Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of six, travel aficionado, and self-declared karaoke superstar. Before her life got too crazy, she was the New York correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. She has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward and Tablet. She has appeared as a 'parenting expert' on NBC's TODAY Show and FOX and Friends. She enjoys writing about herself in the third person and, one far-off day when everyone is in school, hopes to get back to work on her novel.
I have six children, four of whom are age 4 and under. My days begin before dawn, and sometimes end before my oldest son has left his tablet on the charging station and made his way up to bed. I…sometimes find myself falling asleep in the shower, not remembering whether or not I’ve put shampoo in my hair. There’s a lot going on with the two older kids—academic competitions, schoolwork, Instagram (!)—but let’s focus on the more cacophonous child mass. For them, days are filled with sippy cups, chocolate milk, Berenstain Bears books, carseat… >> Read More
Weight Watchers, we meet again. As Rafiki said to Simba in The Lion King, “It is time.”
When I got divorced 10 years ago, I decided to re-assume responsibility for my postpartum state of…health, and I lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers. Even though I was uncertain about my future as a single mother of two small boys, I felt comfortable in my body again, and that was a great thing. Now, I’m happily remarried and I’ve had four more kids in five years. The latter does a… >> Read More
We celebrate Hanukkah because the oil in the Temple lasted eight days. Well, good for the oil, but kids under 5 behaving well for eight days would be quite another miracle. Seriously.
And I get…it: It’s very hard for them to handle eight consecutive nights of staying up later than usual. In addition, they’re often getting presents and consuming sugary deliciousness all of those nights in a row. When you think about it, it’s basically a recipe for disaster. If your kid hasn’t started saying, “Where’s my present?” before… >> Read More
We live in a very Jewish area in New Jersey. It’s a place full of all the institutions of Jewish life, from kosher butchers and bakeries to mikvehs and, of course, synagogues of all stripes. We…live in a strong Jewish community that supports many different streams and outlets for that Judaism, from Tot Shabbats with instruments and microphones to shomer Shabbat (observant) communities. The pre-Passover crush at the Livingston Shop-Rite puts Black Friday to shame. Sadly, a key component of our Jewish community died an untimely death this fall. Gesher… >> Read More
Moving is a pain in the ass. Anyone who has ever done it knows it. And when you have six kids, four of whom are under 4 and range from “unhelpful” to “destructive,” crazy is a best-case…scenario. Thanks to my parents, the kids didn’t have to be involved in the actual move-in into our new home. My parents should get some sort of medal, by the way, for taking my whole family in to live with them for almost five months. Did I mention we moved into their house four days… >> Read More
You are driving the carpool home from sports practice. Your Jewish child and two other non-Jewish classmates are in the car. You pass a big house; you offhandedly mention that your friend is moving…in. Non-Jewish kid: “Is your friend Jewish?” You: “Why do you ask?” Non-Jewish kid: “Because Jews are rich.” Growing up, I was pretty sure that if I ever came across something bad and wrong—anti-Semitism, for example—it would play out like an after-school special. First, the horribly uninformed, ignorant people would do something egregious, like spray… >> Read More
20 years ago today, I was driving through the dark streets of London. I had just started graduate school and was on a bus coming back from a trip out of town. As I was looking out the window at the…unfamiliar city, listening to my Walkman, I saw a shop selling televisions. And every one of them was on, showing footage of the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Yitzhak Rabin. I thought nothing of it. It was only the next morning, when I picked up the paper, that I found out why: He had been… >> Read More
“Six kids! What’s that like?”
Answers you may expect: “exhausting;” “fun;” “chaotic;” “nonstop.” Answer I didn’t expect, but that I find is true: “liberating.”
Why?…Because I no longer have either the time or inclination to care what anyone else thinks. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in advice or learning from other parents: There is always more to learn from other people. What it does mean, though, is that I literally have no time for the following: READ: I’m Not… >> Read More
The rooms on the maternity ward of a hospital might as well have revolving doors. From dawn to dusk and after, if you’re a woman who just had a baby, someone will come into your room approximately…every seven minutes. There’s the nurse checking your vitals, another nurse who administers the painkillers and stool softeners, the person who brings your food, the person who takes it away, the nurse who checks the status of your anus (lucky them), the hospital photographer, the lactation consultant, the pediatrician, the hospital clergy…The list is nearly… >> Read More
Welcome to the Fourth Annual Jordana Horn Kveller Summer Reading Recommendation List (see the previous years' lists here, here, and here). As always, this list is not exclusive, and I actively seek…feedback/more recommendations in the comments. These are recommendations coming from a voracious reader who likes both highbrow and semi-lowbrow stuff, mostly fiction. Not all of these are new releases. Annoyingly, many books I still want to read this summer haven’t been released yet! Please follow me on Goodreads and let’s get mutually recommending! Happy summer!… >> Read More
1. The last month of pregnancy: It’s a glorious time. It’s when salespeople help you more quickly because they don’t want you to explode on the sales floor. It’s when none of your pregnancy…clothes fit and your shirts ride up on your belly as if to tempt people with a Lewis Carroll-like sign saying, “Lift me!” It’s when you are already sleeping as though you have a newborn baby because, whether it’s heartburn, gas, or sheer discomfort in your own skin, you are up every hour. 2. The… >> Read More
“Do you believe another Holocaust can happen?”
