I’m an Orthodox Jewish Female Singer Despite All the Challenges

I am thrilled to see a growing number of frum female role models: strong, inspiring women who balance their faith, families and career with grace and beauty. Recently, I helped edit and write this article, authored by the singer Franciska, and am happy to share it below;

I’m an Orthodox Jewish Female Singer Despite All the Challenges

Growing up, I always thought that I’d be a businesswoman. I imagined myself as some sort of high-flying entrepreneur.

When I was a little girl in Moscow, I sold things like school supplies, accessories, and snacks to my peers. By the time I was in high school, I had already started teaching guitar to younger kids.

This helped when it came to studying; if I just translated a math problem into a business or money question, I could solve anything.

I was educated in the arts. I started learning to play the piano at the age of six, and then I added guitar to my portfolio by the time I was 12. I danced, sang, and acted in the children’s ensemble “Ilanit,” a dance, vocal, and drama group where we represented our school in Moscow. We had practice several times a week and traveled nationally and internationally to perform.

Music, culture, and the arts were a significant part of my upbringing and environment, but it was like this for every child in Russia.

I was raised in a religious home. My parents moved to Moscow to help rebuild Russian Jewry after the Communist regime fell to the ground. As a child, I performed for mixed audiences of both men and women, but once I turned bat mitzvah age, 12, my audience shrunk to just the female population.

At the time, I never realized that I would later put my musical education to good use and become a recording artist exclusively for women.

I started to compose tunes to the pesukim of the megilot and Torah portions we learned in school. Soon, requests came in to write music for Jewish texts that others connected to, and I was encouraged by the positive response I received.

When I was 20 years old, I put out my first album. I got married and had the support and enthusiasm of my new husband to spend some of our wedding money on this project.

I really liked how the album came out and decided that I wanted to keep making music. It’s five years later and I’ve produced five albums. During this time, I also fell in love with making inspiring music videos, and have released 12 so far.

Six months ago, in the middle of all my musical endeavors, I gave birth to my first child, a daughter.

These days, I perform at women-only Jewish events and DJ at bas mitzvahs. I still love to teach as well, so I am starting a mentorship program. I‘m going to coach girls on how to record songs and make music videos. This opportunity is available to anyone in the world.

My main desire is to help girls cope with the hardships of youth. I want them to grow up with a developmental and unique experience in the arts.

I am currently preparing to release my debut live show, an experimental one-hour piece titled “Reinvention,” which will take the audience on a journey through my songs and how they became a part my life. As I assess this project, a bit of the businesswoman persona creeps back in and I start to think about the issues with the industry I’m in.

The hours are long, and quite often I have to stay up through the night, working on various projects and brainstorming ideas. There’s also very little stability, which makes my life stressful.

Being an Orthodox Jewish woman who only sings for women adds another layer of difficulty. The market is so limited, under budgeted, and divided. It makes work an uphill battle, but my life revolves around composing, recording, producing, and performing. I am determined to find a way to make it work.

Sometimes, it’s easy to want to give in: I was raised to do things professionally and reach for a higher standard. It seems like the more I try, and the more I spend, the less return I see. It’s driving me a little mad, but I will never give up on my dream.

I have a mentor, Rifka Harris, who is a dear friend and mother of Abby Harris, a 12- year-old pianist who played and harmonized on one of my recent releases. Rifka has been invaluable in helping me navigate this challenging and frustrating lifestyle. She gave me an idea of how to connect my audience in a way that I am comfortable with. I’m shining a light onto others and focusing less on myself.

Thanks to Rifka, I have started a podcast, which is available on iTunes any podcast app, and my website. It’s called “The Franciska Show,” and on it, I interview women in the Jewish music business and the entertainment world. My purpose is to give exposure to these incredibly talented women and help transform and advance the market for music sung by observant Jewish women.

