My Personal Shtetl

My Personal Shtetl

Yesterday I was passing through Nachlaot’s Charedi section when I saw Mali standing beside a two-foot-high pile of white men’s shirts with her finger on the trigger of a bottle of St. Moritz oven cleaner.

I stood watching her for a moment, and then I got it. “You are cleaning those shirts with oven cleaner?”

Mali looked up at me with a wide smile that looked half embarrassed and half proud.

“Yes, my sister told me about this, and it keeps the shirts white as snow. Fairy dish soap is also good, but for tough stains like this,” she pointed to her husband’s ring around the collar, “first you spray on the oven cleaner, then you let it stand for ten minutes, and then you wash the shirts in hot water.”

At that moment my friend and Mali’s next-door neighbor, Tsippy, walked by. “Have you heard of cleaning white shirts with oven cleaner?” I asked her.

“Beeeetaaaach! I also do! We are neighbors!” she answered with a chuckle.
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This morning I was waiting to cross the street when the rugelach guy’s mother walked up.

“Hello! How are you?” I asked her.

“Praise G-d! OK!” she answered. “How old is your baby now? Let me see him…”

And then she peeked into Yaakov’s carriage, and she licked her index finger and wiped it on Yaakov’s forehead and said, “May he be guarded from the evil eye!”

“What did you just do?” I said, a bit surprised.

“We are Chalabim, from Aleppo, so that’s how we do it. I learned it from my mother and she learned it from her grandmother… My friends and I all do it that way, ben Porat Yosef!”
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I am reading a new book. A JewishMOM from Petach Tikva mentioned it in a comment on one of my articles.

I am watching an inspiring video. A JewishMOM from the Czech Republic recommended it to me.

I am trying out a new parenting technique. A JewishMOM from Florida said it worked wonders for her.

Once upon a time, being a mom was a communal activity. We mothered our children and ran our houses with the support and shared wisdom of neighbors and relatives close and distant—like Mali in her Yiddishe shtetl and the rugelach-guy’s mother in her Syrian one.

But I don’t live like that. My family is across the ocean, and most of my life is spent behind my locked door alone with my kids. Which means that motherhood is often a solitary, even lonely pursuit.

And that’s big reason why I treasure this website so much… Thank you, JewishMOMs, for being my neighbors and friends to share tips and wisdom and inspiration together in this cyber-shtetl called JewishMOM.com!

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13 comments

  1. Lovely, Our community of fellow women create a better world everyday

    • Moishela's Discussion on Donald Trump

      BS”D
      Discussion with Moishela (with his family)
      A Handicapped child
      28 Nisan 5776 (May 6, ‘16)

      “It Is TRUTH!”

      Mommy, There will be big revelations this coming week. Most people won’t understand what they are hearing or seeing but there will be enough people that will understand. The world is in great danger. The drums of war are heard everywhere. Worldwide we see countries pulling out their most deadly weapons and exhibiting them together with their armies marching in formation to the sounds of war. The rattling of missiles, beating of the drums is happening in almost every country of the world. While most of the people stop and scratch their heads trying to figure out why in the world everyone is talking about war. It’s not clear in any way what the reasons are for countries to go to such an extreme. But the world has bowed its head and just let the Reshoim continue their plans to take over all of the world and march most of humanity directly to their death.

      This coming week should reveal more of their plans. The people of America are trying to make Donald Trump their president in order to overcome the shackles that have been put on them by the Reshoim or socalled popular vote of the people of the United States. I doubt very seriously if there will be an election at all.

      Hashem is going to bring upon the world such an enormous tragedy, such an enormous test for the righteous and those who want to be righteous, that in all history, since man was created, no test, no spiritual test has ever been so difficult.

      But Hashem is preparing us for it. He created us and He knows who will pass and who will fail, Chas Vesholom. However we don’t know what the outcome will be. So, Am Yisroel, hold on tight to your Emunah and Bitachon in Hashem. Hold on tight to your Davening and to our customs, our learning Torah, to everything that makes us Yidden. Hold onto your outward Tzniusdik look of a Yid. Hold on with all your heart, your soul and your might so as not to be blown away by the incredibly strong winds of destruction that will destroy most of the world. There will also be fire and water together with the wind that will destroy two thirds of our planet eart.This is not a joke, it’s not made up. It is Truth! It’s not a movie or a story written in a book. It is the Truth! One day soon we are going to realize that it is Truth. I hope for all Am Yisroel and for all the righteous Goyim that accept the Truth that we survive this most difficult time and live on to achieve eternity.

