Posted on

Mikvah Meets My Phobia!

Note: This article is in no way a general Halachic leniency, as it is about a specific individual with her own Psak. Please consult your personal Rav for any Halachic questions regarding your own Mikvah experience. 

If you are anything like me, and nearly 86% of American Adults, you likely have some sort of aqua-phobia. Like any phobia, there are different levels for a fear-of-water. Some people just cannot get water in their eyes and ears, whilst others have it so severe that they cannot even see a full bathtub without quaking.

But no one has a bigger problem with this phobia than the monthly Mikvah-go-er. And if ever there was something that ruined your day, this would probably top the charts.

HillsideMikva

Now I swim. In fact I love swimming…up until the water gets in my face. Funny in fact, is how I can swim a good 40 laps in a pool, but I cannot face the flow of water when I am in the shower. The slightest feeling that there is water on my eyes and near my nose makes me panic – cue nausea, sweaty palms, pounding heart and intense shakes.

But it never caused many problems until I started going to the Mikvah. At this point in my life, I have found several things that help keep me calm to be able to fulfill this Mitzvah, but it has not always been easy.

I used to just ‘sweat it out’ like many women. I am very open about my fear and you would be surprised by how many women I talk to, that actually confess to having this same problem.

Mikvah night used to mean a day of stress – including not being able to eat, nausea and shaking. But like any good Jewish wife, I had to do what had to be done. Until the time when I went to Mikvah and Hatzolah almost had to be called because I was hyperventilating….IN the water. That is right. 20 minutes to get 1 kosher dip (and there were 2 left to go). I had never cried so hard. I could barely choke out the Bracha. It took my husband hours to get me to calm down and I had nightmares for weeks.

That was when I got a hold of myself and said that is it. I put together a plan and spoke to my Rav and some kallah teachers and I cannot tell you in any words how different my Mikvah experience is now. But I hate keeping things to myself, so I want to share some tips with you now because although many of you might not have such severe fears, I am sure there are some of you who still shake and fast on the day of Mikvah, and not for religious purposes!

1:  CALL YOUR RAV or your kallah teacher. I was told that if for any reason a lady cannot dip 3 times (cold water, ear infection, phobia!) she only needs to do it twice. And I was told by another person that if I cannot even face 2, I only need to do it once. But again, of course you need a Psak for this.

Many times, I end up dipping 3 or 4 times but only 1 or 2 of those are kosher dips. Which brings me to…

2: Talk talk talk to your Mikvah lady. Tell her you have a phobia. Tell her what your Rav told you. Tell her that you will try to do 2 but you may only do 1 and that it may take a while to get those but she should please understand.

When I told this to the Mikvah lady the first time, she looked at me and said “so many people are scared, take your time for I am in no rush.”  She even took the time to show me how to stand to make it easier for me, how to put my hair and how to bend my knees efficiently.

3: Find a Mikvah that you are comfortable in. One of the reasons I had that major, life changing, panic attack was because I was in a new Mikvah and the lady had no time or patience. In fact, after 15 minutes she went to call another lady to ask her to ‘help’ me.

After that, I looked into Mikvah’s in the area and found one that had great reviews. I went there and have since, never gone elsewhere. The Mikvah Ladies are relaxed, calm and so helpful. In the water, they have a little hole in the wall that is filled with water so you can place your hand in there loosely and it supports you enough so that you do not feel like you are drowning.

4:  Take small sips of water whilst you are in the preparation room, as your mouth and throat can get dry and that can make you feel more nauseous and can make it harder to dip.

5: Invest in some bachs rescue remedy. It is an herbal remedy and, say what you want, it works! Whether it is just psychological or actually healing, it helps you to calm down. It relaxes you and stops the shakes.

And finally…

6:  Take your time! No one is rushing you. Not even your husband outside waiting in the car. Not the Mikvah lady, not the ladies in the waiting room and not G-d. You can be there for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. It is your Mitzvah, you have to feel comfortable and you have to do it in the one and only way that Hashem wants you to and that is for it to be Kosher.

So take a deep breath, you will be fine. And after this, it is over for a whole month!

Comments

comments

Posted on

Eyebrows

By: Vera Tovshteyn

The physical function of eyebrows is to prevent dirt and moisture, such as sweat,
from getting into our eyes. The aesthetic function, however, is to bring focus to
our eyes and to frame the face. Our cheekbones provide the lower frame, while the
eyebrows provide the upper frame to our eyes, making them the focal point of the
face. The shape and position of the eyebrows can alter our facial expression and the
way others perceive us.

As my former makeup instructor, Merideth, always said, “You wouldn’t put a Mona
Lisa in a poorly constructed frame, or one that is the wrong size for the painting.”
Having been fortunate to see the Mona Lisa this past summer, I thought that the
frame was just a bit distracting from the unexpectedly small masterpiece. But of
course, this is just an opinion. Examining further, I could not help but think that the
lack of visible brows attribute to the “mysteriousness” of her expression. Her point
was that no matter how well the makeup is applied, the eyebrows play a major role
in how your face looks, overall.

