Sunday, 31 May 2009

Children's Garden Tools

If you are living in the Northern Hemisphere, you are probably enjoying beautiful sunshine. For many that means time to do some gardening. Those in the Southern Hemisphere can begin preparing for the coming months of gardening.

Children love to imitate their parents and in fact learn a lot through imitation. If your child is over the terrible two's and beginning to act responsibly, this set of gardening tools can bring a lot of fun to both child and parent.

The tools have wooden handles but the tool itself is a real, metal tool. Make sure to always be working alongside your child, as the tools are sharp. Spending time in the garden with your child is a wonderful, relaxing way to enjoy quality time together. This helps in forming a good relationship between parent and child while also helping the child to appreciate nature and learn how to care for it.

In addition, the heavy work performed when raking, digging etc is wonderful for helping to develop muscle tone and strength together with assisting to organize your child leading to a greater ability to sit quietly next to a desk in class for learning purposes.

If you are ready to purchase this colorful set of children's garden tools click here and prepare for hours of fun. If you would like some guidance as to whether your child is ready to begin gardening or whether an alternative activity, task or toy is better suited to your child, please contact Shoshanah, experienced occupational therapist, for a consultation via email or skype or in person.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Shear Success Photographers Featured in POE Slide Show

Shear Success Photographers has recently joined the Photographers on Etsy Team. Here is the first slide show that features Shear Success Photographers.

If you would like to book a photo shoot or place an order or commission photographic and artwork, please send us an email to

We look forward to hearing from you.

Hope you have enjoyed the slide show. Remember to look out for Shear Success Photographers.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Empowering Jewish Women

This smiley is happy by the unity and kindness brought about by
one Jew helping another
Increase the smiles in Shamayim by helping your fellow Jew, RIGHT NOW!

In recent times, people are talking more and more of recessions and difficulties.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that every Jew is connected to every other Jew in one body of Am Yisrael. The Rebbe teaches that the personal problems of each Jew are not private but directly affect the body of Am Yisrael as a whole. It is like in the body, if someone stubs his toe, the pain in the toe is related the function of the body as a whole. If someone has an upset stomach, that illness is not an isolated scenario but affects the function of the whole body.

For anyone who follows this blog and my husband's blog, we have a number of mitzvah projects on the go. Of concern is our recent realization of certain special older women who are at retirement age and yet their salaries do not come close to covering their monthly salaries. How would you feel to know you have worked hard all your life and suddenly a change in the world's economy, inflation and reduced recognition of the wisdom that comes with years of experience, results in ones hard earned salary just not covering basic expenses. Please, have compassion of them. It is not right for an older Jewish woman to have to resort to tea and toast for their main meal.

Please join us in helping these specific women. You can assist by either:

Making a monetary donation indicating it is to help these older women. Information regarding this can also be seen on our website, specifically the section to Help Someone in Need

Sponsoring an article that can be written by one or more of these women to provide for them another avenue of income.

Sponsoring an article written by either Shoshanah or Reb Eliyahu with a note that it is in the merit of these women so that your donation remains anonymous.

Purchasing any item from our online store. If you send a note in your order that you have seen this post, we will give 20% of the proceeds towards these women.

If you are a Jewish publication, publishing a press release of the work we are doing can assist to spread the word and bring in further assistance to the many causes we are working on.

If you would like to send a positive thought, word of inspiration or another idea, please either send it via the comment at the bottom of this post or email Shoshanah directly.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

Our Services of Goodness and Kindness

Several people ask what it is that we do. Here is a snippet of what we are working on and links for you the reader to discover more and get involved. Together may we make this world a fitting place for G-d in this the lower world.

In response to various needs identified over time, Rabbi Eliyahu and Shoshanah Shear are working on developing a very special Yeshiva. One of the focuses of this Yeshiva is learning practical thoughts from the sources such as Pirkei Avos, Halachah, Chumash and Chassidus in order to learn directly how to live in this world correctly.

The Yeshiva has a number of "Mitzvah Projects and Services" that are already growing steadily.

 We have an international Tehillim group with women around the world reciting Tehillim every Shabbos for other Jews. This is an exciting and very gratifying service and we encourage more women to join us.

