Joanne Strasser Edwards is a blogger, novelist and mom living in Columbus, Ohio. She received her BA from Brandeis University and MA from the New School for Social Research. You can follow her @ShortNorthMom on Instagram and Twitter, and check out her blog @ www.shortnorthmom.com
After I saw this week’s viral photo of the Hasidic couple and the nursing Muslim mother, I thought, “Aww, that’s so awesome.” I too, am touched when people are good people just because. I…could imagine posting something like that with a caption similar to the original: “A Taoist (me) gives up his seat so a Hasidic couple could sit together. They scoot over so a Muslim mother could sit and nurse her baby, on Easter Sunday.” This is my America: people letting people be people.” These displays of… >> Read More
The other day while I was getting Botox, children were gassed to death in Syria.
Then, while I spent the rest of that evening googling the best anti-fog sunglasses, and debating switching from an…Apple Watch to a Garmin, a father held his dead twins. I saw their picture on CNN the next day. I clicked away, took a deep breath and returned to the image. The toddler looked like mine; he had strawberry blonde hair. I’m deep in the trenches of the first world. Very, very deep. I… >> Read More
Last year at Passover, my non-Jewish wife was puzzled: “Why do you guys make such a big deal if you’re not going to take it seriously?”
Did she mean our humanist Haggadah that has no…mention of a deity? Was it the fact that we giggle through all the songs, and rush poor Moses along his Exodus so we can eat? Or maybe it was the door? Sorry, but it was too damn cold to leave open, and no one wanted to hear my dad complain about the thermostat. But really, I’m… >> Read More
At work today, I thought about two things: 1. Why aren’t there free tampons? and 2. Why was I hiding my tampon up my sleeve as if this aspect of personal hygiene should somehow be…shameful? Let’s add a third little tidbit/thought/question: Why am I even thinking about all of this, and feeling outraged – maybe even furious — that workplaces aren’t required to provide tampons? I’ll tell you why. Every night this week, I’ve been listening to Claire Danes narrate a book. That book is called “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and… >> Read More
“Everyone is OK. We’re all are home.” Read the text message from my former host brother in Berlin. Sitting in a work meeting, I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Ok… glad you’re…all OK?” I texted back. Little did I know then, someone had rammed his truck into a Christmas Market, close to where my host family lives, killing 11 people. It was just like what happened in London yesterday. I know those streets back from when I lived in Berlin. I’d been to that market before,… >> Read More
Eric and Lara Trump are expecting, and everyone is asking: will this be his fourth Jewish grandkid? Is Lara a member of the tribe? Was that a crystal chuppah, or just a canopy?
Turns out, maybe…she’s not Jewish. You know what? It doesn’t really matter. Just because Trump has a growing family that may or may not have Jewish heritage, doesn’t mean he knows the first thing about Jewish values. Or family values, either. Let’s just start with the basics. You know what I’m going to say: tikkun olam, Hebrew for… >> Read More
Editor's Note: Names have been changed to protect privacy and safety.
When I met them back in 2014, Dorri and Farah had just arrived from Tehran. As a lesbian couple, living an open life in the…Islamic Republic of Iran was not an option for them. After receiving several threats, Dorri and Farah sold everything and left the country. Luckily, Dorri had an uncle here in the United States, so they were able to move in with him. Knowing only very basic English and less than a handful of people, their… >> Read More
I make bad jokes, inappropriate ones; even, sometimes, about the Holocaust.
Last weekend, for instance, when touring my friend Maria’s new house, I half-jokingly asked if she would hide my…family when Trump’s Stormtroopers came for us. Standing in the archway of her semi-hidden storage closet, a look of puzzlement, mixed with amusement, came across her face. What was I talking about? “I’ll be like your Anne Frank.” I explained. “And you’ll be Miep. Stand in the doorway and let me take your pic for Facebook.”… >> Read More
The other night I was lying in bed hating my wife, as sometimes happens after a rough day.
Here’s how it goes: I look over, and she’s already sleeping, because she's the kind of person who's…out when her head hits the pillow. I on the other hand, am only getting started. You know those ruminations in the darkness that are cured only by too much Xanax? Well, those are my nightly M.O. I am full of resentment and toxicity; not because of anything my wife did, but because life is… >> Read More
"Did you see my baby?" wails a young girl to the nurse.
I can see her face through the curtain. She's lying on a gurney in the post-op recovery area of the abortion clinic. It’s the size of a…kitchen pantry. In this area, women convalesce on reclining chairs. It’s like they're here for pedicures except they all wear heating pads and bleak expressions. My friend whom I’m accompanying doesn’t have to sit in a pedicure chair. She has a fetal abnormality, so she and her spouse actually get a room. It might be… >> Read More