Monday, July 30, 2012

LadyMama of the Week: Sarah Dukes (Composer + Pianist!)

I first met Sarah Dukes at a mutual friends birthday party and thought she was so sweet (and beautiful). How amazed I was when I found out that she was an accomplished composer and pianist who was working on her first album! When she was ready to release her music, I was very honored when she contacted me to write the press release (read it here!). Nothing is more rewarding for me than being a small part of a woman's journey to exposure and success.

I don't know about you, but I do not know many mothers who are classical pianists and compose their own music and actually release albums! And did I mention she is a practicing PSYCHOTHERAPIST? Talk about inspiring—Sarah is real proof that there is a way to actualize ourselves and contribute to the world in more than one way and grow our talents and follow or dreams. 

What's amazing about Sarah is that she feels her music so, so deeply. When she talks about it, there is this real sense of awe and fragility. It's not just something she does—its her essence

My favorite songs on her album Finding Forever are "Wings of a Butterfly" and "Troubled Thoughts." I basically put "Wings of a Butterfly" on repeat and get lost in its interchange of deep and high notes places so delicately...and feel like I am cacooning into a new, more thoughtful, more sensitive and vibrant person. I can't say that about most, if any, of the music I listen to. To genuinely feel transformed through hearing music is a rare and astounding experience. 

I believe Sarah is able to accomplish this because of something I appreciate most about her: she is a perfectionist! If one tiny little something is off in her music, it must be worked through a million times to reach the exact sound and emotion that is in her head. I even interviewed Yaron Garshovky for her press release and he expanded on how sensitive Sarah was to the nuances, and how she would make him play parts of songs over and over again until it resonated exactly the way she intended it. Personally, I find this so refreshing because so many people are overconfident with their skills and don't necessarily take the time to perfect it and essentially honor it in the way that will give it the wings it needs for both the artist and the listener. But Sarah seems to have this down. 

And this definitely comes through on her debut album, which is filled with stunning and stirring original songs that will make you cry from the sheer beauty. Sarah's music has the ability to touch everyone's heart. The soul just seeps through. They are sometimes brooding, usually hopeful -- but always mesmerizing. They just pull you in! When I first started discovering her compositions, I kept on playing her music when I was working on the computer but had to stop because it wasn't good background music—I had to keep interrupting what I was writing so I could focus on where it was taking me! It's that rare type of album you have to turn on and focus and meditate and let it relax and elevate you. Seriously, your heart and soul and mind will just open up. 

Do yourself a favor and check out Sarah's music now! 

Below is Sarah's just-released song, "One" -- dedicated to Leiby Kletzky. 
Grab a tissue, because you're sure to re-experience the emotions we all shared in watching our 
people come together as ONE to search for this beautiful young boy. 

And because Sarah's life and essence is the wonderful undercurrent to all her music, I interviewed Sarah so you can all learn more about this incredibly soulful, original and inspiring woman that we will no doubt continue to hear more about as she grows and expands her musical reach! 


LADYMAMA: When did you decide to go from playing recreationally to actually producing an album? And what have you learned from that process?
Sarah Dukes: Since I am from N.C., I went away to a Jewish school when I was 13. Being a teenager is emotional enough, but I suppose being away from home at such a young age added to the 'tumultuous' emotions. I took piano lessons throughout my years in Pittsburgh, but I also used the piano as a way to express myself and release my emotions. I didn't know what I was doing when I was composing. I never took composition lessons. Yet it felt so freeing to have a way to get my emotions out. I composed my songs and shared them with my classmates and friends. I was so surprised to hear that they all loved it. I never understood why-to me, they were my complex emotions recorded in a physical way. To others, I just thought it was nothing more than a 'scribble' like tune. I even had a classmate who was a trained pianist and she said I inspired her and she is jealous of me. I couldn't believe that my songs that I composed would be anything to be 'jealous' over! SHE was the one whose fingers flew across the piano! My friends continued to shower my songs with praises and even chose to use one in one of the school productions! They always told me I need to make a CD but I thought they were crazy. I felt like my songs are no where close to being "CD quality". I felt their sincerity and truly appreciated it, but never thought it would ever happen.  I continued composing throughout seminary and university and found more and more people who connected with my music. All of them said that I should make a CD, and begged for me to make one. I still was uncomfortable with the idea also because my compositions started getting more complex in my mind, and I was limited with how I could execute it. I didn't have the skill to play the melody as it is in my mind, so it would come out in a more simple form. People loved it that way, but I knew that that wasn't my REAL song in its complete form. I then started feeling uncomfortable and self conscious because I felt like the song sounded 'boring' compared to what it was in my head. This continued until after I got married. I eventually told myself that there's no way all these people can be wrong and I'm the only one that is right. It makes much more sense for ME to be wrong and everyone else to be right. So, I put my own ego aside, and decided to try it out and see if it would work for me to find a way to get my complete song out onto the keys. We saved up and tried one song, me giving Yaron the version of me playing it, the transcription, and dove into the challenge of expressing exact directions/instructions as to any edits, changes, of dynamics, keys, tempo, etc. that I had in my mind. After hearing the final version, I LOVED it--and mainly because I felt like it was still my creation! Once that happened, I felt much more comfortable continuing the CD process.

