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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Building Connections

A friend asked me what are you passionate about these days? I answered something quickly off the top of my head answer but I kept thinking about it.  That night I woke up in the middle of the night thinking…

I’m passionate about connections. 

I’m a connector! 

I’m a networker! 

I’m a community builder! 

I have been so frustrated since returning to Chicago I can’t do any of that... well not very well. 

I am looking for new connections. I am looking for more people like me, where I am today, not where I used to be or where I hope to be, but the today me. 

Jewish single over 45.  

I need some new friends, new connections. Not to bemoan the fact, but covid has made meeting new people (as well as people I already know) so much harder.

So after realizing I needed to find people, I started doing my research. Of course Google told me everything I needed to know about Jewish Singles over 45… all dating apps. Hmmm Matchmaker Google, not exactly what I am looking for, let’s try again. Facebook to the rescue, I found a handful of Facebook groups, joined them and now what? I even wrote to the administrators of each of the groups explaining more of what I was looking for and [asking] what they were hoping to accomplish. It was close, but not a match. 

See what I did there;-)

I believe if you want something and you can’t find it, build it, create it. Tada! Introducing 

Anu Me to We: Creating connections for Jewish singles 45 to 65.

Anu in Hebrew means us/we. It is pronounced ahh new- yep, new. 

We will be creating something new. Re-imagining connection/ community during this time.

Anu will be social, educational, and of course networking.

I already roped a couple of friends into helping me create this new idea. I am hoping more of you will help me too.  Here are at least two ways you can help.

If you fit the bill… Jewish, single and between 45-65 please fill out this form.

If you know someone you think might be interested in my idea, please forward them this blog. How about your Rabbi? Please send it to them too. Or send me info and I'll reach out.

In this strange new world we are living in, Anu is giving me a bit of hope for the future. 

Until next time, 

With Ahava (love), 


P.S. Anu is Hebrew for we, when a bunch of me’s come together we create we.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Happy New Year 5781!

Seasons are changing.
It will be fall or spring equinox depending on where you live.
And on Friday night Sept 18, 2020 it will be a new year in the Hebrew calendar…5781!

This is a wonderful time of year to reflect inward.

I thought I would share a few things that have helped me move into an introspective space. 

First, I love re-reading Alan Lew's book This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation.

Second, I think this is a cool project. I have been part of for the last handful of years.
10Q. 10 Days. 10 Questions.
Here’s what they say about their project:
Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It's your 10Q. When you're finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection. Next year the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that.
One of the best parts of 10Q, they don’t care about your religion, background or nationality. They ask the same questions every year. Each time I am both surprised and not so surprised to see what I wrote the year (and years) before.

In the past years I have written about picking a word for the year. My words have been balance, bravery, abundance and mountain.

What is your intention for this new year? 

    What are your dreams? 

I invite you to take a minute and ask yourself...

        what are you hoping for in this new year?  

        what word pops into your head?
I think mine might be Gevurah. It has to do with strength, boundaries and justice. It is the counter balance to overflowing loving kindness. I hope you’ll click here and send me your word.

Last but not least here is a bit of music for the season.
The Maccabeats- Bashana Haba’a

Soon the day will arrive
when we will sing together,
And the distance will just disappear
And the children will smile,
In a world that’s gotten better,
So let’s bring in a healthy new year

One of my teachers Daniel Silverstein has started recording his music, kind of rap music, take a listen. What do you think?

In this new, strange time I bless you and our world with good health, strength, courage and peace. 

May 5781 be a sweet new year for us all.
שנה טובה

With Ahava (love)


Lyrics for Bashana Haba’a
בשנה הבאה נשב על המרפסת
ונספור ציפורים נודדות.
ילדים בחופשה ישחקו תופסת
בין הבית לבין השדות.

עוד תראה, עוד תראה
כמה טוב יהיה
בשנה, בשנה הבאה.

Soon the day will arrive
when we will sing together,
And the distance will just disappear
And the children will smile,
In a world that’s gotten better,
So let’s bring in a healthy new year

Wait and see, wait and see, what a world there can be
And we know that there’s always tomorrow

עוד תראה, עוד תראה
כמה טוב יהיה
בשנה, בשנה הבאה.

בשנה הבאה נפרוש כפות ידיים
מול האור הניגר הלבן
אנפה לבנה תפרוש באור כנפיים
והשמש תזרח בתוכן.

עוד תראה, עוד תראה
כמה טוב יהיה
בשנה, בשנה הבאה.


