Friday, 27 November 2009

More Prizes - Join our Raffle!

In response to feedback we have canceled our catering and shortened the program. BUT we have even MORE prizes for our raffle. In addition to the prizes seen on our website
we also have:

  • A book by Sara Yocheved Rigler one of our speakers
  • A recent journal of Bor HaTorah
  • One and possible 2 CDs by Tofa'a the womens band in Jerusalem
  • A few other Jewish music CD's
  • A beautiful Havdallah candle that will probably last a year
  • G-d willing an item of jewelry by an Israeli Artist.
Tickets are ONLY US$ 3 or NIS 10. Please buy a ticket. Encourage your friends, counsins, aunts, uncles, parents, siblings and any others to buy a ticket too.

Proceeds goes towards our Mitzvah Projects especially our Wedding Project to help needy Chatan and Kallah to set up their new home and our Mikvah Project.

Come and join our Womens Event:
"The Unique Role of Jewish Women in Hastening the Redemption"

Thursday, 26 November 2009

We Want Moshiach NOW! We Want Moshiach NOW!

This photograph was taken by Shear Success Photographers at the model of the Second Temple found at the Israel Centre. It serves to provide a pictorial view of the fact that the Temple will be restored to us in the time of our Final Redemption.

Have you heard anyone singing: "We Want Moshiach Now! We Want Moshiach NOW!"?
Do you know what this means? Who is Moshiach? Is he here? Has he come? When will he come? What is redemption? When is the redemption? Will it happen in our lifetime? Is there anything I can do to make it happen?

We are receiving some feedback to our Upcoming Womens Event:
"The Unique Role in Hastening Redemption"
One such comment was that the topic is too conceptual, too vague, not practical. Hence posing the above questions.

The Rambam in his 13 principles of Faith has listed in the last two of these principles as follows:

"12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day. (These are the words of the beautiful song Ani Maamin)

13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G-d wills it to happen."

In Yigdal, the English translation of the last two lines state:
" By the End of Days He will send our Messiah - to redeem those longing for His final salvation;
God will revive the dead in His abundant kindness - Blessed forever is His praised Name."

These words correspond to Ani Maamin from the 13 Principles of Faith.

From these two quotes we see already that believing in Moshiach and Redemption is an integral part of being a Jew. In fact, it is not conceptual but a real part of Judaism.

Let us explain on a Pshat (basic) level what the topic means. Those women attending will, G-d willing learn from the various speakers and the additional program, what they as a woman can practically do to hasten the Redemption. Some of this is learning what Redemption is, some of it is learning the role of Jewish women in general and related to Redemption in particular. There is an aspect of Tehillim, uniting as Jewish women, having fun since the Hebrew words for Simchah שמח are the same as those for Moshiach משח. The Tzedakah aspect is reflected in our Raffle for great prizes where everyone becomes a winner and the fact that a portion of the proceeds goes to our Mitzvah Projects.

Each speaker has their own focus and frame of reference. By coming for the full event, you have the potential to gain a rich, varied perspective on this topic.

May this be the first of many such events as in truth the topic is vast.

If you have thoughts and requests for other events please email either Shoshanah or Reb Eliyahu.

In the meantime, please visit our page about our Upcoming Womens Event

Come and join us. Bring your mothers, grandmothers, sisters, nieces, aunts, cousins, friends and even women you don't yet know. Let us unite and learn about one of the most topical and powerful topics. As some say, the best is saved for last, so we saw in the Rambams Principles of faith that Moshiach, Redemption and Techias HaMasim feature numbers 12 and 13. Let us make them a priority in our lives.

Come and learn how you as a woman can help to make the Final Redemption become a reality.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Why Strengthen Jewish Women?

Some women have asked why am I arranging a program for women and what does it have to do with my profession? I would like to share two snippets of two cases I have worked with as an Occupational Therapist and Healing Facilitator in order to answer this question.

After I had qualified as an Occupational Therapist, my first job was working in a teaching hospital in Cape Town. As part of my case load I covered the neurosurgery ICU, wards and outpatients service as an Occupational Therapist. During my years working there, we had, amongst many other cases, two teenagers come in who were passengers in a car accident. Both had severe head injuries and other fractures and injuries. Both were unconscious on admission and the first aspect of Occupational Therapy was coma stimulation and educating the family on what they could do to assist the patients recovery.

