Jerusalem, Israel - Aug. 17, 2022 - The summer is racing along. The end of August is quickly approaching. 

Do you feel that with the start of September it's time to get ready for Yom Tov and would you like to start the New Year in a better, more organized way?

After the death of her mother in 2020, a personal organizer and decluttering maven based in Israel, Rebekah Chaifetz Saltzman wished her family had had a checklist to help them navigate the shiva period. Once she sat down to write the list, she realized there were many checklists she wished she’d had on hand, both to streamline her own life and to help her clients. 

Full disclosure, I have known Rebekah since she was a young girl. The Chaifetz family lived down the street and we attended the same shul in Silver Spring, MD. Ruth Chaifetz z"l had been ill, however, it was an added sorrow that her passing at the peak of the pandemic put an additional level of isolation. Besides mourning and the shiva, not being able to travel, and having to watch the funeral online during the Covid restrictions were stressful complications. In Maryland, Rabbi Dovid Rosenbaum did an admirable job under the most difficult of circumstances, but it was a very despondent situation. 

From her desire to honor her mother, came the idea to write a book to help others in their time of loss. The "Organized Jewish Life: The Essential Guide for Planning Jewish Holidays, Event and Every Day" is the result of extensive research and the organization of materials.

Rabbi Yitzchak A. Breitowtiz, now Rav in Yerushalayim at Kehillas Ohr Somayach, knew the Chaifetz family from his time in Silver Spring and wrote the haskama which concludes, " I thank her for the very useful cornucopia of information she had put together. Bezrat Hashem, may it improve the lives of many people, materially, and spiritually."

In 312 pages, divided into 3 sections, Holidays, Jewish Life Cycle Events, and Adulting, a vast range of topics are covered, from decluttering to gift-giving and gratitude. The Appendixes include transliterations for brachot, 74 Checklists, and 9 Charts to help keep information handy and easier for the reader to access. Both Ashkenaz and Sephardi traditions are included. The reader is constantly reminded to ask their Rav for their specific situation but provides the ability to know what questions to ask.

In the various checklists, an important column repeatedly included is creating a budget - for food, clothing, and travel for holidays, even a reminder to include Chol Hamoed entertainment costs. For Purim, a suggestion is to have emergency money on hand for a taxi if necessary for people who should not drive home after the seuda.

Fire safety, avoiding fires and burns, as on Lag B'Omer, is mentioned on pages 13 and 65. However, the note to go to page 267 was not correct, the very important safety information is on page 271. Also, the page 20 discussion on laundry sent the reader to page 262, instead of the correct page 267. In a volume full of information, these minor details can easily be corrected in future printings. 

When we lived in Australia, I hosted hundreds of people and made computer-generated lists for Pesach, which I reused each year for 2 weeks, down to 2 days. With blank calendars, I could work backward to finish preparations on time. I remember fondly the greengrocer who delivered fresh lettuce and berries, etc., on the morning of the Seder.

Rebekah has done the work for you if you do not yet have such lists, for not only Pesach, but Shabbat and the rest of the year. Her goal to honor her mother "who knew what to do in every situation"  in a significant way has resulted in a guide to help others in every situation I could think of and more. Young people leaving home, couples getting married, or any adult wanting a fresh start for the New Year should consider using this guide for a more Organized Jewish Life.

ISBN Paperback: 979-8-985452-0-7 EBook: 979-8-9854529-1-4

Balagan Be Gone Press June 2022

Amazon Paperback $12.00

Also on Amazon, "Organized Jewish Life Shabbat and Holiday Planner: The Ultimate Organizational Shabbat and Jewish Holiday Checklist and Planning Workbook" Paperback $18.99