What do most parents want for our children?
I can only speak for myself – I want for my daughters what I want for myself. That we can live a Torah (i.e. Ten Commandment) centered life. Isn’t that what Moshe told us in the portion Yitro. My daughters are now 50 and 47. Young parents have the opportunity to do what I failed to do when my kids were young.  It’s much harder now if not impossible to do what needed to be done a long time ago. But those days are gone and we can’t turn back the clock.  However, the wonderful thing is that our God will do with us what He did with our forefathers. He allowed them to make their mistakes and because they were WILLING He kept them on the right track. If anyone refuses to stay on God’s track then there are consequences. Ouch …they hurt but mistakes are not bad IF WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM. The secret lies in acknowledging what we do wrong and doing something to make it right.  If it’s beyond our ability to do that, we can bring it to our Boreh Olam.  He is able to help us do the impossible.
Here is the challenge for us. Moses heads up Mt Sinai. It’s a real place and it really happened. There is archaeological proof. We don’t need to accept that as faith-emunah. We can move immediately to bitachon – trust. When Moshe came down that mountain and handed US  the Ten Commandments,  he knew immediately that we would fail. But the fabulous advantage that you, and I have is that aside from the two I mentioned ..emunah and bitachon, we have been given an amazing gift, ‘free will”. . I don’t know if we’ve really thought about free will – bechirah chofshit.  You and I can choose what to think and what to do… even if we do not live in a totally free society.
Moshe said Shema Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad. Hear oh Israel. When we are not hearing those who really love us, to whom will we listen? I have been battling with tremendous guilt and blaming myself for the problems in my daughter’s lives. I had to look back at my past, with the help of rabbi, in order to  see things for what they were and what they are now. Believe it or not the Ten Commandments help me make choices. I have learned to honour my parents in death if I didn’t always honour them in life. What I want for my girls is the honour their parents that they may be long upon this land…not for me but for them.
Young parents, even older parents..if you do not insist on teaching your children respect for their elders, for their parents and teachers and above all respect for the Crestor…to me they will lose the battle with the rest. It is the 5th, the middle and the pivotal commandment. I am so blessed to be part of a congregation where we are teaching each other how to live according to the Ten Commandments…that’s what sets us apart from all the other communities. We want to live it not just talk the talk or want to follow rules. We are a unique community and we are on a bandwagon which allows us to move  forward and upward. All we need to do is ‘shema’ – listen which also means to obey and to take action…to be responsible to ourselves and to those around us.  That’s what I want for my children. In they will grow up to be the best of who they are, who God made them to be.

Imagine writing a blog at the age of 70!  I can remember getting our first tv when we lived on Esplanade. I was 6.  Where did the time go?

Well we have just finished these Holidays of Hanukkah, through Christmas and New Years 2018.  We live in a world where the latter two reign yet like Joseph who always kept his identity, I want to do the same. I didn’t always.  Growing up I never really knew my identity.  You see my parents were rarely home to help form what we kids need to grow up feeling safe.  Some people never feel safe because either the world they live in is far too dangerous or others like my generation who grew up after the war, with one eye looking back at the pain and the other eye looking forward to the hopes of what could be.  A friend of mine, Miriam says it’s because we weren’t licked enough.  They found that out through puppy research. 

You know what!  We are so spoiled in this country;  We haven’t had to fight for anything really, only ourselves.  We don’t know what it means to spend two years in the woods starving while running and hiding in the cold from the Nazis.  I think of that every night when I get into a hot bath and a cozy bed after having eaten whatever and how much food I want.  Thank you God above for that.  The times ahead I am not so sure of but that’s not in my hands. I can only handle what is given for today.  The rest I have to leave up to the Bore Olam.

These last two weeks have been wonderful for me.  I have had the time to contemplate  about how grateful I am for all that I have and how far I have come in finding my own small place in the world.  I am excited that I can learn something new each day.   I think that the changes within are so much more important than trying to change the outside.  We can become so obsessed with how we appear to others outwardly that we can forget something so important. What counts is what is inside. If we just work on that, the rest follows suit.

I meet some people daily at the Residences for the Elderly where I sing and no matter what has happened to their outward bodies, their soul within beams outward like a light. When I see that, there is a joy in me that is inexplicable.  That’s the joy I get when I sing songs and tell stories that awake the spirit within.  That’s my calling.  I believe that we each have a calling on our lives and the only way to connect with it is to listen to the voice within that is from comes from our Creator.  Noah heard it; Abraham heard it; Moses heard it and I believe that I heard it.  We don’t all have stories written about us and we don’t all have to be famous outside our own circles.  We each have a circle of influence within which we have a chance to make a difference.  What difference will I make today?  For one person, for two people or for one thousand.  Does it matter as long as it makes the world a better place?

There are a lot of people who are trying to make the world a worse place.  They are very noisy and seem to having a great impact upon our society but if you are one of those people who care about making a difference, I think there is still time. That’s being a true Shomer Torah – keeper of the Commandments.   

I will make no new year’s vows because the Torah says not to swear about doing something because they are some things that we won’t be able to  keep.  “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” said Rabbi Yeshua.  That’s good advice.  I can remember riding home in my car, seething at the hypocrisy of the President of an organization I once worked for. I cursed him out loud and immediately called my rabbi to annul that vow.  Thank goodness I had that option.  Sounds crazy, I know, but I think that if that’s what it says in the Torah, then it’s good enough for me.

Let us spend our days confronting our issues, dealing with them, asking for help and beginning each day anew. Happy Roman New Year 2018.

So many people were excited about the blood moons and that each of the Holidays had a lunar eclipse. I am certainly a person who is always looking for signs and to me this phenomenon was a display from haShamayim, the heavens for us to marvel at. As I watched the moon slowly disappearing behind a dark shadow, I wondered what our Creator was trying to tell us. Then I thought of our Sukkoth celebration that same afternoon. We gathered branches, decorated the Sukkah, sang, rejoiced, waved the lulav and the etrog and feasted. What a magnificent day!

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Shalom my friends: I wish you all the covering of our Creator during this coming year. May He bring sweetness, shalom and all the desires of your heart into your lives as we honor and are obedient to His call on our lives. Let us shine the light of Torah in a world that seems to be going mad once again. May our names be sealed in His Sefer ha Chaim.

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There is something that connects people to each other from all cultures and all walks of life no matter how rich or poor. I have met a lot of people in my life and there are always those who stand out in the crowd.

One such a person is Faigie who I met at Maimonides and from the first moment, we clicked.  Another is Wanda and and another Rosa. All these ladies are in their 90s and they all survived the Holocaust. Each has their story about survival at the greatest of odds and they all believe in miracles.

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Yom Atzmaut Sameach 5775

Listen to Peggy

Tikvah Peggy's first CD, Tikvah, is now available.

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Songs to Soothe the Soul

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