When I heard this question as a 7th grader, I remember reacting with shock: “Of course not! The world would never let it happen…again!” Here we are in 2015. And somewhere in the swirling sands of the Arabian desert, innocent people are beheaded on YouTube by masked ISIS fanatics to terrify the world into submission. Schoolgirls in Nigeria are kidnapped, taken away from their families for nefarious purposes. Children in Iraq are herded onto vans and taken to… >> Read More
I’ll admit it: When my husband picked up his suitcase to leave to go to the Philippines for a week on business, my first impulse was not to set a good example for the five kids. Instead, I wanted…to take a page out of my 1-year-old’s playbook and throw myself at my husband’s legs, yelling, “No! No! Don’t go! Take me! Don’t leave me here! I’ll do anything!” Somehow, I refrained. So my husband left for the other side of the planet, no doubt experiencing more tranquility in his approximately 24 hours of… >> Read More
It’s pretty annoying when someone writes something anti-Semitic. But imagine how much more annoying it is when it’s someone you like. Or liked. Or someone you kinda, sorta considered a kindred…spirit. Like, if you met, you always figured you’d be, if not friends, at least people who could make each other laugh over a drink or three. Lena Dunham was that person for me. I enjoy watching the solipsistic narcissism of “Girls.” The show allows me to be grateful that I am old and not… >> Read More
Elisa Albert's previous books, “The Book of Dahlia” and “How This Night Is Different,” are accurate reflections of her ability as a writer to delve into the uncomfortable and come up with…insights. Her most recent book, “After Birth,” turns Albert's critical and insightful eye on new motherhood. Ari is a new mother living in a rundown town in upstate New York, struggling with the changes that come from her new place in life, metaphorically and literally. She meets Mina, former rock band artiste, and from there… >> Read More
I used to watch the entire Oscars ceremony religiously. I now watch for a half hour, because they have inconveniently timed it to coincide with Downton Abbey, and then go to bed, because I have five…kids/am pregnant with my sixth/am exhausted by my life. So it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw the amazing performance of "Glory," the winner of Best Song. >> Read More
I’m pregnant with kid number six--a girl, due in June.
If you think that being pregnant made people say weird things to you, I promise you that telling them that the fetus gestating inside you…will be your sixth child is a whole new ball o’ wax. >> Read More
Personally, I am so excited for Sunday night. Because DOWNTON ABBEY, YO! Contrary to what feels like the vast majority of America’s television viewers, I will not be watching the Super Bowl on…Sunday. I have never liked football and am blessed enough to have married a man who doesn’t particularly care for it either. But more than that, I believe strongly that the NFL--in this past year especially--exemplifies an ‘American way’ that personally, I’d prefer to see change. >> Read More
Around this time of year, I start seeing Christmas lights go up on neighbors’ houses; they’re beautiful, and I appreciate their sparkling beauty. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t say that…I also see things that make me see red, which we can file under the general heading of “Ways To Make Hanukkah More Like Christmas.” From pictures of “Hanukkah bushes” to gingerbread hanukkiyot to “Elf on a Shelf” knockoffs (ahem!), it seems like many people want Hanukkah to be more like Christmas. Not me. Why… >> Read More
I’ll admit it: I’ve had it with this “no screen time under 2” thing. I have always suspected that this “no television” thing is bogus—and at last, someone is saying so.
A guide…released last month by the nonprofit group Zero to Three called “Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight" notes that “children should have lots of time for play in the real, 3-D world,” and parents should, “make screen use a shared experience.” In other words, the new group posits that maybe, just maybe, the whole “no screen… >> Read More
I remember my summer in Israel when I was 16 years old as being one of near-orgasmic bliss. I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but I did have a lover. My lover was sleep. And he was hot.
Every…Friday afternoon, I would take the bus from the small town where I was living to my parents’ friends’ apartment in Tel Aviv. They were an American couple my grandparents’ age who were in Israel for the summer, long-standing family friends whom I loved as much as my grandparents. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual, because… >> Read More
Adam Mansbach is an author of contemporary literary fiction, including the books “Rage is Back” and “The End of the Jews.” However, he’s undoubtedly best known as the author of the…New York Times best-selling classic of subversive parenting, “Go the F**k to Sleep.” In that book, Mansbach articulated the deep, almost primal frustration of a parent whose kid just won’t go the…well, you get it. The book was an immediate sensation. His new book, “You Have to F*cking Eat,” taps into that same seemingly bottomless… >> Read More
“What are you reading?”
My 3-year-old had suddenly materialized next to the chair in my room. I was so immersed in my book that I hadn’t even heard her come in.
“A book,” I said,…smiling. “I love books,” she said. “What’s your book about?” “It’s about love,” I said, telling her the slimmest sliver of the truth. The truth is the book was “Paper Love,” by my friend and fellow Kveller writer Sarah Wildman. I highly recommend it--but the book is far from a typical love story. It is… >> Read More
I will never forget the first time my parents took me to Kol Nidrei services, and the congregation stood, as the night fell, to put on their tallitot (prayer shawls). After the blessing, those who…were standing like a forest of people all around me picked up their tallit and draped them over their shoulders. The movement of hundreds of people in silence all together was stunning. That silence was incredibly beautiful--and the wind that I felt from the lifting of the fabric felt to me, a small girl, like… >> Read More