On Wednesday, July 26, the Teaneck Yoetzet Halacha Initiative will host an evening event to mark the 10th anniversary of providing the community with access to a local yoetzet halacha who assists with questions related to taharat hamishpacha (Jewish family law). The program, which is open to all women in the community, will focus on “Jewish Women’s Journey Through Life: Tools for Mind, Body and Soul.”
This year’s panelists include Shera Dubitsky, a healthy mindfulness lecturer and director of navigation and support services at Sharsheret; Rebbetzin Bassie Taubes, a long-time nurse and director and owner of Wellness Motivations; and Yoetzet Halacha Shoshana Samuels. After each panelist explores perspectives and tools from her years of experience of service with our community on mind, body and soul respectively, Dr. Rayzel Yaish, director of guidance at Ma’ayanot, will moderate a question-and-answer session.
“We all lead extremely busy lives, and many of us carry extra responsibilities as observant Jewish women,” noted Tirza Bayewitz, who chairs the Teaneck Yoetzet Steering Committee. “This year’s event should leave everyone with practical advice for navigating challenges and, of course, the perennial uplift we all get from being part of this community of women that encompasses all ages and stages.”
Through her work at Sharsheret, a national non-for-profit organization supporting Jewish women facing breast or ovarian cancer, Shera Dubitsky has developed coping strategies that offer concrete and simple shortcuts to managing life’s challenges and also serve as a guide to living everyday life with healthy mindfulness.
Dubitsky’s topics for the evening is “I Have Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like.” “Feeling unsettled in relationships or in particular circumstances can impact the mitzvah of taharat hamishpacha,” she says. “Metaphors offer common images that are relatable and can be used to manage your thoughts and emotions with the goal of feeling more balanced and secure. As you feel more centered, the better able you are to approach your marital relationship and be open to giving, receiving and just being more present.”
Taking Care of Our Bodies
As the founder of Wellness Motivations, a wellness practice, Rebbetzin Taubes coaches clients to respond to their physical and emotional needs through eating well, moving well and sleeping well. She will be sharing ideas about body image from a halachic perspective and strategies for how we can work to improve our love of the bodies that we have.
“The modern-day woman is under a lot of pressure to be the perfect daughter, wife and mother—she should have a degree in an academic field, work at a high-paying, rewarding job and do all of this while staying in good shape and dressing well,” says Rebbetzin Bassie (Beth) Taubes, a nurse and certified health coach. “The idea of taking care of oneself is usually the first thing to go.”
One of the many misconceptions women have is that beauty and health are measured on a scale, she says. “There are many different ways to feel beautiful and desirable, regardless of age and size.” In her practice, Rebbetzin Taubes helps clients improve their health by eating and drinking the right types and amounts of food, exercising regularly and maintaining relationships that are meaningful. “There are no shortcuts to achieving health; it takes strong desire and hard work.”
The Soul Factor
As a yoetzet halacha in the community, Shoshana Samuels is well-informed of the struggles women face in keeping the laws of taharat hamishpacha. Each week can bring new questions: How can I get to the mikvah soonest? Did my status change after that procedure? From a halachic perspective, when do I expect my next period given my recent miscarriage?
“Most women I speak to do not have time to contemplate, research, calculate and act on each of these questions that come up,” she says. “They need a place to put this question and they need to do so before the next commitment pulls them away.” One of her goals when speaking at the annual event is to encourage women in the community to realize that they need not face these private and personal challenges alone. “Your rabbi is here for you; your yoetzet halacha is here for you,” she says. “Call. Email. Text.”
As in years past, the goal of the evening is to empower women in the community—this year with a focus on taking ownership over their physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being. “Taking care of your mind, body and soul inherently makes you stronger and more confident,” says Dubitsky.
For more information and to RSVP, please visit www.rinat.org/yoetzetevent2017.
By Tamar Snyder