Lyrics translated:

In the coming year we’ll sit on our porch
And we’ll count migrating birds
Children on holiday will play tag
Between the house and the fields

Soon you’ll see, soon you’ll see
How good it will be
In the coming year

Soon the day will arrive
when we will sing together,
And the distance will just disappear
And the children will smile,
In a world that’s gotten better,
So let’s bring in a healthy new year

Wait and see, wait and see, what a world there can be
And we know that there’s always tomorrow

In the coming year we’ll spread our palms
Against the white flowing light
A white heron will spread its wings in the light
And the sun will shine in them

Soon you’ll see, soon you’ll see
How good it will be
In the coming year

Sunday, September 13, 2020


When you invoke the idea of home, what do you think about?

Is it your current home? The place you grew up? Or maybe even your parent’s home?

Is there a favorite smell and when you smell it you are reminded of home? 

Or is home a feeling you get when you get off the plane? Ahh… I’m home!

Is it a visual, wow that house looks a lot like the place I call my home. 

Is it a feeling of being grounded, loved, nurtured? 

Is it about family, people or memories?


The idea of home being where your heart is and where your feet are really speaks to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a home and the place we live.


When was the last time you moved?

When I was a kid we moved a lot, all around the East Coast.  It wasn’t until I was in 5th grade we finally lived someplace for more than two years. I was the kid who could proudly say, I’ve lived in 5 places in the first 10 years of my life. As a kid that was pretty darn cool. I have had conversations with some of you and know you had the same experience. When I came to Chicago (my mom’s hometown) for undergrad, I settled here. My mom’s family all live here. The place I came to visit as a kid. My grandparents, aunts/uncles and so many cousins all live here. All of the sudden I was home!


I lived here for over 30 years until two years ago when I moved to Israel. Each time I got off the plane in Israel, I felt like I was home. My shoulders lowered down into my back. My face just smiled. My whole self said…  I’m home. Take a look at this older blog post regarding my feelings of loving two homes at once.  

A month and a half ago, I came back again to Chicago, the place where I grew into a grown-up.  

This time is different. 

I am different. 

Two years ago we sold the house I used to call my home. Those memories now live in my mind, heart, and in way too many boxes that have been living in storage for the last 2 1/2 years. 


The song Home by Phillip Phillips has been playing in my head all week, especially these lines.

Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone

'Cause I'm going to make this place your home


As of September 1st, I became a proud renter of a one-bedroom apartment in Evanston, Illinois. It’s really pretty and light. Hardwood floors and that old building feel. Last week the movers loaded up the contents of my storage locker and brought boxes and boxes of things to my new place. For some people opening boxes that have been in storage for a few years is like Christmas morning. The excitement, the anticipation, and the wonder of what you’re going to find in the box can be really invigorating. But not for me, I had a feeling of dread. What in the world did I pack in these boxes? Some are labeled books, those are the easy ones. A few are labeled dishes, photos or kid's art. 

But the rest… OY! I have no earthly idea. 


Slowly I’ve begun opening the boxes, mostly smiling with delight when I find prized items that I had forgotten I still owned. And with a bit more joy in my heart, I set about unpacking. Tonight as I sit in my living room on my new couch looking around at the beautiful flowers in the vase on the table I used to love, I can take a deep breath in and feel like I am finally home. 


With love (ahava), 




Chicagoland Moving and Storage are my heroes! Igal and Erez are also my friends.

They have kept all of my things safe in storage for over two years.
They moved me into my new home. Can’t thank them enough.
Please use them for your moving and storage needs.


Sad news from the Jacobs Family:

Our pretty dog Ike, loved our family, toys and going for walks. And boy did he love the snow. He kept us safe from the postman.
As his dad wrote: A glorious life lived in service of others happiness.
He took his last breath on Sat Sept 12, 2020
It’s sad. 
I’m sad.
He was a part of our family for over 16 years. 

He loved his toys

Monday, August 10, 2020

What Would You Title This Chapter of Your Life?

How do you mark time? A journal? Old fashion calendar or on your phone, or some other way?
Have you ever looked back at your journals or calendar and thought wow my life has had more twists and turns than I thought it had. It’s so interesting to see where I started and where I am now.

I started this blog a little over two years ago as a way to share my story as I was leaving Chicago for Israel. A few of my colleagues suggested I start writing down what I was going through to potentially help others know that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Going through a hard time is just the transitional piece of moving from one chapter of our life to the next. So I started writing. In the last two years I have gained more confidence, insights about life and more readers. My mind is blown when I see how many people read my blog. (Thank you all.)

