breather (finally) and shut off panic

mode. They allow your body to fall more

in sync with your natural rhythm and

your health.

Cortisol, the main stress hormone in your

body, gets taken down a level in your

bloodstream, which can have a positive

effect on your behavior, metabolism, and

overall health. Often, weight gain occurs

due to increased cortisol levels in the

body. So it makes sense that reducing

the stress hormones racing through your

body, allows those extra pounds to fall


2. You’re not exercising. If you’re a

frequent exerciser, taking time off from

the gym can actually result in

more weight loss than overdoing it will.

When you rest your muscles, they recover

and have time to build back up. This is

why rest days are so essential. If you’re

living a fast-paced, busy lifestyle, even

your rest days can be strenuous. When

you’re at the beach or chilling in a

cabana all day, your muscles finally get

the time they’ve been craving to recover.

Having larger muscles burns more fat —

hence, you have a higher probability of

weight loss after a relaxing break.

3. You allow yourself to eat the foods

you crave. Most people let go of all the

dieting rules and just let themselves eat

and drink freely on vacation. No points,

no calories, no macros, and just food. This

gives you a chance to let go of your usual

structure and enjoy what you’ve been

missing. Just don’t forget... A break is nice,

but afterward, it’s time to get back on

track. You will not keep losing weight if

you continue with this lifestyle.



healthy bodies




The Super Bowl

usually comes along

with beer, lots of

snacks, and food.

Since it is all about

the strategies (pun

intended), we have

come up with a

“gameplan” that

won’t make you feel

like you’re missing

out on all the fun.

The most important thing is not to go to a Super Bowl party

on an empty stomach!

Make sure to eat satisfying meals throughout the day and

don’t skip any meals or snacks.

Water - drink plenty throughout the day.

Make a menu plan for the party that is in sync with your food


Fill your plate with mostly salads and your main dish.

If it’s a pizza party, save your ‘once a week’ pizza for then.

Treat: Choose wisely (light beer can be a treat).

Bring healthy food for yourself and for everyone else to share.

Make a vegetable platter & set it up nicely with colorful

veggies. Instead of snacking, have your fruits. A good idea is

to make a smoothie and sip on that throughout the game.

Have drinks like vitamin water zero instead of alcohol.

If you are hosting the party here are some healthy Super

Bowl foods you can make:

• Baked chips and avocado

• Grilled veggies

• Popcorn

• Instead of BBQ sauce come up with your own sauce using

ketchup or tomato sauce, spices, and fresh herbs for flavor

such as rosemary, parsley, and basil.

Enjoy the game without the extra calories!

Winter Issue


healthy bodies

It’s TAP

Finds Time!




Personal Ovens

• Easier, safer, & tastier

• Heats food, holds temps

never overcooks

• Only you pack and touch

your food

• No buttons to push, no

temperature to set

• Helps you stay on track


These personal ovens hold and

heat food perfectly for hours

without overcooking so you

can get a warm, delicious meal

whenever you’re ready.

Can be purchased at



Organic Flax Chia

Blend Packs

• 4 grams of fiber per serving

• 3 grams of OMEGA-3 per serving

• Gluten-free

• Convenient

• Delicious!

• Star K

Sprinkle over yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal.

Can be purchased at Shoprite stores or online.

Counts as a fat on the plan.

healthy bodies

Let’s Get


As the saying goes, families

that eat together stay

together. But sometimes

we get stuck trying to

find recipes that are both

delicious and nutritious. This

recipe section will present

recipes that are easy to

make, healthy and designed

to please even your pickiest

eaters. So let’s get cooking!

Winter Issue

For more great recipes, check out

Tanya's cookbooks in your local

Judaica store or on our website



healthy bodies




Looking for a change? Try these poached eggs

with a Middle Eastern Twist.


• Nonstick frying pan


• Cooking spray

• 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

• 1 large red pepper, seeded and thinly


• 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

• 1 teaspoon cumin

• 1 teaspoon paprika teaspoon cayenne

pepper, or to taste

• 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes

coarsely chopped

• ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

• ¼ teaspoon pepper, plus more to


• 2 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese,

crumbled (about 1 ¼ cups)

• 2 large eggs and 4 egg whites

• Chopped cilantro, for serving

• Hot sauce, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Spray a large frying pan

with cooking spray and heat

pan over medium-low heat.

Add onions and red peppers.

Cook gently until very soft,

about 20 minutes. Add

garlic and cook until tender,

about 1-2 minutes. Stir in

cumin, paprika, and cayenne

pepper and cook 1 minute

more. Pour in tomatoes and

season with ¾ teaspoon salt

and ¼ teaspoon pepper;

simmer until tomatoes have

thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in crumbled feta.

3. Gently crack eggs into frying

pan over the tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer frying pan to oven

and bake until eggs are

just set, about 7-10 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro and

serve with hot sauce.

YIELD: 2 Servings


healthy bodies



Make sure to save two large slices of cucumber (peeled) when making

this tasty cocktail and refrigerate them. When ready, grab your drink

and the two slices, put your feet up, place the slices over your eyes, and

just relax while sipping deliciousness. Cool cucumber slices may help

reduce puffiness and add moisture, and the cooling effect with eyes

closed enhances the relaxation. Don’t forget to give yourself those 10–15

minutes of “me time” to unwind, breathe, and sip.


• Wooden spoon


• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

• 1 cup water

• 3/4 cup ice

• 1 cup crushed ice

• 1/4 cup agave nectar

• 12 fresh mint leaves

• 1/4 cup sliced cucumber

• 1/3 cup white rum

• 1/4 cup seltzer


1. Using the bottom of a

wooden spoon, crush

cucumber and mint until

the mint is fragrant. Add

the rest of the ingredients

besides the seltzer and


2. Pour over ice and top with


YIELD: 2 Servings


Winter Issue


healthy bodies

Kitchen Tips



By Leah Setton

I’m Leah Setton. I love to

cook, especially for a crowd,

and entertain. My philosophy

is that the kitchen should be

a fun place with a relaxing

vibe. That’s why I am always

coming up with new ideas to

get you more comfortable in the

kitchen! When I’m not cooking

I’m either hanging out with my

two children or preparing high

school math. I’m so excited to be

sharing kitchen tips and tricks!

Enjoy, and happy cooking!


• Keep washed lettuce in a paper towel

to keep it crisp and fresh.

• Add a slice of white bread to the

container you store your cookies in to

keep them fresh.

• My sister-in-law taught me this one.

It’s so simple but it really works! To

make your meat or chicken more

tender and juicy, place a sheet of

parchment paper over the food before

you cover it with foil and bake it.



• Invest in kitchen gloves—not

the mittens you probably

have, which are more

cumbersome to use! Once I

purchased these, my life in the

kitchen was changed forever.

Taking dishes out of the oven

will never be the same again

once you try these!

• Snap-on strainer: I don’t know

about you guys but I really

dislike washing dishes. This is

so much easier than washing a

full strainer.

• An oil dispenser is great to

have on hand while cooking. In

my book it’s a must!



• Dress up regular rice by subbing out half the water

for chicken stock. The difference is amazing!

• Montreal Chicken Spice and Montreal Steak Spice

make a quick and easy rub or marinade in a pinch

when combined with oil and made

into a paste. Every time I use

it I get tons of compliments.

• Canned whole

tomatoes and sea salt

make a great pizza

sauce. Blend together

and it’ll be the best

sauce you ever had.

• Dress up storebought

chumus by

putting some olive oil

and paprika on top.

healthy bodies



Up With My

Apple Watch

By Tanya Rosen

Winter Issue


I always thought I didn’t want it on my wrist

because I don’t want text and WhatsApp

notifications while working out.

I was right.

Working out is my solace.

My peace

My meditation

My tune-out

My private (or public) party.

But what happened next was interesting…

I was getting numbers and data:

Calories I was burning

My heart rate


Things that simply don’t matter.

How is it possible for it not to matter?

Isn’t it important how many calories you burn?

Don’t you want to know?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is…

When I first started working out (and up until a

few years ago), I did it for the same reasons most

people do: to burn calories, lose weight, tone up,

and because I felt guilty not doing it. There is

nothing wrong with these reasons but they’re just

the “tip of the iceberg” (and only the vain iceberg).

And then…

It hit me a few years ago that there’s so much more

to it than just that!

I began to notice and embrace the non body/scale

benefits like:

• Good mood

• More energy

• Endorphins (the post-workout high)

• My strength

• Better sleep

• Easier recovery after


• Feeling younger

• Etc.

Suddenly… I viewed my

workouts as a choice and a

privilege versus a chore.

I began working out because I wanted to

instead of because I had to.

I loved all the benefits that had nothing to do with

weight and numbers.

So when the Apple Watch started giving me

numbers and data, I didn’t want to know.

Would I think 300 calories was worth it but 250


Would I wish I did more jumps when I wanted to

spend a few extra minutes stretching so that I burn

more calories?

Do I even need all this data in my head (and on

my wrist) when I have so much other stuff to think


So while I get the whole hype with it, I will continue

to work out without knowing numbers or data.

Why? Because I honestly don’t care.

The only “data” I need is how exercise makes me

feel, physically and mentally.

As the saying goes:

Mitoch shelo lishmah ba lishmah. (Good intentions

will follow good actions.)

P.S. No, it’s not for sale—because it was a special

gift and I will find good use for it—suggestions

welcome. :)

healthy bodies


Falling in



Love With

My Fitbit

By Basya Kovacs

Those of you who know me know that

I have a complicated relationship with

exercise. I keep my weight in check by

sticking to a great food plan that I love,

and have maintained a 30-pound weight

loss for over 10 years this way—with no

exercise at all. In fact, when I do exercise I

usually gain weight due to muscle building

(and also, if I am being honest, exercise

makes me hungrier and I tend to eat more

because of it).

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love how I

feel after I exercise (don’t we all) and I

understand the impact, but I find it really

difficult to stick to any sort of committed

exercise routine. So I recently decided

to get myself a Fitbit. My reasoning

was as follows. I am a big believer in

“something is better than nothing”

when it comes to dieting; I don’t find

that dieting means eating perfectly all

the time. So if I can have that mindset

about dieting, why can’t I have it about

exercise? Why can’t I exercise just a little

bit every day, and reap the health and

mood benefits without taking upon myself

more than I am interested in committing

to? Why can’t I just do a little more than

what I am currently doing (which at the

present time is pretty much nothing)?

So I got the Fitbit. And I set my goal

settings really low. Like super low. Like

instead of reaching the recommended

10,000 steps per day I set my goal to

4,000 steps. I am also not a great water

drinker so I set my water goal to four cups

a day.

And then the fun began. Every time I

would reach a milestone, however small,

my Fitbit went nuts. It started sending

me notifications such as “Woohoo! You

almost reached your goal today!” or “You

are on a three-day winning streak—keep

up the water drinking!” or my favorite:

“Basya, you are an overachiever” (when I

pass my measly 4,000 steps). Ha! Me an

overachiever?! Okay, if you say so!

And yes, I know that 4,000 steps or four

cups of water is not exactly impressive,

but it’s more than I was doing before.

Had I set my goal to 10,000 steps and

would have seen I was up to 3,800 steps,

I wouldn’t even bother to take those 200

extra steps. But when I see that I am up

to 3,800 and have only 200 more steps

to reach my goal, I find myself jogging in

place for a minute! And when I see I am

on a five-day streak of drinking four cups

of water a day, I find myself reaching for

a water bottle instead of a Diet Coke.

Rather than focusing on what I could be

doing or should be doing I find myself

comparing myself to myself. What a


Two watches, two perspectives! Tell us

what you think! Send your feedback to


com. We love to hear from you!

healthy bodies


My Weight

Loss Journey

By Leeba Wein*

Part 2

Disclaimer: this

segment contains

a lot of technical

information about

the pre-op process.

The process may

look different for

everyone based on

their insurance plan/

doctor and any other


Recap: After struggling with weight loss and dieting for many years, I decide to

proceed with weight loss surgery. The decision is not a light one, one that takes courage

and dismissal of many preconceived notions, but I forge ahead.


With every new diet I have embarked

on in my life, I have always felt a sense

of momentousness. This will be the one

thing I will always refer back to as the

diet, or rather lifestyle change, that

changed the trajectory and set me on

my weight loss journey.

Hope never dies. With years of attempts

and disappointment behind me, hope

still flutters anew with every new idea.

While some might call it denial or lack

of self-awareness, I always cherished

the promise of a fresh start—until it fell

through almost before it began.

This time, I know things will be different.

For all my wishful thinking in the past,

I am very aware of what it is that

sabotages every plan I am on, including

those that have brought great success

to others. I tend to start every plan with

great ambition, but it is simply difficult

for me to stay on track. This time, that

choice will be taken out of my hands.

This thought brings me hope, heavily

laced with trepidation.

Winter Issue


I am not hasty in my decision to

proceed. I examine my reasons for

wanting to undergo surgery; is it only

society telling me I must be thin to

earn the right to exist? It is difficult to

separate my own feelings on the matter

with what is ingrained in me from years

of pain and judgment, but I do know

that I am doing this for myself. I need

this. I deserve this.

*Pen name

Starting the process that will

hopefully lead me to surgery

gives me a great sense of

purpose. For the umpteenth

time in my life, but also for the

first time in my life, I feel that

my life is truly and deeply about

to change. And taking care of

the technicalities involved is a

concrete step that leads me to

my goal.

