This week, Monday morning arrived and my ‘to do’ looked much bigger than how I left it on Friday. This is an interesting predicament. I am torn between taking some extra me time because of a busy weekend with the family. I actually love Friday night and Saturday – this is our ultimate family down time. Personally, my body reacts accordingly. I fall asleep so early Friday night and wake up incredibly rested Saturday morning. Yes, this is the beauty of Shabbos, and my body is in sync with this most important ‘day of rest’.
There is still the question that many people inquire and that is how to get work done and function in the mainstream world and still keep Shabbos. I couldn’t express more how much Shabbos does give me that extra push and focus during the week, especially so that I can rest and relax on Shabbos. I am not alone in this, nor is there a shortage of men, women, and children keeping this same schedule. Since I am a mom focusing on other moms out there, I have found so many that also keep Shabbos and maintain their professional careers and their family time. I felt it was necessary to recognize them today in this post. After all, it is Monday and I am in need of some major motivation. The first mom and career women that I would like to feature is Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt.
I do not know how I had never heard of Avital before, but when I was invited to attend Torah in the City, an event created and presented by the OU, I saw she was a speaker. The event in itself was very successful and close to 1,500 men and women from the tri-state area and beyond attended. Yet, once I read about Avital, I started to see her name more and more. About a week before the OU event, Avital had addressed a group of high school girls to share with them her work and credentials that led her there.
Here is a little bit about Avital that I was just so inspired and impressed by. Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt is a journalist living in New York City. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Tablet, The Forward and Moment, among other publications. She teaches journalism at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. She is also a mother and the wife of a Rabbi. Looking at her credentials and her very busy life, one can question how she manages everything. Not only that, but how she manages everything well.
She was recently hired as the Director of Media Strategy for the OU. Even in this position, she continues to write for many publications, which is totally impressive. I had the chance to interview her and I just know her replies will both impress and inspire you. Also, this is a lesson for us to encourage our children to love reading and all of the endless benefits it can have on them in the future.
PTP What or who inspired your decision to become a journalist?
ACG I was always a writer…always a reader. Especially inspired by Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, and Amos Oz (you can tell I was raised by Russian immigrants). That love of language and storytelling began to translate into journalism as I became more interested in politics and current events, and eventually, social and religious issues, too.
PTP What person have you always wanted to interview and have you had the chance to interview them yet?
ACG I interviewed Amos Oz for my thesis on his work, as an undergrad at Stern. That was pretty incredible; he’s a real literary idol for me. I’d love to interview some of today’s most contentious political figures in the Western world: Marine Le Pen, Steve Bannon, and Richard Spencer. On a totally different note, within the frum world, I’d love to interview the Skver Rebbetzin.
PTP What are you reading right now?
ACG I’m now reading The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt — because history may not repeat itself, but it certainly echoes itself. Next will be a novel, The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
I really enjoyed Avital’s kindness and patience, even with her busy schedule and other wife and mother responsibilities. This has motivated me to always encourage my kids to enjoy the challenges of school and continue with their reading. Also, to work hard during the week so that Shabbos is truly a day of rest and rejuvenation.
Stay tuned for Motivation Moms for another Monday. We all need it!