Drum roll please!!! ...and the featured Balaboosta of the Month is...our mother, Sylvia Apeloig.
The first time I (Daniela) heard the word balaboosta was years ago on my dad's birthday after my mom organized a beautiful party. At the end of the night he told her “you really are a Balaboosta!” I was amazed at how one word could capture an entire experience from food, drinks, and decorations to the joy people felt celebrating my father and making him feel special. From that moment on, I decided that I too wanted to be a balaboosta just like my mom!
Everything that we know about hosting, decorating, and being a balaboosta we owe to our mom, Sylvia Apeloig. She is the queen of creativity with a focus on practicality, and a lover of design, art, and life. A true balaboosta, she makes everyone feel like an honored guest. It’s her story that seemed to be the perfect fit for this month’s Mother’s Day post.
1 - Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your mother, our grandmother. What was she like?
My mom, Ghitta Schloser, was elegant, beautiful, and most of all a joyous and loving person. I remember her affection and wonderful nature, as if so many years have not gone by since her passing. I was only in my early 20’s when she passed away at a young age. Even to this day, friends and family reminisce at how warm and giving she was, and how much they appreciated all that she did for her community.
Today, it seems even more remarkable at all that she was able to achieve. She and my father moved several times, yet each time she was able to create a happy home. For several years she was a Morah at a school where she was known to be affectionate yet strict at the same time. Later, when my father had a successful business, she was a major source of support and help.
I still find inspiration from my wonderful memories that I have of her as a loving and caring mother. One example that comes to mind is that she worked tirelessly for WIZO and sold honey for Rosh Hashanah. Now I do the same each year in her name. It makes me feel connected and that she is with me in spirit.
2 - What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is Shabbat because I enjoy it with my family, my grandchildren, and sometimes with guests. There is a sense of delight at finishing the week and taking time to have a special family dinner where we can all be together as a family and catch up. We are all so busy, but this is the time that we take that is meaningful. I love watching my grandchildren grow and learn the rituals that were followed when I was a child, and when my children were growing up. It gives me a tremendous sense of contentment.
I admit that for many years I did not enjoy celebrating Passover, because my mom passed away on the first Seder and I would always relate the holiday with her passing. The memories felt very painful. But now that I have grandchildren, we celebrate Passover in a creative, original, and fun way to engage the kids where everyone participates. We include theater, singing, storytelling, and we have so much fun. Creating our own traditions while respecting rituals has been healing and now I can say that Passover has become one of my favorite holidays!
3 - We learned so much about hosting and being about a balaboosta from your example. Can you share three practical pieces of advice when hosting a party?
- Do it with love. People can feel it when you do something with your heart and it makes them feel special.
- Put thought into the decoration. It’s the small touches like flowers or an heirloom that make a table extra ready for a gathering.
- The guests’ comfort has to be a priority. They have to be well attended to, enjoy their food, and be happy and satisfied at the end of the event. When they leave, they should be taking a marvelous memory with them.
4 - What is one piece of advice that you would like to share with our mommy readers?
My advice would be to do everything you do with love and creativity! It doesn’t matter if what you do is not perfect, but if it’s done with love, it will be enjoyed, appreciated, and remembered.
5 - What's the best part about being a mom? What's the most challenging?
Now that my daughters are grown and accomplished, I can say that the best part of being a mom is feeling fulfilled knowing that my daughters are healthy, smart, and caring. They have high levels of self-esteem, are adding value to society, and are raising their children with the same Jewish values that my husband and I have always embraced.
Looking back, I feel that there wasn’t a specific challenge that was difficult to overcome. When we give our love and use our common sense things work out as they should. Children grow and have challenges. That’s life and what makes responsible and wise adults. Having three daughters, I think that the hardest part is making each one feel that they are equally loved and liked or to make each one feel that they are the favorite one! It depends on how you look at it!
6 - What aspect of mothering do you think is important to take from childhood to adulthood?
It is very important to have an open relationship where everything can be spoken about with honesty. We need to be able to talk about problems with sincerity while respecting one another. There has to be harmony and a sense of family, unity, and solidarity. I consider my daughters my friends and that’s an amazing feeling. I think being open and honest has brought us to this place in our relationship.
7 - What is one Jewish value that you feel is extremely important?
The most important Jewish value to me is Tikkum Olam. It should be everyone's priority. If we want to be in a healthy and happy world, both mentally and physically, we all have to add something to create a better place. You have to dedicate your time and energy to benefit others and organizations that are close to your heart. My mother taught me this and I hope that I have passed this value along to my daughters and grandchildren.
8. What is your favorite Apeloig Collection piece? In what color? Why?
That’s the hardest question yet! Each piece is so beautiful that it’s difficult to select just one. But if I had to, it would be the menorah. Hanukkah is a festive holiday that brings so much joy. I love how this piece was created for a specific holiday, yet it can be enjoyed the whole year. Personally, I use the menorah to display flowers, food, snacks, and even incorporate traditions from other holidays like Tu B’shvat. (I found inspiration from this Apeloig Collection blog post!)
The red color is my favorite and I want everyone to know that I’m the biggest fan of Apeloig Collection!