My first appointment is

scheduled for two weeks hence,

which is disappointing as I

am raring to go. I do get a

link to some seminar videos

and paperwork to complete

in preparation for my first

appointment. They speak about

healthy bodies

the risks, the benefits, the differences

between the different options of bariatric

surgeries. It is a bit frightening to hear

how I am heading into an irreversible

path, yet I know it is the right one for me,

and my excitement grows together with

my apprehension.

Starting a medical process during COVID

has its perks, as most appointments are

telehealth visits instead of in-office visits.

I had been worried about how I would

swing all appointments between my job

and my kids, and I knew that I wanted to

schedule them all in the shortest period of

time possible. Virtual visits make things so

much easier.

The reason it is usually a drawn-out

process to get approved for the surgery is

due to most insurance plans requiring a

six-month period

of nutritional

counseling, which

most people start

at the time of

their decision to

go ahead with

surgery. I wonder

what the statistics

of potential

“sleevers” being

successful during

those six months

and passing up

on surgery are… I am willing to bet it is a

low number. No one chooses surgery as

their first option, and I’m guessing most

patients are already far past the point

of nutritionist visits making much of a


The good news is that due to my extensive

dieting history, I contact a nutritionist

I have been seeing in the past and she

provides me with documentation of six

months of check ins. Thus, I avert this

lengthy process and throw my all into

getting everything I need out of the way.

The BMI needed to qualify for surgery

with insurance is between 35 and 40.

That is one concern I do not have, I fully

qualify at a BMI of 48.

Doctors’ visits have always been a source

of anxiety for me, with the dreaded

scale in the corner mocking me and my

failures at every visit. I was prone to

bouts of bronchitis as a teenager, yet I

always postponed seeing the doctor until

absolutely necessary. I was tired of the

disapproving looks, the lectures, and the

blaming of every ache to my weight.

I was tired of the

disapproving looks,

the lectures, and the

blaming of every ache

to my weight.

My first meeting with the doctor is

conducted in the comfort of my home

and is over in less than 15 minutes. I give

him a brief synopsis of my history, and

he gives me a brief overview of what the

surgery entails. Dr. R. is pleasant enough,

if a bit abrupt. I feel a pang of shame

as I tell him how much I weigh, though I

know it does not faze him; I will not be his

heaviest patient.

After this initial consultation, which does

not really teach me anything I didn’t

already know, I am on a frenzied race to

schedule all appointments in the shortest

amount of time possible.

I speak to the nutritionist, who asks me to

describe what I eat in a day. I am happy

she cannot see me over the phone as I try

to be as honest as

possible, detailing the

snacking and gorging

that is sometimes out

of control. She tells

me what I already

know: I will need to

learn new habits.

Surgery is a tool, and

a great one, but I am

the one who will need

to make the changes.

I speak to the

psychologist, who asks me about my

motives, and once again I describe my

struggles and my need for a fresh start.

She asks about my childhood, about my

kids, and whether I am safe at home. I tell

her about my beautiful family and life,

and how this is a decision I do not take

lightly, but one that will hopefully bring

with it a solution and relief to the weight

issue that has dominated my life.

I visit my general doctor for a well visit,

bloodwork, and his opinion. Though I

know my doctor is not one to advocate for

going under the knife, I value his opinion

and hope he will not try to dissuade

me. He has known me for years and,

while noncommittal, does not do so. It

is reassuring to me to have him confirm

that, of all options, the sleeve gastrectomy

is best, and he proceeds with checking off

the boxes on the forms I have provided

him with.

I work every day but manage to sneak out

for appointments, as well as for a myriad

of phone calls coordinating all results

and documents to reach my surgeon’s

office. It is not easy, but every time a box



is ticked off I feel a sense of

accomplishment and mission.

There is some imaging I

need to take care of, and I

make several calls until I find

a center with the soonest

appointment. With all the

conveniences it brought, the

downside of doing pre-op

during COVID is the limited

in-person appointments when

telehealth appointments are

not an option, but I manage

to get an appointment for

Monday, only a few days


After taking two relatively

simple scans, I anxiously

await the result, just to get

that box ticked off. I am

completely thrown when

my surgeon calls me a few

days later. “The chest X-ray

showed some swollen lymph

nodes. We need you to do a

CT scan before we proceed

with clearing you for surgery.”

I panic, I google, and I

schedule the soonest CT scan

for the coming Friday at a

local imaging place.

I come in for the CT scan

and anxiously wait my turn.

I muse that if I am this

anxious about a scan, how

will I react when I am about

to be operated on? But I

know myself, and know I will

forge ahead and through

everything until I get there.

My name is called, and I go

in for the test. I have never,

baruch Hashem, needed

a CT scan before, so the

procedure is unfamiliar. I am

told to lie down on a narrow

bed, and a scanner is used

on top of me. I seem to recall

that a CT scan should be

done in a circular machine,

but I may be wrong.

I get home, it is on a Friday

and I have a lot to do. A half

hour later I get a call from

the imaging center.

“We’re calling your name and

you are not here for your

scan. Are you keeping your


I do not know whether to

laugh or cry. I rush back and

explain that I was tested for

something. They check their

records; it seems I had gotten

a bone density scan meant

for another patient… They

are gracious about it and I

get my CT scan done. After

the hassle I find this incident

extremely amusing. At the

very least, I’ve got a funny

story to tell!

I am not laughing, though,

when I am presented with

the results of the CT scan,

which finds a dilated artery

with recommendation to

follow up with a cardiologist.

At this point I am afraid.

Despite my size, I have

never struggled with health

issues, and I am afraid that

my weight and the dire

predictions it always brought

along with it have finally

caught up with my heart.

I make an appointment

with a cardiologist, who

sends me further for an


Baruch Hashem, after a few

weeks of anxiety, the echo

shows nothing abnormal. My

cardiologist sends over a

letter of clearance, and I am

finally ticking off that box.

Another visit with my PCP for

final clearance and yet some

more bloodwork, another talk

with the nutritionist, a final

call with the surgeon, and

we are on. Surgery date is

looming and, while I cannot

be more prepared, I cannot

help questioning myself. Am I

truly going ahead with this?

Apparently, I am.

to be continued...

Winter Issue

Leeba Wein (a pen name) is a freelance writer living

in New York. For inquiries, she can be

reached at leebawein@gmail.com.


healthy bodies

A Bite

of by Basya Kovacs


Winter Issue


Dear Basya,

I was wondering why you

limit foods like olive oil,

avocado, nuts, fruit, and

certain proteins. Aren’t

these foods good for

you? Do you really think

that having an extra few

tablespoons of olive oil,

a few ounces of extra

salmon, or a handful of

extra nuts will keep me

from losing weight?


A Healthy Eater

healthy bodies

Dear Healthy Eater,

I appreciate your question as it goes

straight to the heart of the difference

between a diet and a lifestyle plan. On

many diets, carbs are cut out or strictly

limited, while other foods are eaten

without limit. Most of these diets tend to

be short lived because, let’s face it: who

wants to cut out carbs forever?

On our plan, which is actually a lifestyle

plan rather than a diet, almost no food

is completely banned! We don’t label

foods as good foods and bad foods.

We focus on controlling our portion

sizes and maximizing our metabolism

rather than eliminating certain foods or

complete food groups.

Of course we want our clients to make

healthy choices, and foods such as

avocado, olive oil, and nuts are certainly

healthy choices. However, we need to

be careful because even the healthiest

foods will cause us to gain weight if we

overeat those foods. Our body uses food

as fuel, so any extra food that the body

doesn’t use gets stored as fat, even

healthy food.



So, to answer your question: Yes, within

the context of a balanced meal plan



encourages all food groups—carbs,

proteins, fats, fruits, vegetables, and

the occasional treat—even a handful of

extra nuts and a few extra fruits can

keep you from losing weight. Remember,

health and weight loss aren’t always the


Basya Kovacs is one of Nutrition by

Tanya’s beloved nutrition counselors.

Having lost over 30 lbs. and keeping

it off for ten years, Basya shares her

balanced, practical approach to health

and weight loss. To have your health

and weight loss questions answered,

please email us at


The One Task We

Can’t Delegate

The big one puts dinner in the oven.

The colleague files the overdue document.

The husband volunteers to bathe the kids.

healthy bodies

Winter Issue

But this critical task only Mom can do.

And she just doesn’t have the time or

energy for it.

Let’s face it. Nobody can move for you.

Exercise is something that you simply

have to do yourself, no matter how good

you are at delegating.

“HomePros gets

it,” says Gitty

Berger, influential

makeup artist

and Instagram

favorite. “Especially

with those quick

five- and tenminute


Gitty Berger

workouts that you can just do anywhere,

whenever.” We all know that we need to

move more than we do, and the platform

addresses every common obstacle with

an impressive array of unique workout


The first-of-its-kind home workout

platform has made waves in the

frum community in the year since it

first launched. Geared for these busy

mothers, the easy-to-use website offers

unlimited access to workouts ranging

from five to 30 minutes, all of which can

be completed at home—the majority

without any equipment.

The workouts are led

by the biggest names

in the female fitness

world, but they

are accessible and

feasible for almost

every busy mom. Got

ten minutes after

Yaffa Palti carpool? HomePros is

for you. You can set

aside five minutes after the little ones

go to sleep? They have the programs for

you. And if your only option is to work

out while holding the baby or with the

children around joining you? Well, you’re

in luck as well!

Every mother’s schedule is equally busy,

but each in a uniquely specific way.

And the HomePros feedback mirrors

that. Yaffa Palti, popular educator

and “Happiness Cultivator,” shared,

“I’m allergic to exercise. But small,

individualized workouts really speak to

me! I can control how and how much

to move!”—while ace HomePros trainer

Shoshi Kay dubbed HomePros “the

Netflix for workout


Shoshi Kay

The platform works

on a subscription

basis, where for

$29.99 per month

members have access

to every program and

workout to enjoy at

their own convenience. In a conversation,

founder and president Malky Blum

remarked, “The reason HomePros

became an instant hit with mothers in

the community is its relatability.

We know that most moms are

still tackling yesterday’s to-do

list so we set out to create a

large variety of short, doable

workouts. Sometimes the best

solutions are the

most simple ones.”

Bari Mitzman

Only a small

percentage of

mothers consider

themselves to be

workout people. All

others know that

nobody else can take

care of their body for them but they

just can’t make the time or commit

to it. And that’s where HomePros is

making its impact. Bari Mitzman

(“Barianna”), iconic Instagram

blogger, wife and mother, said, “I don’t

know why this program wasn’t available

until now but I am certain it is a total

game changer that will pay positive

dividends for many years to come.”

Impressively, the platform has shifted

the focus around exercise from weight

loss and muscle building to giving

women the tools they need to look out

for themselves and enjoy that priceless

workout rush. And with every passing

day, more movement-seeking moms are

signing up to Join the Movement.

With practical home workouts of just

five minutes (and up), HomePros is the

game-changing movement for busy

moms who just want to move.

Web: joinhomepros.com

Email: info@joinhomepros.com

WhatsApp: 516-466-3776

IG: @joinhomepros



(Cookbook Author,

Culinary Teacher, and

Food & Travel blogger) My

Peloton doesn’t travel with

me. HomePros does and I’ve

used it consistently in my

recent travels!



(The Malkie

Show host and

lover of life) - I’ve used

HomePros in every room

in my house and you’ve

all seen the video




(Chicago based,

‘Real Mom’ IG figure) I

love that HomePros is not

about making elaborate

fitness goals. It’s about

practical movement to

feel alive!



(Digital Content

Creator and Stylist) I

joined HomePros because

it’s the perfect platform to

squeeze in some mindful

fitness wherever I am!


healthy bodies


Loss News

You May





By Basya Kovacs



wWe all know that obesity numbers are on the rise,

but according to a recent study there has been a

significantly accelerated weight gain during the

pandemic, particularly in children and teens.

CDC numbers show that 22% of children were obese

in 2020 compared to 19% in 2019. “Rates of increase

for body mass index or obesity doubled during the

pandemic,” claims Dr. Helene Felman at Banner

University Medical Center.

Here’s a breakdown of how much weight kids actually

gained, on average:

• Kids of a healthy weight gained about 5 lbs.

• Moderately obese children put on an extra 12 lbs.

• Severely obese children put on an extra 14 lbs. on


What can we do about this pandemic within a

pandemic? Try to encourage children to move! Too

much screen time and being indoors and sedentary

rather than corona itself is at the root of the weight

gain. Turning on some music and dancing, taking a

walk, taking the stairs, or learning a new sport will all

go a long way to slow the rising tide of obesity.

Basya Kovacs is one of Nutrition by Tanya’s beloved nutrition

counselors. Having lost over 30 lbs. and keeping it off for ten

years, Basya shares her balanced, practical approach

to health and weight loss. To have your health and

weight loss questions answered, please email us at


healthy soul



Winter Issue

This should

probably be a

Pesach article, but

since it has been

on my mind a

lot lately, I guess

now is the right

time. You see, I

think I’m a Candy

Crush addict.

