Starting Dialogue: A World on “Self-Care”

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism prides itself on being the meeting place for women in the Conservative/Masorti movement. In keeping with tradition, our sisterhoods and communities have provided safe, supportive spaces for Jewish women to meet, gather, study, and grow among like-minded peers with diverse experiences and worldviews.

For many Jewish women, the idea of “self-care” might seem intriguing, or it might feel a bit contradictory to WLCJ’s mission of helping others through local and international outreach. Just as the Torah has many interpretations from many divergent voices, one person’s coping mechanism could sound like another person’s form of avoidance…or ambivalence. It almost seems cliché to address the idea of “self-care” in an issue of New Outlook – especially as many social and cultural divides cause far more consequential problems throughout the world. Taking care of one’s self can seem like a true First World Problem. From issues that affect entire groups of people, to struggles within various interpersonal relationships, even making the commitment to change feels like emotional labor. How can a single person cope with so many different stressors?

As long as self-care doesn’t become self-centered, it can be a healthy, sustainable way to cope without engaging in denial or sabotage. Self-care doesn’t need to be a bubble bath or a shopping trip: True self-care is acceptance.

Acceptance that we are daughters, mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and part of a legacy greater than our ascribed familial roles.

Acceptance that society has changed before; that our ancestors and forebears endured unspeakable circumstances, and that the march of progress is often a slow, difficult one.

Acceptance that both aging and loss can give way to growth, maturity, and change.

Acceptance that petty disagreements might eventually blow over, and that moving on from a larger trauma or disappointment is in itself a powerful step forward.

Acceptance that self-care includes individual and familial health concerns, from chemotherapy, to talk therapy, to annual vaccines.

Acceptance that “community involvement” is a big, diverse tent of ideas, action, participation, and selflessness.

Acceptance to speak up for those who are suffering and offer assistance, even on the smallest level available.

Acceptance that Jewish life has endured, and thrived, under even the worst circumstances.

Acceptance that we, too, can care about others in need.

We are proud to extend our resources and connections to those in need, members or otherwise, through our ongoing education and outreach programs. Women’s League wishes its members continued growth and nurturing within their own communities in 2019.

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