Listening to Lihi Lapin discuss her book in a room filled with established women who devote their lives to the betterment of Jewish establishments in both the U.S. and Israel was inspiring. But watching the wife of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, successful in her own right, candidly depicting her struggles and the plight of the modern woman, moved me beyond words.
She began by saying, “It took me a long time to realize that it is okay if my house is not perfectly neat and I am not perfectly dressed.” She said we all face challenges as modern women to be the good mother, caring wife, loyal employee and dear friend. We simply cannot control every aspect of our lives and acknowledging this truth provides us with a level of comfort and acceptance. It doesn’t matter what our religious observance, or what our financial status, we are all Women of Valor.
The book includes excerpts from women living in Israel who sent questions and comments about their struggles with motherhood, work or relationships to Lihi at Yediot Aharonot, where she has been a columnist for years. Without realizing it, Lihi broke down religious barriers and created a sense of unity among her readers. A haredi mother of eight from Bnei Brak and the secular woman from Tel Aviv experience the same dilemmas, trying to find the balance between work and family. Her readers opened her eyes and reaffirmed the notion that we are our biggest critics and have fairy-tale expectations. She suggests we focus on enjoying moments of happiness in our lives to achieve individual fulfillment.
What I loved most about Women of Valor was that every chapter was introduced with a quote from Tanach. I have spent time speaking with both Lihi and Minister Lapid, and it is clear that they consider themselves secular Jews, with a different emphasis on Torah observance than I have. But deep down in their core, there is a love for Judaism, a love for Israel and a connection to our history as a people, a history that binds all Jews. Each within their respective careers; Lihi in her writing, and Minister Lapid in his role in the Knesset, strive to create a more progressive, inclusive and respectful approach to Israeli society.
P’nina Seplowitz lives in Bergenfield and is the Executive Director of American Friends of Yesh Atid, a non-profit organization that supports social programs in Israel. P’nina is also the VP of Marketing for an online magazine subscription company and has authored two books: Once Upon A Vegetable, a children’s book, and White Angel, her grandmother’s Holocaust memoir. Visit www.PninaSeplowitz.com for more information.
By P’nina Seplowitz