The intervention for both was very similar in many respects, but one key factor differed and this was the role that the mother played in the patients rehab and recovery. The first mother was the central figure in the family. She made sure that the family was positive, optimistic and that each member did something to help the patient regain consciousness and later with the patients rehab program. This mother's approach kept the family united, inspired, hopeful and made a world of difference for the patient. Needless to say this patient did regain consciousness and had a very good recovery.

The second mother was quieter and more timid. She struggled to keep the family united and focused, the more her belief in the recovery of her child wavered, the more her family as a whole took strain and her child who was in a coma reacted to this. The second patient was eventually transferred to a long term care unit after which I lost contact with the family. But the lesson learned was a powerful one.

From that time on, I endeavour as much as possible to strengthen the mother, for I have seen first hand that when the mother is strong, motivated and inspired that the whole family benefits positively. When the mother is weaker or struggling in any manner, the family is affected in many ways.

Every Jew went through Mitzrayim (Egypt) and the Exodus. every Jew has their own tests that pose as their personal Mitzrayim (Egypt). However, a key factor in our Exodus from Egypt was the role of Miriam, the sister of Moshe Rabeinu. She had faith that we would go out of Egypt and that we would cross over to get to what was then the Land of Canaan. As a result, when we successfully crossed the Yam Suf (Sea of Reads) Miriam was there with her tambourines and inspiring the other women to sing the Song of the Sea.

Drawing from these, both the lessons of years of being an Occupational Therapist, together with teachings from our Torah, it seemed like a logical step to work on strengthening Jewish women. Yes we do have a complex and full role to play. But by networking with other Jewish women and being inspired by good speakers and Torah Teachers, we can, G-d willing strengthen each Jewish home.

Some of the proceeds of the event go towards our Mitzvah Projects, especially our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity and our Bayit Chadash - helping new Chatan and Kallah in need to set up their new home.

Shoshanah works privately offering Occupational Therapy, Massage, Healing, courses for Moms to learn to massage their own babies and services for single women and Olim Chadashim. To make an enquiry or book a session, please email Shoshanah

Monday, 23 November 2009

Uniting Jewish Women

The advert going into Hamodia Israel

Are you tired of hearing about such disasters as Piguim in restaurants or buses? The tragedy of Mumbai? Another soldier "disappearing"? Or any other myriad of tragedies that the newspapers make their sales from?

Do you dream of a world that is filled with peace, beauty, unity, harmony?

Do you long for a time when there will be no further need for hospitals as healing will be perfectly natural. In fact health will be quite different to what it is at present.

Do you long for a time when there are no more barriers amongst Jews? A time where quite literally the lion will rest with the lamb?

If you answer yes to these, then it sounds as though you want the Moshiach, the Final Redemption.

How much do you want this happy, beautiful world? Are you prepared to do something active towards making it happen?

If you are, then we have just the event for you. A FULL day set aside to increase unity and Simcha amongst Jewish women. A day for Torah from inspiring speakers each of who are authors too. A day for refreshments that are properly kosher - you'll be treated to terrific food too – catered under the BaDaTZ Eida HaChareidit – so you won't go hungry! A day that ensures both able bodied and disabled women can come together with ease.

What are you prepared to do to make this day happen? Will you sponsor a woman attending? Will you put aside time to come yourself? Will you bring a friend or aunt or cousin or mother? Will you make a donation in return for sharing your business card of a service related to Jewish women?

Will you buy a raffle ticket or help to sell a raffle ticket or even a sheet of raffle tickets?

Will you sponsor a shiur or part of the day?

We aim for this event to be a regular happening. There is a special day set aside for Jewish Women, Rosh Chodesh, and we hope to make this event each Rosh Chodesh. Each time with different speakers, each time improving on the time before.

Come and join us, AH, you want to know more? We invite you to Chesed Ve' Emet. Take a look at the line up of speakers.

Now that your interest is peaked, come and join the fun. Book NOW, space is limited so don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Book for a friend too and receive a free raffle ticket.

₪250 per person.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Do Your Part to Hasten the Redemption - Book Now!

We are living in times leading up to the Final Redemption. We know that the Torah tand our Sages teach us that unity and happiness are the very things that will hasten the redemption. Torah also teaches that Tshuva (Torah), Tefillah (Tehillim) and Tzeddakah help to sweeten the decree, changing it to the good. This is what we read on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Learning in a large group no doubt causes the Shechina to dwell with us even more.