  2. Beautiful, Chana Jenny! Just a word of caution- keep the oven cleaner away from the kids- it can cause serious burns, chas veshalom!

  3. Some Mama Advice shared from Tzfat. That St. Moritz stuf (not the 4-letter S word I really mean) is capital T TOXIC TOXIC TOXIC! It will burn through skin and should never be inhaled or even used. Putting it on clothes that will be on family members’ skin is mot safe. Please tell your friend! White collars are not as important as safeguarding the health of Imas and family members!

    • JewishMom

      thanks for the advice nili. Also, nice to meet you a few weeks back in Tsfat!!!

  4. Beautiful post. Very touching. On the side, I must say, one area I let go of is pre treating clothes before washing: they get stained again!!!! I invest the extra time in ironing, that always looks good!
    I relate to you CJ, my family is also on the other side of the world….

    • JewishMom

      my secret to keep things clean is that I have all young children wear long-sleeved aprons at Shabbat meals.

      • Really??!! That’s amazing. I’m still struggling to get them into their shirts…. They win.

  5. Hadassah

    I am really curious about the oven cleaner – it doesn’t make holes in the shirt? I am sure there isn’t any harmful residue left after washing in hot water. We aren’t spraying it on the shirt while it is being worn! And just like our other cleaning products – it should be kept out of reach of even toddlers that climb on chairs or counters! Bleach is also poisonous, but I’m sure women don’t hesitate to use that.
    I think Shabbos robes are a great invention At least for the girls, boys wear white shirts that can be treated! When we got home from shul – the fancy outfits came off and the Shabbos robes came on for the meal. I like the long sleeves on the bibs but until what age do your kids wear them?
    This blog does feel like extended family. One big Jewish family with older and younger sisters all reaching out to help each other.

  6. Moishe'la has spoken again!

    BS”D
    Discussion with Moishe’la (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    Tishrei 13 ’5774 (Sept 16 ’13)

    “Time to Go back to the Shtetel”

    I want to tell you that I feel very strongly that we are going to soon experience some very amazing and frightening happenings in the world. We may see little happenings in Eretz Yisroel, but mainly now I feel it’s going to be in the outer world beyond the borders of Eretz Yisroel.

    I want to tell you Mommy and Tatti that we must – that is Klal Yisroel – must remember “Kedoshim Tehiu”. This is the entire secret for doing complete Teshuva. I feel that this particular thing has been forgotten, for the most part, in Klall Yisroel. It’s terrible to walk down Rechov Rabbi Akiva in Bnei Brak, or Malchei Yisroel in Yerushalayim, or even the famous center of the Frumest of the Frum, Meah Shearim in Yerushalayim, and to see how the Kedusha and the Tznius has deteriorated. For certain in New York; Boro Park, Seagate, even Williamsburg etc. Monsey, Lakewood wherever you choose, all over the world the Tznius has gone so far down, and no one realizes what’s happening. They forgot that it’s not considered Tzniusdik to see a woman’s body moving along, fighting with its covering to stay in place.

    No one seems to realize that most of the Rabbonim, in Eretz Yisroel at least, have said that you can’t wear stretchy clothes like lycra or tee shirt material. But we ignore all of this, and we decide that the sleeve could be just under the elbow. Of course when you lift your arm, it goes way higher than that, and the tight skirt could be just below the knee, and when you sit down, well I won’t go into that.

    And how can such women who go to work in all kinds of offices with their long Sheitels and their made up faces? How can they support a Talmid Chachom? They are Baalos Aveiros. Just by walking down the street they catch the attention of many Yingerleit, and this is a big Aveira.

    The money that they earn to support their husbands who are Talmidei Chachomim is worth nothing, and if anything it brings their husbands down.