I release an interview once a week, and so far, I’m up to seven. It’s really interesting to hear stories from these amazing women. I learn about their backgrounds, struggles, and dreams, as well as the things that keep them going when life is hard. We also talk about the challenges that hold them back. I hope that this will be a powerful tool to drive change and provide opportunities in the world of arts for Orthodox Jewish women.

Despite all the drawbacks these women and I face, there is something so powerful, magical even, about music, especially Jewish music. I always find the strength to carry on no matter how difficult it is. When a fan reaches out and reminds me of how I have inspired her, I suddenly realize that it was worthwhile. It’s a beautiful moment when I remember my potential to inspire and transform with my original melodies to the ancient sacred texts.

As I look to the future, I find myself feeling slightly daunted by the projects that lie ahead of me. They won’t be simple, but I can say without a doubt that my hard work will pay off and at the end of the day it will be worth it.

I hope I can inspire others to follow their dreams, despite the challenges.

The article can also be found on Jewess Magazine:

https://jewessmag.com/2017/12/25/franciska-kay-orthodox-jewish-pop-star-making/

Gut Chodesh!

I have heard a lot recently about the solar eclipse, and even some interpretations saying that it’s concision with Rosh Chodesh Elul makes for an important and auspicious time for davening. Indeed, it is likely that there is some truth to this, but whenever I hear it, I think of this past Shabbes, when we blessed Rosh Chodesh Elul in shul.

As I clasped my siddur and begged G-d to bless us with an abundance of happiness and good news over this coming month, and of course the next year, I felt like I was alone in the world. I could hear distant sounds, and I could see vague shapes of Hebrew letters, but for a minute it was just G-d and myself.

I can’t believe we are already entering Elul again. Time has flown over the past year, and b’ezras Hashem, I have been blessed with many happy occasions, plenty of good news, and a great deal of success. But there have been challenges: illnesses: losses. I have struggled and fought to stand here before G-d and pray on Rosh Chodesh Elul, and I have made it.

Please G-d, may this month come to us and to all klal Yisroel for good.

Award Nomination!

B”H

I am exceedingly grateful to Mozer, the creator of an amazing blog named Hasidic for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Through poetry and musings Mozer has brought a number of fascinating discussions and questions to the forefront of my mind, and I would recommend his fantastic blog to all of my followers. Here are the rules of the award;

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Mozer asked me the following questions;

1. What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid of many things, from losing someone I love to being killed in a fire, but I suppose I am most afraid of change.

2. What are you most proud about yourself?
I’m not a proud person, but I am proud of what I’ve achieved over the past year or so, given the circumstances I’ve been living with.

3. If you can change something significant in your life, what would it be?
I would want to rid myself of the depression which has blighted my life for the past decade.

4.What was he silliest thing you’ve done?
Attempting to ice skate last year. It was one of the most painful and embarrassing things ever.

5. You eat heavy breakfasts?
No, I don’t.

6. If you need to do with less food or sleep which would you rather give up?
I would definitely give up the food. I want to lose weight and I need a lot of sleep to function.

7. If you can meet anyone that’s alive today, who would it be?
The person I love, who I haven’t seen for a few weeks and whom I already miss.

8. Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Definitely an introvert.

9. What is you best post (in your opinion) and why?
‘The Gift of Life’- later renamed ‘The Power of Saying Thanks’- because it was published by my favourite website, Chabad.org!

10. Do you get drunk ever?
Only if there’s a whisky kiddush at shul…

11. What inspires you?
The people around me who have kept going despite their hardships, and who have made me want to keep going, too.

Now for the eleven random facts about myself, which- believe me- I’d rather not share!

1. I want to get paid to write for a Jewish magazine or website.
2. I prefer being with a small group of people I trust than in a large crowd.
3. I only listen to Jewish music.
4. I study the Tanya every day but don’t feel I understand it.
5. I’ve changed my mind about marriage and want to get married soon.
6. I’m definitely addicted to Facebook.
7. I love going to shul on Shabbes.
8. My friends accuse me of acting like a stereotypical Jewish mother.
9. Have lived in the same house all my life.
10. I spend most of my time indoors.
11. I believe that prayer is a very powerful tool.

