JoAnn Abraham's diverse careers have included teaching (very briefly), journalism (longer and more fun), marketing for a major non-profit (terrific and challenging), and owning a store (tough on the feet.) She's discovered that freelancing offers the best of all worlds.
You send your children off to summer camp hoping they’ll make friends, learn new skills, and have a wonderful, carefree experience. And most of the time, they return tanned, happy, and loaded with…stories about good friends you’ve never met. But what’s a parent to do when something terrible happens to another child at the camp? Whether there’s been a serious or fatal illness or an accident—which happens. What should a caring, responsible parent do? All of this became far more real for my own family and community… >> Read More
I just got another evite to a bridal shower, asking me to write my favorite family recipe on an index card and bring it as a special gift from me to the bride-to-be.
It’s a nice thought, but it…raises a few challenges. 1. I don’t have any index cards. The last time I used them was in the last century, when I was writing research papers and needed to keep track of who said what so quotations could be accurately attributed. The memories are not fond, and I didn’t keep any of those… >> Read More
I thought my husband, our 4-year-old son, and I were doing just fine, thank you. True, I was physically a mess after delivering a 12.3 lb stillborn boy. However, we felt we’d smoothly sailed…through the process of telling our son that the baby in mommy’s belly had died. He only had two questions: Is Mommy coming home today (no, the doctor wants her to stay in the hospital for a few days, but we can visit,) and can I go back outside and play now (yes). As he… >> Read More
My family members are, by heritage and custom, Ashkenazi, descended from Eastern European Jews. We serve potato latkes on Hanukkah and respond to every bit of good news with an excited “Mazel…tov!” I’d never really thought about the gastronomic differences between Ashkenazim and other Jews until just before Passover a few years ago, when I had a not-yet diagnosed appendicitis attack. I couldn’t stand for any length of time, let alone cook our usual seder fare. Not willing to call off the festivities or deal with… >> Read More
I had tallis envy. Seriously.
“How come,” muttered my feminist self, “I can’t swash around the synagogue wearing one of those?”
“What,” scoffed my skeptical self, “Do the guys…get from wearing one?” So I asked the rabbi of my very inclusive, egalitarian Conservative synagogue. She said the act of wrapping the tallis, or prayer shawl, around you concentrates your mind on prayer, which is what you’re supposed to be thinking about in synagogue. Plus, much like a mezuzah, it separates the private you from… >> Read More