Adina Kay-Gross is Kveller's special projects editor and one of Kveller’s contributing editors. She is also a writing consultant at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion and The Covenant Foundation. Adina earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and has been published in a number of literary magazines as well as in Slate, Tablet, The Jewish Week and The Forward. Adina is currently editing an anthology that explores interpretations of the modern Jewish mother and she lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband Jonathan, her twin girls, and her menschy dog.
Every Saturday, my great-grandfather walked to synagogue for afternoon prayers with one unlit cigarette in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. On his walk home, after sundown, he would smoke the…single cigarette and relish the pleasure of another Shabbat well-spent. Zayde was a round man with thick hands and squat fingers. His wedding band was so large it could fit around the wrist of a toddler. He drank his coffee black, with a small cube of sugar tucked under his tongue. On my parents’ wedding… >> Read More
Beth Deiter and Michelle Hunter are the founders and co-directors of My Kind of Music, a parent-child music program in Buffalo Grove, IL that offers classes with therapeutic accommodations for…children with disabilities. In honor of Jewish Disabilities Awareness month, we interviewed Beth and Michelle about their unique program and how enrichment activities and community building can be so helpful for both parents and children with disabilities. >> Read More
If you spend any time reading Kveller, you already know the incredible force that is Carla Naumburg, contributing editor, writer, clinical social worker, mother, and loyal friend extraordinaire. You…probably also know that Carla is the author of the recently published “Parenting in the Present Moment-How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters,” in which she breaks through the exasperating barrier of impossible and impossibly out-of-touch parenting advice (sleep when your baby sleeps, anyone?) to offer suggestions about how we can slow down, focus,… >> Read More
This September, the Shefa School, a new pluralistic Jewish community day school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, welcomed its first students. Founded by Ilana Ruskay-Kidd, the former…director of the Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the JCC in Manhattan, Shefa is the only Jewish Day School for students with language-based learning disabilities. Shefa currently has 24 students enrolled in grades 2-5 and will ultimately enroll children in grades K-8. What does “language-based learning disabilities” mean? Shefa addresses learning difficulties connected… >> Read More
Rabbi Isaac Saposnik is the Executive Director of Camp JRF, a Reconstructionist sleepaway camp in the Pocono Mountains. Recently, Camp JRF initiated a big push toward inclusion with a capital…“I.” Now that campers have returned to school and their parents eagerly fill out forms to sign them up for next summer, Rabbi Saposnik had some time to chat with me about camp, diversity in the American Jewish community, and the importance of asking questions. What makes Camp JRF different from other Jewish sleepaway camps?… >> Read More
The Binah School
is a new, 21st century all-girls Jewish middle and high school in Sharon, Massachusetts that integrates project-based learning with real world problem solving,…text-based Judaic studies, and academic excellence. Founded by two Orthodox women and working mothers, Michal Oshman and Rina Hoffman, the Binah School has already won national attention for its commitment to affordability, research-based methods, and its emphasis on global citizenship in Jewish education. Can you tell Kveller readers what makes the Binah School different from other schools for Orthodox girls? The Binah School is a warm… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Shoftim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
My kids, like yours, most likely, are…obsessed with what’s fair. Sure, this is a classic toddler hang-up: Nothing is fair, but everything is fair game for a tantrum. And when you have twins, the fairness stakes rise exponentially. Beware the tiny fairness police. The thing is, it’s very, very hard to predict what will elicit an “its not fair” from the… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Re'eh. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
“‘I see!’ said the blind man.”
This…was my grandmother Agnes’s favorite saying. She said it when something became clear to her. She saw, she understood. “‘I see!’ said the blind man.” She was the blind man, and then she wasn’t. >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ekev. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
Driving home from my sister’s house last…night, I did what so many parents do when it looks like their kids might fall asleep in the car and it would be highly inconvenient if they did so. I flapped my lips for 25 minutes about whatever I could think of. We reviewed all the major Jewish holidays and what they represent (read:… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Va'et'hanan. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
After her bath tonight, my kid wanted to…comb her own hair. Knotty, wet, matted baby hair doesn’t want to be combed by a 3-year-old and yet, I sat on my hands and let her pull at her hair with the brush. I bit my tongue as she struggled with her part; I winced when she left big bumps and knots at the… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Shlah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
As a kid, my parents affectionately referred…to me as the "Queen of the What-Ifs." I could what-if with the best of them. New experience? Bring on the what-ifs. What if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t like it there? What if I don’t pass that test, get accepted into that school, find my way? My folks would jockey with… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat B'har. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
“Strawberries are yucky.”
“I…don’t WANT to sleep in a crib.” “Doc McStuffins is my favorite.” “I don’t like spring time. I just like summer.” >> Read More
Let’s be honest: parenting a toddler can make even the sanest person among us feel homicidal at times. I should know--I’ve got twins.