    So you might say there are other women that do dress Tzniusdik, but we forgot what Tznius is. And even if their clothes are a bit looser, their Sheitels look and are real hair. And as they walk along the streets the fact that they feel like their heads are uncovered with beautiful stylish hairdos which even if they are simple, are still chic, this gives a feeling of freedom; of not being married. And there are some women that have Sheitels that are very old-fashioned so-to-speak, and these old-fashioned Sheitels give a hechsher to all the fancy Sheitels, because a Sheitel is a Sheitel – you are wearing a Sheitel. You feel you are allowed to wear any kind of Sheitel, and it’s very interesting how many Sheitels have hechsheirim. I can’t understand what hechsher could be on a Sheitel. There’s not even a way to know if it’s Indian hair or not, but I think most of us have forgotten about the problem with Avodah Zarah in the Indian hair, and it makes no difference to anyone anymore even though it’s still a very big problem. And there are many Yingerleit that enjoy the fact that their wives are being looked at by other men. It makes them feel proud that they have such a “Barbie doll wife”.

    Well all I can do is sit and cry. This is why we have so many problems in our marriages today, and why we have so little Kedusha in our community, and why Yiddishkeit is basically falling apart. You can’t make your own rules and regulations. You can’t make a Jewish home look like a Goyisha one except, that you keep Shabbos and Yom Tov etc, or your husband goes to learn in Kollel. It’s just not enough. And the children even if they have long Payos, and seem like good Chassidisha little kids, the Gashmius has gone into their minds and into their hearts and they don’t go so deeply anymore into the truth. And this is all over the world now, because once you had Polish Jews and had German Jews and American Jews and so on, and there were places that were less Frum and more Frum, but now everything has gone down and everything is on the same low spiritual level. It’s not like it used to be.

    There was a time when Yidden, maybe not all Yidden, but many Yidden knew what Kedusha meant. They were careful in every way, because only someone with Kedusha can get close to Hashem. The Gashmius which produces the lack of Tznius, and the fact that many of us act like Goyim, brings us way down instead of being able to go up, because Kedusha makes us spiritually light, and we can rise higher and come closer to the truth. But Gashmius makes us heavy, with the pleasures of the Olam Hazeh.

    But people will argue with me, “But we are Tzniusdik and it’s not true,” but the people who argue are not Tzniusdik, and the people who try to be Tzniusdik will never argue. They’ll only try harder, try harder to come close to Hashem. It cannot be that a person who doesn’t even know what Kedusha means, can come close to Hashem. You can’t sit around, couples men and women talking and schmoozing in your bungalow colonies, and come close to Hashem. You can’t go to movies or see videos and come close to Hashem. You can’t have parties with frivolous speech and singers imitating the jazzy and rock n’ roll movements and get close to Hashem. You can’t run from pizza store to falafel store sitting, guzzling, laughing, and come close to Hashem. You can’t sit in restaurants where everybody can look in and see just exactly how you’re eating and think that if you wash your hands and make a Brocha first and Bentch at the end you’re OK. It’s like eating in the marketplace. It’s like vomiting on the table. It’s not OK. You can’t come close to Hashem, and it goes on and on.

    I can’t even begin to tell you what’s wrong because there is so much to say. The Yeshivas, Hashem Yishmor, have many Bochurim that have a total lack of understanding of what Kedusha is all about and quite a few of the Bochurim are involved with many not Torahdik things that if they would be revealed would make many Yidden just sit down and cry at the failure of this generation to educate the Yeshiva Bochurim. You do have good Bochurim but it’s very hard to be a good Bochur when so many open attitudes prevail. And as far as Bais Yaakov goes, most of the girls come out shallow and superficial, without being able to comprehend anything deeper than the material shallowness they have been engulfed with.

    They are always a few that manage to break through, and find the truth, and are willing to go against society to hold on to that truth. Those are the ones that will have it the easiest now. Those are the ones that will just slide into the Geula with an easy movement. All the rest that are real Jews, real Jewish Neshomas, will have to suffer very much because they just don’t understand. Because it will be so difficult for them to be able break away from all the Gashmius and stupidity in their lives.

