Tzfas, Israel – Sima Zelmanov, principal of the Bais Chana Chabad High School in Tzfas, and grandmother of seven, gave birth recently to her nineteenth child a week after marrying off her sixth child. In doing so, Mrs. Zelmanov, 47, bore an uncle to her grandchildren, the oldest of whom is four. Mrs. Zelmanov is in the unique situation of having both a five-yea-old daughter and this four-year-old grandson. “They are good friends,” Mrs. Zelmanov told Mishpacha a day before the bris.
Her story generated extensive media coverage [was reported by VIN news] and a kiddush Hashem, as reporters from secular newspapers could not get over the organized calm that reigns in the family’s four-room apartment.
“The media exposure has not been easy for some of them,” says Mrs. Zelmanov. “This is especially true of the married ones. For the little ones, it was an experience. I’m more concerned about the relationships between the siblings, especially since one of my married sons lives abroad. I want them to feel like brothers despite the age gap and the distance between them.”
Mrs. Zelmanov has two important principles in running such a leibidig household: the home must be run with joy, and it must be orderly. She inculcates her children at an early age with positive middos and a schedule, although she strives to retain flexibility. “In principle I don’t want them to suffer,” she explains.
“I don’t want my daughters to be my servants and I don’t want them to lose out on their lives.
Although they have specific jobs, because I think it is educational for a child to know how to help out at home, they never miss out on a school event, and they can attend activities even during the evening. Besides that, I have cleaning help and a babysitter. It greatly contributes to their feeling that they do not shoulder the whole burden, and they have their own time.”
Is there any one secret to your success?
“If one is organized and teaches skills to others, it flows smoothly. Everything depends on the way you look at it; if you view it as a brachah, a challenge that we were chosen to experience, then you manage. Although I was a bit nervous before the last two births because I knew what the doctors were thinking about my age, but baruch Hashem I found that positive thinking really helps.”
Reprinted with permission from this week Mishpacha Magazine