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My Face in the Mirror

Leah Gebber

Millennia after the kingdom of Greece rose and fell, we’re left with unsettling questions: Has the Hellenistic culture of competition and physical perfection triumphed after all? Do we judge others — and ourselves — by external appearances? Or does the light of the soul, the radiance of the menorah, still smolder in our hearts and minds, opening us up to connection, self-love, and ultimately, holiness? Four eminent personalities on how we can raise our daughters to embrace every facet of their selves.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

From Mother to Daughter I ushered our four panelists into the conference room. We sat down, there was a moment’s hesitation as we wondered where and how to begin. Tackling tonight’s theme — our relationship with our physical selves — felt like attempting an ocean crossing in a rowboat. But there was an urgency that made us push our oars into the water and set out; for we are women, but we’re also mothers. We may flail. Tire. Our compass may slip out of reach. But we owe it to the next generation of daughters to embark on the journey.    Racheli Miller: As mothers, we are role models. We have to think of what we want to accomplish, what messages we want to give over to our children. And one of the most crucial lessons is the balance between external attractiveness and inner worth. I’d categorize this as part of Toras Imecha, the transmission that for thousands of years was passed down from mother to daughter, both verbally and through the spirit a mother infused into the home.   Batya Weinberg: Helping our daughters integrate their physical and spiritual selves starts not from their teens, but from the moment they’re born, when a mother picks up and holds her baby. A mother’s touch and warmth will go a long way in forming the way her child will integrate her internal and external identity.   Racheli Miller: To deepen our connection to our spouse, and to give emotionally to our children, we women must first strengthen ourselves and focus on our own needs in a nurturing and balanced way that reflects our connection to Hashem. When our connection to ourselves is strengthened, so is our connection to our spouse and our connection with the mitzvos. These attitudes transmit themselves to the next generation.

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