The process was a humbling one for me. I had to put my ego aside. I had to learn to trust others. I had to learn to make myself vulnerable and take myself out of my comfort zone. I learned that ANYTHING is possible! Even the dreams that seem furthest from your reach. You just have to START and do it. The other big thing I learned is how important it is to surround yourself with people who believe in you and what you can achieve. I owe it all to my friends who kept pushing me. I also owe it to my husband who was super supportive and encouraging and excited for me! :)

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
My inspiration could come from an event that happened, it could come from a sudden wave of emotion, it could come from feeling an intense emotion, it could come from listening to a song, or it could come from just sitting at the piano and having my fingers just play.

How do you FIND the inspiration and time to explore it when you're a busy mother?
I don't really think I find the inspiration. More that IT finds ME. It's interesting. I can get a 'wave' of inspiration, and something will just draw me to the piano. Just out the blue I could get this strong yearning to go to the piano. There are definite times when this 'flash of inspiration' are missed due to me taking care of my family responsibilities. Then there are other times (usually most often then not) when I will quickly distract my kids with a video or something and rush to the piano to 'release' this sudden emotion or inspiration. Most of the time when this happens, I am unable to finish the song, and that's when the problem arises because once I get up and leave a song I am working on, it is very very difficult to tap back into that original inspiration or emotion that I began with, and often it will take me months to finish a song because of that. There are so many quarter or half written songs that I have that I just have to wait patiently until the same inspiration finds me again :) I'm also thankful to my husband who often has to take over when one of my waves of inspirations comes at a more hectic time.

I feel that it is really important to make time for myself and do things that 're-energize' and 're-center' me so if I find that I am not able to do it enough during the week, I will hire a babysitter for an hour or two so that I can focus on myself. I don't feel guilty about this or think of it as selfish because this is allowing me to have more more energy and be more positive and happy for my family.

How does your work as a composer affect your work as a Psychotherapist? 
I really believe that my clients have so much to offer and I really encourage them and challenge them to believe in themselves and show them that they CAN believe in themselves and have them prove to themselves how capable they are and what they can accomplish.

Tell us about your new song for Leiby Kletzky. How long have you been working on it? How does the music relate to your feelings about the tragedy? 
What happened with Leiby was horrible. I would show my kids his picture that was hanging up on the signs on the street and say tehillim with them for his safe and healthy return. We even made hachlatas for him and until this day, my kids say their kapital of tehillim every day. The emotions of those few days were so intense- fear, sadness, confusion, anger, ....a whole range of emotion. I began composing and an interesting thing happened... I found that my thoughts and emotions switched in the middle and I found myself thinking about how everyone came together and united for Leiby's search. People from all over worked day and night to find him-whether it was with the actual search, printing signs, hanging up signs, learning and davening for him. I had this strong feeling of unity and love and pride - to be part of this eternal bond. The ahavas chinam that I saw and felt was so tangible and powerful, that that is what the song turned into-the power of ONE, and how we ARE one, and that we had ahavas chinam and can continue doing so.

Describe the process of putting emotions into songs. Do you ever fear being that vulnerable? 
As mentioned above, I compose a song when I get a strong sense of emotion or force that pulls me to the piano. I don't think when this happens. I just feel. Sometimes I am aware of what I am feeling and other times I'm not, and still other times I don't really explore it. Whichever way, whatever is coming out is coming from my inner self. It is because of this reason that I feel like I am making myself vulnerable every time I share a song. I feel like I am exposing a part of myself. It is difficult for me to just 'give out' a song to others to listen to or for some guidance etc., and if that is the case, I only share it with those that I feel 'safe' with or that I trust. When I release a song to the public, it is a big and 'scary' step for me. It's like I am opening myself up to the public. It's almost like I have to jump into a pool with my eyes closed. I am giving the world a part of myself and have no idea how it will be received or accepted.