 Shortly after the Tehillim group began, we noticed there were so many singles being added for Shidduchim that we began a Shidduch service. Knowing first hand how difficult the Shidduch world can be, we have a caring Shidduch service aimed at helping any Jew who is serious about getting married. We believe that Hashem created every Jew with his or her life partner and do what we can to help them come to Chuppah. As the Torah teaches, it is not good for man to be alone.

 We have quality singles on our database and are always interested in including more so as to help all those we work with to be more successful.

 Sefiras HaOmer is coming to a close and with it the wedding season begins once more. Getting married can be very exciting but also has its stresses. As a trained and registered therapist, Shoshanah offers a relaxing massage / healing session to Kallot getting married in the Jerusalem and surrounding area. A wonderful gift to give to a Kallah, or you can book for yourself, relative or friend.

 Gift-vouchers are available and these sessions come with a letter of recommendation from Rabbi Fishel Jacobs, author of "Family Purity."

 Still in keeping with strengthening women, it came to our attention that there are women experiencing financial difficulty who often cannot come up with the nominal charge for preparing and immersing at the Mikvah. To alleviate this burden and enable them to continue to fulfil the Mitzvah of Family-Purity we have set up a Mikvah Project – "Purity with Dignity," allowing women in this situation to immerse at no cost to themselves. This project has been going for just a few months and has a letter of approbation by Rabbi Fishel Jacobs.

For more information on these and other services, or to sign up to learn with Rabbi Shear, please visit our website or blogspot

and for women

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Prayers for a Son are Answered in Heaven

In the mid 1700's in Frankfurt-am-Main, lived a very special couple. He was a sofer who immersed himself in Torah, prayer and kind acts and his wife supported him through her special acts of kindness. There are beautiful stories about Rav Shmuel and his caring wife Raizel.
Rebbetzin Raizel is described as a Jewish woman who knew when anyone was in need of care and would show up to assist whether it was someone who was ill, had just given birth or had another hardship, either they found her or Rebbetzin Raizel found them. Yet, despite all her loving acts of kindness, Rebbetzin Raizel hid from others her broken heart; for she cared for others yet longed to hold in her arms her very own child.
These two righteous Jews, accepted that being childless came from Heaven and despite their heartache and yearning, they accepted the decree without complaining. They continued in their acts of kindness, increased in giving Tzeddakah and Rav Shmuel began writing a sefer Torah to donate to the congregation.
On one particular day, Rebbetzin Raizel returned home after a long day of performing many mitzvos. She was tired and the neat, organized, quiet home that greeted her on her return somehow disturbed her. Preparing the table for her husband for their evening meal, Rebbetzin Raizel realized her husband would be late and decided to rest. She began to have sad dreams and tears flowed from her eyes. With a broken heart and through her tears, Rabbetzin Raizel cried out to Hakadosh Baruch Hu to bless them with a son who would give them Nachat (comfort and joy). Her tears flowed and she began reciting Tehillim. Time passed and Rav Shmuel returned home to find his wife crying over her Tehillim.
Silently he joined her and together they wept and appealed to Hashem to bless them with a son. Time passed as they prayed with sincere pleas to Hashem. Suddenly a knock was heard at the door.
Rav Shmuel heard the knock and went to answer the door. It was by now the middle of the night and Rav Shmuel and his wife did not know who might be coming. Perhaps someone needed their help.
At the door was the saintly Rav Zeligman, a tzaddik with hidden powers. Rav Zeligman did not wait for the couple to ask why he had come but rather delivered the news that their prayers had been answered in Heaven and during that year they would be blessed with a son who would illuminate the eyes of Jewry with his Torah and holiness. Without waiting for a reply, Rav Zeligman turned to go.
In 1762, Rebbetzin Raizel gave birth to a son who was named Moshe. This son was in deed a prodigy and became none other than the Chasam Sofer a true Tzaddik who had a major positive impact on European Jewry. In this article, I am not going to discuss the wonderful work of Rav Moshe Sofer known as the Chasam Sofer, but rather bring this story to give Chizuk to those married women who have not yet been blessed with children.
What can we learn from this story? People like to tell us that whether or not we have children is dependent on the effort we put in and particularly how much medical assistance a couple might have sought. The truth however is that the blessing of children lies in the hands of Shamayim of Heaven. Like Rebbetzin Raizel, continuing acts of kindness, giving charity and progressing in Torah learning without complaining is the desired path to follow. Together with this, appeal to Hashem with sincerity and a broken heart that He grant you or the couple concerned healthy children who follow in the ways of Torah.
We are taught that if we assist another or daven (pray) for another who needs what we do, that our prayers will be answered first. If you want to increase in your Tefillos (prayers), please join our Tehillim group