I would like to nominate another 11 blogs for the Liebster award so that they can take part, too.

1. Safek
2. Cooking For The Time Challenged
3. Kool Kosher Kitchen
4. Meir Weiss
5. Beauty Beyond Bones
6. Code In Fig
7. Vika Herbs
8. Coming Out Of The Exodus
9. Jewish Books Are Awesome
10. Rebecca Radish
11. Alicia

And finally, here are eleven questions for you to answer;

1. When did you start blogging?
2. Why do you write?
3. What is your favourite holiday or festival?
4. What is your greatest ambition?
5. If you could have any one thing what would it be?
6. What was the best day of your life?
7. What is your favourite season?
8. Do you enjoy reading?
9. What is your job?
10. What is your favourite recipe?
11. What makes you want to wake up each morning?

Thanks once again to Mozer for his nomination, thank you to all of my readers, and thank you to those who have inspired me to keep writing.

The Farewell Ceremony

On Shabbes, I had the privilege of reading a very interesting print out named “Here’s My Story”, which spoke of Yud Shevat, the day on which we commemorate the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe and the beginning of the leadership of the Rebbe. I found it both moving and inspiring, and for once I can’t think of any way I can add to or improve upon such a message, so I would simply like to share this link with my readers, courtesy of JEM, COLLive and my Chabad house.

Click here to read the story.

 

 

Nomination!

I admit that I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award before. But firstly, you can never have too many nominations, and secondly, the questions are totally different this time round, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m massively thankful to the wonderful blogger kawaiipeachgrl who nominated me- even after I totally forgot to nominate her the first time round! Thank you so much for doing this. I’m also thankful to Okoto Enigma for creating this fantastic award.

If I’ve nominated you, the rules are as follows;

List the rules.
Put the award logo/image in your blog.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees.
Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best posts

Next, I’ll answer Kawaii’s five questions for me, before introducing myself and posing my own questions to the nominees.

1. What is one place you would love to live in the future?

 
Central London. I know this sounds crazy, considering I already live there, but it’s the best. We have a great bus system, great tube system, loads of brilliant shops, free museums and galleries, and best of all my lovely shul.

 

2. How did you decide your blog name?

I’ll be honest. Ironically enough, I didn’t put too much thought into it! It was just “there”, on the tip of my tongue.

 
3. Do you have a favourite shop?

I do, actually. It’s this Judaica shop called Jerusalem the Golden. It sells Jewish books, gifts, cards and the suchlike. I’m also a huge fan of All Aboard charity shops as they support a number of great charities, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 

4. Whats your favourite make-up brand?

Make Up Academy by Superdrug. Great prices- just £1 for a lipstick, which is pretty great when you have a load of books you want to buy. I also love Max Studio (by TK Maxx, I believe)- their lipsticks are really long lasting so I often wear them on shabbes.

 
5. What’s your dream job?

Difficult one. If we’re talking fantasies, probably something to do with Chabad. More realistically, writing. So how about writing for Chabad (and to add another layer of fantasy, being paid good money to do it)?!

Next, 3 things about myself. Firstly, I’m an Orthodox Jew (who’d have guessed?!). Secondly, I live in London, England. And finally, although I love my blog, I do want to write professionally one day- as a journalist or author. Now for my five questions for the nominees;

1. What’s one small thing you’re thankful for?
2. Do you prefer books or music?
3. What’s your best tip for successful blogging?
4. What was the best day of your life?
5. Do you believe in a Creator?

And now, my ten nominees. I am very sorry if I nominated you before absent-mindedly; take it as a compliment, please. I’m also sorry if I forgot to nominate you. You can still do the award!