As far as perfect eyebrows go, one word that can describe them is “balanced”.
A woman whose eyebrows are too high appears to be surprised all the time.
Eyebrows that are too low give an illusion of sadness. If they are too arched, with
the inner brow that is very low, then a woman will have an angry expression. Too
thin – takes attention away from the eyes. Too heavy – distracting. And, finally, too
perfect – UNNATURAL!

The classic eyebrow shape is the one made famous by the Hollywood stars of the
1950’s, such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sophia Loren. All of them
proudly wore quite a strong, arched brow. While Hepburn and Loren’s brows were
not overpowering, Taylor’s black-filled brows were a part of her signature look.

The classic brow is considered to complement most people, which is the reason it
is “classic”. Think of it as a well-fitting black dress; when in doubt – that is what
you wear. However, one size and shape, obviously does not fit all! There are some
variations of the classic brow, which will flatter a woman’s face, depending on the
structure of its features. Below, I offer several tips on adjusting the classic brow
shape for your face:

1. Normally, a classic brow begins above the tear duct, or the inner corner
of your eye. If you have close-set eyes, make them appear wider apart by
slightly widening the distance between the brows (slightly is the key word
here). Either leave it to a professional aesthetician or pluck them yourself.
If choosing the latter, I suggest making marks with a pencil first, to ensure
symmetry.

2. Conversely, to visually narrow the space between the eyes, reduce the
distance between the eyebrows by slightly filling them in with an eye shadow
or an eyebrow pencil. The most natural way to fill in brows is by using very
thin, light strokes, as if you are drawing hair. You may want to practice
drawing hair on paper first.

3. The highest point of the arch is approximately above the outer edge of the
iris, when you are looking straight ahead. This too may vary slightly, but
usually only in the outer direction. I do not advise making the arch closer to
the center of the eye, or you will risk a clown or joker-like appearance.

4. It may seem obvious, but, just in case… if your face is small, you can keep the
shape but reduce the thickness, while someone with a larger face can carry
a stronger brow. The size of your eyes should also serve as a guide for how
thick or thin your eyebrows should be.

5. A curvy arch will look more flattering on ladies whose features are more
angular.

6. If your eyebrows are naturally very sparse or light, use the fill-in technique
described above. Always use light, feathery strokes in the same direction
as the hair growth. When filling the inner (thicker) half of the brow, your
strokes should be more vertical. As you reach the outer half (thinner), the
hair begins to grow horizontally. Consequently, your strokes should become
shorter and flatter as well.

7. When filling in brows, you have several product options. My favorite is an
eye shadow with a small, flat angled brush that I moisten with water. Another
option is an eyeliner pencil. In order to achieve natural looking eyebrows,
use a color that is a shade lighter than the hair (I actually like to use two
shades to give them a three-dimensional quality). Use neutral colors, such
as shades of beige and taupe that do not have any red pigment, as our brows
almost never have a red pigment in them. Many makeup companies carry
pencils and powders specifically designed for this purpose, in wide array of
neutral shades.

8. Brow gel is a product that may be useful to those with thicker or difficult-
to-manage eyebrows. The wand, which is just like the mascara wand, is for
brushing through and directing the hair in the desired direction. The gel that
keeps the hair in place can be colorless or tinted.

Although we should aim to make our eyebrows as even as possible, we also have
to consider the shape of the eyes, and the overall shape of the face. Sometimes the
two sides of the face are not exactly symmetrical, and that is where another one of
Merideth’s brilliant quotes comes in: “They’re not twins; they’re sisters!”

eyebrows picsdownloaddownload (1)

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.

Comments

comments

Posted on

Getting Closer – The Turnout with Photos

By Devorah Ascher

Raffle

Card

The moment that many had been waiting for, the second official Balaboostas.com event! Married women came together to hear Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, a respected psychologist who works with married couples on their quest to healthy intimacy. Rabbi Schonbuch’s new book, “Getting Closer”, brings up many issues that are common in Orthodox couples and he addressed some of them at the lecture.

Joined with Rabbi Schonbuch was his colleague, Dr. Rivkah Friedman, a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health and has helped many using pelvic floor therapy and other types of treatment for various issues that affect women. After the lecture, women had the opportunity to ask questions to both speakers, regarding their professional experiences in dealing with different topics and issues.

The event took place in the home of the Gutnick residence. Officiating the event, was Mrs. Fraidy Yanover, along with the founder of Balaboostas.com, Bracha Bard-Wigdor. “50 women showed up at the event itself and 58 women were signed into the live webinar, watching the lecture from all over the world, many whom were Shluchos! We got amazing feedback via anonymous surveys from the attendees…I couldn’t be happier with the turnout,” said Bracha. Three of Rabbi Schonbuch’s books were raffled off at the end of the night and healthy refreshments were served. After the lecture, forum members got to meet, socialize, and enjoy the end of a really informative event.