Have you ever run into resistance with your music career simply because you're a woman? 
The truth is I was concerned that my music would not be well received because I am a woman-for fear that many people are under the assumption or have the impression that a woman's work is not up to par or compare to that of a mans. However, I was (and continue to be) super surprised to see that this is not the case at all. Not only have I been receiving so many positive reviews and feedback about my music, but I feel respected as well-not only because of my talent but because I DID something with it! This is an incredible and empowering feeling and motivates me to do more.

What do you want other women/mothers to know about pursuing their talents and following their dreams? 
Being a woman or a mother doesn't mean that we don't have dreams or talents, and it definitely does not mean that we are not capable of doing anything big with our dreams or talents. G-d gave us unique skills and talents and WANTS us to use them! Our families may be our first priority, but it certainly does not mean that nothing else matters or is not important. In fact, you will find that specifically doing things that you love or are passionate about will actually energize you and make you feel better about yourself, which will ultimately result in you being a better woman/wife/mother.

Thank you Sarah for opening up your heart and soul through your music 
and for your candor in addressing these questions which will no doubt 
I-N-S-P-I-R-E and E-M-P-O-W-E-R women everywhere! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Introducing MadeMod: One Stop Modesty + Fashion! [Win $100 giftcard!]

I am very excited to introduce my readers to a wonderful site featuring modest and trendy clothing. You see, LadyMamas, modest fashion is NOT an oxymoron—they DO go together. All you need to do is check out MadeMod (and like the MadeMod Facebook page!) to see some amazing curation of fashionable attire made for modern +  modest femmes just like you and me. 

The creator of MadeMod, Chaya Steinmetz, has a great eye for finding pieces that are in trend and wearable. A lot of sites come my way, asking me to help promote their business with the same theme. I am more often dissapointed than impressed (although I hope to feature some other awesome sites, soon, so there is hope!). The good thing is that we live in an era where there is heightened interest in modesty and therefore a significant increase in availability. No complaints there! But it's not often that I see people answering this need in the right way—with the eye on fashion just as true as the eye on modesty. 

I'm also really impressed with the cleanliness and usability of the site. You can shop by category or brand and all the images take you to the retailer's site.  

MadeMod's slogan is "We do the work so you don't have to." If you check out the site you'll see that MadeMod tells you where you can find these pieces.  It's not like Chaya started her own fashion line...but if you buy through her site, you can help support her work in helping us find trendy and modest clothing! Most of us know the task of scouring both online and in real stores for those pieces we can actually wear. How wonderful that someone is taking the headache away and presenting us with a site featuring options we don't have to question and sift through. 

I perused her finds and was like "Wow, I can and would wear anything here!" 

And here's even better news: 
MadeMod is giving away a $100 gift certificate! 

You can enter here:

LadyMama readers get an exclusive bonus entry. All you need to do is comment on this blog post or on the LadyMama Facebook page with what you would buy at MadeMod if you won the giftcard! That's right -- go window shopping at MadeMod, tell us what you'd buy, and be entered!

Below are some of my favorite pieces 
that MadeMod is currently featuring:

Thank you Chaya from MadeMod and all the other Ladies and Mamas out there who are using their talents and drive to honor our traditions in a 
way that is modern and beautiful

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trusting G-d: Better than our "go-to" friend

How are all my LadyMama's doing?

It's been a bit quiet on my blog, as our family has been dealing with a young loved one who is very sick (please have Shneur Chaim Yitzchak Alexander ben Nechama Dina in your prayers!). It's been a week of hospital visits and prayers and even something called an "amen gathering." But most of all, my mind has just been consumed with heavy and deep thoughts about life (what's all the suffering for?), G-d (is he listening?), prayer (does it work?) and the list goes on. Normally, I would blog about it, but I haven't been sleeping so well and been with the two little ones during the day. Exhaustion is not the word. 

How grateful I am that the following piece came to my inbox, via an anonymous writer who refuses to shed her disguise. What an important reminder, especially during The Nine Days, to reinstate G-d as our trusted and dependable "go-to." 

Thank you, anonymous, for a down-to-earth post that came to me at the time I needed it most. 

TRUSTING G-D: Better than our "go-to" friend

Do you have a person that you can always count on?

Your mom? Dad? Brother? Sister? Best friend? 

