Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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Balance in Humility

It is said that as human beings we are supposed to carry in our pockets two messages. In one, we have a message that says, “For me the world was created.” In the other, we carry – “I am but dust of the earth.”  Which one is the one we have as our mantra? We are to take a good look at both of them throughout our days. The trick is to know our strengths –  and to balance them out with humility.

I was reminded this the other day when at a party with a group of friends I was talking to an acquaintance about my book, “Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!” The acquaintance wanted to know where she could purchase the book. I answered her question with a list of places that I knew had the book. After we switched topics, my husband turned to me and quietly whispered in my ear, “Cut the high pressure salesmanship with these people. It’s not right. They can’t afford the book.” Continue reading


On Storms and Earthquakes

East Coasters have storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, snow, blizzards. They get it all. The wind, the downed power lines, the trees fall, the electricity goes out, and the basements flood. It’s bad.

Here on the West Coast, we get earthquakes. No warning. Suddenly the earth shakes, and bookshelves go flying, dishes fall out of cabinets, picture frames collapse, dressers fall down, freeways fall. It’s bad.

G-d controls the world, and natural disasters are part of our world. What do we learn from them? How do we prepare? There are ways to prepare ourselves for natural disasters, and we would be wise to listen to the experts and take those steps, for long term preparation for earthquakes. Short term preparation for when a hurricane is coming.

But at the end of the day, there is not much we can do. We have to trust that G-d runs the world. G-d will take care of us. Can we control our storms within ourselves? Can we control the earthquakes within our pysches? Can we control the tempest that rules us when we are upset, angry or anxious? These are questions I often ask myself.

These are things I can possibly control and work on. My character traits, my behavior, my actions, are all facets of my life that I know I can take charge of – and aim to quiet the roaring within me, and stay calm and relaxed.

That it the ultimate goal – for me, and probably for each one of us – taming the tempest within our souls.

The aftermath of a recent storm, Hurricane Sandy – has created many problems for the Northeastern  U.S. – lack of power, lack of water, schools are out, subways are not running, gas stations are low on fuel. Lots of issues. How do they —- and we— remain calm when the storm has calmed, but the anxieties remain? That is the question. My heart goes out to those in the East Coast, and I pray that they can handle their tests that are coming to them in the future days with calm and resolve. I know they will. East Coasters are tough!


Pass or Fail

I decided to add a new category to my Bubby Blog. Book Reviews. For the first review, I have chosen the novel, “Pass or Fail.” This story resonated with me, when I read it in a magazine last year, week after week over a period of about six months. The concept of “life as a test,” in which every situation we encounter is some sort of checkup of whether we will do the “right” or “wrong” thing (or somewhere in between) resonates with me.

“Pass or Fail” is the title of a newly released book by Israel Bookshop Publications. I am a fan of the author, S. Wiederblank, who has a knack for writing fiction with compelling characters, important themes, and well-paced plots.

The story takes place mostly in a fictional school in a fictional town of White Falls. The protagonist, Bracha Halperin, is an accountant-turned-teacher who takes a job at a girls’ school, and finds constant challenges there with her students, colleagues, and administration. Bracha, a mature young lady who is also dating for marriage, seems to have load after load on her plate, and faces constant crises in her work place and home life. Most of the time, she passes with flying colors. Other times, she doesn’t, but grows from each experience nevertheless. Readers follow the inner conflicts that Bracha faces, as she learns to deal with a varied student body, difficult personalities, and school politics.

The theme of “pass or fail” rang true for me, as I found each day of Bracha’s life another “test” that she aimed to do the right thing, whatever that seemed to be. Her character was one with a strong ethic, (past accountant – definitely in character!), if not perfection-striving. It seemed to me, the reader, that Bracha was harder on herself than those around her, albeit with the challenges they posed for her.

This is something I found to be realistic, as I observe that young woman of that age tend to be high achievers, and overly self critical. Readers of all ages -from school age to adult – will enjoy this page turner, because it has strong characters in various age groups – middle aged, and young adult teachers, as well as high school students.

For example, Bracha, the high achieving, hard working, conscientious teacher and employee acted as a foil for another older, more “burned out” possibly tenured teacher who seemed to coast along, breaking every rule, and frustrating the staff. Another challenge occurs when Bracha is set up with a young man who is the son of another teacher, adding to Bracha’s conflicted feelings of wanting to stay on good terms with the teacher. Additionally, Bracha’s methods often counteract the philosophy of the school, and Bracha finds herself wondering whether to remain true to herself or follow the pack. Compound all that with spats with students, counseling needy students and planning her lessons, and the reader is bound to realize how the “sub-culture” of a school environment is often a world unto itself, where there are winners and losers. But everyone feels lost in the maze of wanting desperately to stay above water, if not pass the test.


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