Combining these teachings with skills from my occupational therapy training in arranging groups, we have come up with a full day women's seminar. Why women? Torah teaches that the Redemption will come in the merit of righteous women.

We have a full program set up for you with well-known, very educated and inspiring speakers. Tehillim for Am Yisrael. A raffle for great prizes. Refreshments and buffet lunch catered by Badatz Eida HaChareidit caterers. Israeli dancing to increase Simcha and unity and finish off the day on a happy note.

We have also taken into account the needs of those with mobility difficulties. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Those traveling by bus can easily find their way to the venue.

Our program is the full day, from 9 a.m (registration takes place before this) until 4.30 p.m

This day gives you (the women attending) the opportunity to network with other Jewish women, enjoy wonderful shiurim, recite Tehillim for Am Yisrael, be part of actively doing something to hasten the Final Redemption. All this you get for ONLY NIS 250.

We have received numerous calls already from women expressing their extreme disappointment in our event. Many have complained:

"Can't I pay less?"
"Why must I come for the full day?"
"Why must I book in advance? Can't I just wait and see if something better comes along and then come on the day?"
"What if I pay and then decide not to come?"

Let me share a personal story with you:

When I was just 17 years old after completing high school, I went to work in the UK for a year as an Au Pair. At the place where I took two exercise classes in London, there was a flier for a wonderful weekend. It took place over a full weekend and was held in Stroud, Glostershire.

The course sounded wonderful. The price included accommodation, meals, and necessitated attending every session offered. There was no negotiating on which lessons to attend; one had to pay for everything and attend everything. At 17 years old, it did not occur to me to ask if I could bring my own food and get a reduction. It did not occur to me to ask if I could go for a stroll during some of the sessions and get a reduction for sessions I didn't attend. I never even considered criticizing them for having advertised in an area which was different from the main venue. I paid in advance as was required, made sure I would manage to get to the venue, stayed for the full event and attended every part of it. I did not complain to the course co-ordinators that I had other work to do, or that I wanted them to organise their event in the way that suited me. I simply paid, went and enjoyed.

The amazing thing is that I gained so much from that one weekend course that I draw from it even to this day when working with private clients.

This was just the first of very many 1 day, 2 day, full week courses, seminars, workshops that I have taken. Each one has been very beneficial and very well worth the money.

There was no asking for discounts. There was no demanding to the course co-ordinators to donate the money received for all their effort - to a charity of my choice - with a threat of refusal to come should the money go to any other cause but the charity they had wished for. Actually in our case, a percentage does go to our Mitzvah Projects but the truth is, we don't have to do that. As a professional and arranging a top quality event, there is no reason to logically require that money received be donated to a charity of any kind. Much like a doctor does not do his work at no cost, nor an accountant, a lawyer or any other professional person. Many women fail to take note of the huge costs involved, including: venue, catering, speakers, advertising...

For 250 NIS you could get:

A 75 minute massage session with someone in Jerusalem
A 30 minute session with a qualified psychologist. (Some might be cheaper.)
A 20 minute interview and consultation with a lawyer
The smallest advert in Torah Tidbits

An average one hour Shiur will cost you between 30-70 shekel - no food.

Did you know that some organizations will ask you for a $500 donation to their cause and give you a tour of one archaeological site? No refreshments, no full day event, and not necessarily adding anything to unity or Simcha.

In our event, your 250 Shekel will bless you with six of the finest speakers in Torah education today, a real atmosphere of unity and Simcha, and the inspiration to go out in the world and add something more of goodness and kindness. What a win!

Our day promises to be a very enjoyable, inspiring, motivating day filled with something for all women and more.

Please, stop with the complaints. Forget about the negotiating.

These very issues prove just how much we are truly in need of viewing each others needs, uniting with each other, and making an effort to bring redemption into the world.

Book NOW. Inspire your friends to book now too. Bring your mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, nieces. All Jewish women are welcome.

Booking is open ONLY till 1st December. So DON'T delay.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Power of Shma Yisrael

Throughout the history of Am Yisrael, other nations have tried all manner of ways to separate Jews from their faith. To annihilate a nation destined to continue until the coming of Moshiach and beyond.