  1. Kool Kosher Kitchen
  2. Frummy Mummy
  3. Empress 2 Inspire
  4. Sableyes
  5. Vika Herbs
  6. Sabiscuit’s Catalog
  7. Coming Out Of The Exodus
  8. Tangible Triumph
  9. Cooking For The Time Challenged
  10. Rebecca Radish

 

 

And, the links to my ‘best’ posts (same as last time);

  1. Why Prayer Is So Important To Me
  2. Why Do I Write?
  3. The Rebbe’s Yahrzeit and the Mitzvah Of Torah Study

 

I hope I  haven’t forgotten anything. Thanks again to the wonderful Kawaiipeachgrl!

 

mystery-blogger-award

Blogging Award!

I never thought I was going to be nominated for an award of any sort, but I was reading my emails this morning when I opened one from WordPress, containing the latest article from Kool Kosher Kitchen, one of my very favourite bloggers. Towards the end of the email, my blog was nominated for the mystery blogger award. There are lots of rules which I barely understand, but I’m so grateful to her for nominating me that I’m going to have a go at it.

If I’ve nominated you, the rules are as follows;

List the rules.
Put the award logo/image in your blog.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees.
Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best posts

I’m going to put the image at the end (if I can work out how). First off, thanks to Devorah from Kool Kosher Kitchen for nominating me. She’s an excellent blogger, a great cook, and an aishes chayill. I’m also grateful to the exceedingly talented Okoto Enigma who created this award, the first award I’ve ever been nominated for!

Next, I’ll answer Kool Kosher Kitchen’s five questions for me, before introducing myself and posing my own questions to the nominees.

Rain, snow, or sunshine?

A while ago I would’ve said snow, but now I realise it’s just a nuisance. I’ll go for sunshine.

 
Three words that define your life?

I don’t know if these words have to be connected or not. I guess not. I have to choose ‘busy’. Also ‘religious’, because my life centers around my religion. And finally ‘turbulent’, because things have been turbulent lately.

 

Your favorite place (room, city, country, beach, forest, etc.)?

Without a doubt my Chabad house. It’s a synagogue, with a prayer hall and a sitting room and a few other rooms as well. I love the atmosphere there and I love going there every week.

 
Your favorite drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic!)?

Oh, I’m boring, so I’ll say water.

 
Your favorite type of music?

I used to love secular music, but I haven’t listened to a single secular (non Jewish) song in weeks. I’m kind of proud of that. I love modern Orthodox Jewish/Chassidic artists such as Shloime Gertner and Eitan Freilich.

 

Apparently, I’ve also got to tell my readers three things about myself. I really cannot sum myself up in three short sentences, but I don’t think anyone can. Firstly, my Judaism is the most important part of my identity. I wasn’t born into a religious family but I am now Orthodox. Secondly; I have only been blogging for a few short months, but I’ve always loved writing. And finally, for something less dynamic, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who reads my blog, both people I know in ‘real life’ and those who I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. I’m going to nominate ten such people now. Just over half these bloggers are Jewish, but believe it or not I can enjoy non Jewish blogs, too. I’ll be providing a link to their blog in the form of a hyperlink.

  1. Cooking For The Time Challenged
  2. Hasidic
  3. Salma
  4.  Alicia
  5. Bellezza Corner
  6. Sweta Ojha
  7. Frum Girl Musings
  8. Rebbeca
  9. Confessions of a Baal Teshuvah
  10. Frummymummy

 

Everyone whom I’ve nominated is a great blogger and their work is important to me in some way. If I’ve nominated you, you don’t have to do the award, but I’d love it if you could. Now for my five questions;

  1. What were you doing this time last year?
  2. What moment changed your life in an instant?
  3. Who do you owe the most to in your life?
  4. What is your favourite part of the week?
  5. What is your favourite recipe?

 

And, the links to my ‘best’ posts (though really, who am I to judge?);

  1. Why Prayer Is So Important To Me
  2. Why Do I Write?
  3. The Rebbe’s Yahrzeit and the Mitzvah Of Torah Study

 

I hope I  haven’t forgotten anything. Thanks again to Kool Kosher Kitchen and I hope the formatting isn’t too terrible!

