Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Massive Brochos Campaign

Close friends of ours introduced a Brochos campaign throughout the Five Towns and Far Rockaway. All of the boys and girls schools in the % towns and Far Rockaway are participating. The purpose of the campaign to is to encourage people to make brochos out loud so that other can say amen with a minimum of 5 said out loud per day. Prizes are given to qualifying students. Dovid HaMelech instituted that each person should say 100 brochos daily. In that zechus many tragedies can be averted.
The campaign is dedicated in memory of Nechama Liba A”H. It is also dedicated in memory of a young girl who was tragically killed in New Jersey.
One shabbos, Nechama and this girl actually played together. Now they are living in a lichtege Gan Eden reaping the merits of thousand of students saying brochos and amen.

My wife and I are overcome with emotion and appreciation. This means the world to us and we gratefully appreciate it. If you know of someone who lost a child, doing something in their memory, big or small, provides a tremendous feeling of comfort. It is a true chesed shel emes. We all need to get past the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to say or do. The parents will appreciate it. They will never be able to thank you enough. Don’t hesitate to do something or to say something to the parents.

Just by telling them a story about their child or telling them that you think about their child will be the greatest gift that you can give. Don’t worry about it being uncomfortable. They will appreciate no matter what.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cute picture

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Letter to Editor

Dear Mr. Gordon,
I am a frequent reader of your publication over the last few years. Your newspaper has filled a long standing void. The Five Towns Jewish Times is significant in that it shares information that is important to the orthodox community in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway. In addition it supports local businesses by providing the opportunity to advertise to potential local customers. There are many proponents and opponents of having a local Jewish paper but I, for one, appreciate, your efforts and want to congratulate you on creating a professional paper that is a true asset to the 5 Towns and Far Rockaway.

My daughter, Nechama Liba, passed away over 1 and half years ago at age 10 (actually 3 days before her 11th birthday) following a 6 year illness. She was an incredible person and was mature far beyond her years. Anyone who met her, felt inspired just by witnessing her smile, despite the difficulties that she encountered. The name may sound familiar to you since the catering hall, Ateres Nechama Liba, located in Bnos Bais Yaakov building is named for her.

The fact that a simcha hall is associated with her name brings tremendous comfort to my wife and I, in addition to our immediate and extended family. On a weekly basis, the simcha gallery in your paper contains photos of families celebrating Bar or Bat Mitzvahs in the Hall. Instead of stating the name Ateres Nechama Liba, it simply lists the location as Bnos Bais Yaakov. It would be a testimony to my daughter as well as a great comfort to my wife and me, if you could state the hall as Ateres Nechama Liba in the caption. Ateres Nechama Liba is listed on all of the invitations and, hopefully, on the advertisements. To some this might appear trivial yet we need to hold on to all that we have.

I maintain a web site in her memory containing stories, letters, and speeches in memory of Nechama Liba in a blog at http://glenh.blogspot.com. There is a small but dedicated readership and many people have, by their admission, been inspired. If you have the opportunity to read the blog, you might get a sense of who Nechama Liba was and why she had such an effect on the entire community.

I understand that you are very busy and therefore, I greatly appreciate it if you could oversee that this change be considered.

Thank you in advance.

Glen & Saguite Holman

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


If you feel compelled to do so, you can vote for “Best Personal Blog” at

This blog is just one of the choices.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I am Yosef, your brother

My writing has suffered the most over the last few weeks giving way to kiddush preparations, preparing the house for the new baby, and of course starting a new job.
B"H, my mother-in-law is staying with us, so the baby and wife are in good hands.

After consulting a Rav in Eretz Yisroel, we named the baby Menucha Liba. Interesting that the name Menucha fell into our heads. It was only after we sort of chose the name that we realized that the Hebrew letters are the same as Nechama.

Having "experienced" the other side of the cycle of life, having a new child has taken on greater meaning. The miracle of having a child is a more consious experience.
It is hard to imagine a rational person who has experienced the birth of a child, yet remains convinced that there is no creator.