For the readers who want to attend the next lecture, you can subscribe to the emails on Balaboostas.com main page to be notified on future blogposts and events.

SpeltCake

HealthySnacks

TableSpread

Table

Room

WebinarHookup

Rivka&Yael

Speakers

WithdrawPursue

Questions&Evaluation

Q&A

GettingCloser

Rivka&Bracha

Devorah&Bracha

Photographs by Chana Lewis

*You can still sign up to listen to the recording. If you are interested, email Bracha at: balaboostas@gmail.com. As promised, photos of attendants are not included for privacy protection.

Comments

comments

Posted on

Homeopathy: What is it and How Does it Work? (Continued)

By Sara Chana, IBCLC, RH (AHG)

This is an exclusive article that was first published in the SELECT magazine. We reached out to Sara Chana to shed some light on this discussion that we had on the Forum: Do You Believe in Homeopathy? and she sent us this to publish here. This is part two, you can find part one here. You can hear more from Sara Chana on her Facebook and Twitter. You can also browse her website for more information about homeopathy. 

SaraChana

Homeopathic Remedies: What Are They Made From and What Do the Numbers Refer To?

Homeopathy takes different properties from nature (plants, minerals, bacteria and so on) and converts them into healing remedies.  For example, Belladonna is a poisonous plant that if ingested in its natural form, would cause the symptoms of fever, sweating, and dilated pupils; but if diluted and ingested in microscopic amounts, a person’s fever will subside and the person will get better. It is thought that the energy of the remedy collides with the energy of the illness and dissipates the imbalance.

During the process of making a homeopathic remedy, the natural ‘substance’—plant, mineral, bacteria and so on—is diluted many times and shaken repeatedly—succussed.  This liquid dilution is then poured over sugar pellets, which absorb the liquid, and when dried, they are put into a vial and labeled. On this label, you will find the name of the remedy, i.e., Belladonna and then a number and letter. The number and letter correspond to the remedy’s strength, or potency. The numbers range from 6x, 6c, 12c, 15c, 30c, 200c, 1M, to 10M. The number represents the amount of times the remedy was diluted and succussed. Although it is certainly counter-intuitive, the philosophy in homeopathy is that the more the substance is diluted the stronger it becomes. So, diluting the substance 200 times makes it stronger than diluting it 6 times. This means that a homeopathic remedy at 200c is stronger than one at 6c. The frequency for taking any given remedy will depend both on the issue being treated and on the potency of the selected remedy. Therefore, the job of the homeopath is to match not only the homeopathic substance, but also the potency and the frequency of the dosage. These lower number remedies, or ‘lower potencies’, are used for conditions that are visible to the naked eye, or that affect the skin or mouth. So, for a canker sore, which affects the mouth, a homeopath might recommend the remedy called Borax 6x. And since this remedy is relatively weak—in a low potency—it can be repeated up to four times a day, until the canker sore is resolved. However, if a person experienced a trauma, like witnessing a terrible car accident, and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, then that individual would require a remedy at a ‘higher potency’ that is given less often. In this case, the homeopath may prescribe a remedy called Aconite 1M, which is used for emotional shock. Since the ‘potency’ is higher, the patient is advised to only take the remedy one time and then wait a week or a month to see how he or she responds to it.

Homeopathy Vital Force: What Is It?

To explain further, the goal of a homeopath is to restore balance to the person’s vital force. Homeopaths believe that the vital force is what gives life to a person. But what is the vital force? The vital force is what makes flesh, blood, bones, cytoplasm, mitochondria, Golgi bodies, DNA, and RNA work together to create a life. The vital force is energy, an invisible energy that gives the person his or her own unique qualities and personal drive to live. Homeopaths describe the vital force as an energy that not only pushes the living body in the direction toward health, but also in the direction toward disease- depending on the individual’s orientation. This vital force or energy force is what people carry within them from the moment they are conceived until their death. Its energy must flow uninterruptedly. Otherwise, negative symptoms can develop. Blocked energy creates stagnation, allowing illnesses to take hold of the tissues or organs in the body. There are viruses, bacteria and parasites around us all the time, but they can only affect a weakened vital force. When the vital force is strong and unencumbered, these intruders have no effect on the body. Conversely, if the energy is blocked and stagnant, they may take hold and make the person ill. The bacteria, virus and parasites only affect an already unbalanced vital force to cause the disease. Simply stated, homoeopaths believe that this vital force determines our state of health throughout a person’s entire life. A healthy vital force maintains a healthy mind and body while a weakened or blocked vital force will allow illness to enter the person. This explains why we feel some mental and physical uneasiness days before an attack of a cold or fever, when all modern investigations and examinations cannot detect anything wrong in our bodies in terms of vital signs and organ structures. Since the homeopath’s goal is to find the correct homeopathic remedy for the patient, this means that the energy of the homeopathic remedy has to match the energy of the person’s vital force. The homeopathic remedy’s job is to help initiate movement of the person’s energy when it is slow or stagnant, and unblock the energy if it is blocked.