 

mystery-blogger-award

Four Questions About Judaism

A student from the USA asked me four questions about my faith and customs. I found the questions extremely thought-provoking, and thought they’d make for an interesting blog post. With thanks to my interviwer, Matthew.

What sacrifices do you make for your faith?

I wasn’t born into a religious family, and when I became religious, I had to change my lifestyle, albeit gradually. I gave up many things, but becoming religious and doing ‘teshuvah’ (Hebrew for repentance) wasn’t as hard for me as it probably is for many people, as I had always had faith in G-d and tried to live in a way which would please Him. Common struggles and sacrifices which people encounter include dressing modestly and keeping the dietary laws named ‘kashrus’. Neither of these were a problem for me, but I do still make sacrifices for Judaism. Keeping shabbos- the day of rest, on which no work is permitted- was and still is very hard for me. It’s difficult to prepare everything when shabbos starts at 4 PM on Friday! Currently, I am struggling with the issue of secular music. Many Jews who belong to the Chabad-Lubavitch sect do not listen to non-Jewish music. I recognise the very valid reasons for this, and yet I am finding it difficult to give up secular music!

What religious rituals are a part of your faith?

Judaism probably has more rituals than any other religion. Our days are governed by laws, named halachos, and are filled with prayers, named tefillos. Festive meals to mark holidays are also a Jewish custom. Common foods include latkes (fried potato pancakes), salmon, chollah (braided bread), and a variety of meat and chicken dishes, including chicken and matzo ball soup. These massive meals are probably the reason why I always seem to be in the kitchen, and yet am always dieting. On the day of rest, shabbos, there are many rituals performed to observe and honour the day. These include ‘kiddush’- the blessing over the wine- the lighting of shabbos candles, and special morning prayer services. Giving charity, called tzedekah, is also a very important ritual.

How important is modesty to you?

This varies between sects, but among Orthodox Jews such as myself- particularly Chassidic Jews- modesty (called ‘tznius’) is exceedingly important. Countless books, articles and lectures have been written on the topic, but stringencies vary. The basic halachos for a woman or girl include wearing long sleeves which cover the elbows, a skirt or dress which covers the knees (no trousers!) and a top which covers the collarbone. Once married, a woman covers her hair with a wig (named a shaytel) or scarf. Some, such as myself, have additional personal customs, such as the wearing of thick stockings. For me, modesty means many things. It proves my love for, and devotion to G-d, and it also provides me with a sense of unity with other Jews. I don’t find the laws at all restrictive, and in fact I embrace them. I am proud and happy to be a Jewish woman who is tznius-observant.

What story or figure in the Torah is most important to you?

The Torah provides us with many inspirational and true stories, and many positive role models, which makes it incredibly difficult to choose just one. Many Jews would choose Avrohom (Abraham), one of the Patriarchs, who we read about in the upcoming Torah portions. Personally, I am inspired most by Moshe Rabbenu (Moses), and his faithful sister, Miriam. I find the story of Noah’s Ark- found in last week’s Torah portion- extremely inspiring, as it tells of righteousness in a corrupt world, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important to me. Instead, I’d probably choose the miraculous Exodus from Egypt (called ‘Mitzrayim’ in Hebrew) which we remember each year with the festival of Peysekh (Passover)!

Compassion, Love and Understanding: My Interview with Pam Warren, Train Crash Survivor

Pam Warren is a motivational speaker and an author. She is also the survivor of one of the most horrific and memorable train crashes in history. On October 5th, 1999, the world-famous rail accident at Ladbroke Grove killed 31 people and injured 523 more. Pam, who the British press dubbed ‘The Lady in the Mask’, due to the mask she had to wear during recovery from the accident, was seriously wounded and ended up in a coma. At one point her future was uncertain, but she did not only survive, but she turned her life around and has helped countless others do the same. Pam granted me the honour of interviewing her, and she answered these six questions in a tape which I listened to, enraptured. I decided that my audience would likely prefer a written article, and as such, I typed this transcript, which is, in my mind, secondary to the tape. I hope Pam inspires my readers as much as she inspired me, and I am incredibly grateful to both her and her assistant Jill for doing this.

