Jennifer Reich Modlinger (Director of Partnerships) received an M.S.W. from Columbia University, an M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from The George Washington University. She previously held positions at Project Interchange at the American Jewish Committee, UJA-Federation of New York, and the American Pardes Foundation. When she isn't working or parenting she is an avid knitter and gluten free baker. She lives in Teaneck, New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and entirely too many guinea pigs.
This article is part of our essay series, “Why Be Jewish?,” based off of “Why Be Jewish?”—a new book by the late Edgar M. Bronfman. Read the rest in the series here.
Why be Jewish? To…me, it is about three simple things: tradition, peoplehood, and community. 1. Tradition reminds me that I am a link in a chain that is thousands of years old. That, as a Jewish mother, my role is to ensure that our tradition is transmitted to my boys. It is lighting Shabbat candles and baking challah… >> Read More
Earlier this month, my 11-year-old began a valiant campaign to be allowed to download Snapchat on his phone. My immediate, straight-from-the-gut answer was a big fat no. We are not a tech-avoidant…family. Every single family member has some sort of i-device, both of my children have email accounts and were given permission to text with family members at the age of 8, and I work for Kveller, so—there’s that. In fact, the 11-year-old has a school-issued (and parent-paid-for) laptop and nearly all of his schoolwork is… >> Read More
“I’m thirsty!” “I need a snack!” “What’s for dinner tonight?” “I don’t eat that.” “You unwrapped my cheese slice, and now it’s broken!!!” “I asked for grapes 10 minutes…ago!” I’ll wager that any parent with children over the age of 3 has heard at least half of these declarations from at least one small person in their household (and mostly likely all within the past 24 hours). All of these are, in fact, direct quotes from the gorgeous little geniuses that I grew… >> Read More
Hanukkah is less than a week away--it begins this Sunday, December 6th--so it's time to bring your menorahs out of hiding, buy lots of Hanukkah gelt for the kids, and start thinking of DIY…Hanukkah decorations and crafts. If you aren't sure where to start, are tired of the same old projects your kids have done in the past, check out some fun and creative activities below. 1. Edible Crafts. These chocolate kiss, pretzel, and marshmallow dreidels are both adorable and delicious--and you can also use peanut butter or frosting as… >> Read More
When a Kveller reader recently sought advice on finding a Jewish ritual for mourning the passing of her cat, I wrote off the request as being outside of the boundaries of normative Jewish practice.…Judaism’s elaborate and meaningful mourning rituals and practices are for people, not pets. I felt that saying kaddish or observing the yahrzeit of a pet, no matter how beloved, would somehow take away from the meaning and power of these customs and laws. And then our beloved guinea pig Caramel died. Caramel was no ordinary… >> Read More
We all want to be Good Mamas, we really do. But there are also those days when we are JUST getting by. The days when we need to celebrate the small victories that help get us from one moment to…the next. The moment I stood firm while my adorable, angel-turned-demon was screaming and writhing on the floor over a mini Oreo. When I resisted the urge to use my shopping cart as an assault vehicle to clear an aisle in Costco. When cutting an apple “the right way” was rewarded with a smile, a… >> Read More