We are also assisting various women to be healthy in order to be blessed with healthy pregnancy and having healthy children with Yirat Shamayim. If you would like to assist with this cause, please indicate so when making your donation.
Thank you for your assistance. We hope and pray that this article and others have given you comfort, hope and strength. We look forward to hearing very good news for all of Am Yisrael.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Site Review of

An image of the front page of

It is a privilege to have been given the opportunity to write a review of the Mikvah Calendar.

Mikvah Calendar is a beautiful site that has been developed over a 4 year period and is managed by an impressive team: Rikvah Bloom (earned her Bachelors of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and her Masters of Computer Science from MIT), Dan Gepner (traditional B.S. in Business Management from The Carlson School (U of MN)), Merrilyn Romen (award winning Creative Director) and an anonymous software specialist under the rabbinical guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs. All information regarding the team can be found in the About Us page.

When visiting the site one finds a beautiful, professional page that is clear and easy to read. This page opens up with a welcome message to those who will potentially work with the site, that leaves one feeling honored, respected and an important part of a team dedicated to the mitzvah of Family Purity.

The top of the page allows a person to become acquainted with the information and functions of the site. A pointer automatically guides us to each feature with a pop up providing further information as is relevant.

Clicking on the "more" button, permits one to progress to other features of the site.

Times for sunrise and sunset adjust automatically according to the location that you enter when registering with the site.

The site offers Chabad, Ashkenazi and Sefardi customs, giving you the opportunity to choose the custom that suits you and your husband's practices.

Those using Mikvah Calendar are offered a choice of 4 different backgrounds and colors. You will be given the opportunity to receive email reminders of important dates – a feature soon to be implemented.

An important element is the recording of patterns in one's cycle. This is important both for ease of calculating and for observing the mitzvah correctly. This is beneficial when a woman visits her doctor.

All information can be printed for personal records. It is vital to always have a hard copy available at all times irrespective of the professionalism of any online Mikvah program.

The approbation for this project has been given by Rabbi Fishel Jacobs author of "Zemonim," "Chochmot Hataharah" and "Family Purity." This is easily available on the website for anyone who wishes to read it.

For those who require guidance from a competent orthodox rabbi, familiar with the laws of Family Purity, Rabbi Jacobs can be contacted to answer questions via his email address is easily found by clicking on the tab entitled "Ask The Rabbi".

In keeping with the Jewish law, Rabbi Jacobs recommends all women who might use this site to keep a hand-written record. Working with both enables women to improve in their ability to calculate effectively and accurately.

A Glossary of Terms is available to help in understanding the concepts of Family Purity.

A page of Frequently Asked Questions is available, though personal questions can still be addressed to Rabbi Jacobs or the site team.

An Image of the Calendar itself as you begin to get started with

Ease of use of the Calendar:

Entering the date of onset of a cycle is achieved easily by clicking on the cell related to the relevant day. A window will pop up that enables you to enter the exact time of onset as is required by Jewish law.

Once you have entered this, the computer then places a blue line through the 5 days of cycle with an indication for the potential date of a Hefsek Tahara (i.e. the time to perform a check before beginning the "7 clean days.") Entering the verification of a clean Hefsek Tahara is once again done by clicking on the relevant cell. The computer will then calculate for you the onas, monthly and average cycles. This information is indicated by a colored bar, with a different color for each. By holding the cursor over each bar, information pops up explaining exactly what aspect of the cycle this is and how it was calculated. This feature is very helpful for any woman who is still familiarizing herself with the terms, laws and how to record correctly independently. The vestot are calculated for you after one cycle is entered, except for Veset Haflagah, which, by definition, needs two cycles to calculate.

For anyone wanting to know how the vestot were calculated, in the left hand veset bar (with the times/dates of all your current vestot), you can click on "Show Details" to see this information.

If you have made any mistakes in your recording, do not worry; an "x" appears in the top right hand corner which permits you to erase a date or dates.