My daughter

once told me

that I shouldn’t

be making the

brachah “sheloh

asani aved,” which

blesses Hashem

for not making me

a slave. I thought

it was very funny

at the time but it

recently had me




Price of


By Amy Lefcoe

I mainly use Candy Crush as a

reward. I’ll usually sit down at the

kitchen table for 20 minutes to

play, after I’ve cooked, served, and

cleaned up dinner. Or I could sit

for 20 minutes before I go to bed

after a long day of accomplishing.

My best games are Motzaei

Shabbos because that combines

all my reward criteria. Sometimes

I use it to make myself feel better,

and finally I might play just for

something to do (like when I’m on

an airplane). Wow! As I’m writing

this I’m noticing the similarity in my

relationship between Candy Crush

and real candy.

I’ve started saying more Tehillim

these days for obvious reasons. The

day-to-day madness in the world

and the challenges each one of us

experiences daily require additional

artillery. I commented in the last

issue about how much I love that

I can effect change in Heaven. So

Tehillim is another opportunity to

tip those Heavenly scales on the

side of good.

A nagging voice has started

showing up during my game

playing. It’s the same theme over

and over. “Do you know how many

chapters of Tehillim you could’ve

said in the last 20 minutes?”


ohealthy soul

Of course my yetzer hara has all the

answers. “You can say some Tehillim after

you’re done playing” or “You’re way too

tired to say Tehillim now. Say it in the

morning when you are fresh.” Sometimes

we negotiate: Win a level, say a perek.

That one I at least consider a success.

In any case, you get the picture. I used

to look at the level that I was on and

multiply by 10 minutes (I don’t even know

it that’s an accurate average) and then

think of all the things I could’ve done with

that time. I literally don’t have the nerve

to do that anymore.

How many things are we doing on a

daily basis that we don’t even realize

are taking us away from our avodas

Hashem? This is not about to turn into

an anti-smartphone or the evils of the

internet article. (There are already many

that have been written and are certainly

filled with wisdom). My focus here is on

everything else. For me it’s Candy Crush

and for you it might be Instagram. For

someone else it could be television,

whether it’s happening on an actual TV

or on a laptop. Sometimes, oddly enough,

it can be our avodas Hashem itself. If

we’re overly occupied with doing chesed

or listening to shiurim, this can take us

away from the things that should come

first. And among the things that should

come first (children, husband, tefillah,

self-examination with the goal of growth)

is where true G-d connection is found.

Ultimately, we are missing precious

opportunities in what a relationship

with G-d offers and what the Ramchal

tells us in Derech Hashem Chapter 2:

“The purpose of all that was created

was therefore to bring into existence a

creature who could derive pleasure from

G-d’s own good, in a way that would be

possible for it.” Well, that puts a new

perspective on my Candy Crush game.

I’m not saying we should give up things

that help us relax and recharge. We

are human beings and there is a place

for downtime and giving our brains a

break. What I’m suggesting particularly

to myself is that maybe it’s time to

reconsider how I’m doing that and for

how long.

What’s your candy and how much is it

costing you?



Amy Lefcoe is a Jewish educator

and loves sharing her passion for

Torah and Jewish outlook. She is a

teacher at BINA Girls High School

in Norfolk, VA, and speaks for

women’s groups locally and in Israel.

Amy is a graduate of The Fashion

Institute of Technology and has

pursued Jewish studies over the past

three decades. She is a certified

emunah and marriage coach through

Machon HaAdam HaShalem and

remains an active participant in the

organization’s personal growth and

G-d-centered chaburas. In addition,

she is a graduate of the revolutionary

Shiras Sarah Teachers Training

Fellowship. Amy spends her time with

her husband Kevin, children, family

and dear friends. She can be reached

at alefcoe626@gmail.com.

healthy soul

Winter Issue

Sunny Levi


Sunny Levi is one of ten

certified female seventhdegree

black belts in

the country. In addition to being a Taekwondo

master and an elite athlete who was once

on a path to the Olympics, she was also a

professional actress, appearing in numerous

commercials and films and aspiring to work

her way up to what she thought was “the top,”

becoming a Hollywood star.

Then Sunny made some major turns in her life.

She is now a mother of six, fitness trainer, selfdefense

and yoga instructor, and emunah life

Well, to understand me better we need to put

some things in context. Let’s go back in time to

1968 when my story began.

Picture the scene: a cold day in January at

the University of Illinois in Chicago. The

lobby outside the Pier Room was packed

with students, some brandishing signs, some

shouting demands to end U.S. Marine Corps

recruitment on campus. The university police

surrounded the protesters. Amid the sea of

faces opposed to America’s war in Vietnam,

two protesters laid eyes on each other.

The guy, a few years older, oddly enough in a

suit and tie, and an adorable economics major,

trendy for the era in her tights and mini dress.

The grad student approached her, flashing

a bold smile and asked, “Are you a


To which she responded, teasing the suit getup,

“Are you a narc?”

He liked what he heard and asked her out, and

the rest is history. Mine.

It was instant fireworks for my parents. Love at

first sight.

And exactly one week later,

Beverly Kolodny and Gary

Siegel—socialists, sometimes-

Marxists, often radicals,

counter-cultural hippie

activists, liberals—were

engaged to be married.

Now keep in mind

that despite their

quick engagement

this was not shidduch

dating, nor were they

necessarily looking to

marry within their

faith, nor were they

coach who is passionate about eating clean,

the outdoors, and being best friends with G-d.

Her daughter, Eden, at age 17, wrote and

published a book on emunah for teens, and

her husband, Daniel, a former Reform Jew

gone Buddhist, meditating in the ashrams of

Thailand, is now a psychotherapist who spends

his Rosh Hashanahs in Uman.

Sunny shares her interesting and inspiring

story with us about her past, her life lessons,

and how this all came to be.

even looking to get married! It was purely

coincidence, fate, the hand of G-d, or whatever

you call it when things just work out.

And after a few happy years of marriage, Bev

and Gary jubilantly welcomed their first child

to the world—Adam Montag (or as we call him,


All was groovy for the new family of three.

Adam was born in Champaign-Urbana, main

campus of University of Illinois, where Bev

and Gary went for grad school. My mom went

into a master’s program in journalism, and my

dad, having abandoned a graduate program

in accounting, switched into PhD studies in

sociology, both all the better to change the


Then a little while later my mom got pregnant


This time, however, they were in for the shock

of their lives.

Because upon meeting their second child, Josh,

they discovered that things were not right with


Like, really not right.

How not right?

Well, for one thing, he had a strange condition

going on in his eyes that the doctors couldn’t

identify. His retinas were deteriorating. He was

a baby going blind, and no one knew what

else to expect.

Now let’s just pause for

a moment and try to

imagine this: Two young,

carefree, hippie spirits,

loving up their son, building

up their careers, thrilled to

welcome another baby to their

clan, and then, all of a sudden, like a storm

of cement bricks raining down from the top

of a ten-story building on an otherwise

totally clear and sunny day, baby

number two pops out like a wrecking


all. And instead of the expected smiles,

hugs, and congratulations, they got

a bevy of urgently concerned doctors

and specialists poking, prodding, and

unanimously announcing that their child

was super messed up, and that basically...

he never would be okay.

Oh, and he might very well have eye

cancer too.

I shudder to imagine how difficult this

was for my parents.

And just like that, moments after he was

born, the doctors whisked the baby off

for spinal taps, investigations, endless eye

exams, and conferencing.

Meanwhile, nervous relatives waited

in confusion, fear, and dread.

Eventually my mom discovered

that she carried a rare gene for


What is Norrie’s, you ask?

It’s a genetic condition, passed

through the female and affecting

only males, which strikes with a

combination of blindness with

either deafness and/or mental


My mom’s mom didn’t really

mention this little genetic hiccup

to her daughter because she was

told by her obstetrician not to

worry, and that whatever gene

had affected her two brothers had

certainly ended with her.

Say what? What two brothers? By now

you must be a little confused…

Well, it turns out my grandmother had

two brothers. My mom knew the younger

one, Uncle Frankie. He was blind and

deaf. But she didn’t know anything about

her other uncle. Her mom didn’t speak

of him much except for in strange code

when discussing the Holocuast. “I was

lucky to get out when I was little,” was

her usual comment. “My brother wasn’t.”

Turns out, as was discovered some 35

years later in the labor and recovery unit

of the hospital, my grandmother had an

older brother who was among the first

to be murdered by the Nazis, not just

because he was Jewish, but because he

was blind and deaf as well.

And here it was being unearthed on

healthy soul

account of my mom’s second son in the

most disturbing and shocking way: The

Norrie gene was alive and well. And Josh

was its next-generation victim. Just like

my grandmother’s older brother, Josh

was struck with blindness and what they

would later discover was severe mental


But despite Josh’s grim diagnosis, my

parents were not the type to sit back

and accept his condition without trying

everything out there first. They took him

to the top pediatric specialists.

And despite all the doctors’ opinions that

nothing could be done, my dad wouldn’t

take no for an answer. He continued

to research, read, and explore every

option out there, until one day he came

across an article about a Christian faith

healer—a reverend, in the Chicago area,

no less—who had a reputation for healing

those deemed hopeless by doctors.

My dad immediately called this supposed

miracle worker—whom Time Magazine

had credited with healing a girl of

exactly the eye cancer the doctors said

Josh had—and made an appointment.

When my parents got to his house in

Homewood, Illinois, the first thing they

noticed was the cross around his neck,

with a very unusual

piece of what

appeared to be

Judaica beside it.

They were standing

eye to eye with

a minister in the

Pyramid of Light

Christian Esoteric

Church, a scientist

with many patents to his credit, and

a student of what he called “Christian

Kabbalah,” the Jewish mystical tradition.

“Is that a mezuzah?” asked my father,

referring to the thin rectangular thing

next to the cross around his neck.

Surprised by his question, the minister

answered in the affirmative and asked,

“How do you know what a mezuzah is?

Are you Jewish?”

Sheepishly, my parents shook their heads


And that’s when things really got


“You Jews had the best magic, but

you threw it out,” he told them.

“Ask the average Jew on the street

a question about Judaism, and

they don’t know anything.” With

passion in his eyes, he spoke about

how wonderful their holy books

were, and that it was from the

Jewish Kabbalah and Torah that

he had learned so much about

healing and energy work.

They visited the healer for two

years. He never healed my brother

of blindness, but he certainly

opened my parents’ eyes to

exploring the beauty of their

own religion. His interpretations

of familiar Bible stories, to their

astonishment, were inspiring, and

they suddenly made sense.

Until they didn’t...

Until he said that the Jews were never

slaves in Egypt, and that Passover was

based on a faulty understanding of

a metaphor, that it had never really


My parents decided to seek other


Sunny Levi is a mother of six, a seventh-degree black-belt taekwondo

master, personal trainer, yoga and self-defense instructor, inspirational

speaker, writer and teacher of personal prayer. In addition to teaching

and coaching women and children both in person and online, Sunny also

works as a martial arts therapist at Kids Kicking Cancer where she

helps children with chronic illness overcome the fear and physical

discomfort of their condition and treatment. Sunny is passionate

about spreading emunah, eating clean, drinking green, hiking and

talking to G-d. She and her family recently moved from Chicago to

Scottsdale, Arizona. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @

sunnyblackbelt or Facebook at Sunny Ariella

Levi, or Sunny’s Martial Arts and Fitness.



healthy soul


& Gemology



Winter Issue


By Atara Malka Silva

What Is Jewish Numerology?

Every person has a name. Our names

tell us a story. The Hebrew word for soul

is neshamah; in the middle of which is

the word for name, shem. The gematria

(numerical value) of the word shem is

340, and the word sefer (book/story) has

the gematria of 340. Our names tell us

our story, strengths, characteristics, and

the tools we are given in this world to

accomplish our purpose. Every letter in

the Hebrew alphabet has its strengths,

weaknesses, elements, and different

energies as a driving force.

Your name is made up of different Hebrew

letters. G-d gave each of these letters to

you to serve as tools to complete your

spiritual mission during your lifetime. In

addition to your given name, the month

you were born in has its characteristics and

energies. Combining the name and the

month and date of birth and the day of

the week, as well as looking at the parshah

(weekly Torah portion) that was read at

the time of your birth, creates your own

spiritual DNA. All of this information can

show the potential for your soul.

We’ve all heard of the word mazel, and

it’s often translated as luck. That’s not

entirely accurate. The word mazel means

a drip from above. At the time of your

birth, all the planets and constellations

were in a particular position. And yes, they

do influence you. One may say, “ein mazel

l’Yisrael—there’s no mazel in Israel, ‘’ as

it doesn’t affect us. As Rabbi Aron Moss

puts it, “When the Talmud says we are

not subject to mazel, it means we are not

limited to our destiny; rather, our actions

determine our fate.”

Jewish numerology gives you a look

from the outside in, and it gives us the

personalized Torah perspective based on

the letters in your name, your birth date,

your birth time, and planets ruling at a

specific time at your birth. G-d uses the sky

and stars to influence His rule in this world,

but ultimately G-d governs the astrological


I was always fascinated learning about

personality traits and how people think

and act with such characteristics. The

zodiac signs were another topic that

was very intriguing for me. Still, as a

teenager, I was always worried that I was

doing something wrong by looking at the

astrological signs and trying to understand

them. This guilty feeling came from

knowing that Judaism frowns upon using

astrology to predict the future (I thought

all parts of astrology are off-limits). I

remember going to a shiur when I was

around 16, and the rabbi giving the lecture

was talking about how during the month

of Nisan the mazel or astrological sign

of the month is Aries, the ram or sheep.

