“The biggest brachah is to feel your life is a blessing.” Mrs. Tammy Karmel, a young woman suffering with ALS disease, is bringing so much joy to so many in klal Yisrael. As she shares her personal story, her iron-strong emunah shines through.
The Tammy Karmel Project, which includes a large number of life-changing videos, has brought so much inspiration to so many women that Mrs. Rivkah Engelson decided to bring it to teen girls. She began Tammy Teens in Queens and hopes to spread the program worldwide. The goal is to make this a monthly get-together. Mrs. Engelson works as an Educational Consultant with kids from frum families in crisis. She explained: “The point of the Teen Program is to imbue our still-frum teenage young ladies with a feeling of love and hislahavus for Yiddishkeit. We want to strengthen emunah because, as good as our schools are, we still stress academics. This heartfelt feeling for Hashem by today’s generation is missing. My goal is to fill them with appreciation for Yiddishkeit and an emotional/academic understanding that all comes from Hashem, even if it is painful. This will help them so they will stay on a straight path despite the challenges of life and outside influences they may encounter today. By imbuing them with a sense of Hashem surrounding them always, it will change their avodas Hashem, and then this in turn will influence how their home will be when, b’ezras Hashem, they get married and have children.”
When the teens listen to Tammy Karmel and the precious Torah ideas that she espouses, it is life-changing.
The third Tammy Teen event took place at the home of Mrs. Golda Fried on Motza’ei Shabbos, December 3. It included a workshop with Rebbetzin Shlomtzy Weiss, a very close friend of Tammy Karmel, and a video of Mrs. Tammy Karmel speaking about relationships.
Mrs. Engelson pointed out that our teenage girls are the next generation of Jewish mothers, and we must share these important ideas and heartfelt concepts so that they can pass these on to their children. Mrs. Engelson stated, “When you see how Tammy lives her life, it is impossible to not internalize the lessons of bitachon and emunah that she is teaching.” Another important goal of this program is to help girls to reconnect with their primary school friends and to make new friends as well. Mrs. Engelson shared that, because she grew up in Portland, Oregon, without a pizza shop, bakery, or frum friends, she knows how important it is for girls to have ongoing relationships with frum friends. She was sent to Bais Yaakov of Denver (Beth Jacob High School of Denver) for high school and she still has friends from there. In Queens, the girls all go to different schools in different boroughs, and she hopes this program will help them reconnect and make new friends as well. There was time for refreshments and socializing at the end of the program.
First, Mrs. Engelson greeted the large crowd of young women. Following this, Rebbetzin Weiss thanked Mrs. Elissa Taub, Mrs. Golda Fried, and Mrs. Rivkah Engelson for all they do for the Tammy Karmel Project.
She then shared beautiful stories about Mrs. Karmel. She spoke of Mrs. Karmel’s incredible ability to always be full of gratitude to Hashem, no matter what. She is so outstanding in the midah of gratitude and renowned for it, that Gerer chasidim lined up in front of her home on Erev Rosh HaShanah to receive a brachah from her. Mrs. Weiss shared stories of the m’siras nefesh that Mrs. Karmel experienced to show her gratitude. She once insisted on being taken to the simchah of someone who had done so much to help her, even though it was very hot and she was in pain. She painstakingly writes thank-you letters with eye-tracking, which can take two hours. Rebbetzin Weiss said that she is an ambassador on behalf of Tammy Karmel, who blesses everyone who does something for her.
Next, the girls viewed Mrs. Karmel speaking on video that was filmed last year. Sadly, her disease has progressed to the point now when she can no longer speak and is totally paralyzed. Hashem should bring her a complete r’fuah b’karov. Mrs. Karmel stated, “There is so much goodness in my life.” She spoke of her gratitude for living in Israel. “I need to say, “Thank you, Hashem” all day and night.”
She then explained that when a person is too preoccupied, he or she cannot connect properly with Hashem. When a person is in a place of humility, then he or she can feel connected to Hashem. There is so much potential in am Yisrael. She taught that when we wake up we recite Modeh Ani. The “ani” (“I”) comes second. First, we say “modeh,” or “thank you, Aba/Tatty (Hashem). It’s not all about you. She taught that our first thought is that it’s all about Hashem. We are saying, “What can I do for you today?” She explained that she internalizes the idea that whatever is Hashem’s program, that is her program. There is no big “me.” Also, she stated that I am not being judgmental of the other person. She went on to express the idea that there is one King in the world. We are the luckiest people to be connected to Him and to be part of the Jewish nation. This should fill us with joy. She shared a teaching of the Maharal that when we thank Hashem for everything we have, we open the channel of shefa (abundance). Hashem hates complaining. We are in galus because of complaining. Hashem closes up shefabecause of complaining.
It’s important when we are facing difficulty to say to Hashem, “It is tough, but thank you, Hashem. I appreciate the goodness you have given me.” Mrs. Karmel stressed, “The only advice I can offer you is to keep thanking Hashem. Even in my suffering I keep thanking Hashem.”
Amazingly, she does not perceive her journey as a sad journey. She shared that she has found richness and depth inside of herself. She is grateful for every breath.
Mrs. Karmel’s powerful message is the following:
We are in this world to serve Hashem. He is not here to serve us. When we say thank you for the hard place where we feel lack, then Hashem opens a special channel for us and pours goodness down on us. Always focus on what you have and not what you are missing. This is something Mrs. Karmel demonstrates so beautifully. She taught that when we pray to Hashem and say, “We want to serve You,” then Hashem will answer. “Our biggest blessing is to feel that our life is a blessing.”
Rebbetzin Weiss then shared the enormous expenses that have been incurred for buying equipment to help Mrs. Karmel, such as a comfortable wheelchair.
The Tammy Teen Project needs sponsors to continue this wonderful work on behalf of klal Yisrael. If you are interested in sponsoring, please contact Mrs. Rivkah Engelson at 347-952-5059. To donate to the Tammy Karmel Project, please email email@example.com. Sponsorships for the Tammy Teen Project or even partial sponsorships are welcome, because without it we cannot keep the program going.
Please daven for Yocheved Tamar bas Eta Beila.
-By Susie Garber Published in the queensjewishlink.com on December 14, 2016
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