The default calendar is presently set up for the secular calendar, providing the Hebrew equivalent underneath. Possibility for using the Hebrew calendar as the default is being worked on and should be available soon.

In summary, the Mikvah Calendar is a professionally constructed site, managed by a team that is dedicated to enabling women to fulfill the mitzvah of Family Purity more effectively. Under the Torah guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs who is also available to answer private questions, this site is a most useful one.

The Mikvah Calendar is currently available free; however a nominal charge of $18 per year will be introduced shortly.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Spotlight on Glass Art by Cec Cohen

A beautiful piece on the theme of Shabbat by Cec Cohen of Glass and Light. Cec loves to weave Jewish themes into her work

When my husband and I came to Israel, we began a small business designing and delivering flyers and other advertising items. One of the first to respond to a post on Janglo was Cec Cohen. Making certain changes in her work and then moving, Cec decided to put the flyers on hold. In the meantime, my husband and I quickly discovered that the delivery of flyers can be very tiring, especially in the Israeli heat and the challenge of finding reliable printers who keep to their prices. We began searching for other avenues to use our skills and earn a livelihood in Israel.

Some time passed and we began networking through Facebook. Not sure who I would know on Facebook, I began connecting with previous clients and potential clients. Soon I was re-connected with Cec but in a completely different manner.

In our journey to sell our photographs, artwork and other items, we had tried listing 2 items on eBay. Excitedly I posted something on Facebook to let my growing network know that we were now selling online and quickly had a reply. Cec very kindly let me know that things on eBay had changed and she was having more success on Etsy. She also sent us a list of a number of other avenues to sell online. From that time on, I have had the privilege to get to know Cec more and to enjoy the beautiful glass art that she posts on Facebook.

Cec is a creative and talented artist who is only too happy to help another artist to get started and to be successful. Full of ideas, she is eager to share and offer advice and guidance.

When I decided to feature Israeli Artists on my blog, I knew one of the first to start with had to be Cec. Not only is her work beautiful but I am very grateful to her for introducing us to Etsy and online marketing.

When I asked Cec how she chose glass art as a medium and where she learned, she sent back the following reply:

"Re studying glass art, basically, I am "auto-didact," self-taught. While this means that you have to learn techniques on your own, it also means that you never hear what you can't do and you can figure out some pretty surprising things.

To get started, I took one 10-lesson "glass-design" class with a local teacher that taught basic foiling, construction and soldering techniques (but not things like cutting glass or creating patterns) and learned the rest from books. About a year later, when I needed some fused pieces for a synagogue panel I was making, I took a 6-lesson fusing course through Gil Rafel in Ashdod, bought myself a kiln and taught myself the rest. About that time I started noticing glass beads and decided I would teach myself. Over the course of a year I read as much as I could and started buying the equipment. A year ago, when we moved to Livna, I set up a torch station in my studio, took 2 torch sessions from a friend who makes beads, and one lesson from a teacher in the US while on a trip to visit my mother, and practiced every day. I still read a lot about techniques and try new things all the time.

I fell in love with glass art long before I started studying it. In fact, it is very expensive to learn so I saved money for about 2 years specifically for the "glass design" course. When I started the course, I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but within 3 or 4 lessons already knew I was going to do everything I could to become a professional. It felt so right doing it; I felt like it was my destiny. At the time I was working in high-tech and, indeed, within 2 years left high-tech to become a full-time artist.

Unfortunately, with the current global economy, I've had to take on additional non-glass work, since January. My dream is to be back to being a full-time artist within 2-3 years. We start enlarging my studio in a few weeks, so that I'll be able to offer courses and workshops there, which will help."

An unusual plant holder another example of the glass art by Cec Cohen

Cec's work is beautiful and creative with lots of variety. You can help Cec attain her goal by visiting her blog

And her online stores on etsy:

Any other information you would like to know, you will find on either her blog or her online stores. You will find that Cec is very fair and does everything she can to make her customer happy. As she states: "customer service is a big part of my business ethic".

Enjoy visiting her stores and blog - why not visit her studio too? I am sure you will be happy with what you find. If you enjoy glass art, you can support her by purchasing one or more items or you can commission a special piece of glass art for Cec to make to your specifications. Looking for a special gift? Cec gift wraps without charge, will print up a note to go with your present, and will ship to any location that has postal relations with Israel.

