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Of course there is no such thing as the â€śbest partner,â€ť but you want your loved one to feel that you are their best partner, right? Whether youâ€™re dating, married or seriously committed, the best gift you can give your loved one is to be supportiveâ€”even on those rare (or not so rare) occasions when you donâ€™t see eye to eye.
1. Speak your mind: Speaking up is just as important as listening. If your partner doesnâ€™t know how you feel, they canâ€™t be sensitive to your feelings. If Passoverâ€™s coming up and youâ€™d really like a hand preparing to host the holiday, donâ€™t wait for them to offerâ€”ask! So many relationship struggles come from lack of communication. If youâ€™re visiting your significant otherâ€™s parents and youâ€™re anxious about not being familiar with certain religious rituals that might come up during a holiday of a religion you donâ€™t practice, ask for a primer (better yet, if itâ€™s Jewish information you seek, find one here!). Youâ€™ll feel more comfortable and your loved one will appreciate your interest in their religion.
2. Go halfsies: My husband and I annoyingly like to tease each other that â€śwhatâ€™s yours is mineâ€ť when it comes to that ice cream sundae or a winning scratch ticket. But it goes both ways. When I see him eyeing the last of my homemade Hanukkah cookies: â€śWhatâ€™s mine is yours.â€ť When that wine bottle is almost empty: â€śWhatâ€™s mine is yours.â€ť When you’re both generous with the little things, you might find youâ€™re in a better mindset to compromise on the big stuff too.
3. Get creative: Feel like most of the time youâ€™re on autopilot? Work, grocery store, gym, errands, pick up the kids (if you have kids), etc. Thatâ€™s because we all are. So when you actually get a free minute to spare with your sweetheart, it can be hard to figure out what to do with itâ€”besides a Netflix binge. But there are so many great events going on every week in the Jewish community, plus workshops from InterfaithFamily for couples and new parents. #ChooseLove by taking advantage of that precious free time in a more enriching way and learn something new together. Even if itâ€™s just once in a while, youâ€™ll be glad you got off the couch.
4. Take your time: Figuring out your religious identity as a couple or family takes time. You might want to feel like you have a plan for celebrating holidays and family gatherings thatâ€™s just rightâ€”from the get-go. Let yourself off the hook! Be OK with not being the perfect Passover host this year. Your what-went-wrongs will inform next year. And some unexpected moments worth repeating will almost certainly happen organically. As you see what works for youâ€”hosting versus visiting, keeping the kids in school versus bringing them to a holiday observance, etc.â€”youâ€™ll start to create your own traditions.
5. Let it go: I’m not saying you should avoid communication and let hurt feelings fester (especially about big issues), but this is about not â€śsweating the small stuff.â€ť If your partnerâ€™s complaining about visiting your in-laws for Easter again, but you know sheâ€™s had a terrible, no good, very bad day, maybe let this one slide. Or if youâ€™ve already made your opinion known that your grandmother has the best chicken soup recipe on the planet, and it would be a travesty not to serve it to your guests, put it in perspective: If itâ€™s really important for your partner to connect with their grandma through an old passed-down recipe, perhaps itâ€™s not worth ruining your holiday over soup. Often we expect a lot from our loved ones, but sometimes we lose sight of whatâ€™s worth getting worked up over. And more important: whatâ€™s not.
Rabbi Ari interviews her Israeli brother, Jason, and sister-in-law, Galit.
When did you make aliyah?
Why did you move to Israel?
Galit adds that she felt a little lost and confused in America and she was looking for a different life, and Israel was calling her back.
Whatâ€™s the most challenging part of living in Israel?
Do you think about politics all the time?
Do you know any interfaith couples? Is it common? And whatâ€™s it like for these couples in Israel?
Tell me about your experience living in Israel
What about this little known (in America) holiday coming up called Tu Bâ€™Av which begins the night of Friday, July 31?
This is a mysterious day on the Jewish calendar. TheÂ TalmudÂ tells us that many years ago the â€śdaughters of JerusalemÂ would go dance in the vineyardsâ€ť on the 15th of Av, and â€śwhoever did not have a wife would go thereâ€ť to find himself a bride. Thus, it has become a Jewish love day.
Rabbi Ari: My brother and Galit said that Tu Bâ€™Av reminds them of Valentineâ€™s Day in Israel. It has become commercialized. The stores sell heart-themed candy and gifts and people buy flowers for their loved ones. Couples dedicate songs to each other on the radio.
My brother and Galit #ChooseLove every day by living in Israel. They are far from most people in their family, and while in some ways living in America may be easier, their love for the vibe of the country and the life they have created sustains them.