    I really have not covered the subject, but there is not too much more that I feel like saying. Any Emesdik person knows that what I’ve said is correct, and I can relate many more examples than I have given. So please Klal Yisroel –do Teshuva!

    Come back to the truth.
    Come back to the Emes.
    Go back to the way it was once.

    I am not talking about going back to the time of the Haskolah movement. I’m talking about going back to the Shtetel, I’m talking about the real true Talmidei Chachomim like the Talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, of the Gra, or the Talmidim of the Arizal etc.

    Am Yisroel. Build a Yiddisha Shtub a true Bais Mikdosh Mi’at, and I beg you do it fast because time is running out.

  7. to Moishe'la

    כל כך מדוייק מה שמויש’לה כותב לנו.

    למי שיש לב זה גם מפחיד ומעורר אותנו לתשובה אנחנו חייבים את זה..

    מוישל’ה אתה צודק !!! גם פה בארץ אנחנו שבויים,

    אני שומעת הרבה , יהודים יקרים ,מכל המגזרים,

    ואפילו חוזרים בתשובה זה מקרוב באו, ברגע שהתחתנו הביאו צאצאים,

    מה שנקרא בנו את ביתם, הגשמי והרוחני מתעסקים בכל הדברים שהסיטרא אחרא מציע,

    ולצערינו גם שכחו את הקדוש ברוך הוא!!!!

    גם שכחו את התורה והמצות כמו לדבר אמת,

    לקיים שבת, כשרות, וטהרת המשפחה!

    מדי פעם נזכרים ואומרים בעזרת השם. במיוחד לחומר.

    אבל ידוע מה שחכמינו אמרו לנו לדור האחרון הזה, שבסוף הסיטרא אחרא יוציא את

    את כל הכלים, ומי שיהיה בירושלים הכוונה גם בנשמה.

    קדוש יאמר לו . חזק וברוך.

    תמשיך להפיץ את זה, זה כל כך אמת וחזק. תודה מלכה (רחובות)

  8. Moishe'la has spoken.

    BS”D
    Discussion with Moishela (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    Teves 8 ‘5774 (Dec 10 ’13)

    “No One Can Enslave Us”

    Yes, I see very dark clouds on the horizon, very dark. I see great chaos everywhere. It is beginning. It is coming. It is coming from up. It is coming from down. It is coming from the left. It is coming from the right. It will come from the east, from the west, from the north, and from the south.

    We are in the end of times. We are at the point of no return. There will be no extra time given from Shomayim. There will be no softening of the Din. Whatever has to be, will be because now is the very end of times. We are going into the most difficult period that the prophecies, the Nevuas, have warned us about. It will be very frightening indeed, but Be’ezras Hashem those Neshomas that were at Har Sinai will be saved, as I have said before, but know it is getting worse and worse.

    The world in the past twelve years has changed not only politically but also in its natural shape. Islands have disappeared under the water. Terrible storms and earthquakes have changed our world completely. The terrible tsunami that hit Japan and destroyed the Fukushima atomic power plant has poisoned the Pacific Ocean, and the air above it with its radioactivity. Poisoning the Pacific Ocean and the air above it means poisoning humanity. We have suffered from Hurricanes like Sandy, hundreds of deadly tornedoes and all kinds of typhoons, and other types of terrible storms which have killed thousands, tens of thousands and even more. We have suffered from all kinds of terrible diseases which the medical profession doesn’t seem to be able to control. We have suffered from droughts, and from many unusual volcanic eruptions. Besides all that, we have been plagued by lies, the lies of the rich the ones controlling the monies of the world. We have actually become the victims of thievery in the greatest way. “Just take whatever you want from our bank accounts whenever you feel like it, Mr. President of the bank!”

    We have lost our so called democracy and we have become slaves. And if you think you’re not a slave, I’m telling you that you are, unless you hold on tightly to our Torah and all that has to do with Yiddishkeit. If we hold tightly to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, we will never be slaves. If we will be only with Hakodosh Boruch Hu, no one will be able to enslave us, and that’s what I’m telling you.