 

On October 5th, you were nearly killed in a horrific train crash. Did that day change your beliefs and world-views in any way? If so, how?

 

Yes, the train crash did have a profound effect on me. In as much as before it happened, I was very much a person that was bought up in the Margaret Thatcher era, as in business was everything, making money was everything, and I hardly had any time for my family or friends, which is a source of regret for me. Once the train crash had happened, and I was recovering in hospital I had a little time to think and I suddenly realised the last thought that was going through my head at the time the crash was happening was ‘it’s not been worth it’. and what I’d meant by that was that the life before had not been worth it. I suddenly realised how superfulous that life was. I suddenly realised just how much time I’d wasted on pursuing the goal of money, and I made a promise to myself that if I survived, and recoverd well enough, I would change my whole attitude on life. And now I think I’m a much more gentle person. I always make sure thast my friends and family are given priority, and money is no longer my driver; I find that I get more pleasure from doing things that help other people and make an effect that’s a positive effect for somebody else. And that’s why I suppose I became a professional speaker, as that way I can pass on some of the experiences as well as some of the more pratcial strategies I learned to other people and try and get them to realise that you only get one life and it’s down to you to make the most of it. If you’re unhappy or you suddenly come to realise that there’s more to life than what you’ve got at the moment you need to take the steps thst are necessary to make those changes.

What do you think of the concept of miracles? Do you believe in them?


That’s quite a profound question, actually. I suppose I can’t say that I believe in miracles as immediately springs to mind, because for me miracles are tied up with religion and I’m not very good at organised religions. However, I do believe that life, the world and all you experience is all interwoven with unexplainable things. And quite often, some of those unexplainable things are good, and for the positive. So, yes, I do believe that things happen without you realising or knowing, but I don’t know how they happen or what i would call them. I’m pretty unsure but I do believe that they can happen and I also believe that if a human being has the right attitude or is seeking the answers in the right places they’ll often find them.So that could be something that pulls them out of the most desperate of times and yes, I do believe that we are here to endure and to excel, to do the very best we can and I do believe that there is something around that can help us. If I can give you an example I’ve heard quite often that lots of people- friends and family and others- they think they’re stuck in this mess and can’t see their way past or round it and all of a sudden something will happen that takes their problems away and then they can move on and to me that is a tiny ”miracle”. We can’t explain how it happened but then my thought processes then go, should we be trying to explain it? They’re there, they do benefit us quite often, and maybe we should just be thankful when they happen and accept them.

.

If you had one piece of advice to give the whole world, what would it be?


Definitely to love each other. I think we forget in this modern life that we all are human beings and it doesnt matter where we are in whatever pecking order or in what community or democracy or non democracy we live in we should always remember that we are all equal and we are all worth something so I would definitely ask the whole world to show a bit more compassion, love and understanding. I know there’s a lotof people who try to push that [message, and] I just wish more people would listen to it. I sometimes do despair abut what I see on the news or hear going on around the world and sometimes you feel powerless to change it but I think that if we all made just a small difference to the immediate few people we come into contact with that would then increase expotentially and maybe the world would become a kinder place.

What personal achievement are you the proudest of?


Oh, there’s a good question as well! I think actually recreating my life, that is a personal achievement that I’m very proud of. The fact that when I look back at what happened during the train crash, how badly hurt I was and the fact that my life was compeltetly ripped up and thrown away by those circumstances, I think that to come back from that and get to where I am now, and be trying to tmake a difference to other peoples’ lives, I think that is one my proudest I’ve always said that when the time comes for me to meet my maker, or to die the next time, what I’ll really be proud of was to be able to look back and think that yes, this time I made the most of what I had and I did some good along the way.

 

When someone says the word “gratitude”, what immediately springs to mind?