Tovah Klein, author of "How Toddlers Thrive," is an…associate professor of psychology at Barnard and director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development. She kindly took a moment from a busy book tour to talk me off the ledge talk to me about her new book and why we just need to shift our perspective. In "How Toddlers Thrive," you write about… >> Read More
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Tova Mirvis about her new book, "Visible City," the all-consuming nature of parenting, and the freedom that comes with accepting imperfection.
In…"Visible City," unlike your previous novels, Judaism isn’t a central theme. What took its place in this book? To write a novel, (especially to write a novel while you have three kids!) you have to be really obsessed and consumed by a subject; it has to pull at you all the time. With my first… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series, where we interpret the weekly Torah portion through the perspective of a mother. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ki Tissa. To read a summary of…the portion and learn more, click here. As parents (and humans), we spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting to grow up. Waiting to meet the right partner. Waiting to move in together, get married, or partner up in a long term way. We wait to get pregnant. Then we wait for our baby to be… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a mother. This Shabbat we read Parashat Tetzaveh. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
I’d…like to say that I’m the kind of woman who’s never given much thought to clothing and what I wear. I’d like to say that I’ve always just sort of thrown something on, and effortlessly, look pulled together all the time, or don’t, but either way, no matter. I’d like to remember my child-self as… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a new mom. This Shabbat we read Parashat Terumah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click…here. After binging on Internet reading last Wednesday (thanks in no small part to the polar vortex that kept me and my kids inside far longer than is healthy or recommended), I spiraled down the rabbit hole and beseeched my Facebook friends to tell me if I was letting my kids watch too much TV.… >> Read More
About a week ago, a friend posted on her Facebook page: “Happy Houseiversary!”
She and her family had been living in their new home for a year (a home that happens to be across the road from…my home. Hi, Lori!) I saw Lori’s post, checked the calendar, and immediately felt shame. Just a week before Lori’s houseiversary, we had a houseiversary, too. It’s just that I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t mention it to my husband, and he didn’t mention it to me. I didn’t post it on Facebook, or give it… >> Read More
When my father died just over a year ago, I was struck by how lonely the experience was. Even though I found myself surrounded by family and friends, all reeling from the same massive loss, I…felt isolated from everyone. There were taboo issues no one could bear to talk about, bizarre dreams, poorly-timed emotional outbursts, and on top of all of it, very young children who needed my attention. It was--and often still is--a really dark time. Gabrielle Birkner and Rebecca Soffer, two women who lost parents as young adults,… >> Read More
It’s possible that we’re wired to notice those aspects of art that apply to our own lives--one person staring at a Degas painting might see light, truth, and love, while another might simply…see smashed up crumbly cheerios because they are the bane of her existence. What? My point: the story lines on Parenthood that I am most interested in talking about are the ones that I can relate to, or the ones that somehow reflect my life. As such... I have been less interested in the Amber/Ryan… >> Read More
This past week, I was lucky enough to fly to Chicago and attend the Covenant Foundation’s awards dinner and symposium. Many months ago, I received the generous invitation to attend the conference…as their guest, but also as a guest of my mother, a previous winner of the Covenant award and well-respected Jewish educator. Mostly, I would be there to accompany her; I was my mother’s plus one. But in terms of the facts (i.e. I am a teacher and a writer) none of what I do… >> Read More
To my twelve readers:
Here’s the short of it: the last two episodes of
bored me a little (though I am still 100% a supporter of this show). So in this recap, I’m going to…ignore the filler (Crosby and Adam signing some ridiculous band to their new label, Adam seeking out a big campaign donation for Kristina from a fake rapper named Mistah R.A.Y, etc etc) and focus on the storylines I found interesting/believable. (The interesting/believable criteria gives me license to ignore the Amber-getting-married-to-clearly-not-a-good-choice-Ryan. I will also willfully ignore… >> Read More
Hello, readers! I’m back to recap Parenthood episodes two and three for you real quick, because another one airs tonight.
In these episodes, the Braverman clan continues to parent their…children in Berkeley. Homes continue to be beautifully messy, abdominal muscles continue to be surprisingly toned, and hairstyles continue to be surprisingly well maintained for people who recently had children. That said, there are many story lines here that reflect honest-to-goodness real life with kids. I am going to rank three of them here, from… >> Read More
This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Lekh L'kha. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
There is little that breaks the heart of…a parent more than leaving their child in the care of a stranger for the first time. Daycare drop off, new babysitter, even the first day of kindergarten--these necessary experiences all yield that same gut punch: letting go of a sweaty hand, watching your tiny child--did they ever seem so small?--walk forward into the unknown.… >> Read More
Do you watch
? I don’t mean this in some sort of existential, depersonalized way. I mean, do you watch the NBC hour-long drama called Parenthood, loosely based on the instrumental…film from 1989, the one that starred Steve Martin and Dianne Wiest and tore your heart out? If not, oh friends, you should. Parenthood had its season premiere last Thursday and it’s not too late to catch up. I am here to help. The fictional Bravermans are a huge family clan living in Berkeley. Details… >> Read More