It is a pleasure to know Cec and I look forward to hearing that she is happily working full time with her glass art.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Appeal to Israeli Parents, Children and Bus Drivers

For quite some time I have battled within myself as to whether to write this article. Some unfortunate recent experiences have prompted me to write this appeal, in the hope that even one person be prevented from coming to harm, G-d forbid.

A few months ago I did a search in the key words for Accident Prevention, Disability Prevention, Road Safety and a few other titles and came up with a sad fact. Hardly anyone searches for these topics. Needless to say, there is a crucial need to become informed regarding these topics. As I have mentioned in other articles, Rambam (Maimonedes) teaches that the best approach to medicine and health is prevention.

Let us turn our attention now to a very important aspect of daily life in Israel, traveling on buses.

Firstly I would like to point out that there is a legal limit of the number of passengers who are permitted to stand on the bus. Once seats have filled up, there is a limit, I think of 10 standing passengers. Once those standing exceeds this limit it is legally a problem for more passengers to get onto the bus. This means the bus drivers must not allow further passengers onto buses and passengers must wait for the next bus. If need be, ask the driver to notify egged or other bus services to put on more buses.

How does this affect us? First and foremost, we as human beings need air to breathe and to survive. If there are too many passengers the air can not circulate and this can be dangerous, G-d forbid. In addition, when passengers need to get off the bus, they need space to move. If the bus is too full, either they are injured or bruised in trying to get off the bus or the driver can not see all doors and is at risk of closing a door on a passenger. I know of and have seen several of these incidents. It does not need to happen if we each respect one another enough to make sure we do not over-crowd our buses.

Still in the area of appealing to the bus drivers. Please, take care to drive slowly when approaching pedestrian crossings, other crossings or going over speed bumps. It might be fun for a driver to jump over the bumps at a speed, however there are passengers on board. The impact of falling hard after going too fast over a speed bump could be a problem for a woman who is expecting, someone with a back problem, anyone prone to dizziness, someone with blocked ears or a head ache and a whole host of other potential difficulties. It only takes a few seconds to slow down, please respect your passengers by going slowly over speed bumps.

The next area that requires highlighting is that of children on buses. In private cars one can and has to place a car seat for infants and small children to sit in safely. In the buses, these car seats do not exist, but it does not mean young children no longer need to be protected. On the contrary, more care is needed. Please Moms and Dads make sure your baby or child is seated and held closely to prevent any accident, G-d forbid.

This means either sitting on the lap of an adult or parent or next to and sitting still and quietly. Standing on the seats, jumping up and down, running up and down the aisle, kneeling on the seat and even playing with items in their mouths such as ice-creams sticks are all potential dangers.

Our children are precious. Not only are they our flesh and blood and the future generation but they are the ones we placed as our witnesses that we would fulfill the Torah. Please respect them by guiding and protecting them on buses.

If the bus is forced to stop suddenly, a child who is not sitting correctly and being watched by his / her parent is at risk of falling and being injured. I have already seen this happen. More than that, I have worked in hospitals treating poly-trauma cases and it is quite heart breaking to listen to the tears of parents, loved ones or friends. Dont wait to cry "WHY?" Rather put your effort into preventing a problem from happening.

Please, although there has been tremendous progress in rehabilitation equipment and techniques, don't rely on rehabilitation. Do all you can to take care of your precious children and daven to Hashem to assist you. There are already children needlessly in hospitals instead of playing, growing and learning Torah.

For the children, I don't expect them to be reading this, but perhaps relatives and parents will pass on the message, please listen to your Mommies and Daddies and sit quitely on the buses.

Buses are not play grounds. I know and appreciate that children need to run around, jump, skip, climb, throw ball etc, but do this in the park, not on the bus or in a car.

For those parents who have difficulty controlling your child, a wonderful technique to learn is infant massage. You can begin even when the baby is in the womb and techniques can be adapted as the child grows. By massaging a foot or back or tummy, you can help your child to sit quietly. Or take with you stories of the Tzaddikim. There are many wonderful, short stories available in all stores in Israel. They are nicely covered in plastic and light to fit in your hand bag or back pack. Read with your child some of these wonderful stories and you will inspire them while helping them to sit quietly. Very probably by concentrating on Tzaddikim, the Tzaddikim will also intervene in Shamayim to protect our precious children.