Sheep stay together, and in the month

of Nisan it’s about building relationships,

etc. He spoke about the month of Iyar

and how the mazel of the month is a

Taurus, the bull. The bull is an independent

animal. The whole month of Iyar we have

the mitzvah of the Omer. Each day of the

Omer is connected to a sefirah, and we

need to work on something specific each


This was fascinating to me; he was talking

about a taboo topic! After the shiur I went

over to him to thank him for the class

healthy soul

and clarify what was just shared with us.

I asked, “Don’t the mazalos fall under

astrology? And if so, doesn’t the Torah

prohibit us from looking at astrology?” He

answered, “The Torah doesn’t allow you

to look at astrology to predict the future.

That goes against having emunah and

bitachon, faith and trust in G-d. You are

permitted to understand how the mazel

of the month influences your personality.

It is actually encouraged. It can help you

understand your weaknesses and use the

strengths to your advantage.”

Since then I would look for Jewish sources

to read more and understand the

zodiac signs better. As I learned more,

I understood that each zodiac sign and

month has an element attached to it that

makes an impression on the personality.

The four elements are air, earth, fire,

and water. I then went to lectures about

the aleph-beis and learned how each

letter has its strengths and weaknesses

and that each letter is also influenced

by one of the four elements. Eventually,

this led me to study under Rebbetzin

Orit Esther Riter. I became a certified

Jewish numerology practitioner and I also

learned about gemstones with her and use

this knowledge in my business daily.

In future publications I’ll share about

gemstones and how they have been used

and discussed in the Torah and Talmud. I’ll

also share how the elements of our names

and our birth months can shed some light

on our personalities. Not only will this

information help you understand yourself

better, it can also help you understand the

people in your life.



We would love to hear from you, our

readers: What topics in Jewish numerology

and gemstone decoding would you love

for us to write about? Email submission@


Atara Malka Silva uses her faith and passion for coaching

to dive down deep on what is happening in your life. As a

certified life coach, a woman of Jewish faith, and a

dedicated problem solver, Atarah loves bringing

her clients clarity and direction so they can

change their lives for the better! Atarah

passionately teaches about emunah and

bitachon. In addition to coaching, she also

enjoys creating abstract art, numerology,

and gemstone reports based on a Jewish

perspective for her clients so they can better

understand themselves.

wellness & beauty

Winter Fashion



By Shira Walden

This photo shoot was an impromptu

attempt to get high-resolution

photos. I am so grateful to the

people who came together from

one night to the next morning. They

supported my vision and dream

of putting everyday people into

clothes and capturing photos that

not only display fashion, but exude

friendship and life.

Thank you to:

Lilyta Photography: lilyta_photography

Esti Glabman: @estiglabman

Fay Deutsch: @fay2.3

Fruma Scheiner: @fruma_s

Proportionately, a

cropped jacket is

perfect to wear with

a maxi dress. The

crop shape balances

the length of the

dress, brings the

eye upward and

can add height to

the body. It also

adds definition to

the waist. Cropped

jackets are also

great paired with a

high-waisted skirt.

If you’re curious about the best way to style an oversized

denim jacket, here’s a few simple rules for wearing this

staple. First, pair oversized cuts with slim-fit bottoms

This doesn't necessarily have to always be a pencil skirt.

Whether you choose a skirt or dress, the fit should be

fairly close to the leg to help maintain shape. Next,

don't be afraid to wear it with denim. In fact, many

of our favorite outfits include a denim-on-denim look.

And finally, experiment with it. Try wearing it off your

shoulders, rolling up the sleeves, pairing it with booties,

sneakers, or wedges. The sky's the limit.

Winter Issue

The most flattering slip skirts are typically made

with silky materials, which provide the skirt with

a luxurious feel and allow it to drape fluidly over

your body. During the cooler months, a sweater

keeps you warm while its chunky silhouette

perfectly balances out the clean lines of a slip.


wellness & beauty

Dressing head to toe in a single

color may sound daunting, but

it is one of the easiest ways

to elevate your look. Whether

in a bold or a subdued hue, a

monochrome outfit takes the

guesswork out of getting dressed.

With this strategy, pulling

together an outfit has never been

easier because you won’t have to

worry if two pieces coordinate.



There is nothing as classic as a

denim skirt and white tee. An

outfit that’s cute yet requires

little effort. An outfit that is

chic enough for pictures yet

laid back enough to spend the

day with family and friends.

A few tips to keep in mind: You

are going to want to include

various textures to add depth and

dimension to the outfit. Breathe

easy, as you don’t necessarily

need to have pieces in the exact

same shade to make this look

work. Lastly, if you're feeling a bit

more adventurous, try adding a

contrasting pop of color in your

shoes or accessories.

When it comes to fall and winter

wardrobe staples, a plaid blazer is

definitely a winner. From a casual

coffee run, to date night, to the

office, plaid blazers can help create

many different looks. When wearing

a patterned blazer, you will want to

stick with solid colors for your top

and bottom. Pick a secondary color

in your blazer (usually tan, beige, or

cream) and layer a top underneath in

that tone. Then add a skirt in another

secondary color. Finish the look with

a coordinating shoe. This outfit leans

towards a little preppy but looks classy



sets such as this

one are hot this

season and they

come in many

color variations!

Graphic tees have been trending,

and it’s time to hop on. Not only

are they super-comfortable, but

the styles and messages on them

are a perfect way to display your

individuality. That’s what makes

having them so much fun! Graphic

tees pair effortlessly with many

styles of skirts while adding a fun,

fashionable twist. You can layer a

jacket to keep warm and to add

some structure to this slouchy top.

wellness & beauty

From Gym Rat

to Clean and

Put Together

in Ten


or Less

By Tanya Rosen







Here’s how I do it in five

to seven minutes…

sometimes several

times a day!


I have a written checklist

of everything I need to

bring with me in my

gym bag, such as:

• Deodorant

• Body spray

• Perfume

• Sneakers

• Socks

• Even things I may

forget, like a belt and a shell

and extra stockings in case

they rip.

PACK IT the night before and go over the

checklist in the morning.

MAKE COPIES of this checklist instead of

writing it over every time.


instead of packing it each time. Yes, it’s

doubles, but it saves time and error.

NO DISTRACTIONS, only getting ready:

Avoid checking your phone or getting into

conversations or making to-do lists.

Get ready first.


When there’s no time at all I just put on

bright lipstick and a little bronzer. I also

put on waterproof mascara and liner in

the morning so it stays on throughout my



No shower available or no

time for one?

I love fitness wipes and

shower spray.

These are almost as good

as a shower and are

available on Amazon.

Winter Issue




Don’t leave your gym

bag and its contents out.

Stuff everything in and

put it away. (Spray air

freshener in the room



Jen Sharbani

Dear Miri,

There are so many new and

beautiful styles for covered

beachwear! Here are some

highlights from some new and

upcoming brands that you

might want to try.

By wearing these gorgeous,

fashionable swimsuits on vacation

you are not only elevating the

mitzvah of being modest for

yourself, you are also showing other

women around you a way to look

and how to be fabulously tznius

while on vacation. With these great

styles there’s no need to “take a

vacation” from modesty.

wellness & beauty

Dear Modestly Yours,

I’m going away somewhere warm for winter break and I

need some ideas for how to stay modest on the beach.

Miri K., Brooklyn, New York

Snake print dress



Enjoy your trip and I hope you’ll


send in some pictures!

Beachy cover-up

by Formentera

Puff sleeved one-piece with

sarong skirt by Formentera

Midnight zip top

with tie-dye skirt


Jen Sharbani, aka Modestly Yours,

is a Great Neck, New York, native,

living in the fashion capital of the

world. Modestly Yours most recently

created a designer collection of

modest swimwear women can feel

proud to wear from day to night!

CVRGE is made for modest women

seeking to look their very best while

being gorgeously modest. Jen has

had a passion for fashion from a

very young age, attending college at

FIT and from there landing at top

European fashion houses,

Valentino and Chloe,

before taking some

time out to raise

her three children.



wellness & beauty



things you didn’t 10know about me,





ran ten full marathons and

many halves (and Boston

qualified three times!).

Winter Issue



wellness & beauty

02 03

I have, ka”h, nine kids ages 3

months to 19 years, five boys

and four girls.

I got a corona puppy. His

name is Charlie and he’s the

cutest little Maltese dog.




My favorite color in the world is aqua.

My whole house is filled with different

shades of it—from my dining room and

kitchen chairs to my washing cups.


I got a BA and started

a graduate program in

speech therapy.


I love to travel, especially to warm

climates! Been to Costa Rica,

Belize, Cancun, Puerto Rico and

the Bahamas.


I’ve been doing taharahs since

I was 24 years old. It’s one of

my favorite mitzvos to do.


I’m a foodie! I love preparing, serving,

and cooking pretty, tasty foods. I’m


even on a “foodies chat” where we

share many delicious recipes and

foods we eat.


I’m super social but I absolutely

hate public speaking! Although

I had to do it on a regular basis

since high school, when I was G.O.

president, then N’shei president

and PTA president as a mom. But

I still shake every time I speak in

front of an audience.


establishing and

running my own

salon (DS Wig

Design), I started

my own line of

wigs called “Atara”

years ago. I also

have my own line

of extensions,

halos, as well

as a website to

purchase all things

hair and wigs.

wellness & beauty

Shira on Fringe

By Shira Walden

Everybody always asks me how I got into this

business. This story is more about sisterhood

than it is about a boutique.

There are two sides to sisterhood. The first

is mirroring, the search for oneself through

reflection of the other—that which powers the

undercurrent power struggle, competition,

and insecurity; the delicate dance of love

and hate that only siblings often share. Then

there is the built-in best friend.

Tova always knew how to see the bigger

picture. The first to dip her toe—actually, to

cannonball—into the pool of opportunities,

and pull me in afterward. Into the cold lakes

spotted across Ontario, whizzing down the

steep road in rollerblades she went, and I

followed. From teaching dance to teaching

high school she forged, and I joined. In a

twisted sense of fate she got divorced, as did

I the same calendar year. Much like brethren

sharing a foxhole, we sought solace in each

other. The unconditional love, mutual respect

of sisterhood grew, and the competition

faded into dust of the past immaturity.

Tova and I have a yin-yang thing going on.

She is the Coke to my Sprite, the sweet red

wine to my dry white, and most importantly,

the air to my fire. What we discovered here is

that together our differences create a more

wholesome result. So Tova shared Fringe with

me and eight months later we transformed it

to Sisters on Fringe with two locations, one in

Toronto and one in south Florida.

Fringe is a place where two sisters curate

a collection of modest fashion for their

communities. The racks are the confluence of

female entrepreneurs, providing access to a

wide range of modest fashion. The boutique

is a culmination of many Jewish brands,

bringing diversity, unity, and sisterhood.

Our motto here is dress to express,

not impress. There is this idea in pop

culture today of the ideal woman.

It’s not explicitly said; it’s more of

an image portrayed and taken in

by the subconscious mind. We adopt

this idea without even realizing it,

of how one is supposed to look. It’s

ever-present in our everyday lives,

right there in the palm of our hands.

To the point that when we look in

the mirror, what we see reflecting

back is what’s wrong rather than

what’s right. How do I know? I have

this large mirror in my store, leaning

against a wall. Standing in front

of that mirror is a vulnerable place

for people to be. The truth is, there

is no one way to look. Diversity is

what makes us whole. The sum of

our parts is greater than the whole.

There is so much beauty in our

differences. There is always a dress

that is right—for your unique shape,

for your style, and your expression.

And what I want to create at Fringe

is a celebration of life. To empower

women to look in that mirror and see

what’s right, to see their beauty and

express it.

sisters on



women owned

sister owned

Visit us



Winter Issue








healthy finances



When I sat down to write this article

I was going to start with “reasons

why women should get involved in

their personal finances,” but then it

hit me: Why are women in 2021 not

getting involved and self-educating?

The answer obviously differs from

one person to the next. Here are

some first-hand responses I got from

women over the past few years.

By Etty Surkis

Ignorance is bliss: “Let someone else deal

with the financial burden.” Often this is

said by women who have some embedded

childhood trauma where money was poorly

handled. For many, this “ignorance is bliss”

approach works. A lot of the time it works

well for many years. I have met some

wonderful men/husbands who want to take

care of their families and offer the ones they

love complete financial peace of mind. Yet

I have heard too many stories from women

where it ultimately backfired.

Serious illnesses, such as a stroke, can wreak

havoc. Women have been in situations where

they needed to make decisions due to a

spouse being ill, yet they were ill-prepared

and therefore couldn’t find important


This reminds me of a story my friend

experienced. Her husband suffered a stroke,

and she was going to spend Shabbos in

the hospital with him. Since he could not

communicate with her she went to the

Finkelstein Memorial Library in Monsey to

get some reading material. They asked her

for a legal document/utility bill with her

name and address on it in order to open an

account. She had none. She was devastated.

She left empty-handed but fully aware that

she needed to make changes.

I’ve had multiple widows call me in total

shock after their husband’s sudden death.

Clueless as to which bank they banked with,

clueless as to which car insurance carrier

they were using, and clueless as to the login

info of their deceased spouse’s emails to

retrieve information on bills being paid by

autopay. One particular such scenario was

a woman who was the breadwinner and her

husband was a tremendous talmid chacham

and was learning full time. While this woman

was working very hard to make money, she

had never been involved in managing the

state of their finances.