Homeopaths believe that the body is a self-healing mechanism and given the right environment, healthy foods, correct nutrients, exercise and mental stability, the body has the ability to heal itself. The body was created with everything it needs to heal itself if something goes wrong, but sometimes the body needs that energetic push to remind itself of its own strength and ability. Homeopathic medicine’s goal in treating illness is to stimulate the person’s own vital force and bring it back into balance, so that the person’s own body will be able to ultimately heal itself.

Homeopathic remedies are safe, easy to administer, and most often without side effects. They are healthful choices for people of all ages from birth to geriatric. There are a great number of children who yearly avoid tubes in their ears thanks to the wonders of homeopathy.  Adult arthritis sufferers have stopped taking inflammatory medications once they’ve found the remedy best suited for them. Adults and children alike who have suffered from chronic eczema have been greatly helped with homeopathy, after all other medicines have failed them. These are merely a few examples of where homeopathy can really be a savior.

If you are new to homeopathy and want to test its efficacy, you can start with a basic and easy- to-use remedy called Arnica.  I recommend purchasing the Arnica at a dose of 30c. Arnica 30c is for bumps, bruises, or muscle pain. This is really a universally beneficial remedy that is great to have in your first aid kit at all times. It can be used for pain caused by a strained muscle after an intense workout or for pain suffered after dental work.  Arnica is great to have at Little League games for kids, or if you go on a family hike!  Let this remedy be your first taste into the world of homeopathy.

This is the final post.

Comments

comments

Posted on

Shavuot Makeup – Long Lasting

With Yom Tov coming up, I decided to share with you a beautiful makeup look along with a few tips on how to keep your makeup lasting as long as possible.

PesachMakup1

The look I have for you is a neutral look that will match any outfit you decide to wear. To prevent the eye makeup from rubbing off over night, do your best to sleep on your back. That way, it won’t rub off onto your pillow. In addition, using a good primer (as mentioned in step #1) will help the makeup last. However, even if most of the makeup does come off over night, you will be left with the black eyeliner for the next day.

PesachMakeup2

  1. Prime your eyes: You want to use a really good primer so that your makeup has the best chance at staying on overnight. I used Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, and although it is not meant to be used as an eye primer, I find that it works really well. Use your ring finger to lightly pat the concealer all around the eye area- both on the eyelids and under them. Set your eyes with some foundation powder to prevent creasing.
  2. Apply gold eye shadow to the center of your eyelids. Instead of sweeping it on, pat it on with your fingers or a brush. This will pack the eye shadow on better, making it last longer.
  3. Apply a shimmery light eye shadow on the inner corners of the eyes to brighten them up.
  4. Apply black eye shadow on the outer corner of the eye.
  5. Apply a light natural powder (I use regular foundation powder) and apply it on the brow bone, blending it well into the crease.
  6. Use the same black eye shadow and line it under your eyes using a small eyeliner brush.
  7. Apply black eyeliner. If you want the best chance at having the eyeliner last for a day or two, here’s what I recommend: A) Use gel eyeliner and apply it with a small eye shadow brush. A good option is Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner. The second best option is to apply liquid eyeliner, but I find the gel works better and lasts longer. B) Set the eyeliner with black eye shadow.
  8. Apply some mascara to complete the look.

PesachMakeup3

For the rest of the face, I suggest not applying any foundation whatsoever, because going to sleep with makeup on your face is really bad for your skin. Therefore, I will move on to the lips.

Apply a long lasting lipstick. The lipstick I used is Revlon ColorStay Overtime Lipcolor, and be warned: This lip product is very hard to remove even after wearing for an entire day. It really lasts very well.

Here is the completed look:

PesachMakeup4

Happy Shavuot!

Comments

comments

Posted on

Abercrombie and Self Esteem

By Tzipporah La Fianza

When I first read about what Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, had to say regarding their target market, I had nothing more than an eye roll to offer. I’ve never shopped, nor do I ever intend to shop at A&B, so it didn’t seem worth wasting time forming an opinion on it.

But then I got to wondering if perhaps, I should be a little more upset by it. Though I personally wouldn’t want to walk into a store targeted towards teens, especially one with the high price tags and blatant sexual images that Abercrombie and Fitch displays, the idea of this 68 year old man targeting teenage girls in such a negative way did not sit well with me.