If you would like to learn more about infant massage or have other questions, please email Shoshanah or contact her via her website. I look forward to seeing children behaving like princes and princesses of the King, sitting quietly and involved in Torah. Leave your play for the play ground and in the merit of taking care on our buses, may Hashem protect all Jews, especially on the Israeli buses.

A last note to parents and adults, you are important too. Just as our children need to be protected, take care of yourselves too, especially on public transport.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Remembers the Childless

This image was photographed by Shear Success Photographers at the Lag B'Omer
bon fire in the park opposite us last night, Lag B'Omer 2009

Today is Lag B'Omer the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer and hence it is fitting to do a post related to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Lag B'Omer is both the day that the students of Rebbi Akiva stopped dying and it is the Yartzheit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

So many stories are told of Rabbi Shimon and each is more impressive than the next. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) is synonymous with light due to his writing the Zohar. In searching for a story that would bring light to women who read this blog I was contemplating some recent events and progress in our work.

As many readers know, my husband and I have several mitzvah projects on the go, one of which is a Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity. One beautiful response to our Mikvah Project has been a few women donating to this cause that in the merit of this tzeddakah for the Mikvah Project, they too can be glad mothers of children. This story is for them, that together with the tzeddakah and in the merit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, we can hear very good news and even attend the bris milah of their healthy baby boys.

This particular story concerns a woman who after 10 years of marriage, had not yet been blessed with children. Her husband went to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and told him (Rashbi) that it was his wish (the husband's) to divorce his wife due to not having children.

Rashbi responded that just as a couple get married with a celebratory meal, so they should have a special meal prior to getting divorced.

The husband listened to this and the couple and friends / family set about having a festive meal. At this meal the husband turned to his wife and said that she could take anything that was precious to her from his house and move it to her father's house. The meal progressed and the wise wife waited for the end of the meal and for her husband to be sound asleep.

When he was in a deep sleep, his wife instructed some strong men to carry his bed (with him in it) to her father's house. This they did and when the husband awoke he asked where he was.

His wife was sitting near him and responded that he had told her to take whatever was precious to her from his house to her father's house. She said that there was nothing as precious to her as her husband so she had his bed with him in it moved to her father's house.

The husband then went together with his wife to visit Rashbi once more and told him what had transpired. Upon hearing the sequence of events, Rashbi stood and davened for the wife until things changed and she did in deed give birth.

From this we learn that just as Hashem remembers the barren woman so too the Tzaddik remembers the barren woman.

In the merit of this story and the greatness of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai may all those Jewish women who are married, of child bearing age and who do not yet have children, be zocher to have healthy sons to follow in the ways of Rashbi. What was the way of Rashbi? To occupy himself in Torah. Even when he was involved in other activities, still we are taught that he occupied himself in Torah.

I hope and pray that this story has given those barren women some chizuk. Since it is the Yartzheit of Rashbi, light a candle in his merit and daven from the depths of your heart for your prayers to be answered for the good, a good that is revealed, visible and manifest.

If you would like to increase in your Torah learning, explore other areas of Torah or you are just beginning to find out what Torah and a Jewish lifestyle are really all about, please visit our Authentic Torah Website. To claim a free first lesson, see our Free Online Lesson page. You can also contribute a sefer to our Yeshiva's Library or purchase a sefer from our Online BookStore. If you are new to Torah and not really sure where to begin, we are very happy to help you too.

We look forward to hearing very good news for all of Am Yisrael.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Progress of our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity

Your contribution can help a Jewish woman immerse in a Mikvah for Free -
Purity with Dignity

It has been just a few months and there is, Thank G-d, movement and progress.

The Mikvah Project was started when my husband and I reacognized the need for women in financial difficulty to receive assistance to go to the Mikvah for free. The idea being to ease the burden somewhat and enable them to maintain their dignity while fulfilling a crucial mitzvah.

We began by working with 3 Mikvaot closest to us, here in Israel and soon received emails from women in South Africa expressing a desire to help in their area too. Since a few women also mentioned the need, we set about finding a mikvah who wanted to work with us and did in fact have women coming who had difficulty paying.

It took a bit of time. It is sad that posts to a local new group requesting a Mikvah to contact us were not responded to. However, where there is a will, there is a way and we have located a Mikvah in Jahannesburg that we are now working with. Thus far we have received some donations in SA. The most heart warming was a donation given in the merit of a Mom and her baby as the baby was born 6 weeks premature and both Mom and baby were in intensive care.

