JWRP Sister Spotlight: Jori Lichtman
A wife, mother, customer experience strategist in financial services, blogger, storyteller, JWRP sister, and Momentum Fellow, Jori Lichtman calls herself a “work-in-progress” who is always striving to live a more meaningful and connected life. In our conversation, Jori shared how blogging helps her connect to others and how her Momentum Fellowship project, The Shabbat Club, can bring families together.
What inspired you to travel to Israel with the JWRP?
When I learned about the trip, my kids were nine, seven, and three-and-a-half, and I was ready to do something for myself. At the time, I also craved deeper connections with other women, myself, and my Jewish roots. Much of my life seemed transactional — dropping kids off for playdates, picking them up, and moving from one thing to the next. I wanted to dig deeper, and bring more meaning to my everyday life. The MOMentum experience seemed like the perfect opportunity to start.
How did MOMentum impact you?
Being surrounded by smart, confident, and beautiful Jewish women who were comfortable in their own skin and soaking up so much Jewish wisdom were both very inspiring. I was a blogger on the trip, and the experience served as a launching pad for my personal blog. Since returning from Israel, I have tried to incorporate Jewish values and “every day good person” values into my life. I'm human of course and I fumble and stumble, but I’m committed to continuing on a journey of growth as an individual, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. My children attended pre-school at the Village Shul in Toronto, the synagogue which hosted my MOMentum experience. While I used to just drop them off and leave, now The Village Shul community is an important part of our lives. My husband and I attend classes there, and we participate in Village Shul celebrations and activities with our kids. It is a special place that oozes with warmth.
I am also a Momentum Fellow, and my project is The Shabbat Club. The idea is similar to a book club or a dinner club. A few families can get together once a season for a Shabbat meal, and we’ll provide “table talkers,” one-pagers created by rabbis, rebbetzins, and other community leaders, that help facilitate more meaningful conversations. After my MOMentum experience, my family and a few other families began enjoying Shabbat meals together. Now, I am using my inspiration to create a grassroots project and bring it to the world. The Shabbat Project is my way of planting a seed that will help Jewish families forge stronger connections. Like me, it’s a work-in-progress – stay tuned for more!
How has blogging changed your life?
Blogging has helped me articulate my emotions, process my experiences, find lessons in life, and share them with others. Whether I write about my personal life, like a mistake I made and what I learned from it, or a professional topic, like communicating in the workplace, I focus on being relatable and authentic and sharing content and stories that we can all benefit from. I find great joy in sharing a lesson that I learned, which can prevent someone else from stumbling. I also enjoy using a talent that has been dormant for many years and bringing it to the world in my own unique way.
What are tips for JWRP sisters who want to bring more meaning and connection to their day-to-day lives?
Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. It takes effort to make plans with friends or book a date night, but it’s worth it. Prioritize what’s important to you, plan ahead, and make it happen. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and wisdom. Pay attention to the world around you. You never know when you might be able to be a light in someone’s day.