We chose the name Menucha, often translated as serenity. Menucha implies someone who is "One with Hashem". If we would recognize that Hashem is watching over us and is doing what is best for us, all worries would disappear. We would feel safe with Hashem as the driver. The bumps in the road wouldn't startle us because we would be confident with Hakadosh Baruch Hu behind the wheel.

Also Menucha was born during the week of Parshas VYigash. Anyone who is following the storyline of Yosef and his brothers can see the difficulties that they encountered. In Pasrshas VYigash ,All of this comes reaches its climatical point when Yosef finally reveals himself. "Ani Yosef -I am Yosef". All the events until that point take on new meaning. Each episode is reevaluated with this new understanding. The pieces start to fall into place. “I am Yosef, your brother.” I am your brother and I love you, as one brother should love another .
But even more, I was your brother the entire time. Every word,every act , I did as your brother who loved you. He then explains to them that everything that happened was ordained by G-d and was for a greater purpose.
Finally…. Menuchas HaNefesh. Clarity. Release from the bonds of confusion.

According to the minhag of the Vilna Gaon, to give the new child the name of the deceased child, we gave the name Liba.

I hope and pray that this child should bring Menucha to our entire Mischpacha and to the entire Klal Yisroel.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Its a girl

With deepest thanks to Hashem, my wife gave birth to a baby girl. We will name her on Shabbos.
May we only share in simchas.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Suffering Part 2

I have been struggling with the concept of suffering for many years, even before Nechama Liba got sick. Even in the case of a bereaved parent where pain never goes away, perhaps whether or not to wallow in grief is a choice that we all have.

I guess it might be more appropriate to say that "whether to allow the suffering to control my life is a choice".

Perhaps, I could be accused of being engaged in a "faith of convenience" but I live with hopes and dreams of being reunited with my child in the "Next World". I breathe based upon the idea that somehow there is meaning to the suffering. In the meantime, I pray that Moshiach will be here soon. I can't imagine the pain of someone who lives without these beliefs. On the other hand, on some level each mitzvah is a mini-struggle . Like Yaakov with the malach of Esav. Every mitzvah contains an element of Lishmah [doing mitzvos for G-ds sake alone] because, when I wrap my tefillin or shake a lulav, I need to confront a G-d who took away my child. I am commanded to love him and embrace him. My daughter was able to do that even though she realized that she would die from her illness. I draw strength from her. It keeps me connected. I believe in my heart that someday this will all make sense. But it won’t be in this world of smoke and clouds.

The next world is called the “Olam HaEmes”. The World of Truth. I pray that I will have the strength to endure the pain until I get there. I deal with people who suffer on a daily basis. I am zoche to be in the presence of some pretty amazing people, both young and old and nothing stops them. But we can only imagine what they have to endure on a daily basis. The fear, pain and daily confrontations. But they take it all in stride and are determined not to let anything get in their way. I draw strength from being around them. I can't let my challenges cripple me if I expect them to overcome theirs.

Years ago, on a typical shabbos night, I asked myself why Hashem chose to give his people such suffering. It was dark in the room which hid the teardrop that was rolling down my cheek. I spent the next 25+ hours trying to imagine how G-d could give so much suffering. How could Hashem proclaim a lifelong decree? How could G-d do this? It wasn’t until the next night that it came to me that although G-d gives us great challenges, yet suffering is a state of mind.

We can't help but feel the pain but as long as we live, we can choose to let it cripple us or use it as a springboard to drive us to be better people. No doubt the loss of a child changes us forever. I often think of a bereaved parent as analogous to someone who was permanently injured in a car accident. He will never to be the same again. Needing significant rehabilitation. His injuries are a constant reminder. But yet, he is given the choice to remain nothing more than a cripple, chas vashalom, or "rise to the occasion". May G-d give us the strength.

The expression of "Suffering is a state of mind" gives me some sense of control.
But it doesn't heal the pain.
My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.