Mentor? Aunt? The one you call when you need a babysitter now

The one you call...when you miss your flight and the next flight’s asking price is more than 3 digits? When your boss yells at you and you feel unappreciated and underpaid? When your car breaks down in middle of the highway and you don't know how to change your tire let alone jump a car? When your lost and your GPS is telling you to go on a one way street—the wrong way of one way street?

When you finally do reach this person, and this trusted being is on the case, your heart settles.

You're breathing in and out again. Your jaw slackens, your fists uncoil, and your eyes stop having that slight crazed look. You are safe. You are relaxed. You're at peace.

Why? Because your “go-to” loves you and wants the best for you. 

You know that. And so you are okay.

I am not Miss Punctual, nor am I Miss Tardy. I sometimes say no when I can't do things, and I try to say yes when I can. So I doubt I am anyone's count-on.

But I do have some people in my life who I feel this way about. I trust them 99.9%. I am realistic, nothing is a perfect 100%.

Oh, but there is...

There's G-d. 

That person you trust? Well, they've got nothing on Hashem. Nothing. 

Can you imagine? G-d's more reliable than your “go-to.” That really responsible, educated yet street smart, uptight and sometimes neurotic, do gooder. That  happy martyr that might be your mom, friend, sister, uncle or even boss. Whoever, whenever. G-d tops them because not only did He create your “go to," He created mine. And my “go to” is good. Very good.

My father once told me, "Love people, trust Hashem."

Can you imagine trusting the Creator with every breath you take?

Thinking that makes me breathe slower already. Not only is He going to come through one hundred percent, but nothing will stop Him. Not a snow storm or hurricane, or a delayed flight. G-d does not sleep. G-d is constantly watching and making sure that what happens…is meant to be. And is good.

So think about it. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Imagine a life where G-d is your trusted best friend. And more. Ask yourself, what's stopping you from making G-d your go-to? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

[Debunking Healthy Food Myths] Myth #2: Healthy Food Costs an Arm and a Leg

By Shaina Kamman
Shaina is a Board Certified Health Coach. She works with mothers and others who are hungry for change and ready to make healthy food the staple in their home. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, and she is also a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and the Weston A Price Foundation.

With Shaina Kamman

Myth #2: 
Healthy Food Costs an Arm and a Leg

Let's jump right in with the fact here:

Packaged, ready-made, anything-with-a-shiny-wrapper costs an arm and a leg, and will put a real and unnecessary drain on your resources. In addition, packaged, ready-made, anything-with-a-shiny-wrapper is not necessarily healthy.

So how do we make healthy food that is economical? Well, let’s first remember our #1 Starting Place. Ask yourself: Would my great-grandmother recognize this and feed it to her family? If the answer is yes, you are onto something good!

Today’s simple example is a delicious, deeply nourishing, and easy-to-make soup.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

1. In a big pot, sauté onions and celery in Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a medium flame until translucent. Add in salt and whatever spices you like. 

2. Chop up broccoli and potatoes into 1-2 inch pieces and throw them into the pot. Add leftover chicken soup broth from Shabbos (or whenever else you made it). 

3. Bring it all to a boil, and then simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Then blend it all up with an immersion blender. 

[Some tips: Cilantro Lovers, you can add in half a bunch of chopped cilantro to the pot a few minutes before you blend it. And if you want it really creamy, you can add a tablespoon or two of coconut cream to each bowl. Serve with a piece of whole grain bread and you’ve got a complete meal.]

The soup freezes well and can be brought out again as a super-fast, super-healthy, super-delicious dinner. This is the kind of ready-made that is great!

So what’s so good about it, hmm?

Onions, broccoli, and potatoes are some of the most inexpensive and most nourishing vegetables. Broccoli is high in carotenoids and Vitamin C and contains B-complex, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also rich in chromium, which protects against diabetes, and indoles, which is a potent anti-cancer substance.

Onions contain carotenoids, B-Complex Vitamins, all-important B6 and Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sulphur compounds. They improve kidney function, lower cholesterol, have anti-bacterial qualities, and are also helpful in breaking up mucus in the throat, lungs, and nasal passageways. Potatoes provide Vitamin C and B-Complex, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Chicken broth is inexpensive to make (and is sort of free is you are using leftovers that would have been thrown out!) and is a real powerhouse nutritionally. Chicken broth, like other meat stocks, contains the minerals from the bones, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables in the form of electrolytes, which makes them very easy to digest and assimilate in the body. It is also rich in gelatin, which aids digestion and has been used to successfully treat many intestinal disorders including hyperacidity, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and many chronic disorders including anemia, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and cancer. The amino acids that are released from the cartilage into the broth have been used in the treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. And Rambam and your great-grandmother both prescribed chicken broth as treatment for colds and asthma.

