It can be easy to get caught up on pursuits that provide fleeting gratification but ultimately take us further away from true fulfillment.
And further away from happiness, which Rebbetzin Feige Twerski defines as “a byproduct of the way we live our lives.” Her fourth book, “The Future of Happiness,” explores how we can reach a feeling of contentment in the modern world.
She describes it as “a down to earth work” about “what we deal with on a regular basis.”
Published in March, the book is based in part on her weekly advice column for Ami Magazine, “The Rebbetzin Speaks.”
“What I know and believe very strongly is that all of us human beings are on this journey in life trying to deal with similar issues,” Rebbetzin Twerski said in a phone interview. “Everybody has their struggles, and everybody is looking for some peace of mind and happiness.”
She writes about three primary relationships that are critical for healing and emotional health: the relationships between a person and their creator, between a person and themselves, and between a person and others. Prioritize these connections, and happiness will follow.
“No one ever says I wish I had spent more time at the office,” she points out. “People bemoan the fact that they hadn’t spent more time with their children, with their friends.”
In her new work, Twerski addresses the modern condition.
“I think in our culture many people deal with a lack of self-worth,” she observes. “Not appreciating that each one of us has so much to offer in our own unique way. Knowing this is very critical to being happy, and to finding the greatness within ourselves.”
The mother of 11 has been involved in outreach and counseling, writing advice columns and giving lectures, for over 20 years.
Alongside her husband Rabbi Michel Twerski, she is the rebbetzin of Congregation Beth Jehudah of Milwaukee, which was founded by her father-in-law Rabbi Jacob Twerski in 1939. Among many other significant local contributions, the Twerskis are founders of Torah Foundation of Milwaukee, created the Milwaukee Kollel and helped with the formation of the Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study and Torah Academy of Milwaukee.
Rebbetzin Twerski was born in Romania. After being turned away from then-British-controlled Palestine and with stops in Greece and a refugee camp in Italy, her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1949, arriving at Ellis Island when she was 7 years old.
Growing up with a rabbi father who she calls “one of the most exciting orators of the last century,” public speaking came naturally to her.
Around 20 years ago, Aish.com editor Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith was in attendance at one of her lectures and asked if she would consider writing an advice column for the website. She was hesitant, as she saw herself more as a lecturer than a writer, but decided to give the column a shot.
This led to her first two books, “Ask Rebbetzin Feige” and “Rebbetzin Feige Responds,” combining practical advice with Torah insights. Her third book, “The New Normal,” addresses how to live as an observant Jew in contemporary society.
A running theme throughout her work is how inspired she is by the way people are able to handle difficult situations.
“The human spirit is really so unbelievable,” she says.