    That’s what this message wants to tell you – that most of the world has been enslaved. You can feel the ropes tightening around your wrists, around your legs, around your neck. You are slowly being put into a prison, a prison that will control every part of your life. However, if you hold onto Hashem and do His Ratzon, you will never be a prisoner. You will always be free. Even though these Reshaim are slowly but surely controlling the world, you will not be a slave if you hold on to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Then when the right moment comes, Hakodosh Boruch Hu will wipe the Reshaim out of existence and leave us in peace. And we will continue throughout all eternity together with our Hakodosh Boruch Hu, who is our Creator, our Father, our everything.

  9. Moishela

    BS”D
    Discussion with Moishela (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    24 Adar 2 5774 (March 25,’14)

    “Achdus Is To Be One With Hashem”

    I want to tell you something very important. I want to tell you that the only way that we are going to survive this terrible time before Moshiach brings us to the Geula Sheleimah is by having Achdus, and Achdus is to be one with Hashem. Those so-called Jews that do not want to be one with Hashem cannot have Achdus with Jews that have chosen to have Achdus with Hashem, His truth, and His Torah. The Olam Habah of Moshiach that Hashem has promised us will not be able to accommodate the Apikores the atheist the Erev Rav the Jew-hating gentile, the Amalak, the Helininst etc. Therefore I beg all true Jews to band together and separate ourselves from the evil ones. We must stop mixing with them because their distorted Judiasim could rub off on us and our very spiritual and physical existence can be endangered. We can be polite to them, but they are not part of the truth. We can’t mingle with them because it makes us become like them. It rubs off and therefore this is not what Achdus is.

    Achdus is to be one with Hashem. That means Am Yisroel must be one with Hashem. On Har Sinai when Hashem lifted the mountain over our heads and we said Na’aseh Venishma, that was Achdus. Only that Achdus will save us. Therefore I don’t know how many Yidden will be left to greet Moshiach. However those that will be left will be those that stood at Har Sinai, and said Na’aseh Venishma, and that is the true Achdus, and we will do the same thing. We won’t be standing at Har Sinai, but we will be standing together and we will say again Na’aseh Venishma. We will say Shema Yisroel and we will be one, one nation together with the one and only G-d, the Hakol Yachol, the Ribbono Shel Olam and then we will be ready to become true and eternal Bnei Chorin.

    I am very worried about Am Yisroel because I know that as of right now we don’t really have this kind of Achdus, Hashem Yishmor. Some of us have Achdus with the Egel HaZahav, and a bit with Hashem, and some have Achdus only with themselves and their desires, even though they are considered Chareidi Jews and dress like Chareidi Jews. Boruch Hashem, there are still some Jews that are really looking for truth and are trying to have this kind of Achdus. But the Frum society all over the world has broken up into groups. It’s not one Am anymore. It’s this one with this Rebbe and that one with the other Rebbe or with this Rav or with that Rav. Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Chassidish, Litvish, Taimani, etc. everyone with their own little groups and unfortunately those little groups have become the whole world for each one of their members, and therefore it’s hard to have Am Yisroel Echad, and very many times in these Chareidi groups, their connection with the group becomes almost an Avodah Zorah, Shelo Naida. And therefore, there will come a time where all the Sheker will disappear and those who are seeking truth will come together Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Chassidish, Litvish, Taimani, etc. We will come together as one. Until that happens we can’t have the Geula Sheleimah, but it will happen soon, and it will happen suddenly, but I don’t know how many will be part of that group that will enter into the Geula Sheleimah alive.

    I cannot tell you how many nights I don’t sleep over this just thinking how many Jews are going to fall by the way because they really don’t have the souls of Yidden, but Erev Rav. It’s so hard to know who they are, especially if they are considered Frum Yidden. Still this is the fact and this is the way it is going to be. I have to remind you that it doesn’t mean that any Jew that Chas Vesholom, is Niftar before the Geula Sheleimah, is an Erev Rav. No we’ll know at the end who the Erev Rav are and their death will be much different than a regular one.

    But I cry at night many tears because I feel that there will be a comparatively few Jews that will actually greet Moshiach Tzidkainu. I hope and pray that I am totally wrong about this.

    I want to say that I am so glad to have spoken today because I really was suffering last night. Tonight it should be easier.

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