I just finished my summer classes at Pardes. I know, I am only a bit addicted to learning, even online. I want to tell you about one of my classes, taught by the amazing Gila Fine. If you ever have a chance to study with her, take it. The title of this summer’s program was Tales of Talmudic Travelers. Gila has a protocol regarding reading a Talmudic passage. I won’t share the whole thing, but the first read through is always what she calls a close reading. For example, we find the characters, setting and the scenes, as if we were staging a production. Again not to give away all of her techniques, she has us give titles to the scenes, like chapters in a book. Each time I’ve studied with Gila, I learn more about the characters, their back story and of course something about myself too. This summer was no exception, especially since all of our heroes were traveling and in transition just like me.

The other morning I woke up thinking...
Am I  done writing? Then I realized, nope I’m just at the next chapter of my life. 

My brain went right to thinking about all of you; I thought what do your journeys look like?
Where are you on your path?
And if you had to give your life right now a title what would you give?

I had fun brainstorming titles:
A Woman with a Plan!
Keeping My Eye on the Prize
Sorry, I can’t come to the phone right now...
I am Right Where I am Supposed To Be!
Yes, Please! Ready For My Next Adventure
Is This My Life? nod to Talking Heads
Off the Beaten Path
Timing Is Always Perfect
Marching to My Own Drum
Lost in Space
Hold On Tight…It’s a Rocky Road!
On Vacation! Please Leave a Message
How did I get here?
Everything's Coming Up Roses!
I’m Where My Feet Are
Help, I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up!
Loving my life! 
Click here to send me your title(s)

I am always looking for the universal pieces of my life, thoughts and writings to share with you. I hope you will continue to write me notes about your lives. I really do enjoy reading them, and will try my best to respond.
Until next time,
With Ahava, 


Monday, July 13, 2020

My bags are packed...

Hi, a quick check-in note today,

My bags are packed and I am almost ready to go.
I am a few hours away from getting on a plane to fly back to Chicago, almost two years to the day since I left my hometown. WOW!

Two and a half years ago I came to visit friends in Israel.  It ended up being a life-changing trip, to say the least. Take a look at my very first blog post if you want to know more. Click Here

So many things happened that trip.

One was meeting an artist at Carmel Market named Orna Barel.

Chating with Orna as she wrapped up my gifts, she looks at me and says, can I give you a blessing? How can you say no to that?

So there I was standing with hundreds of people walking by as they were getting ready for Shabbat with her hands on my head, receiving a blessing.
Holy Cow Batman!
It was super powerful. She said things about me that only I know or knew I needed to hear. One of the things she said was… Tamy, most people look at a desert and see nothing. Vast emptiness, sand, rocks, and earth. But really there is lots of life in a desert. Seeds will be planted and new life grows. 

Each time I am in Tel Aviv I go to see her. As soon as I walk up she smiles the biggest smile and says Tamy you are here! We are always so happy to see each other. She remembers my name and my story. We are kindred spirits. There is a bond I can’t explain.

Last week was no exception, even with our masks on; we were beaming as we spoke to each other.  

I told her it was time for me to go back to the States for now. I think I am supposed to help make connections between Israel and the US. One of my tasks is to share my love for this country with my other home country.

As I hope you can imagine, she channeled another blessing for me. This time helping me see how much I have grown, healed, and changed in these past two years. So true, b’emet!
I had goosebumps the whole time.

As I retold this story to my friend Michelle, ironically sitting in the exact same cafe I sat with my friend, Iris years before, Michelle said, that little caucus flower you just bought, that is you! You have bloomed into a beautiful new flower. 

Hopefully, my travel plans will work out. I am looking forward to seeing my sons, family, and friends. 
Looking for a new job and ready for the next chapter of my life. 
I will be in self-imposed isolation for two weeks 
(July 14-28) in Evanston, IL. 
My American phone number will be back on 847.212.3550. WhatsApp should still work too.

I am so in love with this song. Hope you will take a listen. Aliyah by Laeli
Here a few of my favorite lines:
I get to thinking about the time I’ve spent. 

Memories made. 
Where they went. 
A painted picture of the life I’ve known ten thousand miles from home.
I am a stranger in the land I’ve known ten thousand miles from home.
My heart is calling for Jerusalem, ten thousand miles from home.

Come find your way back home.

So dear family and friends in my best 

Arnold Schwarzenegger voice:
I’ll be back!
I know my time here in Jerusalem and Israel is not over yet, just changing.

Blessing you all with love,
Until next time, 
Little last prayer tonight at the Kotel

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Have You Put More Love in the World Today?

