Outrage in Iceland: A Proposed Ban on Circumcision

In an outrageously biased move, Iceland is proposing a bill that would ban circumcision. Immediately denounced by Nordic Jewish leaders, there is a legitimate fear that such a ban would prevent growth in the small Jewish community. (Currently, there are approximately 250 Jews in Iceland, but Chabad is sending a rabbi and his family to jumpstart needed services this year.)

Is this bill based solely on religious persecution? Certainly, there is a disturbing history of anti-Semitism—banning kosher slaughter, aiding a Neo-Nazi website, sheltering WW2 criminals, offering chess chump Bobby Fischer citizenship, and trying to ban Israeli-made goods are just a few of their most shameful decisions.

However, with the relatively small number of Jews in the country, I think it’s mainly targeted towards the Muslim migrants who are desperate to relocate. Circumcision, perhaps, is the only issue Jews and Muslims fully agree on and it’s so unfair for any government to target Religious beliefs and practices. (Just another reason why I thank God everyday for America!)

Far from being a progressive paradise, Iceland is actually one the most hateful, intolerant places on earth. Let’s not forget that this nation is so heartless, they forcibly abort all babies with Down Syndrome—an act that is so vile and immoral there are no words.

I can’t even imagine living in a place so humanist that they are advocating eugenics and trying to eliminate religious freedom. (Incredibly sad and should not be allowed anywhere on earth.) Maybe some folks would say that it doesn’t matter, that Iceland is too small, too cold, too far away to bother with.

I disagree. History has proven that hate spreads like wildfire and we can’t tolerate it anywhere, at any time. That’s why I’m so impressed that a wonderful Chabad family, the Feldmans, are willing to sacrifice their personal comfort and build a Jewish community in Iceland. Against all odds, I’m praying they can do it.

7 Easy Tips That’ll Turn You into a Personal Budgeting Pro

The following post was sponsored by AxiomGo

How many Americans stick to a budget? According to a recent survey, a whopping 82% claim they do. When pressed to define exactly how they do it, 33% said it’s “scrawled out on paper somewhere” and almost 20% keep track “in my head.” (Obviously, that’s not the most efficient way!)

Budgeting can be complicated and confusing; the truth is that almost 60% of Americans don’t use a household budget, even though it’s essential for buying the things you need (and want) now, along with saving for the future.

Here are seven practical tips that will make it easier to stay on track financially:

1. Keep it real

Starting a budget is like starting an exercise routine: It’s best to ease yourself into it. Drastic changes that are impossible to make will only leave you feeling discouraged and defeated. Don’t beat yourself up when you stumble. Learn from your mistakes and keep at it. 

2. Don’t guess

Review all your bank transactions for the past three months to get an idea of how much your life really costs. Don’t assume you spend only $50.00 a month on gas. Find out what you’ve paid in the past and budget that amount. You’ll be surprised, maybe even shocked, by what you discover.

3. Use the right tools

Axiom Bank’s new mobile app, AxiomGO, has an integrated personal budgeting tool, My $ Manager, that calculates your income and helps you set spending limits for various categories. You will get pinged when you’ve almost reached the amount allotted for each category, meaning you’ll know to start saying “no” so you can still cover the mortgage. Furthermore, you’ll be able to set payoff and savings goals to keep yourself accountable.

4. Be a money detective

Identify a common purchase or two that can be cut back or eliminated. For example: One less trip to the coffee shop each week could net you $300 over the course of a year. One fewer family dinner at a restaurant each month could easily double or triple that. Build upon your early success by tackling one expense at a time.

5. Challenge yourself

Vow to stop eating lunch out and then transfer what you would have spent to your savings account. Try a spending freeze where for a week or two you only buy necessities. Plan “no-spend” weekends and fill them with free entertainment alternatives. Get friends and family in on the action by challenging them to a saving competition.

6. Budget to zero

One way to do this is to record in detail every single purchase you make for a week. When mapping out your expenses, account for every dollar. It may feel strange or uncomfortable to do this, but it’s important. Only when you know how all your money is being spent will you actually become in control of it. Plus, you won’t be left wondering “where did it all go?”

7. Focus on the endgame

Forgoing certain purchases might feel like a sacrifice, but keep it in perspective: You’re on the path to something bigger. Whether you want to retire early, eliminate debt, save for a vacation, boost your rainy-day fund or simply stay in the black each pay cycle, focus on how small savings decisions can really add up.

Log into My $ Manager on the AxiomGO mobile banking app and start setting your financial goals. By doing so, you could score big time. Just one goal will enter you to win one of two $250 prizes, or one of three $100 prizes!

Extraordinary Jewish Women Interview Series

On February 19, 2018, an amazing new video series will begin. Extraordinary Jewish Women: How to Live a Purpose-Filled Passionate Life Rooted in Jewish Values features 20 ladies discussing their careers, Judaism, Israel, life lessons, and so much more.

The idea for this remarkable project came from my friend, Risa Borsykowsky. She is a talented artist, owner of the popular Judaica website Jewish Gift Place, and a well-known philanthropist who raised over $10,000 for the Holocaust Resource Center in Manhasset, NY. Her vision is to inspire others by learning the attitudes and behaviors of successful Jewish women and the role that Jewish values play in their lives. 

The group includes a diverse range of fields—publishing, writing, entrepreneurship, blogging, Rabbis, motivational speakers, tour guides, community organizers, etc. Yours Truly was invited to participate and I am so honored! As you can see, I’m in very good company here:

  • Sheri Lapidus
  • Phyllis Chesler
  • Yvette Alt Miller
  • Heather Dean
  • Vicki Schneps
  • Eve Harow
  • Faye Kellerman
  • Wendy Rosen
  • Jamie Geller
  • Debra Poneman
  • Lisa Tzur
  • Jodi Samuels
  • Hannah Dreyfus
  • Lisa Hofstein
  • Chaya Appel Fishman
  • Lori Palatnik
  • Mara Strom
  • Jill Zimmerman
  • Ilana Aisen

The interview 30 minutes long and discusses how each one of us followed our hearts into a vocation we’re passionate about, while staying grounded, giving back, and helping others. Watching the series is both uplifting and enlightening! 

By signing up here, you will receive one interview delivered to your inbox daily. All of these ladies are informative and their stories inspired me tremendously. This is the type of project I love and even if I wasn’t participating, I’d definitely be watching.

Valentine’s Day Deals & Freebies

Think Valentine’s Day has to cost a fortune? These deals and freebies will change your mind:

Free Ebook: Valentine’s Day On A Dime is available for download at no charge.

Free Champagne: Ibotta is offering a free glass of champagne, up to $5.00. Use the app, open the Restaurants and Bars category, tap the “Champagne Toast” rebate and upload your receipt. Don’t have the app? Get it here.

Qdoba: BOGO entrees  when you share a kiss with a loved one at checkout.

Auntie Anne’s: BOGO Heart-Shaped pretzels for all My Pretzel Perks members.

TCBY: Buy One, Get One 50% off frozen yogurt.

Krispy Kreme: 3 FREE doughnuts with a $10 gift card purchase in store.

Free Valentine’s Bingo: Create Craft Love has a printable Conversation Hearts Bingo that is super cute and would be awesome for kids.

If you’re hungry for more heart-shaped goodies, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut will have pizzas, Starbucks is supposed to have large cookies, and Dunkin Donuts will have frosted donuts. No special savings on these items, but fun anyway for the holiday.

 

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?