It is so gratifying to receive an email saying that the Mom made good progress and was discharged home and thank you for providing the Mikvah Project as a vessel for worth while tzeddakah cause. We still daven for the little baby to receive a refuah shelayma. Her name is on our Tehillim List amongst others in Am Yisrael. Please visit our Tehillim list and join us in davening for their healing and assistance from Heaven in all areas of life. If you are a woman, please do join us in reciting Tehillim each Shabbos so as to complete the sefer Tehillim at least once every Shabbos. In this way we help to increase unity with women around the world through Tehillim.

Back to our Mikvah Project. We have begun contacting Mikvaot in Jerusalem to find out if they have the same need. Two mikvaot contact that night, had, on that night 31 - 35 women who had already come to immerse and said they had between 1 - 3 women almost every night who are unable to pay.

One of the mikvaot is in need of doing some improvements to maintain a beautiful, functioning mikvah. The small amounts women do pay, hardly covers expenses and does not allow them to carry out regular improvements, coat of paint etc.

Please assist us by making a donation. Any donation is very gratefully received. If you are a Jewish Woman and do go to the Mikvah, remember your Jewish sister who is not able to pay and send a contribution of the same as you would spend one visiting the mikvah in your area.

Thank you for your assistance in helping Jewish Women.

Your contribution can help a Jewish woman immerse in a Mikvah for Free -
Purity with Dignity

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A Thought From the Heart for Sefiras HaOmer

For a long time I have toyed with expressing some of my inner turmoil here, on this blog and here in Israel. Perhaps I will begin a new blog. Perhaps I will just add it here. Here is a little preview.

As I have said elsewhere on this blog, the Baal Shem Tov teaches that everything happens for a reason and the Alter Rebbe teaches we should live with the times. What does this mean? Right now for Jews the time period is between Pesach and Shavuos, a time to prepare to receive the Torah. In a powerful teaching I read last night by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, he talks about the real Simchah of Simchas Torah. He turns everything around to ask whether the Torah is happy with us. Is the Torah happy with Am Yisrael? Are we fulfilling the Torah.

Well, here comes my problem. Avraham Avinu, the first Jew entered into a covenant with Hashem. Part of the agreement was that the Land of Canaan would be given to the descendants of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov. When Avraham Avinu asked for a sign, he was told that his descendants would be strangers in a foreign land but would come into the Land of Canaan and there would ultimately be a Geula Shelaima (complete redemption).

Not very pleasant, but Hashem promised Avraham Avinu that the exile would not last forever.

Time passes, Avraham Avinu leaves this world as we know it and is buried in Maharas HaMachpela the burial place he purchased in a legal sale. Yitzhak Avinu leaves this world and his descendants, through Yaakov, all go down to Mitzrayim.

Now there might be some mystical reasons why that happened, but let's stick to facts. The family of Yaakov Avinu moves to Egypt and gradually becomes a nation. The Jewish people are enslaved, just as Hashem stated, but then a series of miracles happen. Moshe Rabeinu becomes our leader and leads us out of Mitzrayim together with Hashem, who saves us with an outstretched hand.

Sounds good. So now we get to return to the Land of Canaan, end the exile and yay, we can fulfill the agreement with Avraham and Hashem. Well, that is what could have been.

What happens instead? Hashem tells Moshe to prepare Am Yisrael to come into the Land of Canaan and Am Yisrael complains. No, we first want to send spies. Then we want to complain further, be punished more and delay coming into the special land.

Moshe Rabeinu davens hard to come into the Land but is denied and Yehoshuah takes over the leadership. OK, so now we can enter the land and live here as we should?

Well, not quite. Hashem tells Yehoshua to clear out all those in the Land of Canaan, all of those who are not part of the agreement, and Hashem will give the Land to Am Yisrael. But Yehoshua is old and the task is passed onto the judges. The judges do their job of continuing to lead the Jewish people, but unfortunately the Jewish people take pity on some of those in the land and against the instruction of Hashem, they do not wage the wars they need to, ridding the land from the idolatory and foreigners - permitting them to stay.

