She was born in Dokshytz; she spent Shabbos in an airport, making front page news; the story of her life is engaging and enlightening!
“Interviewing Mrs. Winnie Gourarie and working with her on her memoirs was like a combination of dining in a fine restaurant with a violinist playing in the background, and a chassidishe farbrengen where you get to hear memories and stories that you know you will remember forever. You don’t want it to end; the experience of sitting with the storyteller, with her good grace and sincere interest in others, is as valuable as the stories themselves,” Mrs. Rishe Deitsch of the N’shei Chabad Newsletter told COLlive.
“We loved her memoirs so much that we had a hard time deciding what to leave in and what to remove. So we finally decided to divide it into two parts,” added Mrs. Chaya Shuchat, also of the N’shei Chabad Newsletter. “It was fascinating to read about the early days of Chabad in South Africa, and how her parents succeeded in instilling Yiddishe, chassidishe values in their children in seemingly inhospitable soil. Mrs. Gourarie gave her all to developing the Chabad community in South Africa with grace, dedication and good humor.”
In the Pesach issue of N’shei Chabad Newsletter, Tzippy Clapman of the ever-popular “Tzippy Remembers When” column recalls what it was like to be bullied as a child for being fat and for being different. There’s no question that Mrs. Clapman’s story will resonate with many who went through the same bitter experience. She, however, comes out on top!
This honest and heartwarming true story (with comments by Izzy Kalman, the anti-bullying expert whose articles appear on nsheichabadnewsletter.com/archives) will be helpful to all those going through the same tzarah.
From my earliest childhood, I remember being disliked and made fun of by my classmates and the chassidishe girls on my block. One reason was that my parents were not typical chassidishe-looking adults. My father did not have a beard or long payos and my mother did not cover her head. Another major problem was that I was very overweight as a young child due to my severe asthma. In the 1950s there was a limited number of asthma medications; there were no pumps or nebulizers, and I was treated with high doses of codeine cough medicine. This was a major drug that kept me very slow and sluggish, and I spent most of my early childhood doing nothing but eating and sleeping. This caused me to be extremely overweight.
When I started school at Bais Yaakov of Williamsburg as a first grader, most of my classmates were chassidishe girls recently relocated from Europe after the Holocaust. They saw my mother bringing me daily and knew I was not in their league. First of all, they spoke only Yiddish or Hungarian, while I did not know one word of these languages. They also saw how overweight I was, and they made sure to let me know exactly what they thought of me.
“Kook oiyf di grosse grube goyishe maidele,” or in English, “Look at the big fat goyishe girl.” This was a song that they sang to me on a constant basis…
Many of us are anxious and frustrated as we try to help our children get married. In “The Shidduch Forum,” Rabbi Motty Gurary puts forth a suggestion that may be helpful.
A group of mothers who daven for each other’s children to find their shidduchim has another suggestion:
Think back to anyone you may have hurt or harmed, and make things right. Perhaps that blessing is hovering right overhead and just needs to be unblocked.
Readers are invited to submit their experiences and suggestions for The Shidduch Forum to [email protected]
Also in this packed issue, Mrs. Chaya Margolin explains how she became a financial coach:
Up until five years ago, I knew nothing about money.
I would receive my paycheck and hand it to my husband, trusting that he knew exactly what to do with it.
I would go shopping for things we needed, things we wanted, and things that I simply saw. I would use either a credit card or debit card. It made no difference to me. I had no idea how much savings we had, how much money we had in our account or how much money we were making. None of this was of any concern to me.
But at some point I did start noticing that my husband could sometimes be evasive about our financial circumstances. Could I buy this pair of shoes that I needed? Yes, he would respond, we’ll figure it out. But do we have the money for it? Yes, yes, he would say, don’t worry, I’ll work it out. If you need it you need it.
Then there were other times that I would buy something and my husband would get stressed about it. “Do we really need that?” he would ask me. “We can’t afford to just keep on buying all this stuff.”
Yet if I asked any questions about our money he either didn’t know the answer or would get uncomfortable. I realized that talking about money always became awkward, but I was really just trying to understand what was going on.
Soon I started paying attention to small purchases I was making, and then worrying about the big things: What would we do about tuition, a down payment, bar mitzvahs, weddings? We had debt (how much? I had no clue), but was there any plan for paying it off? Were we giving a tenth of our income to tzedakah, or less, or more? Every time I would broach the subject we would end up in an argument.
Why was it so difficult to talk about money? If it was really in such short supply then why were we spending on non-essentials like expensive restaurants and vacations? And if it wasn’t in such short supply, why were we unable to talk about it?
I know now that the topic of money is one of the biggest taboos and roots of arguments between couples…
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