In this Torah portion, we read about Moses and his dilemma of bringing his people out of Egypt and bondage. He cannot persuade his people to accept G-d’s wishes. He wonders, if his people rebuff him, how will he convince Pharaoh to believe him? Is it the challenges he has in speaking that are causing him to doubt himself? Or does he doubt he can be the strong leader that G-d sees in him?
As with so many women of my generation, a poor self-image and self-doubt were tremendous obstacles in my day-to-day life, in work, in school, and as I grew into adulthood. I can trace that poor self-image to my childhood. I grew up with strict parents who did not necessarily make me feel like I was “enough.” I had siblings who appeared to me to be more in my parents’ favor, and they seemed to be more accomplished because they went to college, grad school, law school, nursing school, etc. They were “good enough” in my parents’ eyes because they “achieved” so much. I had a more challenging time, “finding my way.” All along, I tried to reach a point of feeling like I was “good enough.” It did not come easily, but it finally did.
I earned my college degrees, including a master’s in psychology, and got married - without guidance from anyone else. I guided myself and trusted my instincts and the things I valued. My inner voice pointed me in a different direction than the negative ones from the past. As I went through life’s experiences - in my way - I found that my values helped me build up a sense of self-worth.
It has taken me many years of confronting my self-doubt and low self-esteem to finally decide I am good enough. I am strong enough. My self-worth is not measured in how large a salary I make, what kind of car I drive, or how big a house I have. My husband and I fell into challenging times in 2008. We lost everything and moved into an apartment. At that time, I came to realize I should not be measured by materialistic things. Nor should anyone else. I am good enough.
Today, I stand before you as a newly elected district president. I am “good enough” to lead the Pacific District. I am capable and have had many mentors along the way to guide in my growth. So, I have those strong women before me to thank for showing me the way. Just as Moses had G-d stand beside him, I had several friends who have done the same. Today, I feel like the richest woman in the world. I have my health, my husband, children, and grandchildren, my temple family, and my WRJ sisters, who I can lean on when things get tough. Honor those life experiences where you have learned and grown and use them as the “map” for your leadership. Be the leader you know you can be!
Cher Krichmar is currently the Pacific District President, sits on the WRJ North American Board, and her Sisterhood board of Temple Beth Ohr, La Mirada, California as a past sisterhood president.