This is one of my favorite “Lori Almost Live” videos. It’s about the importance of a husband giving his wife flowers on Shabbos. Not a plant. Not a new phone charger. Not a pair of earrings. Not an empty container of Tupperware leftover from lunch at the office. Fresh flowers are a special gift. And if a man really wants to make a good impression on his better half? Flowers with a simple note.
Any kind of flower–roses, daises, lilies, tulips–is a thoughtful gesture that means a lot. A bouquet of flowers that decorates the table on Friday night warms the heart, strengthens the relationship, and symbolizes beauty. And the best part about our Jewish tradition? A husband doesn’t have to wait until a birthday, or an anniversary, or a Hallmark card holiday to show his love and gratitude for his wife. He has the opportunity to express his affection every single week.
Good Shabbos. Enjoy your flowers.
When Mimi Pultman called me on the phone back in August to ask me to co-chair the Lori Palatnik event with her, I was on my way to meet my “St Louis Soul Sisters” for dinner at Mediterranean Grill. We like to pretend we’re eating falafel in the Old City.
Anyway, Mimi rattled off a list of reasons why I should consider taking on this important role, even though I was already feeling overwhelmed with several projects that consumed my time. Her rationale:
1. Lori’s coming in town, it’ll be fun!
2. We are both experienced event planners. We can do this.
3. We have connections in the St. Louis Jewish community.
4. We will appoint committees and sub-committees and delegate responsibiities.
5. We have templates for advertisements and invitations, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
6. We’ll put together a killer action plan and timeline.
7. Then something about minimal amount of time and meetings (yeah, right).
When Lori Palatnik speaks, people listen. We not only listen, we take action. This internationally renowned teacher, speaker and author is the founding director of Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP), which has brought more than 4,000 women from 15 different countries to Israel since 2009 on a subsidized tour-and-learn program.
Her weekly video blog, Lori Almost Live, gets 50,000 views each month on the Aish.com website, and now here’s YOUR opportunity to see her LIVE, in person. (And you don’t need a passport to get in the door).
Back by popular demand, Lori is coming to St. Louis on Monday, February 17 for a public speaking event about “Kabbalah of You—Understanding Yourself and Appreciating Others.” Trust me, you don’t want to miss this fascinating presentation on how the kabbalah analyzes our personality in two parts—body and soul. We’ll not only learn what makes us tick, but how we can better understand and improve the relationships we have in our lives, with our spouse, our children, and ourselves.
If you’re lucky enough to have met Palatnik on a JWRP mission to Israel, then you already know how powerful and relevant her words of wisdom are; and if you’ve never witnessed her in action, then you’re in for a real treat. This Toronto native commands the stage and works the room like an IDF sergeant (only less intimidating and more fun). With microphone in hand—look out—she’s a force to be reckoned with.
The JWRP mission is “to empower women to change the world through Jewish values that transform ourselves, our families, and our communities,” and Palatnik has succeeded in doing just that with no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Currently, this 53-year-old mother of five travels between her two homes, in Maryland and Israel, with her husband Rabbi Yaakov Palatnik, as she writes follow-up classes and programs for 83 different partnering organizations around the world.
The JWRP is so successful, in fact, Israel’s Ministry of the Diaspora has announced it will double any donation JWRP receives and plans to bring twice the number of JWRP women to Israel in 2014!
Take that Pew study!
If one of your New Year’s resolutions includes doing something adventurous that you’ve never done before, then consider this an opportunity knocking on your door.
This summer, 12 St Louis moms embarked on a journey of their lifetime to Israel. I was lucky to be one of them.
My heart and my head are full, and it’s not from all the hummus and falafel that I ate while I was in Israel last week. It’s from all the sights, sounds, tastes, and energy that I indulged in while I was on my trip with 12 amazing St. Louis moms through the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP). We all had different purposes for being there, and we all came home feeling inspired and connected, not only to each other but our Jewish homeland and ancestors. It’s not like I walked off the plane at St. Louis Lambert Airport wearing a head scarf because I suddenly became more religious and modest (although I certainly understand and admire the practice of Tzniut much better), but I did change, at least internally.
As a writer, I carried my pad of paper with me everywhere and took meticulous notes about everything I was experiencing, including missing our flight to Israel, eating salmon and sorbet at Deck’s, learning about the “Kabbalah of Love” from Lori, kayaking on the Jordan River, getting locked in the mikveh bathroom in Tzfat, tucking prayers inside the Western Wall, shopping for hamsa necklaces, meeting Yossi and the children at Shalva, feeling hollow and sorrowful for all the suffering depicted at Yad Vashem, (I scribbled thoughts in the dark on the back of my nametag because I left my notebook on the bus), and learning to braid challah into the shape of a flower.