I’m a curvy–that’s how we’re qualifying females over size 10 these days, in case you didn’t know–32 yr old woman myself, and no doubt A&F cares very little about what I think of their marketing practices. But I was once a young, impressionable, self-conscious, teenager dying to fit in like so many others are now. I remember clearly how it feels to have your clothing, your car, your weight, your nose, and your hair, all judged harshly by your peers. Only to then look into your worst critic’s eyes in the mirror every morning. Sizing yourself up, comparing your thighs to the model in the magazine, comparing your shoes to those of your friend’s; the worries of fitting in with just the right crowd all the while pretending you don’t really care at all. Working to get that “I just rolled out of bed looking this incredibly good” look without letting on that it took you nearly 40 minutes of teasing, blow drying and sixteen different hair products to look that casual. Oh, and school work too, because you are in school to receive an education after all, right?

Teenagers live in an emotionally exhausting head-space and even with juggling my very busy adult life with four kids to care for, I still don’t think I have anything on them. Honestly, I don’t miss it at all.

Though I feel that many companies’ marketing to be distasteful at best, I’m quick to remind myself that I am free not to support them with my hard earned money. At the end of the day, a company is going to do whatever is quickest to push its product. This isn’t the first nor the last company that will play off of the insecurities of their consumers in order to make sales. In fact, I researched a few more fashion stores generally targeted at teenagers and I found much of the same. This portion of the popular teen store 5.7.9.’s “about us” statement makes it abundantly clear that they know exactly who they are marketing to:

“…featuring sizes 00-9. The target age group is the 13 to 22 year old. She lives in the suburbs, comes from a middle & upper income background & uses malls and a social meeting places as well as a place to shop…”

AbercrombieandcoolPeople
Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch

How can I find any particular fault with A&F that I don’t find with other stores targeting the same demographic? Maybe it was a bit of a faux pas for Michael to publicly state that “good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”  But under the surface, is there really any difference in what other stores that target teens and young adults do? I’m not so sure.

Time has taught me that self-esteem is not only an important asset to developing your own sense of identity in school, but it is the way you feel about yourself during those formative years that tends to stick with you like glue, becoming hardened in the cement of growing older, and eventually becoming nearly impossible to change once we hit out early thirties. Our self-esteem and that of our children, is something truly worth fighting for because when all is said and done, all of those high school relationships and BFFs will be behind us and all that we will really have left from the four year experience, is a diploma and a seed planted in us about our worth in this world. It’s clear that in this day and age, if you don’t fight hard to be the master of your own sense of self-worth, you’re going to have it stripped away or handed to you on a silver platter by any number of sources.

I know that I will never be able to walk into a Target and fit my size 14 body into one of their maxi dresses or skinny jeans. I accept that when I need a new shirt or skirt, I will have to head over to the “petite” (that’s a nice word for short) section of JC Penney to scavenge through the various racks of pre-shrunk cotton shirts and rayon blouses for something that doesn’t make me feel 82. I can even deal with the fact that my body shape isn’t within the framework of the American ideal. Honestly, it’s no skin off my back, I’ve never prided myself in my astounding fashion sense nor have I ever wanted to, as I like being my own person. But that’s not to say that I don’t recognize the effect this sort of marketing does have on teenage girls.

As far as I am concerned, Abercrombie and Fitch’s marketing might as well follow a you into high school and stand in line right next to that mean girl who pretends not to see you and shoves you with her shoulder in the hallway, or the group of girls who crack into sudden hysterics as you as you walk by their lunch table, causing you to both check the bottoms of your shoes for toilet paper and your nose for rogue boogers while you walk away blushing. If there is one thing teenagers do not need from their elders, is the encouragement to divide up into groups to bully and outcast.

Do I think that Abercrombie and Fitch should retract their statements or be shamed into coming out with a secondary clothing line for us of larger stature or of dorkier social status? Not at all. I still stand by my conviction that it is within their right to market as they see fit. Instead, I turn my attention to you, the consumers and the parents of the consumers, and implore you not to buy into this ideal of the perfect American body type. Instead of stressing over wardrobes so much, consider investing in who you are as a person. As cliché as the saying is, it’s quite true that beauty is only skin deep. Mothers, remember to tell your daughter how beautiful they really are because every teenage girl really needs to hear that, no matter how much she might deny it. Fathers, make sure your little girls know that they are treasured and respected, because someone who truly values themselves will always value others. Girls, demand for yourself respect from society, from your peers and always question companies who are willing to eagerly take your money and in exchange, hand you a token of your perceived net worth as a human being.

And for goodness sakes, never let a 68 year old CEO of a clothing store define who you are in this world.

Comments

comments

Posted on

Getting Closer – The Event

The second official Balaboostas lecture has finally arrived! Don’t miss out on this important subject. You can RSVP on Facebook, or comment on this blog post or message me here. Space is limited, so if you would like to bring friends, please let me know as soon as possible (but they can just show up too). Looking forward to meeting you!