Add it all together and you see that this meal will not cost you an arm and a leg, is delicious, and can be frozen for a quick dinner for when you need it. And is something your great-grandmother and Rambam would be proud of!

Myth #2 has been debunked.


For more information on Shaina’s Health Coaching practice visit and LIKE Life Within on Facebook! Considering if Shaina’s program is the right fit for you? Mention this LadyMama article for a 10% discount on your initial consultation!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Coral + Turquoise: How To Wear This Trendy Makeup Melody

By Vera Tov

Vera is a certified makeup artist based in New York. A graduate of a protégées Make Up Designory school (MUD). Vera has all of the necessary skills and tools to create an unique and fresh look for any occasion. Vera’s ability to realize the client's vision, re-create a look from a photograph or film, or develop a unique look, camouflaging imperfections while enhancing the natural beauty is truly unsurpassed.
In Vera's words: 
My makeup had been confiscated on more than one occasion in High School. How could the teachers not understand the fact that a mirror compact was an extension of my arm, and eyeliner – a wand, without which I felt powerless. Silly, of course, I know. Well, I was a teenager then, and now…I feel the same exact way now!

Coral + Turquoise
How To Wear This Trendy Makeup Melody 

If you have had any interaction with the Planet Earth, you must know by now that two of the trendiest colors this season are turquoise and coral, as well as other variations of the blue and orange families. Worn with other colors or together, these colors complement any skin tone. Turquoise and coral are examples of natural materials that have are commonly used in jewelry. Historically, Coral has been associated with well-being and its “power” to relieve excessive worry. Similarly, turquoise has been fascinating people throughout millennia for evoking inner peace by absorbing negative energy. Although these may be myths, unique colors of these materials have transitioned into clothing and makeup more noticeably this season than ever before. I happen to find these colors, paired with yellow gold, completely irresistible.

The reason they create such an intriguing effect is the color theory. If you’ve ever taken an art class, there is likelihood that you’ve covered the basics, such as the primary and secondary colors. Perhaps, you’ve even created a color wheel as the one below.

Pairs of colors that appear opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary. When worn together, they have a very dramatic impact. Turquoise, which is closest to blue-green, would be exactly across coral, which is closest to red-orange. But unlike primary (red, yellow, and blue) and secondary colors (orange, green, and violet), turquoise and coral possess just the right amount of intensity to make enough of a statement without looking overwhelming.

When it comes to using makeup, I can’t seem to shake off certain stereotypes associated with blue/turquoise eye shadow and orange/coral lipstick (think real-life Russian nesting dolls!). Although it is not a look I would personally choose to wear myself, there are no real rules in makeup. So, if you bear no such associations, and it’s a look you find attractive, I’m truly envious!

Below are alternative ways of wearing both colors in close proximity:
  1. Wear coral lipstick and turquois earrings or necklace. Keep eye makeup neutral (gray, cream, taupe, or brown).
  2. Try the opposite – turquois accents on the eyes, paired with a nude lipstick or a light peachy gloss. Coral-toned jewelry will look beautiful.
  3. In this Maybelline ad featuring their new(ish) Color Tattoo gel shadows, the model is wearing both colors, except the colors are more like teal and tangerine. Notice that with her eyes featured as the focus of the look, the lips are kept very natural. Also, keep in mind that this is an advertisement. To make these colors more wearable in real life, it is probably advisable to reduce the amount and/or intensity of the hues.
  1. For a variations on applying both colors on the eyes, I suggest the following:
  • If you have blue eyes, use an orange/golden shadow on the eyelids, and teal eyeliner along the bottom lash line. Wear black or dark brown eyeliner to define the upper lash line.
  • If your eyes are brown, like mine, try teal or another color in the blue range on your eyelids, accented with a bit of gold in the inner corners and/or along the lower lash line.
  1. These beautiful colors look more dramatic against tanned skin, so a little bit of bronzer could be a plus. Just, please, try not to overindulge…

  2. One more tip: just about all eye shadows tend to crease, especially in the summer. The brighter the colors you wear, the more pronounced the creasing will appear. You can lessen, if not avoid altogether, the creasing by applying an eyelid primer prior to your eye makeup.

In this photo, Taylor is wearing both colors on her face. However, the colors 
are muted and the emphasis on both the lips and the eyes are well balanced.