There are divorced women who reached

out to me. Their world and dreams had just

shattered, and they don’t know where

and how to pick up the pieces.

Then there’s this average young family

that has a hard working, responsible

household leader who made a business

investment that didn’t go as planned and

would wish to discuss it with their spouse/

wife without judgment. What comes to

mind here is a very sweet couple I met with.

The wife politely asked to excuse herself to

give her husband space so he can honestly

share their amount of debt without him

being humiliated by her presence. I was in

shock and said, “NO! He needs you here,

specifically now! To gain your support! You

are in this together and you will get out of

this situation together!”

My financial approach to every home is that

it should be a shared experience. A wife can

and should give financial encouragement,

and couples should dream, build, and

prosper together.

Winter Issue


Not my role: It’s true that years ago,

with lower standards of living, women

were busier with everyday tasks that

needed to be done at home. It was

enough for there to be a single-income

earner per family. It was usually the man

of the house who went out to work and

covered the household expenses and

completed the financial transactions.

At age 24 I experienced something

that really made me think. I was in a

bungalow colony that was collecting

money for Chai Lifeline. A young

child went knocking door to door for

small donations. I, the last bungalow

in the circle, saw the envelope was

practically empty. Later that day when

many ladies got together I shared my

observation and was wondering why. I

got a resounding response of “I need to

ask my husband,” to which I then asked,

“Did you ask your husband about buying

Danishes in the morning when the

bakery truck came by?”

Raising a healthy family does not

involve lines drawn in the sand; there are

bridges that must be crossed if you are

to have a balanced home. This includes

not only chinuch but should also include

critical life decisions like your finances.

Today, with two-working-parent

households and so many women in the

workforce, I ask why should we stop

there? For many it doesn’t stop there,

but there’s still a long way to go to get

every family aligned with their finances

and values.

There are times that I hear “it was my

mother who set some money aside and

secured a healthy retirement for herself,

myself, and even for my children.” This

is a great example for the future and

should be the norm.

Just not financially savvy:

“I’m very capable and I work.

As a matter of fact, I specialize

in my line of work, but finances

intimidate me.”

This boggles my mind. The

thought is that people spend

thousands of hours a year

earning money, but they won’t

spend a tenth of those hours

learning to maximize their

financial potential or becoming

money smart so their money

should work for them as

opposed to them working for

money! Let’s get educated so

we can be proactive planners

and smart savers.


Good News Is…

According to the Huffington Post,

Warren Buffett invests like a girl.

What? Doesn’t everyone know

that men are better investors than


Not if they read. When you really

examine what we know about how

men and women do at investing,

we find that women do just fine

at investing, both

for themselves

and for others.


like men,

bring some


qualities to

investing that

can actually

help. So when



Warren Buffett

invests like a girl, what they mean

is that he invests calmly, does a lot

of research, and exercises a lot of




by Tehilla Hatanian DAC, M.S. Lac

Doctor of Acupuncture

At Healthy Needles

we use Acupuncture,

Cupping, Moxabustion

& many more techniques

to help you feel your best.


These numbers may surprise you!

*53,730,000 women work full-time year-round.

*12,300,000 are women-owned businesses.

They generate $1.8 trillion in revenues.

*Let’s talk super consumers… Who are they?

40 million U.S. women aged 50 and over are

called super consumers.

They comprise the largest demographic of

female workers earning $100,000+ annually.

They control $15 trillion in annual

purchasing power.

They control 95% of household

purchasing decisions.

We Specialize in:

post covid recovery

pain management

stress & anxiety



treating men & women




Etty Surkis is the CEO of Excelsum Capital, a boutique financial

services firm that provides multi-strategy financial solutions for

a range of clients. Etty’s expertise includes individual and family

budgeting, personal financial management, life insurance

options, and retirement planning. Etty educates, guides, and

supports her clients in achieving a disciplined approach

to budget management and ensuring long-term financial

stability. She has done lots of work with women from

Sister to Sister as well as the Links organization. She

can be reached at 718-964-7060 or at


For an appointment call 718.419.9563

592 Mayfair Drive South

Mill Basin, Brooklyn


93 Walcott Avenue

Willowbrook, Staten Island

Some insurances accepted. NF and WC accepted.

healthy finances


Managing As a Businessmom

By Malky Blum

Welcome! I am excited to introduce the “She’s

Boss” column to fellow women in the community.

There are few things I’m more passionate about

than the topics you’ll be reading about here.

This column will focus on businessmoms and

how we can do better at the “business” without

compromising on the “moms.” In the installments

ahead I will share what I’ve learned in my years

running multiple businesses and advising others

on how to better manage theirs. It is not so much

a business advice column as it is a personal



for businesswomen.

I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I

enjoy sharing it.

Winter Issue


I once heard someone remark that

entrepreneurs will work 100 hours a

week so they don’t have to work 40.

Now, these ambitious folks might

not hate their new boss and might

even make more money—although

not nearly as much as others think—

but let’s be honest: Working harder is

generally not what they signed up for.

It is understandable, though. When

every business expense is money

out of pocket and every hour off is

potential income lost, it is only natural

to want to do more and make every

buck possible. But in reality, you didn’t

go out on your own to be a slave to

your business; you want that business

to work for you!




Recently, I assisted a young mother

who told me matter-of-factly that she

won’t be available at night because

she’s driving from Lakewood to

Brooklyn to pick up something for

her business. “Who’s watching your

daughter?” I asked. “Oh, I’m taking

a babysitter.” I told her to take out a

pen and paper to tabulate the hours

this trip will take her, from when she

starts getting dressed until after

taking the babysitter home. Total was

about five hours.

Then I asked her to calculate

the gas and tolls and babysitter

expenses that she incurs by

driving up herself vs. what it

would cost her to pay a delivery

service to do the job. With a

difference of just about $50, she was

essentially paying herself $10 an hour

for this messenger job—not to mention

messing up her evening, missing out

on family time, and waking up tired

the next morning. And she wonders

why she’s burned out…

If this story sounds extreme or

amusing, rest assured that we are all

guilty of it in some capacity when

choosing what to put on our to-do

list. If your focus turns you into being

a worker in your own business, you get all of the

downside and none of the benefits of being an

entrepreneur. When we’re not maximizing our time

and resources to work on our business instead of in

it, then the money we “save” easily becomes a net


One of my favorite business books carries the

counterintuitive title Procrastinate on Purpose.

Author Rory Vaden points out that time is fixed

and there will always be more things to do than the

time of the day (and night) allows for. Prioritization

or reordering of your schedule will still not add

hours to your day. Something has to give.

healthy finances

So with time at a premium, how does a busy mom

become a successful entrepreneur or businesswoman?

Rory advises on five tools to maximize your time:

Eliminate, Automate, Delegate, Procrastinate, and

Concentrate. I will use my own words to briefly describe

how I see each of them:


Not everything is important. Even if it’s urgent, it still might not

be that important in comparison to other matters you must tend to.

If the clock is ticking on a special Chanukah coupon you wanted to

offer, you should not make time for it at the expense of improving

your product or service. Eliminate it—for now, at least. One example

we find often is when we see well-run companies offer a refund

instead of fixing a problem with a sale. In effect, they eliminate a

time-consuming hassle to better use their time elsewhere.


Create systems that do the work on your behalf without your

direct involvement. Whether this is achieved through an online

software, automatic registration renewal, or streamlining the same

process for everyone, automation can literally multiply a fixed

amount of time into endless utilization.


Just as it sounds. Hire someone cheaper, younger or more

adept at a particular job to do specific tasks for you. If your time

is valued at a certain dollar amount per hour and there’s someone

who can do this work for half that, you have just created value out

of thin air and given yourself the most precious gift of all: time.


There is a famous adage known as Parkinson’s law, stating that

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

If you are faced with an obligation where you cannot apply one of

the methods above, then wait to tend to that matter until it can no

longer wait. Don’t give it more time than it needs.


When the time comes to actually perform the task, maximize

your time by dedicating 110% of your focus and concentration to the

particular task at hand at the most opportune time. An hour on the

phone with a top client during peak season where you’re on Do not

Disturb mode is more productive than an hour of performing dozens

of tasks in the background.



Time is our most precious commodity—whether we’re running a

business, a household, or a marathon. If we put in the time to make

our time work for us, we’ll be on our way to making it big time.

Malky Blum is the founder and owner of HomePros, the online

workout platform for busy moms; GymPros, among the largest Jewish

gymnastics centers in the country; co-founder of the JGL, the Jewish

Gymnastics League; and part-time business consultant. Malky is a

lucky wife and mother of two who joins as many ninja classes as she

can every week. In her spare time she laments the

fact that women never have spare time.

healthy finances


The Great Pivot

By Estee Cohen

Winter Issue

Dear Estee,

I have been in an office job

for 12 years, and though it’s

going fine, I really feel there is

something else I could be doing.

The problem is that every job

I want to apply to I am either

not qualified for or I don’t even

get a response. Any ideas for

someone who wants to make a

career change?



Dear Chanie,

Your situation is incredibly

common but can be so frustrating!

You know there’s something else

out there for you but are not sure

what it is nor how to get there.

I get phone calls from people in

this exact situation all the time.

I recommend this exercise: Go

through large job sites like Indeed

or LinkedIn, look for jobs in your

area with no filters. Take note

of any job that catches your eye

and makes you think “I would

love that!” and write down the

job title as well as the experience

and education or training needed.

Keep going until you have a list

of at least ten different jobs. Now

look for patterns. For example, if

everything you’ve written down

has to do with working with people

or sales, then that’s a huge clue

to what you’d be good at. If

everything is medical based then

that’s another path entirely.

Once you find the pattern, narrow

it down to the lowest-level position

in that field or industry that you

can tolerate pay wise. That is

your starting point and new goal.

If you need a specific license or

certification to move toward your

new career goal, spend a few

hours researching a program or

school near you. With so much

being remote right now you

should have many options. Make a

timeline of how long it should take

you to complete and get started.

There is no reason to put long-term

goals off; start the school application

process today and you’ll get there.

Even if it will take you several years

to train in a new field, at some point

in the future you will finish it and be

so glad you did!

If, however, your career goal

doesn’t require training but requires

experience you don’t have, one good

idea is to see if your boss will let

you handle a related project to gain

experience. After you have at least

a tiny amount of experience under

your belt you can mention it in the

very first bullet point under your

current job title on your resume when

applying for jobs.

Personally, my first introduction to

recruiting began when I was on the

hiring committee at the school I

worked for. I added that recruiting

project to my resume after I fell

in love with hiring, and my second

career began.

It’s not easy, but it’s possible!

Estee Cohen has been in the recruiting

industry for over a decade and has

interviewed over 20,000 people and placed

over 3,500 people in jobs from all sectors

in over 300 companies. She is the CEO

of California Job Shop, which is a thriving

recruiting firm based in Los Angeles that

handles permanent employee placements for

companies throughout the US,

not just in California. She has a

master’s degree in educational

administration, five amazing

kids, a passion for science

education and an addiction

to aspartame. Follow

her on Instagram.com/





Yael Ishakis

VP, Branch Manager | NMLS #9879



568 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, NJ 07666

NMLS ID # 2212 | Licensed Mortgage Banker, NYS Department of Financial Services

Licensed Residential Mortgage Lender, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance












Etty Surkis




718.33.EXCEL (718.333.9235)

Cell: 718.964.7060



Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. Registered

Representative of NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA, SIPC),

144 Joseph Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314-5056, a licensed

insurance agency and New York Life company.

Excelsum Capital Inc. is not

owned or operated by NYLIFE

Securities LLC or it’s



at 350 . give

your bread

a 360.

Skillfully Crafted Artisanal Sourdough



Heaven & Earth sourdough challah rolls are flash-frozen immediately after

baking so when you warm them up - for just about 10 minutes - you’ll get

the finest, freshest taste of sourdough challah.

Available in Classic, Sesame, & Everything



healthy finances


A Candid

Chat with

the Bosses




I met somebody

recently who was in

sales for many many

years, without the

use of a cell phone.

Even while away on business she

would use the hotel landline. Years

away from that, not only do we

have cellphones but we have many

apps to make our life simpler and

easier. I would love to hear from

my readers what apps make your

life easier.

Below you will hear from business

owners about their favorite apps.

I’m not sure if our lives are easier

with cell phones and apps; it seems



not having a phone is a dream

of mine—I don’t know about you! ;-)

healthy finances


What Two Apps Does Your

Business Use That You

Can’t Live Without?

Blimy Glauber

Malkie Scholnick

Karen Behfar

Winter Issue

Hi, my name is Blimy Glauber. I

am the CEO and owner of MBG

Brokerage Inc., an insurance

brokerage specializing in

property and casualty insurance.

I started my business in

December of 2013 on my dining

room table in my two-bedroom

apartment in Brooklyn on my

own. Since then I have brought

my husband into the business

and, baruch Hashem, we have

been able to grow the company.

The two apps I can’t live without

are WhatsApp and Hawksoft.

We use WhatsApp to

communicate with our clients

all day long to help maintain

our customer service and


Hawksoft is our management

software. We use this software

for our day-to-day management

of our client data.

Tanya Rosen

WhatsApp! We have 86

(no exaggeration!)

