Don’t Borrow My New Car by Ruchi Koval (Intro by Lori)


Dear JWRP Sisters,

We began 2017 with weeklong global staff meetings, including all of the Trip Leaders of the JWRP (only Adrienne couldn't come and had to call in from Toronto). People flew in from as far away as Israel and Brazil. 

It was wonderful having the whole team together, and we had spirited presentations and discussions on just about everything: goals, branding, messaging, alignment, partnerships, Men's MoMENtum Trips, the 2017 trip itinerary and dreams!

Yes, a lot of things happen behind the scenes at the JWRP to make it all happen. Our team is growing (more than 30 strong!), multicultural (at least three languages were flying around), diverse (gender, politics, religion… you name it), and yet, all are united in their desire to change the world by inspiring women and men to connect to their Jewish values, engage with Israel and take action in their homes and communities.

Next week, our Winter Board Retreat!

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom,


Don't Borrow My New Car

I have a new car. This is very exciting because it is the first car I have ever owned that I actually like. It's a Toyota Highlander, so it's like a cute minivan. Well, it's not technically a minivan; it's an SUV, with fuel efficiency to match, so therefore, it's cute. I do not like minivans. I like my new car. 

Now that I have a car I like, I have a lot of rules about my car. Such as, no one is allowed to borrow it. I mean, if there's a reason someone has to use my car, fine, but it had better be a good one. Another rule is that my car gets garage privileges (thank you, husband), so in our Cleveland winters, if my husband's car is snowy and icy, he'll use mine in the morning and put his in the garage to de-ice. 

Yesterday, we had just gotten back from spending the Chanukah weekend with my family in New Jersey – all six of my siblings and most of our kids, our parents and my two grandmothers. Sadly, my car was a bit of a disaster post-road trip – one of my other short-lived rules was no eating in the new car – and when I woke up, I planned to vacuum it out lovingly.

Well, my car wasn't in the garage. Someone, such as my husband, had borrowed my car. Minor annoyance, to be sure, but still, my mind scanned all of the plausible and flimsy reasons he had done so. Weather? Fine. Convenience? Nah. In fact, wouldn't he prefer to drive his clean car rather than my dirty one? I decided to table the pointless thought process.

When he walked in, I very gently asked him if please could he not take my car, as I had planned to vacuum it out that morning, and while it wasn't a big deal (cough), could he please try to remember? 

"Surprise!" he said. "I took your car for a professional vacuum and car wash. Don't worry. I know your car rules."

I blushed and thanked him profusely, touched by the gesture and a little embarrassed that I hadn't given him the benefit of the doubt.

Ever experienced this? A time when the evidence was damning and you were so self-righteous… and then you found out that everything was the opposite of what it seemed? Yeah. It's called being human.

In this week's Torah portion, Joseph is holding court in Egypt, seemingly torturing his brothers – the ones who left him for dead and now have no idea that this pompous, despotic tyrant is actually their brother. They become increasingly frustrated and upset with him, unable to accept all of the demands he is senselessly placing on them.

And then, in one moment, everything changes with two Hebrew words: Ani Yosef (I am Joseph). I am the brother you left for dead. I am the despot who's been tormenting you. I am your favored brother of whom you were jealous; I am the dreamer of dreams; I am he, he is I.

In shock and horror, the brothers try to assimilate this new information. Everything is changed. Everything they thought they knew has been turned on its head. One small piece of information and everything – everything – is radically different than it seemed.

How would the world look if we suspended judgment in a moment of doubt and confusion and just said, “I don't know everything. Maybe there's more to this story than meets the eye. Maybe how I see it isn't exactly as it is.”

Maybe there would be more clean cars? Maybe more repaired relationships? Maybe fewer hurtful words? Maybe?

Shabbat shalom!

Ruchi Koval is a JWRP Trip Leader and City Leader. She's also a musician, blogger, author, parenting coach, and lecturer. She loves to organize closets, eat doughnuts, and inspire others to live their best lives with Torah values. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, and has seven children, and a 60 lb. golden doodle.

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