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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Moments of Darkness and Eight Moments of Light

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

When you lead a crazy life, you have a crazy year. It was filled with amazing moments, fun, travel and disappointment too. But I also know we appreciate light because of the contrast to darkness. I know that the tough moments help us to appreciate the good.

My eight moments of darkness:

1. Waking up one day and realizing that you are so disenchanted with your Jewish community. I was thinking back to the time when I starting becoming observant and the fact that I put so much thought into which community I wanted to be part of. It was difficult to realize that my community had so many issues.

2. It was hard realizing that we have so few leaders in our community. It was very difficult to realize that most voices are silenced by the power, threat and force of money. A communal position of leadership does not equal being a leader.

3. I am sad that my dad is so young and experiences so much physical pain. The message for me has been to look after myself.

4. My family lives far away. I have only seen my brother in Australia five times in 11 years. The kids do not know their cousins. Gavin’s sister lives in South Africa and her six-year-old said to her, “I wish mashiach would come tomorrow and then I could see Meron and Temira every day. It’s hard to be so far from them.”

5. Temira said to me, “Imma, so much has changed since Caily was born.” I was expecting a deep and meaningful chat about a special needs sister but she simply said, “That’s when you started jdeal and and you are so busy!” Dagger to my heart.

6. It breaks my heart that so many of my friends are single. Many people I met in NY 11 years ago were young girls full of optimism – I hate seeing that hope fade and bitterness set in.

7. I really struggle with the fact that JICNY has such huge financial challenges. It’s hard for me to accept that over 10,000 people attend events each year yet we have to beg for donations. I always wonder why we cannot get 100% percent participation at $18 – after all, we are only asking people to skip four Starbucks a year!

8. I know that Israel is facing one of its darkest times. I recall the last U.S. Consulate General’s words when he spoke at an event. He said, “The bad news is that Israel is in a tough situation in a tough neighborhood; the good news is that Israel has always been in a tough situation in a tough neighborhood and has figured it out.”

My eight moments of light:

1. Temira looking at me and saying, “Imma, for Caily, every day is a happy day.” We all appreciate that Caily’s differences are also her greatest blessing. How many of us can truly say every day is a happy day no matter what?

2. Understanding that life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

3. Realizing that I have met so many amazing and inspirational people that I would not have met if I was not thrust into the special needs world.

4. Appreciating people that truly stand for Torah and the values. Thanks to Slovie Wolff and her Mom Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, I have true role models. Thanks to Chabad, for showing me that some communities stand by what they preach and their unconditional loving kindness for all Jews – no matter what.

5. Realizing I have a voice, leadership and the capacity to influence.

6. Reaching the 18-year milestone of marriage and appreciating that my hubby accepts me as I am – older, fatter, grumpier. When I complained about my weight, he looked at me and said, “Someone is talking lashon hora about my wife.”

7. Living life to the fullest – travel, adventure, entertainment, community involvement, advocacy, friendship, entrepreneurism, family, parenting. I truly get to have rich and rewarding experiences in every domain.

8. Truly looking forward to tomorrow and 120 years more.

Today my seven-year-old said that she is doing three separate candle lightings. We discussed how candles bring light into the world and that light is a blessing and she is bringing more light into the word. Metroimmas, each day of Chanukah use candle lighting as an opportunity to the think about an area where you want to add light in the world and dedicate your candle lighting–to your family, friendships, community, Torah, tikkun olam, not speaking gossip and loving all Jews.

Originally published: December 22, 2011


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