WhatsApp groups

for work chats and I

can’t picture working

without them.

My alarms. I love my

lists but I rely on alarms

for everything! From phone

sessions to the kids’ buses to

drinking my water!


Scholnick is

the chief at

The Bold

Edge, where

she has



more than 1,500

designers through her graphic

design, web design, and teen

creative digital courses both

online and via USB.

Here are two apps that I really


They save me so much time

and keep me organized!

Trello (trello.com)

It is very visual and is great to:

• Plan out a project

• Plan out your meals for the


• Store inspiration according

to categories

Loom (loom.com)

Great for:

• Recording videos going

over a project for a client

• Creating training videos

for staff

Hi, I am a

local real


broker in


I was


about the two

apps that I can’t live

without and was debating

between Instagram and

WhatsApp, but when we

had the social media/

WhatsApp outage a

few months ago, the

one that was harder for

me to deal with was no

WhatsApp—so WhatsApp

takes the cake!

The two apps that I

can’t live without are

WhatsApp and Clickup.

95% of my

communication with

clients and agents in

the office is through

WhatsApp (I would

rather have the

convenience of 100

WhatsApps than make

one phone call, LOL).

Another app I can’t live

without is Clickup. It is

a back-end system of

how we input all our

listings and communicate

the status of different

updates and incoming

leads within our office.


healthy finances

We will get you home

this winter!

Have a cozy one!

Karen Behfar, Real Estate Broker



Download the Behfar Team app on iPhone or Android

healthy finances

Refinancing Your





By Yael Ishakis

Winter Issue

When it comes to

your mortgage, there

are a lot of key terms

that are important for

every homebuyer to

know, and this is no

less true than when it

comes to refinancing

your most important

investment. Instead

of leaving what’s

unknown up to

chance, it’s important

to be aware of exactly

what you’re looking

at so you can get the

best mortgage product

available. If you’re

currently considering

refinancing and don’t

want to get snared by

unknown terminology,

here are some terms

you’ll need to watch

out for.


This type of refinance is a

transaction where the home’s

mortgage amount is higher than

the existing mortgage amount, and

cash-out refers to the extraction of

equity from the homeowner’s home.

While this type of refinancing can

be a means of tapping into extra

cash to help you with monthly

expenses, it also means that the

cash you take out of your equity

will be added to the balance you

already owe on your home.

One of the top reasons a client

would be looking to cashout would

be to pay off high interest credit

card debt, as it makes sense to

lock into a lower rate and get a tax

deduction while doing so.

A terrible reason would be to

cashout to hit the casinos. (I kid

you not, I got that request once.)



This type of mortgage transaction

involves the refinancing of an

existing mortgage so that you

can take advantage of a different

interest rate. While this type of

change will not alter the amount

of your home loan, it will adjust

the interest, which means that your

monthly payments may be lowered

and you may have a shorter

amortization period due to overall

reduced costs. These types of loans

can often come with lower interest

rates than cash-out refinances.



This type of refinancing is

offered by the Federal Housing

Administration (FHA) and the

Department of Veterans Affairs,

and it is also offered by certain

financial institutions. While this

type of refinancing has its own

set of stipulations, it is directed at

those who want to take advantage

of low interest rates or get out

of an adjustable rate mortgage

(ARM). While you may need to

have a financial appraisal done in

order to qualify for this option, it’s

also possible that this will not be

required to qualify.

There are a lot of key terms that

go along with having a mortgage

and refinancing it, but if you’re

considering your options it’s very

important to know what all of

them mean so you can be sure

you’re making the best decision.

If you’re currently considering

refinancing your home and need

helpful advice, contact your trusted

mortgage professional for more


Yael Ishakis is the vice president and branch

manager of FM Home Loans.

Yael has made it her mission to provide mortgage

financing to all her clients from their first home

to their investment building and entire portfolio.

Yael is a frequent speaker on mortgage-related

issues, and her book “The Complete Guide

to Purchasing a Home” is already on

its third printing cycle. When not in

the office, Yael enjoys tennis and is a

voracious reader. To reach Yael, email

yishakis@fmm.com or call her cell

phone at





Build a Strong, Happy Marriage

Unlearn damaging habits

Create a happy home for all

Feel empowered and see change

Thrive in stepparenting and blending families



“After just the first session,

we BOTH felt we landed

at the right place.”

- R & Y.K.

Professional Shaddchan and Dating Coach


www.sarafreed.com | sara@sarafreed.com | (646) 846-4608



Learn how to get unstuck, gain clarity & step

into your power & purpose

RSVP 516-262-0911


healthy families




that Matters


By Malka Ismach

Picture the scene:

A group of fifth graders

are sitting around

discussing their

upcoming science test

next period.

Winter Issue

Each one is “flaunting” about how

little they studied. I can picture such

a scene vividly. I can almost hear

myself saying that I “barely studied,”

when in truth, I studied intensely for

three hours. Fast forward 20 years

and my husband is now reflecting on

a speaking engagement. I hear him

telling people that it took him an hour

to prepare each minute of his talk. My

immediate reaction is, “I can’t believe

he’s telling people how long it takes

him. That’s so embarrassing.” Fast

forward a few years after that and

I remember an accomplished lawyer

at my Shabbos table proudly talking

about how little she studied for the

bar exam and still passed.


The message was clear. It

was somehow instilled in

me from a very young age:

Hard work is something to be

embarrassed about. Effort is a

sign of weakness. It is hard to

understand how this message

was relayed. My parents always

told me that as long as I

worked hard in school, it didn’t

matter what grade I received.

My teachers encouraged us to

study. And yet, somehow, there

must have been subtle messages

undermining what I was taught

from my parents and teachers. I

believed that “success” with less

effort was more praiseworthy

than hard and diligent work.

Even as an adult, I look at those

around me and focus more on

the end product of “success.”

I look at the people who just

“have it” and wish that I did as

well. I look at the people who

have financial success, who

have superior cognitive abilities,

those who are fit and thin. The

list can go on and on. Society

has conditioned us to look at

the success of others without

thinking about what got them

there. We look at people who

seem to have it easy in some

regard, who seem to have

accomplished without even

trying, and wish we had the

same. We completely disregard

the hard work and diligence that

got them there.

It turns out that the end product

is the last thing we should be

looking at. The process that

got them there is far more

important for their success than

anything else. Angela Duckworth,

a psychologist who founded

the concept of grit, or passion

and perseverance for long-term

goals, has found in numerous

research studies that grit is a

very strong predictor of success.

No innate intelligence, natural

metabolism or inherited talent

can replace what Duckworth

calls grit. Grit has been found to

be crucial toward one’s success

in any area. Of course, talent

and good luck can help one

in many ways, but without the

day-in and day-out of hard work

healthy families

toward a goal, one will not get

very far. Grit is the ability to be

passionate, set goals, work hard

every day, and recover from

failures and obstacles. While

the end product of success may

look magical to us, the true

magic happens when we are

passionate, hard-working and

consistent. When we are gritty,

we will surprise ourselves at what

we can accomplish.

In a way, we can think about

grit as a set of good habits—

habits that include goal setting,

working hard, being diligent

and doing it all consistently.

These are positive habits that

comprise one’s days and weeks

and months and years. It is these

habits that form our character,

our work ethic, our meaning in

life, and ultimately our success

and satisfaction.

Grit is not something that is

set in stone. It is dynamic. We

can become grittier. We can

form habits and rituals that

didn’t exist before. Psychologist

Tal Ben Shachar explains that

the reason why people are

consistent with habits and not

with New Year’s resolutions is

that resolutions require discipline

and willpower. Discipline and

willpower are hard. But when one

applies discipline and willpower

consistently for a period of time,

an amazing thing happens.

Those things that were once

hard to do become rituals and

habits. They become things

we just do—like brushing our

teeth and taking our vitamins

(maybe?). Once they are

rituals and habits, we don’t

have to fight nearly as hard to

get them done.

A personal example comes

to mind. Years ago, when I

was writing my dissertation, I

had young children at home. I

realized that the time of day

that I would be most successful

in getting writing done was in

the early morning—before my

children woke up. I decided

that I had to train myself

to wake up at 5 a.m. every

morning, which would give

me a solid two hours to work.

I realized that at that time, I

would be well rested and fresh,

the house would be quiet and

the phones would not be ringing.

For the first few weeks it was a

fight both to go to sleep early as

well as to wake up at the crack

of dawn. However, after a few

weeks it became my routine. My

body would be craving bed at

a much earlier hour and waking

up became easier too. The

discipline and willpower required

to maintain that schedule was

not nearly as great and it

became my daily ritual for two

years. Once I became a doctor, I

started sleeping late again.

Thinking about grit and habits

together helps us understand

that the grittier we become,

the less we have to fight to

be that way. It becomes part

of who we are. We can make

gritty behaviors more habitual

by picking one thing at a time

and doing it consistently. Try

it yourself. Think about your

personal goals and choose

something specific that will help

you get closer to that goal. Do

that specific thing consistently

for a month or two. Watch

the transformation happen—

from something that requires

willpower to something that is

a habit. Once it is a ritual, you

have become grittier already.

Dr. Malka Ismach is a certified school

psychologist and licensed psychologist who

currently works in both school and private

settings. She has experience working in multiple

school, agency and clinical settings. Dr. Ismach

has been trained in cognitive behavioral

therapy (CBT), play therapy and parent

training. She continues to receive ongoing

training in evidence-based treatments for

children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Ismach has

experience and skill in assessing and treating

a full range of mental health challenges.

She brings enthusiasm and dedication to her

work and values collaboration with schools,

parents, medical practitioners and others

in order to enhance the treatment

of her clients. She is committed to

providing compassion, support and

emotional well-being to children,

adults and families. She can be

reached at




healthy families

The Meaningful



Lately, I’ve been thinking about

something that we probably think

that we do, and probably think,

“Sure, of course, it’s no big deal.” But

do we really do it often enough, and

do we do it well enough?

By Debbie Selengut

And that is complimenting our husbands. We

really feel like we compliment, and we probably

do compliment, but let’s see if we can do a little


First, for a compliment to really feel good to

the other person, it has to be authentic and

genuine, not fluffy. General statements like

“you’re amazing” can feel good too, but the

more specific the better it feels.

Here are some examples. “When I come

out in the morning and you’ve cleaned

the snow off of my car, it makes my

morning so much easier.” “Thank you for

taking care of that bill, it was weighing

me down.” “I see how your siblings really

all look to you for guidance…” “Cleaning up

supper tonight was such a lifesaver, I was

out of energy.”

• Genuine, not fluffy

• Check body


• Acknowledge their


• Details matter

• Attach your feelings

Third, acknowledging something going on in his life

adds to the sincerity of the compliment. “I know it’s

crunch time at work now. I really appreciate you

helping me out with the errands today.” “I know

you’ve been keeping such late nights too; thank you

for letting me sleep a little late today.”

Fourth, think about the details. Instead of

“thank you for the flowers” we can try “I

love hydrangeas! These are stunning.”

“You made my coffee with exactly

enough sugar.”

And fifth, attaching a feeling to the

compliment takes it to a new level...

“When you do the dishes after dinner it

makes me feel so appreciated.” “When you

take care of the repairs around the house I

feel so taken care of.”

Second, check our body language when we

compliment him: eye contact and a smile. Once

we are more aware of our body language we will

notice how often we talk to people and forget to

look at them!

If this is not easy, or it’s new to us, it can take time

to get used to. Try to set a goal. A compliment a

day? On average, it takes 66 days to create a new

habit… It’s a great goal, and will create feelings of

appreciation, love, and respect! Go for it!

Winter Issue

Mrs. Debbie Selengut serves as an

assistant principal in Bnos Bracha of

Passaic. She serves as a consultant

in schools and does teacher/new

teacher training. She is a graduate

of the Yesod Ma’ala New York

Regional Fellowship of Principals,

a division of Torah Umesorah. She

teaches post-high school education,

pre-marriage education, parenting

and adult education courses. She

is married to Rabbi Dovid

Selengut, a rebbe at Joseph

Kushner Hebrew Academy,

and a therapist in private

practice. She is a mother

and grandmother.


healthy families

The Dating Coach

Weighs In

By Sara Freed



I recently worked with Debbie and

Zev, who were each looking to make a

commitment to someone for a second


On paper, the match looked wonderful.

They had similarities in their

backgrounds, their interests, their ages,

and their wishes for the relationship.

But there was one potential problem:

They lived two hours away from each


When I floated the match, both brought

this up as a major challenge. Both had

good jobs in their current locations.

Debbie also had two unmarried adult

children still living at home.

Winter Issue


Where would they live? How would they

make it work? To them, the problems it

posed seemed insurmountable.

My advice: Why didn’t they at least try

meeting first?

That way they could see if there was

even a point to worrying about the

distance. After all, it wasn’t going to

matter if they didn’t like each other and

feel like they had chemistry.

They agreed. And they really clicked.

But they still had that big problem to

deal with: distance. Both got back to

me that they didn’t think they could

overcome this challenge.

What should they do?



Again, my advice to them was simple and straightforward:

keep going. See how things progress. Often, these things

tend to work themselves out over time.

Lo and behold, they are now married! Zev took such a

great liking to Debbie that he moved to her location, works

remotely most of the time, and commutes twice a week. They

even both kept their houses.