So begins a pattern. Do we as Am Yisrael really want the land promised to us in the agreement between Hashem and Avraham Avinu. Yes, finally many many years passed. Many exiles and much suffering for all Jews. Finally we begin to really return. The truth is ,some Jews remained here all the years, but now we wanted to settle the land. A new idea arose called Olim Chadashim. New immigrants who are Jewish and return to help to build the land to be fitting for all of Am Yisrael to live here with our Righteous Redeemer and of course a Dwelling Place for G-d in this the Lower Worlds.

For a while the settling of the land seems to go well. There are many factors that affect it occurring correctly which can be read about in the biographies of the Ramban, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Steipler, the Gerer Rebbe, The Baba Sali and more.

Now let's fast forward a bit. Now the law of return is in place and it should be that Jews from any where in the diaspora can return to live in Eretz Yisrael. Are they welcomed here? It should be - but what is the truth?

The truth is sad and painful and it is this that I am toying with writing as a journal to inspire Jews to open their eyes and their hearts.

Israel, as the Land of Canaan has become known, is the name given to Yaakov Avinu after his successfully overcoming the angel of Eisav in an all night fight. Now, who was Yaakov? His essence was truth. Yet, are we living up to that, ie TRUTH? Do we really honour this land as being a place of truth? Do we really help each Jew to live here correctly as a Jew free to learn Torah? Are we being honest with ourselves?

Well, if we were truly honest, how could it be that a social worker in an organization to help Olim Chadashim would look at a CV and say, what did you come here for, you should have gone to Canada or UK? Yes, that is what I was told when asking for some help to settle here. Why did I come? I am a Jew and as the Gerer Rebbe teaches once a Jew has to leave anywhere in the diaspora, the place to come to is Israel. This is where every Jew belongs.

The truth is that the full land Hashem promised to Avraham Avinu is larger than the land we currently regard as Israel. Do we value it though? I am not so sure. If we did, no Jew would ever ever dream of giving away even a centimeter. No Jew would tell another Jew, "you don't belong here."

Are we being honest? Do we even know the essence of Yaakov, the first to have the name Israel?

How many years do we need to keep Sefiras HaOmer before the reason for it sinks in and we begin to treat our fellow with absolute respect and unconditional love.

How many of us really know what that means? Take a look at my husband's recent post on his blog. Let the message there sink in as to how to care for another and let us re-think what it is to be a Jew. What it is to be the descendant of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov.

If you are Jewish, please make a contribution towards assisting Jewish Olim Chadashim to be successful in Eretz Yisrael the land where they belong.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Images of Shoshanah's Treatment Room

The Treatment Table set up for a relaxation session of massage / healing /guided visualization

Not visable in this image is a purple towel that matches the purple throw over and a purple dressing gown for the woman to use when preparing for her massage.

For those who like it, candle are lit to give some soothing atmosphere and calming music is played.

For more information regarding these treatment sessions see:
Treat a Kallah Like a Queen
and Letter of Approbation

One view of the treatment room ready to evaluate an 11 month old baby. The picture over the folded treatment table was embroidered and appliqe'd by Shoshanah about 20 years ago.

The dollies and teddy bears were hand knitted by Shoshanah and sewn up, stuffed and faces and details added by Rosemary Kahn.

Also visible a sensi-ball, covered barrel and a wooden xylophone on a treatment mat.

Another view - for a slightly older child with coloured shapes to evaluate shape recognition.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Help a Young Jew Attend a Funeral

An Oleh Chadash became very close to a young man who made aliya at the same time that he did. The best friend was unfortunately niftar unexpectedly on Erev Shabbos. The funeral is scheduled to take place in Europe where the parents are.

Both young men are in their 20's. Please do a mitzvah by assisting this young man to honour his best friend by attending the funeral. The air ticket is US$650.

We learn in Pirkei Avos that we have to "make yourself a rabbi and acquire a good friend."

Now during the time of Sefiras HaOmer is appropriate to assist our fellow Jew.

If you can assist please either:

- email or

- or make a donation via the our website

- or on the chip-in icon below.

If 65 Jews contribute $10, this air ticket will be raised with ease. Please note, the money is needed urgently as the funeral is in 2 days.

If you would like to know other mitzvah projects and work we are involved in you can either browse the website, this blog or email us.

Thank you for your kindness.

Rabbi Eliyahu and Shoshanah Shear


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