Love is a contagious thing

Hi friends, 
I’d like to tell you a little story that happened to me on the first of July. 
I needed someone to help me with Hebrew, my usual people were busy. I had to call my insurance company to ask them a couple of questions. Some of it was in English, that was great but then I pushed 5 for traveler's insurance and it was only in Hebrew. And not words that I knew.
I was having one of those moments, I was very frustrated. Not a happy camper.
As I was walking home I saw what seem to be a kind-looking man sitting on a bench. I’m not sure why but I decided to stop and ask if he spoke English. 

He said yes. 
I said could you help me listen to the choices and tell me which one I should push. 
He said of course. 
So he listened and as we waited I told him what I needed. 
And when the insurance agent came on the phone he asked her in Hebrew do you have traveler's insurance for the United States? 
לא, לא, לא!
I totally understood what she was saying. 
NO, no, no!
I asked him to ask again I’m already a member of this insurance company will that help?!
We thanked her and hung up. 
I asked him if I could buy him and his friend some ice cream? How about a cold drink? Something for their help he said thank you no, we are fine. 
I said but you just really helped me and he said it was so easy, my pleasure. Have a good trip come back soon.

The whole exchange took maybe three minutes at most. 

Years ago one of my teachers, Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener did a class on angels. You know the kind, those guardian angels, people who just show up when you need them. One of the questions she asked was was there ever a time when you needed something and surprise there was the person there to help you… 

Change a flat tire… 
     Give you a coin for the laundry machine… 
          Help you load up your car with your groceries. 
Reb Shohama tied those people to the angels who pop in to help us on our way. She cited the Joseph story when he is looking for his brothers. A man asks him if he needs help. We do know the man's name or where he comes from. His whole purpose it seems is to help Joseph.

In this last week's Parsha*, a Moab King wants to hire a “magician” to curse the Jewish people. The magician, Baalam can only speak words from G!d so instead of curses he blesses the people. This happens three times before the king gives up. 

My take away… sometimes things that seem like curses really blessings.
So on the first of July as I walked home I started thinking about who that man was and how he just happened to have a nice look about him and how it allowed me to ask him to help me. It’s not what I usually do. And as I kept walking the song More Love popped into my head. Billy Jonas asks 

Did you put more love in the world today? 
There is just one task and all that matter is the answer when the question asked. 
Did you put more love in the world today? 
More love on your way to the setting sun? 
There is only one measure when you can honestly say... I put more love
Which then reminded me of Shohama’s class and this week's Parsha. They all seemed to be connected. Reminding me that I too needed to put more love in the world. As well as be gr8ful for the people, things, ideas all who show up to help me. 

Starting in March my younger son and I kept a gratitude chart each day. What are you Gr8ful for? Some days it was hard to think of three things and why. Other days, they rolled right out of our heads with ease. 

Have you ever been tagged in one of those Facebook gratitude challenges? The one where they say every day for the next week write three things you’re grateful for and why. Then tag another friend. 

Dear ones, 
I am challenging you to post three things a day you are gr8ful for on whatever social media, your own private journal, whatever you pick. Write three things, people, experiences you are gr8ful for each day and challenge three other people to do the same. 
Hopefully becoming more aware of the blessings you have in your life, will make your life better. I believe this exercise will definitely put more love in the world. 

Here are mine for the past few days:
  • I a profoundly gr8ful for all of you who read my blog and respond. I’m blown away every time. Really I am.
  • I am gr8ful to the man on the bench for helping me with Hebrew.
  • I am gr8ful to Bar and Guy at EuroCar for helping me rent a car from the other day.
  • I am gr8ful to younger son for continuing our gratitude chart, even when he’s not in the mood.
  • I am gr8ful to oldest son for keeping me looped in on all types of music.
  • I am gr8ful to all of the people who I have gotten to know here in Israel. I have studied with them, shared meals and call my friends.
I am having a little send-off on this Sat night. If you are in the neighborhood come by to bless me as I return to Chicago. And then to where ever I am supposed to go next. Message me for more info. Facebook invite is here.

More life adventures and thoughts to come. 
with ahava, 

The parsha Balak is so much fun, a talking donkey even! Take a look

Pretend Yoga on the beach Tel Aviv

new baby pomegranates are on their way

Monday, June 1, 2020

Goodbyes and Hello to What Comes Next!

We had a heatwave here in Jerusalem a little over a week ago. One day, I decided to go and sit under a shady tree, three little schoolboys joined me, tzitzit flying as they danced around on the grass. Rolling around, laughing.
Not a care in the world.  

     Remember that feeling? 
          Not a care in the world. 

As I sat contemplating what I wanted to say to all of you with Pardes* ending. Answering the question on my mind (and seemingly everyone else’s), what is next for me? 