For Zev, he realized that being with Debbie made him so

happy that it was worth the sacrifice. Moreover, it may just

be a temporary sacrifice because her children will move out

eventually. And then they may reevaluate their situation.

Why does “just keep going” work?

healthy families

Relationship Problems

Often Change in Size and

Severity Based on Context



When Debbie and Zev

saw their distance from

each other on paper, it

automatically felt like a

deal breaker. After all,

why start a relationship

when you already know

there’s a problem?

So why did I encourage

them to keep going?

Because sometimes

“insurmountable” issues

can start to look smaller

and smaller when you

weigh them against all

the good things that draw

the two of you together.

This isn’t to say that you

should ignore potential

problems. They will

eventually need to be


But it’s okay to let this

happen naturally as the

relationship progresses. To

see if the initial chemistry

you feel blossoms... or

fizzles. Who knows—there

may be other hurdles that

appear and derail things.

But if you have

commonalities, a similar

background, and that

“spark,” what seems like

a big deal at first may

really not be.

Time—especially when

spent together—does its

own thing. What the brain

cannot do sometimes time

will do on its own. It has

a way of fixing things. Of

offering solutions that

didn’t seem feasible at

first. Of allowing you the

space you need to talk

things through.

These are rules that apply

regardless of whether

you’ve been married

before or not. The key

to finding happiness

with someone is often

to just keep going; keep

spending time together,

keep talking things out,

keep learning, and keep

listening. As long as

you can do those things

together, you’re headed in

the right direction.

Sara Freed is a professional shadchan and dating,

relationship, and marriage coach based in New York.

By drawing on her extensive training and personal

experiences, she teaches singles and couples the

skills they need to find and build happy, lasting

relationships and families. A bestselling author, Sara

wrote 5 Secrets to Bringing Peace and Happiness to

Your Marriage and co-wrote Putting

Kids First in Divorce.

healthy families

Winter Issue

Elana Mizrahi

The doctors gave her a zero percent

chance of having her own baby.

Could I help?

My answer: “I don’t know.”

It is so humbling, the process of trying

to bring a life into this world. With all

the advancements in medicine and with

all the latest technology we still return

to the same conclusion, which is we

know so little and lack control.

I will never know why one treatment

works for one couple and why one

doesn’t. When it comes to conception, a

healthy pregnancy, and birth there are

simply no formulas, no givens. And so

when a woman comes to me and asks

me for guidance and direction we try

to educate and give over information.

We offer advice and, yes, we do look

for answers, but in the end I always

tell women on their journey from

conception to birth that really, really

we have no control. What will work for

one won’t for another, and ultimately

I don’t know why except for the simple

answer that, especially in this matter,

we lack control.

*Tzivia and Moshe

contacted me. They

had been married for

nine years and had

done a slew of fertility

treatments. Five years

of IVF treatments alone.

Running from one

test to another, one

doctor to another and

now the conclusion,

which originally was

unexplained infertility,

was that Tzivia’s egg

reserve was too low

and her eggs too poor

quality for conception.

For Tzivia and Moshe I actually had

the merit to be the right messenger at

the right time, and after five months

of working on diet, herbs, releasing

trauma from the body and praying

for this couple Tzivia conceived. Nine

months later she gave birth to a

healthy baby girl, Bracha, in the most

beautiful birth where I felt the angels

up in the Heavens singing and dancing.

But I can tell you the other side as

well. Of women who contact me and

tell me how they tried this diet and

that. They tried acupuncture, and every

complementary therapy that exists.

They are so, so “healthy” and nothing

worked. And they call me hoping that

maybe there is one more thing they

haven’t tried that will be it.

And again all I can say is, “I don’t

know.” Part of me wishes that they

wouldn’t try so much and look so much

for an alternative solution and maybe

that would be the answer?

So how should a couple approach

fertility? When to go to a doctor and

seek medical advice and when to run


from it? What modalities work and which

ones should they stay far away from?

When a couple is facing the challenge of

infertility, miscarriage, a high-risk pregnancy,

the answers on Google are way too

contradictory and confusing. What should

one do?

My first suggestion, the hardest, but still


Relinquish control and take a step back in

the quest to find all the answers. There are

just some things that will never be revealed

and some questions that don’t have answers.

There is no magic diet or method, no magic

procedure. It’s a bit of trial and error; there

is no right or wrong, and ultimately one

must trust their instincts. If something is

just taking too much out of you, ruining

your relationship, your health, your financial

situation, then you are probably not going

in the right direction. How can the body

be fertile when consuming so much energy

fighting stress?

I’m telling you this not just from the

experience of my clients, but from myself. I

was there. I should say we were there because

it was both my husband and I, not just me!

We went through years of this, and the

moment I relinquished control, the moment I

took a step back and said, “Okay, Hashem,

You are running this show. If You want us to

have kids we will and if not, we won’t”...

healthy families

Something healed.

It wasn’t easy to do. It took so

much courage! But I see it in

every aspect of my life, not just

in fertility and child rearing.

When I step back I give space

so that Hashem can step

forward. I think more clearly.

My decisions are wiser. There

is more peace and well-being.

The salvation comes, even if

not in the way that I thought or

knew that it could. Even if the

salvation is in itself that letting


I’m telling you, it really helps.

Take a step back and see how

to make things work more

smoothly or leave them alone.

And most importantly, when

a woman comes to me for a

consultation or visit at my clinic,

I tell her that our goal is for her

to feel healthy and strong. She,

herself, counts and is a person.

She has to feel good about

herself and take care of herself,

because if not, how is it worth


We look at her as a whole

person, not just a baby-making

factory. If she and her partner

are eating balanced meals,

taking care of themselves

emotionally, physically,

mentally, then at least they

know that what they are doing

is something positive and in the

right direction. Again, no one

can make anyone promises as

to what efforts will produce the

desired results and which ones

won’t. Do trust your intuition

and know that you deserve

to take care of yourself, for

yourself, not just for the fertility


*Name changed for privacy.



Something opened up.

Elana Mizrahi is passionate about helping Jewish

women to connect: to connect to Hashem, to themselves

and to each other. She is a mentor, published author,

writer and lecturer. In addition to teaching, Elana

also specializes in women’s health, infertility, prenatal

and postpartum care, postpartum depression, birth

and fertility-related trauma, anxiety and works as a

doula, birth educator, women’s health care practitioner,

parenting coach, shalom bayis coach, reflexologist

and massage therapist. She teaches parenting classes

(chinuch banim) and shalom bayit classes. Elana brings

Torah into her healing practice and healing into her

Torah classes. Originally from the Bay Area, California,

and a graduate of Stanford University, she lives in

Jerusalem with her husband and precious children. Elana

speaks Spanish and Hebrew fluently and has a blog on

the parsha as well as a WhatsApp group called “Inner

Connections” that strives to bring Hashem

into our everyday lives. Elana can be

reached at

elanamizrahi@gmail.com, or to view her

website, please visit


healthy families

Cultivating a Trusting and

Wholesome Relationship With

our Children

Facilitated by Rachel Herman

Winter Issue

Part 2 of an ongoing series

with Blimie Heller

Hi, Blimie! Thank you so

much for your time! I hear

from many people that

you have a very specific,

very different approach

to parenting than what

most people traditionally

use. Can you share your


Sure! I believe in not using punishments

and not either (imposed punitive)

consequences (which is simply a

euphemism for punishments!). Also,

on the flip side, I don’t believe in

using rewards or prize charts. Instead

I believe in having an authentic

relationship with our children and

leading and guiding them through

that. To me, it is such a wholesome

way to parent. While in the short term

rewards and punishments may seem

like the most effective approach, in

the long term they undermine a child’s

relationship with themselves and with

their parents, and those have the

greatest impact on the kind of adult

he or she will be.

Wow! That is very

interesting! Definitely

different from the standard

approach to parenting!

But how will the child learn

without consequences? Let's

say my child or teenager

does something I told him

he can't do; how do I deal

with that? And how do I

set boundaries without


Great question! I would probably have

to go through my entire course to

properly answer this question because

there are so many parts to it and so

much to explain, but I’ll briefly go

through it.

I find that we’ve almost been sold this

lie that children need imposed punitive

consequences (aka punishments) to

learn. They really don’t. They simply

need a loving parent who can guide

them and help them access their

feelings of remorse. Our feelings,

when we really feel them, are the most

powerful teachers.

If a child or teen does something I told

him he can’t do, I need to ask why!

And then work from there. We talk

to our children and work things out

with them rather than doing things to

them. When our children feel included

in the boundaries we set, because we

collaborate with them, it’s almost like

why wouldn’t they work with us? They

are a part of it!

Control (punishments and reward) only

works so much. After a while we realize

how little control we actually have.

Control decreases our influence over

time while relationship increases our

influence over time.

About setting boundaries, it’s very

important to realize the important role

of feelings. When I set a boundary

I welcome and empathize with the

feelings that come up for my child.

That helps me remain assertive and

it helps my child feel understood and

cared for, which helps their resistance


The child’s feelings and needs (and

the parent’s feelings and needs!) are

one of the most important pieces of

the parenting picture. When we parent

in a way that focuses on the child’s

feelings and needs we set our child

up for success in life and in future

relationships. Think about marriage.

Are there rewards and punishments

when your spouse does something right

or wrong? Of course not! ( At least

I hope not!) A healthy relationship

between a husband and wife is based

on understanding each other and what

makes each spouse act and react in a

certain way. It is important to teach

your child from a young age about

understanding his feelings and needs

and what triggers his reactions so he

can make good decisions instead of

falling back on the traditional reward

and punishment system.

Right. That is so true. I

never thought of parenting

from this relationship-based

perspective! I'm realizing

how often I use the reward/

punishment system! For

example, my child is having


trouble sitting through class

without acting out and

disturbing the lesson. We

have a chart that he gets a

sticker for every 15 minutes

that he doesn’t disturb

the class, and it’s actually

working pretty well. It seems

like you wouldn't approach

this situation with a chart.

How would you address it?

Sure! Yes, I would not be using a chart

to address this situation. It is very

important that we understand that

behavior is communication! When a

child “misbehaves” (I really do not like

that word very much) in class he is

communicating something—expressing

a need he is trying to meet, albeit in a

rather unskilled manner. If the child’s

need is not being met, the feeling comes

and a behavior/strategy follows.The most

simple example: We need food. If that

need is not met, we feel hungry. And

then we hopefully eat to meet that need.

If we don’t eat, our need will continue

to go unmet and now we might feel

irritated and weak on top of hungry,

which will then make it harder for us to

remain kind, right?

Every human has the same needs. So

a child in this example might have a

need for connection, competence, or

stimulation—maybe all three! If that

need is not being met he or she might

feel lonely, sad, bored, or frustrated,

which will then give them the impulse

to “misbehave.” So if your child is acting

out in class, it’s driven by a need and a


Our job as a parent is to think WHY?

Why is my child acting out? What is his

need that is not being met? Maybe he

needs more stimulation and therefore

he feels bored. If he feels bored, he will

try to find stimulation in the best way

he knows how at the moment, which is

to disrupt the classroom! It’s a pretty

effective strategy even if it’s completely


So we have to investigate and figure

out what need is not being met. Asking

our child why he or she is misbehaving

usually does not work; children often

do not have enough self-awareness to

know why they are acting in a certain

way, and even if they do, they usually

can’t effectively express it—hence the

healthy families

misbehavior. It is our job to figure out

why. (And there are ways to do this but

that will require another conversation—

hopefully in the future!)

Once we have an idea of what the need

is, we can then discuss it with the child

and work together to figure out another

more appropriate strategy for how his

need of stimulation can be met. We

may need to also talk to the teacher;

maybe she can provide the child with

more material during class or have the

child help out during class. If the need is

attention, perhaps the teacher can give

the child a bit more attention and figure

out a way to include the child more.

Aha! I see where the feeling

and need piece is taking

the place of the rewardpunishment


Exactly! Think of it like this. When a child

engages in behavior, a chart is treating

the symptom instead of the root cause.

If someone has a broken leg, taking

painkillers may help to temporarily

relieve the pain, but if you don't deal

with the problem itself it will just get

much worse. Charts are like painkillers.

Understanding your child’s needs and

feelings is getting to the root of the

problem and dealing with the root cause

instead of the symptoms.

Wow, this makes a lot of

sense to me, but it is all

so new and different. This

seems a bit unrealistic,

though; it takes tremendous

presence of mind and effort.

Life is so busy and I can

barely find a minute to sit

down. A chart seems like

it might be more efficient


It’s true. It takes work. But it is not

unrealistic at all. I have a friend with

seven children who used to parent

traditionally and completely switched

over to this way. Does she do it

perfectly? No! Do I? No! But we keep

evolving every day. This is not a method.

It’s not about perfectly following a plan.

It’s a way of living and being with our

children. It’s a process, not a destination.

Also, most of the hard work is in

the beginning, when it’s all new and

different. Eventually it becomes

something more natural for both you

and your children.

But I will say that this approach does

take constant inner work and that’s the

beautiful part to me. It’s so beautiful to

me that in raising our children, we raise

ourselves. People definitely shy away

from this approach and I get why, but

I find it incredible, and the more inner

work we put in, the more we get out.

And as a side note, I personally believe

that punishment and rewards are not

necessarily easier. I remember when I

used to use that system. Every time I

punished my child, something inside me

screamed that it didn't feel right. I felt

like a policeman, not a loving mother.

