Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

I read some amazing books recently: Hold Me Tight (EFT therapy for couples) and a couple of John Gottman’s books. They changed me, as did The 5 Love Languages. I have and continue to work so hard on myself in order to be the best life partner I can be when I am blessed to stand under a second chupah.

How much must we learn in order to hold ourselves tight first? We certainly must strive to become our best selves, fill our own voids from the inside out, and maintain a deep spiritual connection of our own in order to prepare to bond with our forever partner enhancing together all of the above.

Though we are independent, there are still things we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot wrap our arms around ourselves in the way a special someone can, kiss ourselves, look ourselves in the eyes with a twinkle and convey love and appreciation; know that we matter in a unique couplehood and that someone has our back. It’s simply different. Certain medical tests/procedures require another person to accompany. Things we can do for ourselves like preparing or serving food, taking care of medical calls, doing laundry or other chores, if we allow our significant other to do, we foster ahavah, giving and receiving. I have now for the first time asked to be accompanied to a routine medical exam. It was humbling yet necessary. I chose to allow vulnerability.

Friends, the reason Hollywood is inundated with love stories, love songs, and talk of love everywhere is simple: There is nothing in the world like being loved and loving someone special. There are no substitutes. Every day I am aware that I do not like eating alone, sleeping alone, attending functions alone, planning travel alone, thinking about upcoming holidays alone, and just going through life alone without a special someone to share with. I will never get used to it. Why would I? It is not natural.

A doctor said to me: You are so exceptionally loving with so much to offer. Yes. I love hard. Despite heartbreaks. Some people close themselves up after pain. A rebbetzin told me she is inspired by my lack of bitterness. Not my style. Why burden myself? Any love I’ve ever had, any time I’ve been held tight, are precious memories. Healing. From a song: “Always remember us this way.” No regrets, only gratitude. And lots of hope for being held tightest of all by a forever partner. I will never give up on that dream. I am so ready.

A rav said greatness is uncomfortable, we grow through challenges, and that being alone is a health hazard. Two people creating a “oneness” fosters m’nuchas ha’nefesh, a devoted merge of souls. I was told some people value externals or date in order to be taken to fancy restaurants. This makes no sense. There is no price tag on a loving relationship and building a home together. What is everybody so afraid of?

I can tell you I have had my own concerns. I had a meltdown the other day. I reacted and some choice words came out of my mouth. I was immediately embarrassed that I lost myself that way. Like, who on earth was that? Looking back on it now, a fear was touched and I went into protection mode in a non-effective way. I didn’t see it coming. I am determined to prevent that, going forward, and catch/confront my fears by challenging them and allowing myself to be held tight.

I’m learning to ask for what I want, since no one is a mind reader. Repair skills are so important in a healthy relationship. Any relationship. All of this applies to our connection with our children, grandchildren, parents, friends; and I have been blessed to be held tight in the last week by all of the above, as well as those who needed my embrace, including 12-Step members at meetings, people at funerals and shiv’ah and my daughter’s teenage friends.

Sincerely saying, “I am so sorry, how can I make it up to you? You matter to me” can diffuse a machlokes as much as “I forgive you” does. We can accept others as they are, as well as our own imperfections. We can accept others and still know that people can change. I have, and will never stop striving, to improve. A friend created a YouTube project about embracing ourselves as we age, called Gorgeous over 40.

Somebody crossed a boundary with me. They later gave a heartfelt apology, leaving both of us feeling redeemed. My childhood friend said “Oh my, I forgot what I was just going to say.” We had a good laugh. My teen wrote a report on “single versus relationship.” Guess which won? Once again, out of the mouths of babes.

Believe it or not, and I can hardly believe it, some people simply cannot hold tight. They cannot sustain it. I have never been one to look for perfect love or perfect anything; however, there is no foundation to build upon without consistent actions and effort. And for that matter, we need to be able to count on ourselves. Haphazard drama is insanity at play. Friends do not do this to you. And on the flip side, do not stay in lonely isolation fearing disappointment. Rather, go out and actively find your Hold Me Tight Forever partner. We are only on this earth for a limited time. We are here for a purpose. We need (yes, need) our other half in order to reach our full potential.

There are some very kind, loving, generous, and sincere men and women out there. Forget the labels – they are limiting. Cross the divides. Much of what blocks us is past baggage and has nothing to do with whomever it is we engage with now anyway. Time for healing. Time to live fully.

My friend married late and lost her husband to illness, sadly. They are holy people. Although he was tragically taken prematurely, she said that their under-three-years together were better in quality than some people’s decades. He broke down her walls in her 50s. I know what that feels like. He completed her. He gave and she learned to receive. They had a deeply satisfying relationship where both became their best selves. What a blessing. Nothing better, friends, no amount of money or assets in the world can buy or replace that.

Wishing all of us completion and healing in whichever way we need, and we all do. Some are struggling with differences that make them seem harder to love. Love them anyway. From an ad: We are all handicapped in some way; cheer your small steps. Each time we push ourselves past discomfort, we grow. We can surely do this one day at a time. I approached all of my transformations this way, inside and out.

This month is a time of increasing simchah. Let’s go forward, take chances, and build as my friends, Above taught me. We simply cannot become our best alone. These apply, as well, to other connections, which all require nurturing.

My teenager bought me a beautiful rose out of love. My Rebbetzin calls to say hello. Rabbis, doctors, friends, fans, and neighbors rally around me. In turn, I aim to give back in the ways I know best. These are all “Hold Me Tight” moments.

From a song: I wish I could have said goodbye. And I want to pretend that it’s not true that you’re gone.” Oy, regrets. Might we have missed the boat decades ago? Years ago? Days ago? Now? I fear the answer to that, because I know I have. And so now I resolve to go for it, live each day fully. Not tomorrow or in 30 days.

Join me, friends. Our holidays are coming up. Let’s cheer each other on, embrace opportunities, and spread inspiration together. May the holy neshamah of Michael Yitzchak ben Yaakov Yosef have an aliyah.


Sarah Shalek (Newcomb), and family/team are NY State Licensed Realtors for over 17 years, serving all areas in the five boroughs and Long Island. They hold several specialty certifications and are members of the Long Island Board of Realtors and the Multiple Listing Service of Queens and Long Island. They make their home in and are proud long-time members of the Kew Gardens Hills community. Sarah can be contacted at 917-459-7549, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Coming soon: Your greatestshow.com.