During the Holocaust, various churches hid Jewish children and tried to indoctrinate them with their beliefs and practices. After the Holocaust, R.. Yosef Kahaneman zt'l began looking for Jewish children who had survived the war. It was known that some of the children had ended up in churches and were being raised as Christians. He encountered one church that denied the existence and presence of Jewish children within their midst... He was granted permission to enter the children's quarters to inspect for himself -- when he entered he began calling out "Shema Yisroel" and instinctively many of the children raised their hands to cover their eyes and started calling out "mama! mama!"

This moving video portrays this story in powerful visual images merged with an emotive song. It speaks for itself and one message is clear, the education of Jewish children by their mothers is more ingrained than anyone can imagine.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

We Have a Venue! - Come and Join Us

Advert going into the RBS Views

"Wow, what a list of speakers
" Comment sent by friend on FaceBook

"Your event sounds fantastic" Comment sent by friend on twitter

Advert going into the Shechunaton in Har Nof

Our Upcoming Women's Event, scheduled to take place, G-d willing, on 8th Dec 2009 at the Dati Leumi Shul Hall, 22 Rehov Chai Taib, Har Nof.

"It looks like terrific program!" One of our presenters in response to confirming details of the time for her slot.

As you can see, responses coming in are positive. We have wonderful and inspiring speakers and a varied program.

Come and join us for a day of Torah, Tehillim, Tzeddakah, Simchah and Unity. Further details can be seen on our website

Prior Booking is essential. Payment to attend can be made either via PayPal or direct deposit to our Bank Account.

To book your places, please email Shoshanah
Book for a friend too and receive a free raffle ticket.

₪250 per person.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Quick Tip To Rectify An Error in Sending Email

On this blog, in various places, we have spoken of thinking about and being sensitive to our fellow Jew.

Do you ever send out group emails or emails to a few friends or relatives at the same time?

Ever found that you have sent to someone amongst a few, and did not intend for THAT email to go to THAT specific person? When sending out emails it is very easy to include someone erroeously in a group of emails. This can be both embarrassing and painful.

In a post on Dwelling Place Below, you will see an example of how far the ramifications of passing on information erroneously can go. As the Rambam teaches, prevention is better than cure. So what can you do?

As in the post on Dwelling Place Below, the best method is to learn to be more careful with our speech. However, in certain instances, you might be trying to check up on a reference and mistakenly send the request to the wrong person. Or any other myriad of situations can occur. So what else can you do?

Great News: If you have gmail, there are now options of what to do to correct this problem. It is a good idea to take a look and familiarize yourself with what to do so as to save yourself, and others, from needless upset.

If the post has helped you, please do come back and let us know.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Update of our Women's Event

We have a few donations come in towards our Women's Event. The donations have been made in the merit of:
  • Rav Shimon Bar Yochai
  • Rebbi Meir Baal HaNeis
  • Eliyahu HaNavi
  • Yaakov ben Eliezer z"l
  • Nathan Gershon ben Nathan z"l
  • Chaim ben Yitzhak HaCohen z"l
If you would like to make a contribution towards the expenses of our Women's Event in the merit of a loved one, donations can be made via this page. Minimum amount for the donation is US$36. Donations must be received together with the full Hebrew name by 3rd December 2009 or 16th Kislev 5770.

For those who wish to contribute but are not able to donate US$36, why not purchase a raffle ticket for only US$3.

For those women wanting to rent a table to sell arts / crafts or products related to women's health, payment must be received by 25 Nov 2009.

To book your place to attend this special women's event, please email Shoshanah

Part of the proceeds will be going to a number of our Mitzvah Projects

Thank you for your part in making this event a special one. We look forward to seeing you at the event, or to being able to include your loved one in the list of names of those in whose merit the shiurim are donated.

Friday, 13 November 2009


There are times one Jew will turn to another, one person to another and pour out their heart or at least some of their story. There are times that you might even be the one another Jew turns to with some pressing need.

What do you do if their problem sounds big and you just don't know what to say? You don't have any answers, you don't have any suggestions, you don't have any leads or ideas. What can you do?

Some will respond with:

- "I have never heard of such a problem. You are the only one I have heard of with such a strange story!"

Does this help? Does it reassure another or perhaps open that door to loneliness and panic, G-d forbid.

Another might say:

"All beginnings are hard", or "everyone has problems or everyone is suffering in today's time!"

Does that help? Does it reduce the problem? The problem has just been magnified to be a world-wide pandemic. What a tragedy - well now how does that help the other feel able to tackle their difficulty?

