shalom bayit Supplement to Jewish News, October 28, 2013
Published 22 times a year by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.
all is generally considered a cozy season, time to begin
that retreat indoors. Our first feature focuses on probably the most important aspect of
the inside of our homes: our fami-
their take on Shalom Bayit, family
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appreciation and respect for their
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For the look of our homes, we’ve asked Francine Morgan, a designer who works in both Richmond and
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Tidewater, for tips on choosing an interior designer. Consider her fivestep approach. Before completely turning our sights to our homes’ interiors, however, area landscapers make recommendations for getting our yards in shape for the winter, which will ultimately serve the grass, the shrubs and trees well for the spring and summer months. Wishing everyone Shalom Bayit, Jewish News staff
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rabbinic concept, Shalom Bayit means that “you do everything you can to maintain peace in your home because nothing is more important,” says Rabbi
Rosalin Mandelberg of Ohef Sholom Temple.
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Still, the phrase takes on slightly different personal meanings, depending on whom you ask. Here are what some members of Tidewater’s Jewish community say it means to them:
halom Bayit refers to the relationships in the home. I see it as a willingness to let things go—for the sake of Shalom Bayit, to keep the peace and for good rela-
tionships. If it’s not a super-major issue, or a really important ethical situation, then sometimes you agree to someone else’s way of doing things—Shalom Bayit. —Miriam Brunn Ruberg director Jewish Life & Learning, Simon Family JCC
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he Hebrew words for Man and Woman, Ish and Isha, hint at an important factor in maintaining Shalom Bayit—a peaceful home. When we look at the words
Ish and Isha, we see that the two shared letters are Alef and Shin—which spell Aish, fire. When we add in the Yud to the word Ish, and the Hey to the word Isha, we are adding in the letters of G-d’s name. The relationship of husband and wife has the warmth and passion of fire; however, passion like a flame, can dwindle. It is with the addition of the Yud and the Hey, of using the Torah as our guide, and basing our homes on Torah and Mitzvot that allows the passion and the peace to endure. —Rashi Brashevitzky
t’s a rare moment in our busy, overcommitted lives and none of us have to be anywhere else. But the dishes are piled up in the sink. There is laundry to
do. That room is a mess. The car hasn’t been washed. What the heck are we doing riding our bikes around the Botanical Garden when there’s so much else to be done around the house? Because we’ve made a top priority out of Shalom Bayit, spending quality time reconnecting, and enjoying ourselves, as a family. Looking only at the house, you’d think there is chaos. Looking at how we value each other, there is Shalom Bayit.
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often think about Shalom Bayit, which literally translates as “peace in the house.” To me this
means that there are certain things you do (or
not do) to maintain harmony in the house or community. For instance at home or in the workplace, sometimes you need to ignore a statement or overlook a behavior; sometimes you need to say sorry when you really don’t feel any regret. But when focusing on the larger picture, you recognize the need to take the higher road. —Linda Peck
f a person doesn’t have a lot of money to spend for Shabbat, they should just buy candles because when it is dark, people bump into things and each other, so there
is not serenity or peace in the house, which is what Shabbat is all about. So, we see how thousands of years of Jewish tradition of focusing on the importance of Shabbat candles has really emphasized keeping Shalom Babyit…shalom in the home. —Rabbi Aaron Margolin Chabad of Tidewater
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halom Bayit is the desired and sacred Jewish goal of lifting and uplifting our lives and human interactions, on all levels, into a higher realm of harmony in which
everyone is recognized and honored. That wondrous rainbow allows for differences to become the gateway for mutual growth and fulfillment, rather than a source of conflict. —Rabbi Israel Zoberman Congregation Beth Chaverim