Balaboostas.com Presents “Getting Closer”

Mrs. Fraidy Yanover will be presenting Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in marriage and intimacy for Orthodox couples. On Tuesday, May 7, he will be presenting his new book, “Getting Closer – Understanding and Treating Issues in Marital Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Couples”, and he will be discussing its content and related topics for the benefit of Jewish married women (only). Joining him will be Dr. Rivkah Friedman, PT, MS, DPT, an alumnus of the SUNY Downstate’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Together, they will address some of the most common concerns that pertain to marital intimacy from a psychological as well as a physical standpoint.

At the end of the lecture, Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch and Dr. Rivka Friedman will open the floor to Q&A that can be submitted anonymously at the event. We will provide postcards and pens for this purpose. For more information about “Getting Closer”, feel free to visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. Some of the topics included in the book are:

  • Low desire disorders
  • Internet addiction
  • Unconsummated marriages
  • Dyspareunia & Vaginismus
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fear of Intimacy
  • Infertility
  • Postpartum Depression
  • And more…

We hope to see you for this important and informative presentation on this crucial topic. Please feel free to invite your friends and RSVP immediately, as space is limited!

Date: May 7, 2012

Location: 829 Montgomery Street

Time: 7:45-9:30 pm

Admission: $12 charge, $18 suggestion.

Light refreshments will be served.

Getting Closer 3 (2)

Flyer by Miriam Hammer Design

Comments

comments

Posted on

Getting Closer

Authors note: Exclusively on Balaboostas.com Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch along with Dr. Rivkah Friedman, a physiotherapist who specializing in sexual pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, pregnancy & postpartum related issues, will be writing a new column answering questions from readers concerning sexual dysfunction. If you have specific questions, please submit them to: admin@balaboostas.com

In his new book “Getting Closer—Understanding and Treating Issues in Marital Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Couples“, Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapist, aims to remove the shame and isolation felt by Orthodox couples dealing with sexual dysfunction.

GettingCloserCover

In this book, Rabbi Schonbuch, who is known for his success as a marriage therapist in New York City, explores various aspects of sexual dysfunction including:

  • Low desire disorders
  • Internet addiction
  • Unconsummated marriage
  • Dyspareunia & Vaginismus
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fear of intimacy​
  • Infertility
  • Postpartum Depression and more…

The book was edited by two leading medical experts in gynecology, including Dr. Heather Appelbaum and Dr. Robin Bliss of the NorthShore Long Island Jewish Medical Center, with a preface written by Dr. Heather Appelbaum, who is also an Associate Professor of, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Hofstra University. 

“I wrote the book because I noticed that some couples will attend several counseling sessions to resolve their emotional difficulties, but never report that they are having a sexual problem. I have worked with couples who complained about their finances, children, and their in-laws, but avoided discussing the most painful part of their marriage—their lack of intimacy”, says Schonbuch.

According to Schonbuch, there is not only a lack of understanding of how common sexual dysfunction actually is, but also that it is a very common issue for young women. “It has been found that sexual dysfunction is highest among younger women, with 21 percent of women aged 18 to 29 reporting physical pain during intimacy. Twenty-seven percent report experiencing non-pleasurable relations and 16 percent reported anxiety relating to intimacy. Additionally, many couples struggle with intimacy after pregnancy, internet addictions, sexual aversion, or infertility issues, and they don’t know who to turn to for help.”

In Getting Closer, the author provides couples with a powerful roadmap that shares compassion, deep insight, and proven interventional strategies that have helped hundreds of couples to resolve issues in marital intimacy that may have been left untreated for years. The book also examines the connection between personal attachment styles and intimacy.

“I base my work on something called Attachment Theory created by Dr. John Bowlby. It describes why some couples have an easier time getting closer, while others tend to fight a lot”, explains Schonbuch. “There are three types of attachment: secure, anxious, and avoidant. Secure individuals are comfortable with affection and giving to one another. Anxious individuals tend to crave closeness but may overwhelm their spouse with their fear of not being loved. Avoidant individuals are not comfortable with closeness or intimacy, and tend to avoid talking and close contact.”

The book includes a quick attachment style questionnaire that helps readers identify their own attachment style and how this may be affecting their relationship with their spouse.

“In my book, I aim to normalize the issue of sexual dysfunction by explaining that problems in the bedroom are very common and need to be treated, since they can have a lasting impact on the quality of the marriage. For example, even if a man had PE once or twice, or a woman found relations to be painful, it can create distance between the couple who may spend years avoiding closeness or fighting about secondary issues that have nothing to do with their real problems”, says Schonbuch.

The book is divided into three sections: “Emotions, Desire, and Intimacy,” “Guide to Sexual Dysfunction” and “Finding Solutions”. Throughout its pages are detailed descriptions of dysfunctions and disorders, interweaved with real case studies of how Schonbuch helped couples through Emotionally Focused Therapy. By relaying case studies of couples dealing with sexual dysfunction in their marriage, he illustrates how through focusing on the emotions a couple is feeling when they’re quarreling, they come to realize what they’re truly feeling.