Some might like to say: "It can't be that bad, it is just you."

Hm, that really feels sympathetic.

Some might say, "well you really need to go to a therapist (meaning a psychologist)"

Now you have really helped the other feel comforted, reassured, heard.

The list of unhelpful answers can be added to, but I would rather short circuit that to offer a different suggestion.

I have a special friend who has a wonderful way of responding to others:

"I don't know what to say, I don't have any answers, but I feel your pain, I am here for you and I am ready to listen."

How does this answer differ? This person is humble enough to start out by admitting that some problems only Hashem can answer, and in truth Hashem is the One who provides ALL solutions, but to feel the pain of another, to hear what they need to voice, that a person can do.

What is the result? It makes another feel heard, acknowledged, supported and honoured as a human being in whatever stage or phase of life they are currently in.

Another possible option is to say, I am ready to listen, together let us brain storm any ideas or thoughts we can come up with that might help. And if you are not ready for that, I can just listen.

The real Tzaddikim were known to do just that. To listen, to cry, openly many times, to pray for the health and well being of another.

Let us follow the example of the Tzaddikim. We dont have to find answers, we don't have to sum everything up to be a world problem or even a tragedy. We can just listen, listen actively and be ready to support, care and hear the other.

Good Shabbos

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Help for Jewish Singles - Come to Chuppah by Helping Others

Are you single and looking for a mitzvah to assist in hastening your coming to Chuppah? The Torah teaches that if you daven for someone else who needs the same as you do, then your prayer will be answered first.

Join us in helping Jewish couples in need to build their Bayit Chadash, a Bayit Ne'eman B' Yisrael.

Become a regular donor or make a one off donation. In return for your contribution to our Bayit Chadash Project to help Chatan and Kallah, we will put your name on our Tehillim List with women around the world reciting Tehillim.

If you are a woman, you can join our Tehillim group too, we are always needing to increase Tehillim said so as to complete the full Sefer Tehillim at least once each Shabbat.

If you are looking for some further practical assistance in meeting your soulmate, coming to Chuppah and building your own Bayit Ne'eman, why not sign up for our personalized, caring Shidduch service.

In addition, you are welcome to sign up for one-on-one learning with Reb Eliyahu or learning in a group or structured shiur. In this way you can learn the practical laws and Torah that will help you in developing, building and continuing to improve your Bayit Ne'eman.

We look forward to hearing from you

Shoshanah Shear

Did you enjoy this article?

Did you know that we are involved in a number of projects that allow us to:
  1. Share Torah with you
  2. Help women immerse in a Mikvah for FREE
  3. Help newly married couples to set up their home together without the financial stresses associated with their new start in life
  4. Make Matches with our Shidduch Project
  5. Much more!
  6. Receive a FREE Online Lesson with Rav Eliyahu
If you feel we're benefiting others, including yourself, do consider making a generous donation. For more about our projects, take a look at our main website and click the different tabs to find out more about our various projects:

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Just a little light on the subject can make a world of difference

In working on our Bayit Chadash Project, we stipulate that items donate must be new so as to bring JOY to the new Chatan and Kallah.

Some have decided that this is a great opportunity to let go of old chairs, items that are hefker, opened and broken. This is not the object of the Project. Please take a look at our website for clarity. There are Gmachim who do accept second hand items in good condition to be given to families in need.

This project is specifically geared to give a gift package of various items that are brand new to Chatan and Kallah.

To make a contribution, please either make a monetary donation via the donate button right here, or be in touch with us for donating new items.

Regarding our Upcoming Women's Event, some have asked why we cant work on a cheaper venue and cancel those women are have any form of disability. Is this how you would like to be treated?

Having worked for 19 years as an Occupational Therapist, it is quite clear that illness, disability and other challenges can happen to anyone of us at any stage of our lives. How would you like to feel if you suddenly found yourself with a debilitating illness, an injury or other physical or other difficulty and you were excluded from an event aimed at Uniting Jewish Women due to an accessibility consideration.

It seems to me that this attitude defeats the aim of the event which is to increase Ahavas Yisrael, respect amongst women and unity with Jewish women.

We would like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the topic. How would you feel if you or a friend or loved on really wanted to attend the event but found there was a problem with accessing the venue. Perhaps the person is on crutches or has another mobility problem or is in a wheelchair. Why should they be prevented from coming?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


We are working on the program for our Women's Event. It promises to be a creative, stimulating day.