Definitely for me, thankfulness. We should always be thankful. In a way, although it’s difficult, you should be thankful when you open your eyes in the morning because you’re awake and you’ve got your health and you’re able to get up and start doing things! But I know that can be for some much harder than others. I always considered the word gratitude as meaning thankfulness and whether you do that silently or whether you do that verbally to somebody, or whether you do that through actions, that is definitely something I think we should all bear in mind. I actually joined an online group which calls for random acts of kindness and I like their philosophy in this group. It’s not a religion or anything; it’s just an online group that like minded people have joined, from around the world. where each of us every single day just tries to do one act of kindness, or to bring a smile to somebody’s face and again I think the world would be a much nicer place if all of us were doing it.

You are an author and a speaker. When you share your story and your thoughts, what are your aims and goals?


When I am sharing my story I’m using what happened to me more as an example. What I’m actually trying to do when I’m speaking is talk to people and say, ‘look, there are alternative ways of viweing things; there’s never one answer to one problem, or one obstacle, or one difficulty, there are a myriad of alternative solutions ways and round it’. This was somethign I  had to learn through my recovery and recreating my life and campaigning against the government. And you very quickly learn that if you’re open enough you can achieve almost anything you set your mind to, and that’s what I’m trying to share, and I then use the actual physical ”what happened” examples to then highlight for people how I then used the strategies I’m passing on to overcome obstacles that most people would find impossible to overcome. So that’s really my main aim and goal, it’s to pass on that knowledge. For some reason I feel it’s important to share what I know with as many as people as possible in the hope that it may make that positive difference in their lives or get them questioning things. I sometimes think again we’re brought up with too much conditioning; we should question more and we should query more and we shouldn’t always accept what the authorities or the law or what other people are telling us without that questioning…

 

Despite my earlier disclaimer about this article not fitting into the ‘Jewish’ title of my blog, Pam speaks of many overarching moral concepts that even some of the most righteous rabbis found difficult to grasp. Tikkun olam– mending the world- and chesed– loving kindness- are two central Jewish concepts which Pam excels in, proving that no matter what you believe in, so long as you understand the importance of kindness, you can make a positive difference to the world. Many thanks to Pam and Jill for this fascinating and life-changing experience!

 

Upcoming Blog Post: Survivor Interview

I have just finished listening to and transcripting a fascinating interview with Pam Warren, the survivor of a horrific train crash in Ladbroke Grove. Pam was christened ”The Lady in the Mask” by the British press and became something of a sensation as she selflessly fought for a proper investigation of the rail crash. She completely turned her life around, reshuffled her priorities, and became an author and motivational speaker. Together with her wonderful assisstant, Jill, Pam very kindly provided me with answers to my six questions. In fact, she didn’t just provide me with written comments, but instead taped a proper reply to each of my query. I preferred the tape to my transcript, to be honest, but I believe my readers would prefer written material, so I ended up typing it out, and will be posting it shortly please G-d.

Note: The interview isn’t at all related to Judaism, but this blog is a place for inspiration and Pam is an extremely inspiring woman!

Finding the Rebbe

This article is written by my friend Eitan; I simply edited it!

At the beginning of my military service I went to a doctor and he realised that I had a breathing problem (I felt it some years earlier but didn’t do anything about it). Then I was required to undergo a simple operation. After a long period of waiting they did the surgery and it went well, today I breath so much more easily! But while I was at home, recovering I had to occupy myself. I did many things, one of which was learning to play the guitar (amateur level). My mother had a coupon for a random book in a certain store at a local mall. She didn’t plan to use it, because she said that we had enough books. I decided to try and look for an interesting book. I drove to the store and didn’t find a good book, even though I really searched a lot. Then, I suddenly saw (Dr. Yehiel Harari’s) new book about the Rebbe! And I realized why Hashem sent me to the store in the first place. It was a new book and I was surprised to find out that it was on the shelf with the other coupon books. I bought it immediately and came back home with a giant smile…