Here is another option: turquois liner, neutral shadow and nude lips.

 This is the way I would most likely incorporate turquoise into my 
make up, being that my eyes are of similar shape and color.  

Final thought: I absolutely love turquois and coral (just not in the way described above) because it reminds me of tropical vacations—Caribbean Sea, snorkeling, and sipping cocktails—as well as snacking on papayas mango, and watermelon. Just sitting in my backyard typing this makes my skin feel a little bit warmer on this breezy day and my heart full of anticipation of where this summer will take me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Encouraging G-ds Bad Habits: A Perspective on the Leiby Kletzky Tragedy

By Chanale Felig 
Chanale lives in Coconut Grove, FL and directs Friendship Miami, a non-profit organization serving children with special needs. She is currently working on her BA in Psychology and Marketing. She has been writing for years, publishing her musings in consistent e-mails to her family and friends—this is her first published article.

---------- ---------- ----------

On July 11, 2011 the entire Brooklyn Jewish community held their breath as local police, community leaders, and 5,000 volunteers scoured New York City for eight year old Leiby Kletzky. Two days later on early Wednesday morning police officials confirmed that the boy had been kidnapped and murdered in a heinous manner. The reaction of the community was absolute terror. The following was my initial reaction to the inhumane attack on this young and innocent boy.

Encouraging G-ds Bad Habits: 
A Perspective on the Leiby Kletzky Tragedy

[July 15, 2011]

You’d be hard pressed to find a single Jewish person who didn’t feel the urge to throw up while listening to this week's headlines. We all can't stop crying in pain.

I don’t think anything hurts as much as shattered innocence—the loss of a child. It seems it’s particularly difficult to let go of the idea of potential. It's so unfair. And when loss occurs in such an unspeakable manner, it begs the age-old questions: Why do evil things happen to innocent people? What good results from our pain? In 5,771 years of experience, we are only beginning to understand the questions to ask. We have concluded that to denounce our faith in G-d out of our pain, only results in a further pain. We are motivated by our need to belong to something, and to turn from G-d would only add salt to the wound. 

We already learned that to express unity in a trying time brings G-d tremendous joy, so we unify. When the heat is on, all pretenses fall and we uncover our soul connection to our brothers. We already always respond to all terrible news with increased acts of goodness and kindness. And yet despite all our growth, we still fumble when it hurts. We still cry out in anguish, wondering if we’re heard. We still try to mop up the mess, not quite sure how it got there. 

What is going on in our relationship with G-d? How do we feel safe with such an Awesome and Powerful G-d? Where is the security in knowing our fate is in His hands? 

Maybe before we look towards G-d, we ought to look deeper into ourselves... 

In numerous places the Torah compares our relationship with G-d to a marriage. In this relationship, he is the spouse that’s looking for validation. When he sends us nice weather, keeps the economy in check, gives us our health, we take Him for granted. We begin to expect to wake up to all these nice things, and forget to acknowledge that He did them, because He loves us. 

And then tragedy strikes, as is the way of the world – and suddenly G-d begins to notice a more attentive spouse in us. Suddenly, Synagogues are filled. Prayer books fly open, and coins rattle in charity boxes worldwide. 

We’re not sending a very good message. 

Whenever things are good – we neglect to praise G-d for all He does. But then when things are bad, He is showered with our love, devotion, and faith. With all the good that comes out of negative situations, it’s no wonder they occur so frequently. 

 It’s just bad psychology. We’re reinforcing G-d’s negative behaviors. 

What if we turned things around? What if we responded to every good occasion with something positive? What if we whipped out our prayer books when someone had a baby, or got married? What if we gave charity every morning, just because the sun was shining? Just because there was food on the table and we were able to put it there? 

 How would the world change if we stopped strengthening our faith in G-d only when the earth rumbles beneath us? What if we offered validation for the things that gives Him pleasure to do, not only in the things that pain Him too? 

It seems useless to beg Him to stop, because no matter how many times we do – pain still finds its way into our lives. It seems useless to tell Him how much we believe in Him, because it’s past the time that he wants to hear it. 

What if we took a more proactive approach? Instead of waiting until He is let down by our neglect, let’s beat Him to the punch: the next time you hear something positive, a good piece of news, respond in kind. Encourage good karma. 

We need to show G-d that we love him always

That it is not only in bad times that we remember His name.

 May Hashem comfort the mourners amongst the mourners in Zion and Yerushalayim.