Thank you for the inquiries about the Venue. We are working on it. There are, Thank G-d various factors to take into consideration. Ease of transport for all our speakers and ease of access. Since 1 of the speakers is in a wheelchair and a few participants also have mobility difficulties, we need to make sure that the venue is fully accessible.

We have not forgotten, afterall, the event without a venue would be, well rather virtual. The venue will be in Yerushalayim, G-d willing. Have another Hotel to check out tomorrow. Stay tuned, the details are all coming in the right order.

For those wanting to rent a table, please confirm if you are going to rent one.

If you wish to advertise / promote a service related to women, please confirm this too.

For those interested in sponsoring one of the speakers or to offset expenses, there are still some possibilities.

Come and Join us with another way to unite Jewish women. We already have an International Tehillim Group on the go and always need more women so please do sign up for that. Yes there will be Tehillim at the event.

We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you at the event.

For other details posted thus far, please see our previous post.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Upcoming Women's Event

We are arranging a special women's event in Jerusalem.
The theme is

"The Jewish Woman's Unique Role in Hastening Moshiach."

There will be a variety of well-known and top speakers in the Jewish community, including:

  • Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
  • Rabbi Abba Wagensberg
  • Chana Leah Aiken
  • Sarah Yocheved Rigler
  • Michelle Thayler
  • and a surprise speaker.

Those contributing come from a variety of Jewish backgrounds i.e. Breslov, general Chassidus, Litvish, Zilberman and more. Our aim is to highlight the true unity of the Jewish people, and the importance of connecting and increasing Ahavat Yisrael - even with our "differences."

Each woman attending will receive a FREE gift package consisting of a special surprise gift together with an assortment of flyers/business cards of services and products that will enable her to maximize her role in home management. Through this she will be able to find the right person to help her in coping and dealing with the many issues and tasks related to a Jewish home.

We would like to include your product or service in this gift package. Examples of practical services and products range from:

  • Sheitel Sellers
  • Make-up
  • Head Coverings
  • Legal Services
  • Tutoring for Children
  • Gardening
  • and more

If you would like to include a flyer, pamphlet or business card advertising your service or product that relates to the themes of our event, please let us know what you have to offer, and be in touch for further details. (Please note, there is a charge for distributing your business card in this special gift package - however it goes to a target audience of Jewish women interested in increasing or strengthening their role as Jewish woman)

We will have a limited amount of tables for Jewish women who are artists to rent and both show sell their art. If you are interested in renting a table, please be in touch via this email address.

Alternatively if you want to sponsor one of the speakers, please be in touch regarding this too.

For more about our involvement in community and Jewish outreach and work, see: - Our main website. You will find our Mitzvah Projects and much more - yes browse this blog, you will find all manner of mitzvah projects in the pipeline. You will also find progress, ideas, how you can help and more. - This blog is aimed at assisting and welcoming Olim so that their Klita can be a smooth and successful one.

Looking forward to including you in this special program.

The above event is to take place on Tuesday, 8th December from 8.30 a.m - 5 p.m

Venue is being finalized.

For those interested in attending, prior booking including full payment is essential.

For enquiries or to book either a table or your place at this special event, please email Shoshanah.

If you are interested in volunteering your time or services to help at or prior to the event, please be in touch.

Improving Fine Motor Skills - In General and for Left Handers

One of our readers was interested in how to improve fine motor skills for a left handed person. Most of the techniques, games etc for improving fine motor skills are the same for both left and right dominance, however the focus and positioning of items for a task are in accordance with the appropriate dominance. The important items to think of are:

  • The pair of scissors must be for the correct dominance
  • A can opener must be for the correct dominance
  • Other tools such as a knife, must be appropriate for the dominance of the person using it.

All utensils or tools for cutting; be they a knife, pair of scissor, can opener or other implement, are specifically designed so that the cutting edge faces one or other direction. If you force a left handed person to cut with a right handed pair of scissors, often they can learn to do so, however you run the risk of causing strain on their hand as it will obviously require a lot more muscle strength in order to enable the blade to work in the opposite direction.

When it comes to strengthening fine motor skills, there are many factors to keep in mind.

