Lisa Shatzkin is a wife, mother of three daughters, regional account manager at Quality Specialty Pharmacy, community volunteer, and JWRP sister. We spoke about her daughter’s weekend with an Israeli JWRP sister’s family, as well as her family’s commitment to positive thinking and everyday acts of kindness.
What inspired you to travel to Israel with the JWRP?
When two friends told me how inspiring MOMentum was and said that it would be perfect for me, I knew that I needed to sign up. MOMentum sounded like it would spur a life journey for me. I knew that it could help me become a better mother and spouse, take more action in my community, gain a better understanding of myself, and deepen my Jewish knowledge and spirituality. I anxiously waited to apply and to take the next steps in my journey.
How did MOMentum impact you?
My MOMentum Trip was very international, with women from Australia, Spain, Israel, and South America. It was incredible to see Israel alongside women from all over the world and to learn what their lives were like. Visiting the Kotel was deeply emotional and spiritual, and I especially loved the lecture about gratitude.
Since returning from my MOMentum Trip, one of my daughters tragically lost close friends. It has been a challenging time, but in light of the tragedies, I’ve encouraged my daughters to be more grateful. We try to focus on the positives and not to dwell on the negatives. I remind them to not sweat the small stuff, but to be thankful for our health and our faith. If we do something positive every day, then we are on the right path. My focus on gratitude has changed my home’s energy. We try to learn from our experiences, take deep breaths when necessary, and fill our lives with meaningful interactions.
Tell us about your daughter’s home hospitality experience in Israel.
During my MOMentum Trip, I knew that my oldest daughter would be spending time in Israel that summer, and I asked my Israeli JWRP sisters if anyone could host her one weekend. So many moms who barely knew me said that they’d love to. She spent Shabbat with Orna, a JWRP sister whose family lives in Tel Aviv. They shopped at the shuk (outdoor market), enjoyed delicious Shabbat meals, and rested. I felt so lucky that she was able to spend time with a loving family and experience a local Shabbat. She came home more knowledgeable about Israeli politics and society and excited to spend more time in Israel.
How do you instill the value of treating everyone with dignity and respect in your children?
I started when they were little. I was always looking for opportunities to do Tikkun Olam (repair the world) together and to bring happiness to people. Sometimes we would head to the toy store, and I’d invite one of my daughters to pick out a toy for an underprivileged child — instead of for herself. Now, I encourage my daughters to host birthday fundraisers for causes that are meaningful to them, instead of accepting gifts. On holidays, we help prepare and serve meals to families in need. My girls used to love taking a bath, dressing in cozy pajamas, and curling up with a good book with my husband and me, and we used to talk about all of the kids who weren’t able to have this experience. To help these children, we created “good night packs,” which each include a pair of pajamas, a book, and a toothbrush, and we delivered them to our Jewish Federation, as well as shelters in our area.
The other day, we were on our way to eat at a restaurant when my middle daughter saw a homeless man sitting on the street. After dinner, she packed up her leftovers for him — and also included napkins, utensils, and a bottle of water. She wanted the man to be able to eat with dignity. It’s wonderful to see my children internalize the importance of doing acts of kindness every day.
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