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he blaring sounds of lawn mowers and blowers are almost a distant memory, as most lawns no longer reach new weekly heights. And the leaves that remain on deciduous trees are the rich sunset hues of autumn, signaling that they, too, are about to drop, leaving their hosts bald and not-so-pretty. Sounds like landscaping season is over. Not so! Say the experts. While it might appear that landscaping season is finished until spring, those in the business agree that now is the perfect time to plant and plan and spruce up yards. In fact, now is the “best time to plant,” says Mike Winsette, founder of Winsette Nursery & Landscaping. Trees, shrubs and perennials, he says, all do better in the fall, the exception being certain tender plants such as Gardenias and Palms. “Everything has a chance to get rooted and established, so that when spring arrives, they flourish,” says Winsette. “Plants actually do better, because they grow and develop roots all winter. We rarely loose any that are planted in the fall, and you really don’t have to worry about watering.” Another bonus to planting at this time of year is the size of plants that are on the market. “The availability is good and plants are generally larger and more developed in the fall because they’ve been growing through the spring and summer months,” notes Winsette.In addition to planting, Jerry Rafal of JR Lawns says it is important to “aerate, fertilize, lime, and over-seed lawns” now. At the same time, raking and removing leaf debris is another “must do” as the days grow cooler. Otherwise, the leaves will smother the grass, which needs sunlight to survive and eventually thrive. Rafal also reminds that ”trimming your bushes and a thick mulching of your flowerbeds will help protect them from harsh winter weather.” Plus, the winter months are “perfect for putting in drainage projects, paver and retaining wall installation, and pressure washing,” says Rafal. Why is this a good time? Simply put: the landscapers’ schedules have increased flexibility since they are not focused on weekly lawn maintenance. With more people interested in outdoor living spaces, Winsette, whose company does everything “from start to finish, including building decks and patios, along with the lawn maintenance,” says he sees growing trends for landscaping that include outdoor kitchens and fire pits and “lots of color.” Rafal agrees, saying that his customers are leaning toward less grass and more flowers. “Many clients are turning over their grass patches for drought-tolerant flowers and shrubs. Bigger and beautiful flowerbeds with colorful flowers, grasses and shrubs have become the trend.” So, whether you reach for those rakes or call in the experts, know that the results will be there when the warm weather reappears and it all starts to grow.
Five tips for successful design collaborations by Laine Rutherford
he time has come to decorate, redecorate, renovate or simply refresh your home’s interior. The inspiration boards you’ve created on Pinterest are bursting with hundreds of beautifully photographed links, and you think you’re ready to tackle these projects by yourself. Where do you start, though, and to whom do you turn for help when you realize that your dream of being a chic decorator isn’t gelling with reality? If you’re going to try to do it on your own, best of luck, and start with a good rug or the flooring. That’s where interior designer Francine Morgan likes to begin when working with her clients. Before she even gets to that point, however, there are other considerations Morgan believes are important if the solo route isn’t working for you.
Find a reputable designer organ has had hundreds, if not thousands, of clients over her 33-year-career—and the majority, she says, have come from referrals. A little legwork and a few questions can go a long way in finding a designer with a good
reputation and solid recommendations. Check credentials (interior designers should have an educational background in addition to a design aesthetic; decorators may not have received the same type of education), see examples of previous work, and request a consultation.
Make sure you like the designer ou could be working with the designer you hire for five months, or five years—or longer—so it’s important you like the person, says Morgan. Compatibility and trust are crucial to a good working relationship.
Meet with the designer ave your potential partner-in-décor come to the space that you want decorated or redecorated. They’ll have the opportunity to assess the situation, and you’ll have the opportunity to assess the designer. Morgan says she never charges clients for this initial consultation, and a red flag should go up if someone bills you or pressures you to hire them when your first meet.
Be upfront and honest rom the very first meeting, you need to be honest with the designer about your budget and your expectations, and the designer needs to be honest with you about working within your perimeters. Costs of goods have risen considerably, Morgan says, and you need to know that, as well as how long delivery takes (for some items, it can be six months). Don’t succumb to pressure, and don’t decorate beyond your means. • • • Morgan firmly believes that if you find the right person to work with, you’ll be elated with the result. And if it means you have to stretch the project out for a few years to work within your budget, it’s okay. Having expert guidance and quality décor that will outlive trends, she says, is far better than living beyond your means, with questionable, quickly outdated goods.
Discuss likes and dislikes ou don’t have to go into the minute details at this first session, but Morgan says it is the correct time to discuss the style of décor you like, such as contemporary, French or traditional. Are there certain types of furniture you don’t care for, or colors that should never, ever, grace your walls? Let the designer know now, and see how willing—and able—they are to work with your preferences.
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