I think I can be so bold to say: life doesn’t always go as planned. There’s a saying people plan and G!d laughs. So far 2020 has brought that saying home to all of us. Things we thought were going to happen this spring just didn’t. Things happened, but maybe not the things we planned. My goal was to start looking for a job on March 1st. Where, one might ask? Maybe here in Israel, maybe in the United States, maybe somewhere else in the world.

We all know what happened during the last three months.
In March and April, it seemed ridiculous to me that I should be trying to find a job when nobody knew what tomorrow was going to bring, let alone the next week. But I took motivation from my phone case: and nevertheless, she persisted! That’s me! I’ve persisted in looking for jobs, interviewing when invited.

Long story short, I’ve decided it is time for me to return to the United States a bit sooner than I thought.  I definitely have some top places I would like to live: Chicago, New York, Philly/DC area, Colorado, California being some of them. My dream job has been one in which I would travel back and forth between Israel and The States. Since I’ve only taken a bus once in the last 10 weeks I don’t think travel is on the horizon. 
Just as Waze recalculates your route, I too need to re-calibrate my direction. I would love to work for a national/international organization. If staying in Israel would be the right move, that could happen too. I really enjoy the bird’s eye view. Once travel opens up again, potentially that could be part of my job. Running an organization, programming and envisioning is what I do best. Working for a Jewish organization has been the bulk of my career and honestly where I imagine fitting in best. 

Why am I telling you all this? I could use your help. If you could keep your ears and eyes open for a job that would fit my skill set I would really appreciate it. I’m happy to send you my resume or look on LinkedIn. I have a variety of cover letters, tailor-made for each position.
Pardes 2019-2020 Closing Circle
Below is some Torah (my thoughts) that I gave to the Pardes community as a way to say goodbye to this 2019-2020 school year. Words that I think are important for everyone, not just at the end of a school year. 

Importance of saying goodbye
Some of you may know that I’ve spent a lot of my career working in adoption as well as with young children and their families. Two very separate jobs. A striking connection is most of that work has to do with attachment and separation saying hello saying goodbye

As we leave Pardes all of us are or will become leaders.  At some point in our careers, we will sit on boards, we will be directors, we will have many opportunities to watch how people say hello and say goodbye. 
I have sat on many boards in my career. I’ve witnessed two major themes happen over and over again. 

One is the board member who throws a temper tantrum. Who wants to take the organization potentially in a direction that nobody else agrees. They may have a point of view that just isn’t in sync with the organization anymore. Usually what I’ve seen happen is that they either get kicked off the board or they leave slamming the door saying “I never liked you anyway!!” A big fight, it’s a mess. 

The second type of situation happens to some of our really good board members/ good volunteers, someone will ask what happened to So and So? There’s always an excuse… 
     he had to work late… 
          she’s home with her family… 
                 something came up at the last minute. 
The first time it happens you just say OK it seems reasonable. By the third time you start thinking wow did something happen to them but you might not act on it. And about the fifth time, you don’t even remember that they were ever on our board. They just slink away quietly into the night. 

For a long time, I thought those were the only two ways people could leave a board or a situation; either slamming the door or silently leaving. 

Think about your friendships, how have they ended? In a fight that looking back made no sense at all? Did they ghost you? Just stop showing up, never saying why? 

Think about yourself… how do you leave? Which one are you?

I want to say, there is always a third answer. 

Even now… how are you going to say goodbye to the friendships you’ve made here? 

I’ve come to learn that it is incredibly important to say goodbye when you have a chance to say goodbye. Even if it means tomorrow you get to say hello all over again. 

But not taking the opportunity to say goodbye is a regret that will stay with us for a very long time, sometimes even a lifetime. Even if you feel all choked up, ugly crying... I’m begging you, take the chance, take the opportunity to say goodbye. 

Here’s a little blessing/ poem that resonates with me. 

Change happens every moment of our lives – in the world and around us and in ourselves. Even when we don’t want something to change it will. Adapting to change and making good things happen from change is a successful way to be. 

By Susan Williams

Wishing you all the best,
Goodbye for today. See you again soon, 

With Ahava (love)
New Photo May 2020
Have you thought about going to Pardes? Now is your chance. 
This summer you can join Pardes online. Pardes is offering amazing discounts for the 2020-2021 school year. What's stopping you? Take a look Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies.

Today's blog is in honor of my father, Melvin Cohen's birthday. 
He would have been 94 years old. 

Here are a couple older posts you might want to take a look at:
Wondering how I felt at the end of last school year? 
Wondering how I moved to Israel?