  1. Is the person an adult or a child - ie what is their stage of development?
  2. Are you improving fine motor skills as a new skill in a child, according to the stage of development or after an injury?
  3. What is the persons gross motor like? This is important as the hand works as part of the whole person. If someone is not yet able to sit adequately and stabilize his or her arm to free the hand for fine motor tasks, then one needs to begin with strengthening the trunk and shoulder girdle.
  4. If you are working with a child and the main focus is purely fine motor, there are many games and crafts that will help to strengthen the hand, including the fine motor skills.
The first rule in improving the function of the hand, whether to enable a person to be able to manage all the grasps of the hand, or to isolate finger movements or to strengthen the small muscles of the hand or for another reason, the hand, like other muscles, is strengthened by using it. The more you do and the more you use the hand in a variety of tasks, the more chance the person has of increasing their level of function. So, for example, a child who spends most of his or her time watching TV shows will understandably have difficulty with fine motor skills as they don't use their hands very much.

Most arts and crafts will improve hand function. It is important to capture the interest of the child as you are then more likely to have their motivation to assist when tasks are difficult. This can be making pictures with e.g. placing glue in certain pre-drawn shapes and having the child sprinkle stones of different sizes or coloured sand. If you visit your local craft store you will find all manner of other items to stick onto cardboard or paper to make up something creative and improve the hand function at the same time.

Building models, playing with lego, baking, paper mache activities, knitting, sewing, pottery or play dough or plasticine, beaded items (taking into consideration the appropriate sized bead for the age, safety and level of ability) all lend themselves to improving all aspects of the hand.

Children's games such as tiddly winks, marbles, pick up sticks, card games, finger puppets and more, also are wonderful to improve the function in the hand.

There are various children's games that require both assembling and pulling pieces apart such as lego, duplo and other games of this nature. These are wonderful to build up strengthen in the fingers.

There really are so many tasks and activities that help to improve hand function and fine motor skills. Even typing a letter or article can help.

Since the hand is rather complex, it is recommended for those looking to improve hand function to liaise with an experienced occupational therapist, to ensure that all that is needed is indeed fine motor skills.

If you would like a consultation, either online or in person, with Shoshanah Shear, experienced Occupational Therapist, please contact her either via email or website to schedule an appointment.


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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Kashrut, Yad Vashem and Torah

We recently took some relatives to visit Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Museum / Centre. Due to the nature of the place, I was sure that the Kashrut would be of the highest standards. As things turned out, I was to learn an important lesson in understanding Kashrut in Israel. These are some tips I picked up:

1) Never presume there will be a Kosher restaurant when going to a museum or other place of interest, even in Yerushalayim.

2) Just because a venue or museum demonstrates how Jews have been badly treated, does not imply that they will have consideration for all levels of Kashrut.

The experience was a very painful one.

We asked the two men behind the Milchik Bar what the Heksher was, only to find that what they pointed us to was a folded piece of paper with the word Kosher on it. One should be aware that typing the word Kosher, whether in Hebrew or English, and printing out the word in a fancy font does not equal the fact that the food is in fact actually Kosher.

Keep this in mind: There has to be a valid certificate from a reputable Kashrut organization. e.g. Badatz Eida Chareidit, Rav (Avraham) Reuben, Rav Landau. For further details or to learn about Kashrut, please contact Reb Eliyahu.

Our next surprise was to find that the assistants were non-Jews. What concerned me was that there are so many Jews without work, why not offer work to those Jews in need, after all, surely in a place like this - highlighting the the horrendous behaviour of the world towards Jews, shouldn't this place - at the very least - be filled only with Jewish workers?! It would be wonderful to go into a restaurant at a place like Yad Vashem and be served by a religious Jew with a Kippa on his head or a head covering if a married woman - someone who understands the importance of Kashrut and what it is all about. This would demonstrate that the theme and painful lesson of what happened during the Shoah had translated into providing work to Jews and enabling them to fulfill their role in this world of living a life of Torah and Mitzvos.

The next problem we came up against was that there were no washing basins available. A Jewish woman dressed modestly asked if we had seen anywhere to wash ones hands prior to eating. We too scanned the area finding ourselves at a loss for any hand-washing basin (as is customary at any restaurant.) The best we could help her to find was the basins in the public toilets. Here, there were no washing cups and the water sprayed out in all directions. As an aside, both me and my husband found the toilets in an unsatisfactory condition. Surely the theme of Yad Vashem is concerned with the terrible treatment administered to the Jews at that time? Stories are told about Jews who saved their lives by having to hide in the most revolting sanitary conditions (hiding themselves in the sewerage and other such places.) If this museum is dedicated to making people aware of the importance of clean living conditions, it was amazing to see the less than acceptable state of the toilets.