Oh, and those charts—I found it nearly

impossible to keep track of all of them!

I hear what you are

saying, but I know from my

experience that children

love charts. My kids are

so excited about all their

charts! Do you feel kids are

as receptive to this approach

like they are to charts?

Yes, some children like charts. And

reward/punishment systems do

sometimes work in the short term. But

children thrive when there is a genuine

relationship and when their underlying

needs are being met. We all crave to be

connected and understood—to be seen

and to be heard. With this approach

a parent understands a child and sees

where they are coming from. I can’t

even tell you how many times teenagers

messaged me that they saw my posts

and they wished their parents would do

this. Even as adults we want our parents

to love us and connect with us—to

understand us and validate us. But it is

true that if you are starting when your

child is older, it’s hard because it’s a

change. As the parent, you should talk to

your child about it and explain how you

will be approaching things that come up

from now on. This way they are prepared

for the shift in parenting and will be

more receptive to the change.

Okay, I hear that, but what

about a chart like a brachos

chart? Children love that,

and it helps them grow in a



healthy families

Winter Issue

ruchnius way. I can’t imagine

not doing that chart and

using your approach instead.

Would you use charts to

develop good habits?

I'm so happy you brought up this example.

I actually have a big problem with charts

like that. The message you give when

you are rewarding mitzvos is that saying

brachos is something negative. You don’t

need a reward for something that is

intrinsically good.

Listen to this recent study: There were

two groups of children that were each

given a puzzle to do. One group was told,

“You have five minutes to do the puzzle.

When the timer rings you don’t have to

do it anymore, but if you want, you can.”

The second group was told the same,

but was also told that they will get $5

compensation for doing the puzzle when

the timer rings. After five minutes, group

one stayed to work on the puzzle, while

group two took their money and walked

away without finishing the puzzle. Why

is this the case? Because for group two,

once they were offered money, they were

doing it for the reward. They got the

reward and were done. However, for group

one, completing the puzzle itself was the


Wow, so interesting. So how

does this relate to a brachos


The chart is like offering $5 to the

group. It takes away from the mitzvah

itself. Instead of giving them a reward,

make saying brachos itself something

enjoyable! Make it fun! Give them hugs,

sing the brachos, create a good feeling

about saying brachos. Parents must be

careful not to create negative associations

with mitzvos. I know people who tell

their children they have to say Tehillim.

Be careful: the associations you create

for your children are very important

and will stay with them throughout life.

When it comes to mitzvos, make positive


But a lot of our chinuch is

based on teaching about

reward and punishment, which

is why it sort of goes hand

in hand with our education

and parenting. How do

you explain the dichotomy

between the chinuch we

are giving our children and

the parenting method you


I love this question, and I get it all the

time! S’char and onesh is one of the

ikrei emunah. We say it in Ani Ma’amin

every day. But punishing a child is not

comparable to what onesh is from

Hashem. It’s a different system. Hashem’s

system is perfect because He is perfect

and perfectly loving. Hashem has no ego,

like I do. He has no flaws, like I do. My

punishment and reward

systems are flawed and

imperfect. They are

unfair. And I don’t want

my children to at all

draw a comparison from

my flawed system to

Hashem’s perfect system.

They could not be more

different. So actually,

in order for my child to

know that Hashem works

that way, not only don’t I

need to do it, but it also

paints a false picture

of how Hashem does

it. To me, it is actually

even more important

not to use reward and

punishments as a chinuch

system because it will

taint their view of s’char

and onesh, which is

intrinsically perfect.

I never thought of

it like that. How

true! But what

about a teenager who was

already raised on the reward

and punishment system?

They are used to this “quick

fix” or bargaining method.

How would you recommend

starting to shift?? Is it too


It’s never too late. I work with parents

of teens all the time. I just hung up with

a client with a 17-year-old child and we

were discussing exactly this. Will there be

struggles? Yes. But from all the people

I work with, all of the teenagers love it.

Think about it: Wouldn’t anyone want

their parents to start listening more and

acknowledging? Of course! They might

not be used to it, but they’ll love it. I have

literally seen parents save their teenagers

who were struggling once they started

truly connecting to them...

Okay, but what if it’s not one

or the other? Can’t a parent

be loving and connective, and

still do the reward/punishment

system? At least some of the


You tell me. How safe do you feel in a

relationship with someone who punishes

you? The punishment itself erodes

trust. It’s a barrier to connection. I was

just discussing this with a client. She is

beginning to realize that it’s too hard to

have both. When you are using rewards

and punishments you end up building

an authoritarian approach with your

child. There is no way that it won’t get

in the way of being fully supportive

and connective to your child. Of course,

shifting your approach to parenting


doesn’t happen overnight and there’s a

way to be collaborative about punishments

so they don’t erode as much trust, but

the goal should be to ultimately have a

relationship-based approach to parenting.

In the short term, do you

find that kids who don’t

have reward and punishment

systems are worse behaved?

Does it take longer to get

them behaving?

There’s so much to say about this! First,

no. Kids are kids and no matter what

kind of system they are raised in, they

will more or less act the same (barring

abuse and neglect). The difference in

behaviors depends on where they are

at developmentally and their specific

temperament and personality. For example,

many 2- to 4-year-olds bite, whether they

are punished or rewarded or not. It’s

developmentally normal. They naturally

outgrow it.

In this approach, if a child is biting

other children, getting to the root of the

problem and addressing the unmet need

will solve the issue in the moment and can

give us ideas for how to navigate it until

they outgrow it. If we use a very harsh

punishment, it might make the child stop

healthy families

before they have really outgrown it, and

if we use this approach it definitely might

take longer for the child to stop biting

overall. Safety is always our number-one

priority, so this doesn’t mean we simply

allow the child to continue to bite other

children until they are mature enough

not to. We put safeguards in place such

as separating the children, giving them

different activities, supervising more

closely, providing a teething necklace they

can bite, etc.

We understand that children’s brains

become more mature over time. As they

get older, more skills develop and they

graduate from biting and hitting to using

their words. It’s super important to realize

that punishments are not what makes them

more mature. It simply might shut down

the behavior.

Using the relationship-based

approach allows us to more

easily accept the stages

of our child’s development.

We are not trying to make

the child be more mature

than he is. We are problem

solving and working with

where our child is at while

understanding that it takes

time for maturity to develop.

Can you give some

scenarios from your

own life experiences

where you used the

relationship method

rather than reward

or punishment

systems and how

they worked out—

and how long did it

take to see change?

Yes, actually, until my oldest was 4 I

parented the traditional way. I bribed. I

threatened. I did time out. I sent her to

her room. And I hated it. And she hated

it. And she fought me back. I finally

said this can not be what parenting is

about. So I started researching. Once I

started the changeover, I realized that

change was very gradual. It’s not gonna

change from one day to the next. But I

slowly transitioned out of the punishment

system. I remember during that transition

time I told my daughter to clean up the

playroom. She said, “What’s gonna happen

if I don’t?” I said, “Nothing will happen.”

She just sat there staring at me like “what

should I do now!”. And guess what? She got

up and started cleaning it! (This did not

happen every time. I had to learn other

respectful ways of navigating it too.)

So how long did it take you to

do the whole shift?

It took at least two years to stop

threatening. But I slowly started seeing

a shift in how she related to me and in

how I related to her. In the beginning she

didn’t want to have conversations with

me. Because I used to be scary (from her

perspective, at least). I scolded her a lot.

But slowly I built trust. In addition, I had

to work hard on my anger and frustration.

I realized that a lot of my parenting is

based on my moods so I had to learn to

pause before acting and reacting. I’m

still learning. I used to dread parenting

but now I love it. To be a mother is to

be a nurturing, supportive, and guiding

presence. Think of how gentle and

nurturing you are with an infant. With

punishment and reward we leave that

nurturing, motherly way behind and we

become more like a law enforcer. Both the

parent and the child suffer from this.

That is such a refreshing

perspective. Thank you! Any

closing words?

Thank you for this opportunity. I want to

clarify that not using punishments and

rewards doesn’t really encompass what this

approach is about but it definitely helps to

understand it!

To all those parents and teachers out

there who rely heavily on rewards and

punishment systems: I know so many

parents who changed the way they relate

to their children, and so many teachers

who literally changed their classrooms. And

they are so much happier and the children

are of course so much happier too. Give it

time and patience! You and your children

deserve it.

Blimie Heller is a mom who is

passionate about helping parents

build relationships with their children

based on respect and trust.

She can be reached through her

website www.blimieheller.com.



healthy humor



Winter Issue

By Miri Issacs

This article is a tribute to all

those who are horizontally

challenged. Although Chanukah

is in the rearview mirror, there

are some of us who hold that

during Chanukah you need to

spend eight nights partying and

specifically trying to show that

we don’t have Greek values so

looks don’t mean much to us.

So now there are a whole new

batch of horizontally challenged

(and very devout) people. I’m

here to share with you “my

weight loss/nutrition timeline.”

If it doesn’t inspire you, maybe

it will at least entertain you.

Me as a baby: I don’t remember

much, but I doubt my 7 lb. 10 oz.

starting weigh-in was a concern for


Me as a kid: Candy is the best

thing in the world! I even had a

special thank you prayer about it!

Me as a teenager: After careful

research I discovered that if you

eat 25 bags of potato chips you

have enough protein to consider

it a supper. When you add sour

cream (an insanely good combo,

you should try it!) you have the

required fat!

Me still as a teenager: I went bike

riding with my friend Rivky a few

times a week one summer and I

commented to her that it’s a shame

I didn’t need to lose the weight ‘cuz

then bike



be more

enjoyable. (I used to think losing

weight was fun.)

Me in my final stages of

teenager: I wish I could be an

emotional eater because then I’d

have a way of making

myself feel better.

Me as an adult:

My clothes keep


Me after my first

baby, the first

time I went to a

nutritionist: I only

reached out to

her because I was

retaining too much

water. Probably

from too much

salt in salty chips

and salty sushi

and salty Chinese

food. I knew what

I needed to do: I

needed to order

low-sodium soy

sauce together

with my lo mein

but I had to check


with a professional, just to be sure.

Maybe she would recommend skipping

the soy sauce altogether? That would be

a little extreme, but I was willing to try.

“Is anyone in your family overweight

besides you?” is what she asked.

Did she just call me overweight?! Who

does she think she is??!! I bought two

doughnuts on the way home.

By my next weigh-in I hadn’t lost a gram

even though I had fasted the night

before my appointment in an effort to

make up for lost time. As the saying

goes, a week into my diet and all I lost

was one week. She sold me disgustingtasting

diet drops for $85 a teaspoon

and told me it would help me lose an

extra ¼ pound a week.

“It adds up eventually,” she told me. The

exorbitant price tag, or the few extra

calories a month? I wondered. None

added up enough for me to

subject myself to such


I decided to make

peace with my extra

poundage instead.

Me a few years and

more babies later:

I was still full of water

retention…and salted

caramel ice

cream (works great

for heartburn).

Having been

super slim for

most of my



extra pounds

were getting

too hard for me

to digest (I’d

been practicing

that line!). It was

time to visit

the nutritionist


My new

nutritionist told

healthy humor

me that the sodium thingy totally made

sense, but we would put it aside for

now while we explore other things too.

Finally! Somebody who understands me!

She gave me her totally sustainable

“works for everyone to get the weight

off and keep it off” plan:

Breakfast at 9 a.m.: 2 egg whites and

some spinach with a salad on the side,

no dressing

Snack at 10:30: Melba toast

Lunch: tuna with crackers

Snack: half of an apple

Supper: chicken bottom and sweet

potato baked; no seasoning

Treat: chew a taffy and then spit it out

“You wish!” is what I told her. First of

all, who in the world gets breakfast

in before 9 o’clock?? Unless you call a

cup of coffee breakfast, which I don’t.

I call a cup of coffee, a cup of coffee.

Breakfast for me means actual food

that can be eaten, and that has to be

cooked, or at the very least prepared,

which by definition means it doesn’t

happen at nine o’clock (unless she

meant p.m.).

And the rest of the plan is not what I

consider sustainable either. Eggs and

yolks are created together and they are

supposed to stay together. I don’t get

the whole separating thing. There were

other issues as well, one of them being

that the candy budget here wasn’t very

flexible and, having a mouth full of

sweet teeth (I’ve been blessed with

more than one), I

really needed to

add that in


The third


here was

that I hate

chicken. And I

repeat, I HATE


politely asked her if

there was any way we

could swap out the chicken

for something more reasonable,

like perhaps a pound of Gushers

for a pound of chicken? She said


I decided that some extra

pounds are okay after all.

Me the next day: Changed my mind

again. They are not okay. Ohhhhh! I

know what!! Maybe I have a thyroid


I didn’t have a thyroid issue. Or an iron

deficiency or low vitamin D either. Now


Exercise. I started to walk every night

for a half hour and burned about a half

slice of pizza. Then I ate a slice of pizza.

And another and another.

Me two months later: Maybe I’ll think

about it after the baby.

Me after the baby: But I just had a


Me one year after the baby: Still a


Me 18 months later: I’m not overweight.

I’m pleasantly plump. That’s my story

and I’m sticking to it.



Miri Issacs is a humor writer, copywriter and full-time

mom. She can be found on LinkedIn and


Winter Issue


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!