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A letter to my children!

Thursday, 17 September, 2020 - 7:34 pm

A letter to my children!
Erev Rosh Hashana 5780

Dear Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny & Chana Laya,

Tomorrow, Kinderlach, is Rosh Hashana. In just twenty-four hours we will transition from 5780 to 5781 ushering in a year of “visible wonders”, the translation of the new years’ Hebrew acronym.

Firstly, I’d like to take a moment to wish each of you my heartfelt wishes for a sweet year. May this be a year in which you surprise yourself in fulfilling and expressing your incredible G-d given potential. May it be a year in which you are proud of yourself often. I bless you to grow like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah and you dear Menny, to grow like Ephraim and Menashe, Joseph’s boys; confident, comfortable and healthy Jews, though you may find yourselves in a gentile environment.

Secondly, I like to take some time to share my feelings with you, because 5780 was the roughest year we’ve ever known and it’s easy to get caught up in the negative and lose sight of all the good.

As your father, I’ve radiated lots of strength since the beginning of this horrific pandemic. Mom and I have worked overtime to be a reassuring voice for you and to live our lives as normally as possible. I’ve watched y’all struggle with isolation, insecurity and uncertainty and I wish I would’ve had better answers, but it was out of our control, obliging us to place our trust in Hashem.

Yet, in the midst of the chaos, while the world was on fire figuratively and literally, we managed to have so much fun, so many good times, and I don’t want us to forget all the amazing moments that we experienced in 5780 as a family. So I sat down, putting fingers to keyboard, to share the good memories, because I want you to look back at the year and remember - not just the masks, the closed Shul and school closure, but -  the blessings that G-d gifted us throughout it all.

5780 brought us incredible holiday celebrations. From Sushi & Scotch in the snowy Sukkah to Chanukah @ Jump Time & the Library, from Purim in NYC to Seders to go, to a memorable Shavuot celebration in the front yard.

5780 brought us a Bozeman-altering event with Anne Frank’s sister Eva Schloss with 1,400 in attendance at MSU, a Farbrengen with Rabbi Mendel from Boise for the Chassidic New Year, a Babka bake for women with Rebbetzin Chaya from Playa Del Carmen, countless Zoom events with speakers from around the globe, live morning inspiration almost every single day since April and the online women’s Tanya class which rocked the house and will resume again after the holidays.

5780 brought us a memorable family Shabbos in La Verkin, Utah, a road trip through Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Capitol Reef, Goblin, Arches, Canyonland State/National parks, a trip to Florida and Tybee Island, Georgia, an RV road trip throughout Western Montana, five weeks of summer camp in San Antonio and the opportunity to celebrate at your aunt’s wedding in a discreet location in Big Sky Country.

5780 brought us so many Shabbosim to sit as a family, together, and Daven with song and heart. It gave us the opportunity to visit so many homes of new, and old, friends, bringing Shabbos and Yom Tov care packages around our spectacular valley. It’s also the year in which you got a new trampoline and, thanks to Covid, watched way more videos than you ever did before or ever will again :)

5780 forced your school, Shoshana, into lockdown, forcing you to celebrate Passover alone, but allowing you to wrap up your studies and graduate with honors in late August and to come back home. It gave us all precious time to spend with each other (maybe a bit too much time:)), to be excited about hikes and parks like never before and to jump for joy when we merited to see a friendly face after months in lockdown.

5780 made your mom a world renowned speaker as she traveled to over fifteen communities in person, and over 50 if we include the Zoom’s, as she inspires the world about faith in G-d and the honor of being your parent. Mom also launched her blog www.clearasmud.blog and is single handedly changing the “norms” as she shifts the perspective of the Jewish world one Instagrammer at a time.

5780 brought us remarkable family visits that could only happen when the world is shutdown. Shneur and Chana’le for Pesach, Eli Nachum and Tzivia for Menny’s birthday, Shayna, Devorah and Brocha for Shavuos, Sruli and Mendel (ok their parents to :)) for months and so many others who popped in and out.

5780 brought peace between our homeland Israel and two Arab states, it convinced airlines to cancel their ridiculous change fees and Nissim Black rocked our home with many new songs, including the powerful “Hold On”.

I don’t know, dear Kinderlach, what 5781 will bring, but I don’t want to forget all the priceless moments of 5780. I could easily focus on the hardships of life that we felt during this past year, on the loss of my uncle Ahrele, mom’s Zaidy Kahanov, or even the most recent communal loss of our beloved Joe Sharber. I could focus on the Bozeman fires and our friends losing their homes or on the riots taking place across our beloved country, I could focus on Alabama hurricanes and Iowa storms and I could focus on all the terrifying moments when I didn’t know if my beloved uncle Chaim Shaul, and so many others, would make it, but for bad news you could read the paper or listen to the news, you don’t need your Aba.

Though it’s been eight months since I last entered the holy resting place of our dear Rebbe, I am inspired by his Positivity Bias, constantly realigning my perspective to match the Torah, to match the soul, to match G-d, and not to buy the constant sources of negativity from within myself and from outside influencers. Kiddos, the biggest incentive I have to see the good in our world, is you. When I see you bounce up, or down, the stairs each morning I am filled with joy, Nachas, gratefulness and hope. Each of you is very unique, with your own set of challenges, and you work so hard to get through them and that puts a smile on my face. Too often mom and I don’t have answers to all your valuable and soulful questions, but despite your inner conflicts and core yearnings, please know that each of you is a masterpiece, a beautiful, colorful, masterpiece worthy of infinite blessings.  

Personally, I believe that when we blow the Shofar on Sunday, we will usher in incredible Divine energies for 5781; but whatever 5781 brings to us collectively and to each of you personally, all I ask is that you make every moment count. It’s a hope out of my control, but please don’t be a Farshlofene waste of oxygen; take the gift of life that Hashem has given you and always utilize us to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

You can be anything you want to be; don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you otherwise.

Kesiva Vachasima Tova, a sweet year kiddos; we will rock it.

Love you forever.


May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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