If you do decide to eat or drink at Yad Vashem and have not prepared something to bring with you, there are some packaged ice creams with good Heksherim that are very yummy. There are also some bottles of cold drink. Once again, do make sure they have a recognized Heksher on them.

When going upstairs from the restaurant, we had to go through security. Our first thought was, the first security and means of protection for Jews is to uphold Kashrut and other Torah laws. So while we wait for the Kashrut to be improved at Yad Vashem, do make sure to bring your own Kosher snacks and out of respect for those who died Al Kiddish Hashem in the Shoah, do dress modestly.

A powerful lesson taught in some of the videos shown at Yad Vashem, are how the Jews were treated like animals, yet so many had the strength and courage to still find a way to uphold mitzvos. Let us follow their example and unite in strengthening our role in the world as a Light Unto the Nations. Let our response to the attrocity that happened be to eat Kosher food, learn what Kashrut is, dress as Jews, behave as Jews and provide employment first to Jews. Once the Jews in Israel all have their needs taken care of, then we can consider others. But first, as long as there are Jewish families without parnassa to cover their basics, as Rav Kanievsky gave a Psak, work should go to Jews.

When coming out of the museum itself, one soon finds a synagogue. Going in to daven Minchah we found a peaceful place with the chairs placed so as to form the shape of a Menorah. Unfortunately our enjoyment of a beautiful place to daven, surrounded by Aaron Kodesh and other items from synagogues that had been destroyed during WW2, was short-lived.

A couple entered to shelter themselves from the cold wind that had come up, seated themselves, man and woman next to each other and began talking about regular every day talk in loud voices. This is not the reason to enter a synagogue or the manner to behave in a place of worship.

Once again our hearts cried out. Here of all places, we should behave in every way as Torah abiding Jews. when going into a synagogue the reason is for Torah learning or prayer, not just to shelter from the cold. In a synagogue, men and women sit separately and any talk should be done only if no-one else is praying and in a hushed voice. The topic of conversation should be e.g. to ask the page for the current prayer in the prayer book, to express respect for G-d, to inquire as to time for the relevant prayer ie Shacharit, Minchah or Maariv. There are many more laws of how to behave in a Synagogue. If you would like to learn more, please contact Reb Eliyahu to set up a learning session, either via his email or website.

This post is not meant to attack any particular kashrut standard or any museum etc. Rather it shares an important lesson of responsibility when coming to Israel, and a responsibility for those having an impact in Jewish living in Israel. Perhaps, instead of beautiful architecture and movies that highlight the tragedies that occurred, there should be added to this the important traditional values of the Jew, providing a complete role model, as taught in the Torah.

Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Bayit Chadash - Our Latest Update

If you have not been following our Chatan and Kallah Package - Bayit Chadash - welcome to our exciting extension of Our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity

The Bayit Chadash Package is being established to assist Chatan and Kallah in financial difficulty. Our main focus is to assist couples who have one or more of the parents no longer in this world, or who are Baale Tshuva without Parental support or other special circumstances.

These are some dishes that have been donated to help a Chatan and Kallah begin their new home. The dishes are all new and have been donated by different individuals. Each Chatan and Kallah Package given for Bayit Chadash will differ, depending on what has been donated at the time a Kallah contacts us.

These are some of the items donated towards the kitchen and home of the Chatan and Kallah. Here you can see a set of new sheets, some new dish cloths, sandwich bags, glad wrap, 3 packets of 100 paper serviettes.

This box of Bedikah cloths has been donated by Chen Hama'ayan Ltd. Our aim is to provide each Kallah with 12 boxes to begin her first year with the ability to fulfill the laws of Family Purity. Together with this generous donation, we would like to sponsor the Kallah's immersing in the Mikvah for the first year (Shanah Rishona) - this cost is NIS 360 per Kallah.

This image shows toiletries donated, predominantly by individuals. The box of Bedikah Cloths are taken from the image above this, selected for 1 Kallah for Shanah Rishona.

We still require:

  • Shabbat Candles and Havdala Candles for the first year.
  • Donations towards being able to purchase or provide a gift voucher for a new suit and hat for the Chatan and a Shabbat outfit and Sheitel or head covering for the Kallah.


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