“I trained with one of the most successful marriage therapists in the world, Dr. Sue Johnson. She was the cofounder of Emotionally Focused Therapy which helps couples expand and reorganize important emotional responses, creates secure relationship bonds, increases intimacy, and shifts each spouse’s position towards positive interaction”, say Schonbuch. “During each session I help each person express what are called primary emotions such as fear of being alone, being unlovable, or not measuring up to their spouse’s expectations. I also created a highly empathetic environment where spouses turn towards one another and learn to validate what they are both experiencing.”

Schonbuch believes that individuals may feel ashamed or live in isolation when dealing with sexual dysfunction. He therefore wrote “Getting Closer” as a form of “Biblio Therapy,” where couples can read the book, reduce their discomfort on the topic, and allow them to further discuss these issues with or without a therapist.

Getting Closer is available in Jewish bookstores, amazon.com, in ebook formats and is recommended to couples, chosson and kallah teachers, therapists, and rabbis and rebbetzins, who encounter these problems frequently and now have a resource to address those difficulties effectively. For a free preview of the book, click here. This book was released only yesterday, you heard it first here!

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializes in marriage counseling for Orthodox couples. His relationship-based approach to counseling has helped hundreds of couples improve their marriages and resolve issues in marital intimacy. His new book, Getting Closer, explores various aspects of sexual dysfunction. You can view more about his work at: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com.

Comments

comments

Posted on

An Old Poem, in Honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah)

Authors note: this poem was written when I was 16 years old. Therefore, please do not mind the amateur vocabulary or grammar. When I was younger, I wanted to submit this to Yad Vashem but never got around to it. I never thought I would have my own blog to publish it on. Well, here it is. In loving memory to all those who passed away, including family. Please say a Psalm or do a good deed in their honor. Hashem Yinkom Damam.

Holocaust_Memorial
Holocaust remembrance at the JCC of Clifton NJ.

trudging through ghetto street
hollow stomach, heavy feet
words telling, ‘you have to move’
searching for a scrap of food

I can’t go home empty handed
a child of eight had already abandoned
the innocent childhood, way of life
weighed with adult burdens and strife

a blood boiling, burning sensation
the posted words bolded: Liquidation
shoving us into those cattle cars
like a criminal behind jail bars

pulling us off one-by-one
I try to scram, but my body’s numb
mother said they are Jew-haters
but some of them, were Jewish traitors

it felt like unlimited amount of time
standing like dummies in a long line
those who couldn’t bear, would simply fall
as they went through our daily roll call

after that blow, came yet another
shocking separation from baby brother
I saw few teardrops in his eye
never a chance for final goodbye

huddling like herded horses in a barn
as though it were but thread and yarn
they chopped away our strands of hair
oppressive shame hovered in the air

robbing us of something so sacred
stripping our bodies, stark naked
soap provided made of human flesh
can such a shower make one feel fresh?

numbered prison clothes for our bare backs
ordering us out, toward the train tracks
day and night my bones would warily toil
for more blood to shed on German soil

napping on wood planks with 20 neighbors
was the break for us, poor tortured laborers
lucky if you got but a stale piece of bread
those were our ‘meals’, that’s what was fed

hunted as a youngster, I frequently did hide
other girls my age–ended life with suicide
some had no strength to put up their defenses
and ended their lives, on barbed wire fences

those alive then, developed a temporary maim
of forgetting in the moment, what’s normal? what sane?
some days—were no feelings, awfully strange
yet on others, every fiber was bursting with rage

unknown to us, was decreed a cruel resolution
as we struggled for a path, out of brutal confusion
filthy hands would naturally mask the eyes on our face
desperately avoiding truth, shielding vulnerable disgrace

withering slowly with each passing season
we were fewer and fewer…for we were the reason
that the world was drowning in its pollution
thus was Hitler’s, “Final Solution”

mercilessly murdering, is his claim to fame
for his deepest desire was to proclaim: Judenrein
a nation made of souls so determined to survive
showed him the answer would not be genocide

Dr. Mangele’s wavering finger, pointed to the right or left
the infamous man was granted, to choose on life or death
I miraculously endured the unspeakable possible dangers
of being sentenced to expire in those evil gas-chambers

surmounting trauma, in each survivors brains
witnessing wind fighting with furious–fiery flames
the thickening clouds, of the blackest black smoke
inhaling and exhaling, but trying not to choke

denied of any hope left, shattered anticipation
they continued their process of mass extermination
a complete population, group raped and mutilated
the whole Jewish people enslaved, to be annihilated

to the almighty lord, some turned to with tears
praying hard that g-d, not establish their fears
mothers cried for lost babies in their wombs
other hearts were broken over the myriads of tombs

after those few elongate, but bloody murderous years
it seemed that heaven opened its previously deafened ears
by word of ear, out there…new lives have begun…?
rumors began spreading of promising…freedom?!

overwhelming flow of emotions express jubilation
we tasted our first breath of liberty and salvation
it was true, true at last! The moment has arrived!
the allied forces tore down, ‘Big Germany’s’ Pride

no SS guards over you, stationed to control
there wasn’t any swastika positioned to patrol
away went uniforms, polished and pressed in starch
gone was a way of death that formed into a march

we could now eulogize all those that perished
new lives were to begin and children to be cherished
we were really free, the pleasure could burst
we lived beyond disease, starvation and thirst

maltreatment was a wicked technique that was used
our bodies had to heal for they were physically abused
each and every one of us weighed as light as a feather
in those moments we learned, time serves as a mender

as my mouth watered, the stomach butterflies sang
a country full of citizens, with a throbbing hunger pang
unfortunately at the sight of food, some people splurged
nevertheless, healthiness had gradually surged

regrettably, so many were left with scars bodily painted
hundreds of thousands were psychologically tainted
shrunken hearts were broken, and our spirit was tattered
from young to old, we looked exhausted and haggard

constant looming shadows gaze back at my stares
all alone in the dark with unending nightmares
survival is a skill, we had to work on each day
striving to do the best, in our own unique way

dealing with everything, from mental health to nutrition
made the battle to healing, an excruciating mission
withdrawn from feelings, that were forcefully suppressed
would make any normal being, miserably depressed

yet Life from that day was about reaping fresh seeds
and awakening those dormant, childhood memories
sometimes I can’t trust that I was of the few that escaped
and for all those that died we have a day to commemorate

all the recollections of tragic days in the bitter winter’s cold
and the soldiers scornful laugh when our heads were shaved bold
each and every corpse, so impossible to “just get over”
remembering remains evaporate from the chimneys crematoria

how can anyone describe, an immeasurably deep hurt?
or the stench of incalculable persons, bodies being burnt?
the terminology of this world, cannot express infinite pain
or portray engulfing sadness as my brethren’s ashes…fell as rain

Holocaust_Hand
Memorial Hand in The Garden of Meditation: “The Sculpture of Love and Anguish” at the Miami Holocaust Memorial

Photos by Rivka Bauman Photography

Comments

comments

Posted on

My Favorite Jewish Holiday

PassoverHoliday

There’s an extremist in me. I aim for the Maimonidean golden medium for my character and temperament, but underneath it is raving Baal Teshuva. I think that’s why the old joke matching Jewish holidays to psychological disorders spoke to me. Pesach is the outlet for those who get a spiritual satisfaction of being relentlessly thorough, and Pesach takes this urge to a tangible crescendo.

The great thing about Judaism, though, is that there is an inherent balance. For every law that seems extreme or regimented, there is a delicious freedom attached. My search, then, (my avodah), is to find the balance in Passover. In some senses, the holiday has a similar payoff to those who value a throwback to the simple life before preservatives and corn syrup. The freedom is found in the minimalism; imagine a table set with fresh unseasoned fish, fresh vegetables, and simplified home with the superfluous nonsense locked away, the floors gleaming from being freshly scrubbed with lemon juice. There is a breathtaking purity in the rigidity of the Pesach restrictions, that leaves so much mental room open to processing our ancestor’s freedom.

The seder may have a strict time limit in order to get to the afikomen by midnight, but this setup lends itself to focus and intensity. During the intermediate days of Pesach, family time and festive adventures are encouraged, all while dressed slightly nicer and still sticking to the simple foods.

Last Pesach, I hosted my first sedarim and cleaned my own apartment for the first time. It was right before I got engaged to my now-husband, and thoughts were on my mind of my future as a builder of a Jewish home. A Jewish home is the most sacred place in Jewish life, and this was my first apartment with my name on the lease. It was mine, and it became Pesachdik. I hosted sedarim with friends and coworkers, making the components of the seder plate with intent and concentration. That Pesach, I became a generational link. Now that I am married and am spending the holiday with my husband’s family, I look forward to being a link among a new extended family as well as a link through time.

That is my own personal balance I make for myself. As a self-proclaimed extremist blazing ahead on my spiritual path, the human connections I have to develop ground me. Pesach is the most intense time for spiritual growth and the most intense time for family bonding. I will always remember the jarred gefilte fish, Passover dishes, my dad’s theatrical reading of the Haggadah, the frog dance of my sisters during the 10 plagues, and my mother’s matzah brei from my traditional upbringing. Now, with a new husband and new group of in-laws, I can create new memories. The interpersonal and the intrapersonal are interwoven in Jewish life, and Pesach takes this to their most elevated heights.

That is why Pesach is my favorite Jewish holiday.

Comments

comments